Kanchanaburi and the west

The wonderful forests, hills and melange of different peoples of this western tract of Thailand are overshadowed by a terrible history - during the Second World War thousands of prisoners of war and local labourers died at the hands of their Japanese captors building a railway line through almost impassable terrain. This piece of history was made famous in David Lean's 1957 Oscar-winning epic, Bridge on the River Kwai. Today, the bridge, sited at the town of Kanchanaburi, and the war museums and memorials associated with it, has helped turn the region into a tourist mecca. Most come not only to visit the famous bridge but also to relax by Kanchanaburi's elegant Kwai Noi River.

The more adventurous head into the national parks and hills further west. Awaiting here are the evocatively named Three Pagodas Pass (Saam Ong), miscellaneous indigenous groups, the resort town of Sangkhlaburi and the Burmese border.

This is edited copy from Footprint Handbooks. For comprehensive details (incl address, tel no, directions, opening times and prices) please refer to book or individual chapter PDF
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