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Posted by on Apr 28, 2010 in Asia, Thailand

Kanchanaburi, Thailand – Hellfire Pass and River Kwai Death Bridge

Kanchanaburi, Thailand – Hellfire Pass and River Kwai Death Bridge

Hellfire pass, a railway, and a history of violence.

Sean and I bussed up to Hellfire Pass after Erawan Falls. This is the railway that was built during the Japanese occupation during WWII. They forced 50,000 Allied prisoners to work 16-18 hrs a day digging through the mountains to create this railway known as Death railway. Most of those people died due to over work, brutality, malnutrition, starvation. As well as the Allied POWs, 80,000 Asian labourers also perished. It is said that 1 man died for every sleeper laid.


It is called Hellfire Pass because they worked so late into the night that all you could see was candlelit faces of Japanese army men and working slaves which reminded the people of Dante’s Inferno. We went there and walked through the pass. Out beyond the mountains in Burma.


We headed back into Kanchanaburi and walked across the River Kwai Bridge. There were actually two bridges over the River Kwai; the original wooden structure, and a steel structure built by the Japanese. Both bridges were bombed multiple times and then destroyed during WWII by the Allies and is known as the Death Bridge. The second steel structure bridge was rebuilt and is the crossing for the original Death Railway Line. Trams still run today across the bridge tracks and up the death railway.