Hellfire Pass is the name of a railway cutting on the former Burma Railway (“Death Railway”) which was built with forced labor during World War II. . Hellfire Pass because the sight of emaciated prisoners working through the night by torchlight was said to resemble a scene from Hell.
Most of the laborers were Chinese, Malaysian and Thai and were treated no better than the POW’s who were Australian, British, Dutch and American. Sixty nine men were beaten to death by Japanese guards in the six weeks it took to build the pass; many more died from cholera, dysentery, starvation, and exhaustion.
The museum sponsored by the Royal Thai Armed Forces Development Command and the Australian Government is a wonderful time capsule. Part museum, part historical trail where can walk the walk of the POW’s, see the actual train cars they were transported in, see memorials left by family along the pass, take a train car along a portion of the railway still used as a commuter train and visit one of several cemeteries in Kanchanaburi.
If you are in Central Thailand this is a MUST DO as it is an important part of world history sometimes forgotten by western civilization.
Getting to the pass from the museum is no easy task, even for those that took ‘they easy route’
After we finished we took our bus to the town of Nam Tok Sai Yok Noi where we were about to see more of the original cars and ride on a local commuter railway still in operation on some of the original route.
At the end of our ride we were able to walk out along a track bed of one of the remaining wooden bridges and visit a small shrine built in a cave along the track bed.
One of our last stops before returning to our resort was the Kanchanaburi Cemetery.
Probably one of my favorite days in Thailand