Although the Bridge on the River Kwai (Saphan Mae Nam Kwae) has become a symbol of the brutality of the Second World War, the War Cemeteries are evidence of its effect. Kanchanaburi has two cemeteries with the graves of captured prisoners of war, the Chung Kai Allied War Memorial and the Kanchanaburi Allied War Cemetery.
Chung Kai Allied War Memorial
Chung Kai Allied War Memorial contains the graves of 1,740 Australian, New Zealand, British, French and Dutch Prisoners of War in neat, well-kept grounds. Each grave has a headstone with plaque stating names and epitaphs for the fallen. This cemetery is the smaller of the two and receives fewer visitors. A visit here is none the less a moving experience, particularly for those with relatives who fought during the war.
Details: Chung Kai Allied War Memorial is opened daily and although there is no admission fee, donations towards the upkeep of the site are welcomed.
How to get there: Aside from the tours available in the town, the cemetery is easily accessible by bicycle if you have rented one, alternatively Songtaews head in that direction and a Tuk-Tuk should cost 20 Baht. It is also accessible via ferry from the town centre.
Kanchanaburi Allied War Cemetery
Kanchanaburi Allied War Cemetery contains the graves of 7,000 predominantly British and Australian prisoners. The Commonwealth War Graves commission supports the site and as a result it is exquisitely kept with wonderful green lawns and colorful flowers. This is a very moving place - whatever nationality you are its likely to have a very emotional impact on you.
Details: Like Chung Kai Allied War Memorial, Kanchanaburi Allied War Cemetery is opened daily and although there is no admission fee, donations towards the upkeep of the site are very welcome.
How to get there: Located on Saengchuto Road in the Northwest of Kanchanaburi, the cemetery is easily accessible by Songtaew and mini-bus.