Tuesday 7th Feb – Kanchanaburi to Bangkok
Last day of the Myanmar trip! But a somber start as we visited the infamous Bridge over the River Kwai and the Railway Museum.
It’s estimated that 100,000 people died in the time it took to build the railway between Thailand and Burma. It was a Japanese project during the 2nd World war to create supply line for produce from Burma into Thailand to replace the sea route where their ships were being clobbered. They used prisoners of war – mainly Dutch, British and Australia, and local resource from India, Burma and Thailand – to build the railway and fair to say the treatment of both was appalling.
The Railway Museum is really matter of fact, but completely horrifying. Chances of survival for the prisoners of war was low, but the survival rate for the local population conscripted often unwillingly was horrendous, and while the prisoners of war kept fairly accurate death records – there is no way to know how many of the local conscripted died.
The death rate was also notably different in camps with access to fresh water that had an understanding camp commander, to those with unclean water and a camp commander with no compassion for the men. Having been in Myanmar during the cool dry season, I can’t even imagine working the long days in the heat and wet with limited food rations and all the disease and infections. It will be really interesting to visit the other side of the tale when we are in Japan as we are due to visit Hiroshima.
And finally… we took the quick transfer over to Bangkok for our very last night with the group before Wayne and I strike out on our own for 2 months. They’ve been a great group to travel with, Katie from Dragoman a fantastic tour leader who despite not having Archie the overland truck (currently stuck in Laos), a co-driver (back in the UK) and a group who at times could cause their own chaos – she got us through everything and out the other side.
So cheers to you all – you made our first month on the road awesome and hope to see you all again!