Escape the fast pace of city life for the province of Kanchanaburi, 150 miles west of Bangkok, for emotive history tropical scenery and soft adventures.
Heavy with history, Kanchanaburi is famed for its World War II museums, memorials and landmarks including the black iron Bridge over the River Kwai and so-called Death Railway, which Japanese soldiers forced Allied prisoners and Asian labourers to build. Although partially destroyed by bombs in 1945, it was rebuilt and is a poignant reminder of WWII horrors.
The interactive Thailand-Burma Railway Centre is an ideal first stop providing a superb overview of the workers plight, whilst the immaculately kept Allied Force War Cemetery, provides a quiet reflective sanctuary. You can also walk along the bridge itself, pass under during a river cruise or even ride a train over it. The two hour journey along the notorious Thai-Burma Death Railway is truly spectacular, with tracks enclosed by verdant forests, opening out onto a sheer cliff and running alongside the River Kwai.
The deadliest part of the railway was Hellfire Pass (Konyu Cutting), which is about 50 miles from Kanchanaburi. Prisoners dug this infamous cutting almost entirely by hand and endured brutal conditions and the on-site Memorial Museum tells their harrowing story while a walking trail follows the original rail bed.
History aside, the province boasts a landscape of dense jungles, lush riverside resorts and gushing waterfalls, particularly in Erawan National Park. Bamboo rafting, trekking and cycling are all popular diversions from the stunning scenery.
GMT +7 hours
There are no direct flights from the UK to the River Kwai region. The journey by road from Bangkok takes approximately 3 hours.
For sightseeing and activities the region is a year round destination. Visit during the rainy season (June-October) when water levels rise and you can swim in the river!