A walk along the river . . .

Well, i planned to have a chilled day today – but yet again i ended up walking miles! I was flicking through my Lonely Planet guide over breakfast in the cafe at my guesthouse, and decided that it would be quite nice to take a casual stroll down to the Jeath Museum. The road leading down to the museum runs parallel to the river and passes Wat Neua on the way.

Jeath Museum

The museum is so called, as it’s an abbreviation of the names of the 6 countries involved in the construction of the Death Railway : Japan (J), England (E), America and Austrailia (A), Thailand (T), and Holland (H), and the fact that it resembles the word death also has great significance. The Japanese were the controllers of the railway project, Thailand was involved as the conquered country and the other 4 countries were involved as prisoners of war on the actual construction of the 415km long Death Railway and the bridge over the River Kwai.

Construction of the bridge began on the 16th September 1942, and the prisoners were forced to complete it in just 16 months, a project which would normally have taken over 5 years. The museunm exhibits original photographs taken by Thais and prisoners of war, and actual construction equipment used. There’s also a display of weapons including a bomb that was dropped to destroy the River Kwai bridge.
The museum was quite disturbing in parts, not so much the photos themselves but some of the realistic and gruesome scenes that had been painted, depicting the conditions the prisoners were living and working in and some of the injuries they endured and diseases they suffered.

I also visited the World War 2 Museum up the other end of the town (my poor feet!). I paid my 30THB not so much to see the museum itself (as it was, as is acurately described in the Lonely Planet, very much “a monument to kitsch”) but to walk up on to the rooftops and admire the fantastic view of Kanchanaburi and the bridge over the River Kwai. I’m sure they’d make a lot of money if they put a few chairs up there and served drinks, as the view is spectacular. If you’re a keen photographer like me (well, i try!) then i reckon you’ll get the best view of the infamous bridge from up here.
Photo is of two boats passing each other on the Mae Nam Khwae Yai, Kanchanaburi


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