Monday, August 24, 2015

Backpacker's Note : Death Railway Museum, Kanchanaburi War Cemetery & JEATH museum

Ola!

So, on this post I will talk about Death Railway Museum, Kanchanaburi War Cemetery and JEATH Museum. They are located in Kanchanaburi, Thailand.


DEATH RAILWAY MUSEUM 
  
Death Railway Museum or The Thailand Burma Railway Center is located in T.B.R.C. Co., Ltd
73 Jaokannun Road, BanNua, Amphoe Muang, Kanchanaburi. It opens from 9 AM to 5 PM. 

To go to this museum you can use the bus from Kanchanaburi Bus terminal heading to erawan or hellfire pass, the route will pass the museum. Or by foot and bike since it's not so far from the bus terminal, maybe 10-15 minutes walk. But from River Kwai Bridge, it's quite far and no bus, only taxi, or bike. By taxi or Bike from the bridge, it takes 20-30 minutes time. 

Death Railway Museum

You can find the instructions and map in here  

The admission fee is 140 Baht for adults. (slight increased from the visitor Informations on the Website)

You also get free coffee or tea after you finish your visit. You can exchange the coupon on the cafe upstairs. 
They also sell books about River Kwai, posters, pins, caps, shirts, postscards of River Kwai and The Thailand Burma Railway Center and also flowers if you want to put it in the Kanchanaburi War Cemetery afterward. 

Anyway, I don't have any pictures of the museum, since it is prohibited to take any pictures inside. The museum also provide full tours, the guide will assist you along the way and explain everything about the railway. 



History Tours By Museum



I really recommend History lovers and people who are curious about The railway, and PoWs to visit this museum. The museum contain a lot of information about the railway and PoW. We also can see a 10 minutes video replay all the time of Japanese officers and ex-PoWs interviews. 

They also have the famous statue of 3 PoWs, two PoWs carried a PoW who had Cholera but the Japanese still forced him to work until he was unconscious and had to be carried to the camp hospital. 

a statue based on the image drawn by Australian POW Ray Parkin of ‘Two Malarias with a Cholera’ (Photo Credit : Remembering the Railway )

The Museum also has remaining things of PoWs and a replica of Hellfire Pass. 
I cannot express perfectly what I felt that time. I was sad, heartbroken, I cried a few times because it was so barbaric and how I think of PoWs who had families and loved ones, and the way they lived and died. I just couldn't believe how human treat others like that. But at the same time I was ecstatic to be in the museum, I've always wanted to come here since 2014, and this visit to the museum made everything clear to me. It's different when you just read the books. They were just names, but when I came to the site (Hellfire pass and museums) and I saw their personal things, They weren't just names. Somehow they felt close to me, it's like I know them personally. Also I can imagine clearly what happened at that time. 

The museum has 2 floor. 1st floor is the lobby and you can buy gifts there, inside there are the Cholera Statue, the Locations of PoW camps, the video room, the replica of PoW inside the train from Singapore to Thailand, replica of Camp Hospital and many more. The 2nd floor, there are replica of Hellfire Pass, PoWs Personal things and clothes, Reseach room and also the cafe. You can also find books and postcards inside the cafe. You can access the research room but you have to ask the museum officers first. You can also buy a copy of a PoW's diary by donating 3000 baht or so to the museum. 

Inside the cafe, I chose a seat facing toward the cemetary, Kanchanaburi War cemetery and reading a book by PoW, the title is Hintok Cutting, the book is filled with his pictures of the forced labor in Railway. 

Museum Restaurant

Personally, I think the books prices are quite high in the museum. Might be too expensive for books. 
Anyway, the trip to this museum is very recommended! Don't forget to bring tissues if you visit the museum, prepare for the emotional wave coming :) 

so, after I went to The Death Railway Museum, the trip won't be completed if I didn't visit Kanchanaburi War Cemetery which located just across the museum. There's no admission fee, but you can buy some flowers if you want to put it inside. 

KANCHANABURI WAR CEMETERY


The cemetery located in Saengchuto Road, Kanchanaburi. How to get here is the same as to Death Railway museum, you can find the instructions above. 

Kanchanaburi War Cemetary



The graves of those who died during the construction and maintenance of the Burma-Siam railway (except for the Americans, whose remains were repatriated) were transferred from camp burial grounds and isolated sites along the railway into three cemeteries at Chungkai and Kanchanaburi in Thailand and Thanbyuzayat in Myanmar.
KANCHANABURI WAR CEMETERY is only a short distance from the site of the former 'Kanburi', the prisoner of war base camp through which most of the prisoners passed on their way to other camps. It was created by the Army Graves Service who transferred to it all graves along the southern section of railway, from Bangkok to Nieke.
Some 300 men who died (most from a Cholera epidemic in May/June 1943) at Nieke camp were cremated and their ashes now lie in two graves in the cemetery. The names of these men are inscribed on panels in the shelter pavilion.
There are now 5,084 Commonwealth casualties of the Second World War buried or commemorated in this cemetery. There are also 1,896 Dutch war graves.
 (Sources : Kanchanaburi War Cemetery )


I cried so hard when I read the words and explanation and after I saw the graves (I am such a crybaby). They were so young. The thoughts of their dreams and life was ripped out by another human is so devastating and unbelievable, but it did happened. 

These are the pictures of the graves. I don't think I need to give much explanation, do I?

One of the Grave that made me cry






 By making this blog, I want to spread the words about this tragedy, a world tragedy that happened. So in the future there won't be another victims, there won't be another A.L Wiggs. I hope that their name would never be forgotten and we always remember them and the tragedy. Not to spread hatred toward the enemies (Japanese and German), but to always make sure that their sacrifice is paid by peace. 


JEATH MUSEUM

This Jeath Museum is different from the previous Jeath and War Museum. This museum only about Prisoners of War who were in Thailand Burma forced labor. 

Section 1

It is sad to say that taking pictures also prohibited in this museum. But I have several pictures though, not in details but I just want to capture the condition of the museum. 

The Museum is located in Wat Chai Chumpon Temple, in Saengchuto road 27. It is located near the police station and the bus terminal. You can find it in Kanchanaburi map, the location is pretty clear.

The admission fee is 40 baht. The JEATH War Museum is open daily from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m

There are 3 sections in the museum. First the section of PoWs Hut, there are painting of PoWs life condition during the forced labour. They said it was capturing the real condition. 



Section 2 is where they keep the bomb used by the allied to bomb the bridge but instead it hit the river and also another weapons and bullets. 


 Section 3, a room with articles of PoWs, Thailand Burma Railway. 

I don't exactly know why I interested in PoWs stories, but maybe because I can find hope in their stories. That when they had a really hard life, they held on and still resisted and they still want to live. I also find the PoWs are amazing, since I've read some stories that they re conciliated with the guards that tortured them. I still can believe it actually. It was like miracle to truly forgive people who made your life miserable. 

Anyway, I was really satisfied of this trip. This trip is not just about traveling, it's about life, people, hope, tragedy and of course history. I learned a lot from this trip. What can I say? This is the most unforgettable trip ever :)

Auf Wiederhaesen :)


 

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