As mentioned in my previous post on the Bridge of the River Kwai, this bridge is still used regularly by passenger trains. Tourists use these train services to explore the infamous death railway. The train service itself starts from Thonburi station in Bangkok and ends at Nam Tok station to the north of Kanchanaburi. From Nam Tok, tourists can proceed to Hellfire Pass where we can found Hellfire Pass Memorial Museum and Walking Trail. For this trip to Kanchanaburi province, I took the train ride along the death railway from River Kwai Bridge Station to Tham Kra Sae, one station before Nam Tok.
My journey started from the River Kwai Bridge station which is located just next to the bridge. We can get the schedule and buy tickets for the train from this station. The train ride took around an hour and a half to get to Tham Kra Sae. The train itself is quite basic with wooden seats and no air conditioner. Yes, some electric fans on the ceilings aside, the main cooling agent would only be the breeze from the train’s windows. The heat of the dry summer noon made the journey felt longer, but it was memorable nevertheless. The scenery keeps changing from river side, dry barren land, farm land and fields of crops as well as rocky cliffs.
After several brief stops at some smaller stations, the train arrived at Tham Kra Sae. Some of the passengers would continue their journey to the last station of Nam Tok, but I noticed that most of them would disembark at Tham Kra Sae station. Since it already passed noon, I decided to have lunch first once I arrived. There are a market and several restaurants at the area, some would have nice view of the river below with the railway hanging to the side of the cliff above the river. The food is okay and you can choose either the buffet menu or order other food which you prefer which is still pretty basic. I guess the view is what being offered here.
From the restaurant, we can walk a nearby cave which is located by the cliff next to the railway. This cave is said to be a campsite during the construction of the death railway. Currently there are several Buddha statues in the cave. Be careful on your way to the cave though, as the only way to reach the cave is by walking along the railway which at some part is hanging along the cliff on wooden platform with the river under you. Quite a scary walk if you are afraid of height!
This cave and the serene Kwai river flowing below the railway have become silent witnesses of the suffering of the prisoner of wars and forced workers in constructing this railway during the Japanese occupation. The difficult terrain also becomes a constant reminder of the struggle during those moment. This train trip along the death railway to Tham Kra Sae was the last on my itinerary for my trip to Kanchanaburi province. Once I got back to the Bridge by the Kwai River, I took a taxi to the bus station to take the minivan back to Bangkok. More posts on other places will follow soon!