Kanchanaburi War Cemetery | Thailand | Tourist Atrraction | Don Rak
Kanchanaburi War Cemetery
The Kanchanaburi War Cemetery is a popular tourist destination in Thailand. Many people visit Kanchanaburi to view this cemetery that has a sad history associated with it. Army Graves Service built this cemetery after the World War II to honor the prisoners who died during the construction of the Burma Railway or the Death Railway. There were more than 5,000 Commonwealth and around 2,000 Dutch victims who suffered death. Just while entering the cemetery, can check out the Kanchanaburi Memorial records where the names of the eleven Indian force soldiers are placed.
How to reach Kanchanaburi War Cemetery
Kanchanaburi is located at a distance of around 129 kilometers towards Bangkok’s North West portion. One can head towards the cemetery by taking the National Highway or by train o bus from Bangkok. The location is next to the major road of Kanchanaburi, which is Saeng Chuto Road.
History of Kanchanaburi War Cemetery
Japan wanted to improve its communication system for the purpose of supporting the large base of their army in Burma. For that, they incorporated a project of Burma-Siam railways and notoriously used American, Dutch and Commonwealth prisoners for the construction of the project. While constructing the project, around 13,000 prisoners faced death and almost one lakh civilians also lost lives. Japan forcefully brought labors and made them work for long hours without proper food and water. Many labor lost their lives due to such inhuman torture. The aim of Japan was to finish off the construction work with 14 months and the project started in October 1942 and ended in December 1943. The dead workers’ graves were brought into Thanbyuzayat in Myanmar and Chungkai and Kanchanaburi in Thailand.
Kanchanaburi War Cemetery is located at a small distance from the earlier base camp of the prisoner of wars, ‘Kanburi’. The Army Graves Service used to shift the graves from Bangkok to Nieke. Around 300 men lost their lives at Nieke camp and their ashes after cremation are now found in the graves of the cemetery. More than 1,800 Dutch and 5,000 Commonwealth casualties are commemorated or buried in the Kanchanaburi War Cemetery.
Colin St Clair Oakes designed this Kanchanaburi War Cemetery and others (For example, this one in Hong Kong). It is the responsibility of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission to maintain the memorials and graves of the Kanchanaburi War Cemetery. It is the main prisoner of war cemetery associated with the Burma railway victims.
Though Kanchanaburi War Cemetery is a popular tourist destination and many people visit the place every year, it is to be kept in mine the kind of grave tortures and sufferings that these prisoners went through and ultimately lost their lives.
There is no admission fee to enter this site. The other nearby attractions includes Chung-Kai War Cemetery, Thai-Burma Railway Centre, War and Art Museum, Death Railway, JEATH War Museum and Bridge over the River Kwai.