Bridge over River Kwai

Kanchanaburi Province


The Bridge over the River Kwai is located in the quiet province of Kanchanaburi about 130 kms west of the capital city of Bangkok. It gained notoriety during World War II when the Japanese needed a railway connecting Bangkok with Rangoon in preparation for an invasion of India.

Work started on what has become known as ‘The Death Railway’ in October 1942 and was completed in December 1943. In that short space of time more than 13,000 Commonwealth, Dutch and American prisoners of war lost their lives.

At least 150,000 civilians also died in the course of the project, chiefly forced labor brought from Malaya and the Dutch East Indies, or conscripted in Burma and Thailand.

The Bridge over the River Kwai itself covers eleven spans and was brought, in pieces, by the Japanese all the way from Java to be reconstructed here. This bridge and the parallel wooden trestle bridge were built simultaneously and were completed early in 1943.

Both bridges were subjected to numerous air attacks by Allied bombers between 1944 -1945 resulting in the destruction of a number of spans of the steel bridge.

Now when you visit you can see the round sections are part of the original bridge while the square sections form the replacement parts restored by Allied Forces after the war ended.

The Bridge over the River Kwai gained worldwide attention when the fictional work of French author Pierre Boulle was made into a major motion picture of the same name.

Unfortunately, he had never been to Kanchanaburi or he would have known that the railway does not cross the River Kwai. It actually crosses the Mae Klong River. 

When the movie – which was actually filmed in Sri Lanka - became popular, Thailand faced something of a problem because many tourists came to see the Bridge over the River Kwai and they didn't actually have one. So, with admirable lateral thinking, they simply renamed the river. The Mae Klong is now the Kwae Yai - Big Kwai - for several miles north of the confluence with the Kwae Noi - Little Kwai -, including the bit under the bridge.

There are a number of floating restaurants of both sides of the bridge and a lively market as well.

You can visit the Bridge over the River Kwai in conjunction with the

Tiger Temple Tour

or as part of the

Hellfire Pass Tour


01 Nov 2009 - 31 Oct 2010 Tour Prices (Thai Baht)
1 Person 2 People 3 People 4 People 5 People 6 People 7 People 8 People 9 People 10 People 11 People 12 People
8000 8800 10650 13400 14600 16500 17675 20200 22905 25450 27995 30600