Hellfire Pass in Thailand.

Hellfire Pass in Thailand.

A train ride from Kanchanaburi to Nam Tok on The Death Railway in Thailand - then walking through Hellfire Pass.

After WW11 the British tore up a 4km stretch of the railway line at Three Pagodas Pass on the Thai/Burma border and later the Thai destroyed the track as far south as Nam Tok. The 77km between there and Kanchanaburi was however left intact. There are three trains daily in each direction - most people board the trains at Khwae Wai Bridge station - the departure times as of March 2015 were 06:14, 10:42 and 16:32 and from Nam Tok at 05:20, 12:55 and 15:30. The journey should take 2 hours but in reality the train is nearly always late departing and a lot more time is lost before arriving at Nam Tok. Khwae Yai Bridge - The Bridge over the  River Kwai in Thailand The fare for foreigners at the time was 100 Baht (one way) - locals travel free. At weekends and holidays the trains do become very packed - often with people having to stand for the whole trip. Venders move up and down the train selling drinks and snacks.
The seats are quite uncomfortable and there is not a lot of leg room - and add to this much lurching and bumping due to the poor state of the track then some 3 hours is quite an experience!. The train travels really slowly over the Kwai Bridge giving good views of the river - not only because of the state of track but also due to the number of tourists who are on the bridge watching it go past. Although this is a scenic and popular railway trip with great views it is also the past history which makes taking this trip worthwhile.
The River Khwae Noi seen from the Death Railway - Thailand. The route is through the Kwai Noi Valley with stops at several small stations on the way. After travelling through farming country the train reaches a 30m deep cutting known as Wang Sing (Arrow Hill) and then a little further is the Wang Po Viaduct - a 30m long trestle bridge clinging to the hillside. After Wang Po Station their are good views as the train continues alongside the Kwai Noi River.
On arrival at Nam Tok station their are food and drink stalls and almost certainly someone will approach offering a taxi ride to Hellfire Pass - expect to pay around 1600 Baht which includes an hour's wait at Hellfire Pass, a short stop off at the Sai Yok Noi Waterfalls and then returning you to Kanchanaburi. Note: these taxis are Songthaews i.e. pick up trucks which have bench seats at the back so a little bumpy to be in - however they do have air-conditioning i.e. the sides and back are open..

A little about Hellfire Pass in Thailand.

One of the most horrific sections of the railway to build was near Konyu which is around 18kms from Nam Tok - this involved constructing deep embankments, trestle bridges and cutting through solid rock. There were seven such cuttings over a 3.5km stretch the longest being at Konyu which was subsequently called "Hellfire Pass". This section in particular claimed many lives. Nearbye the trestle bridge at Hintok - known as "The Pack of Cards Bridge" because it was built using green wood and the trestle collapsed three times. This is one of the worst sections and nearly everyone working on it died. Hellfire Pass has now been made into a memorial (mostly funded by the Australians) in order to commemorate all POWs and Asian forced labourers who died or suffered during the building of the Thailand-Burma railway.
The jungle beside the Hellfire Pass in Thailand. The considerable walk on wooden steps down to the Hellfire Pass track bed  in Thailand. There is a good and informative museum which opens 0900-1600 daily - this is free but donations are always welcome. Beside the museum there is a viewing area which over looks the valley and jungle. A walkway including many steps (which are in some cases quite steep) lead from the museum down to the where the railway track was situated. A useful booklet available from the museum shows the walking route together with distances and estimated walking times. On reaching the track it is only a short distance to Hellfire Pass.
Generally about walking along the track. Note that although the distances shown on the booklet do not seem that great it should be borne in mind that it can be very hot and extremely humid down on the track. The total route is 4kms on undulating surfaces which are not always particularly easy to walk on and it all does take a lot of time.
The track bed leading to Hellfire Pass - Thailand. The cut at Hellfire Pass - Thailand. Section of original railway track near to Hellfire Pass, Thailand. Site of The Pack of Cards Bridge - Hellfire Pass in Thailand.
You can easily walk along the track bed as far as Hellfire Pass Cut and also just a little further on to the location where the Pack of Cards Bridge once was and then return back within the allotted hour but doing anymore is probably not achievable in the hour or so available. If you wish to walk the whole length currently available and take your time doing it then the way to do this is to drive there either in your own hired car or with a car and driver. The benefit of having a car and driver for the day is that you could get him to pick you up at the far end so only having a one way walk. In your own car then you obviously have to walk there and back. There are quite a few steps down and up involved in this walk with the latter part quite rugged and you do need plenty of water since it is all quite hot and humid too. Incidentally the best time to do this is during the week - on weekends many Thai turn up and the first part of the walk can be really crowded and noisy - particularly with youngsters jumping around, shouting and of course taking a huge number of photos of themselves on their mobile phones. All this silliness does not at all reflect the huge cost of human life and suffering which was involved in the construction of this as well as other sections of the Death Railway and is actually exceedingly inappropriate.

Visiting Sai Yok Noi Waterfalls within the Sai Yok National Park in Thailand.

These small waterfalls are located a short distance from Nam Tok Town so can be easily visited if returning back by car to Kanchanaburi after a trip to The Hellfire Pass. The waterfalls are only a short distance from the extensive parking area and are particularly used by locals during weekends and holidays for picnics and ideal for the children to splash around in the water.
General area at the Sai Yok Noi waterfalls in Thailand. Sai Yok Noi Waterfalls - Nam Tok - Thailand. The rocky pool beneath Sai Yok Noi Waterfalls in Thailand. The main waterfall at Sai Yok Noi Falls which are near Nam Tok Town in Thailand.
This is a pleasant shaded area which has walkways - there is one reasonable sized waterfall and several smaller waterfalls all feeding into pools - the water flow is usually not at all excessive even after rainfall. Take care while walking around the area because the path surfaces are often extremely slippery. There is no admission charge to enter these waterfalls.
Our topics about visiting Kanchanaburi in Thailand:-
More destinations for which we have travel and holiday guides are for Cambodia, Myanmar, Vietnam, India, Cyprus, lots of Greek Islands, The Algarve and several Canary Islands.
Also many Topics about England - Wild Flowers, National Trail Walks, Churches plus quite a few canals including The Kennet and Avon Canal, The Oxford Canal, The Grand Union Canal, The Regents Canal - also two rivers and about walking The Thames Path. Please visit our Resources Page to see the links to these topics.
Contact us via the "Resources" page. You may also like to see our Cookie and Privacy Policy.