Cutting through a rock using modern machinery will barely take a day; however, there was no machinery or equipment when the Thailand-Burma railway was built during the Second World War. The railway was built from the blood, sufferings and lives of prisoners of wars as well as men and women who had to face the harshest conditions of malnourishment, sickness and brutality. It is only right for their sacrifices to be recognized through the Hellfire Pass พิพิธภัณฑ์อนุสรณ์ไทย and a landmark of Australian history.
Visitors at Hellfire Pass Memorial Museum have the opportunity to share the misery and memories of World War II. Thousands of prisoners of war and Asian men and women were forced to build the infamous Thailand-Burma railway to speed up the transport of ammunition, food and other supplies to Japanese troops in Burma.
Tens of thousands of lives were lost due to starvation, diseases and torture during the cutting of the steep rock walls to make way for the railway. According to the United Kingdom Forces War Records, more than 16,000 Australians, British, Dutch and Americans soldiers and 90,000 Asians died in the sites. Most of the prisoners of war were captured when Britain surrendered its hold in Singapore while the others were captured in Malaysia and Indonesia.
The Thailand-Burma railway measured 260 miles (415 kilometres) including 190 miles (304 kilometres) in Thailand from NongPladuk to Hellfire Pass and 70 miles (111 kilometres) to reach Thanbyuzayat, Burma. In 1945, aerial bombing by the Allied Forces destroyed almost all railway bridges in Thailand but some of the railroad tracks in Kanchanaburi survived.
Australian survivors of war found Hellfire Pass amidst the jungle growth. They campaigned to turn the site into a memorial. Now, guided tours are available but there are some who choose to reminisce the past.
The Hellfire Pass is now an air conditionedพิพิธภัณฑ์อนุสรณ์ไทยthat offers videos, photographs and testimonies from the past. The portable audio headset allows you to listen to the voices of survivors as they narrate the harrowing experiences they endured. You can continue walking along the abandoned railway to a glorious valley.