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  1. #1
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    Kanchanaburi & The Thai-Burma Railway

    I was going to have a run out along the coast today, Fleetwood via Lytham St Annes, Blackpool and Clevelys. It's a nice area and I thought I'd take some photographs for the Lancashire Thread.

    The weather cancelled that notion out though. Rain, heavy winds, dark grey skies and knowing you were far better off in doors.

    Well you think you are, I have some business premises and they were savagely attacked by the winds today. We had to go out and sort that lot out, me and Flobo.

    It was a mess as well. Never mind the Insurance is up to date and nobody was hurt.

    When I got back I thought I'd make a start on this thread. I'm just a bit frightened of meeting myself coming backwards though, I've got five threads going which seem to be creating interest and I've plenty more to put on them all. The Lancashire one could go on forever.

    Actually I'm enjoying the forum, it's good.

    Anyhow, I'll stop nattering and make a start on this one.

    I thought I'd do a good bit on the town and area, add some input regarding the Thai-Burma Railroad of which I have done some writing up today, to put on here.

    I'll see how it makes out and if it generates good interest. The proof of the pudding is always in the eating or in this case the number of hits it reacts with.

    A bit of general information to start with.


    Humans have been running around Kanchanaburi for several thousand years.

    The earliest being Stone Age folk, there primitive tools and debris have been discovered in several caves around the River Valleys of the Yai and Noi Rivers.

    Traces and burial sites have also been discovered belonging to the Lawa and Mon people. There place has been taken by the Karen who of course migrated from Burma. Thais themselves are of course now the most prominent settlers in the vicinity, laying claim to land that was opened up by loggers, miners and general consumers of the regions natural resources.

    The current population is in the region of one million.


    The infrastructure is good and the land is certainly very well irrigated via a system of purpose built canals from the River Kwai.

    This is a simple road shot on our way in from Mae Sot.



    Last edited by Mathos; 23-06-2008 at 05:20 AM.
    All the women take their blouses off
    And the men all dance on the polka dots
    It's closing time !

  2. #2
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    more pics pls

  3. #3
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    There are some beautiful places in the region, as this is basically an introduction to the thread, I thought i would put an odd photograph or two up and add comment regarding the same.

    I will take time to relate about the region and The Thai Burma Railway, the terrible manner in which the Prisoners of war were treated , the horrendous death count applicable to the treatment of the prisoners as time passes along.




    There are some absolutely gorgeous water-falls in the area.


    The War Cemetery's are managed and maintained to perfection.



    Some amazing Temples.




    Some energy sapping steps to get to the Temples as well.

    Wow!



    A few more to come yet.

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    Quote Originally Posted by smeden View Post
    more pics pls

    How's that smeden, and a few more to come this evening?

  5. #5
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    There are some amazing caves in the locality.



    The Police were really busy one day..




    People live in some strange homes as well.




    This next one took some beating. A vehicle had at some time or another crashed out in the bush here. There was a guy and his wife living in it, bits of coverings here and there.




    Thailand is truly an amazing country.




    A beautiful country as well.

  6. #6
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    We came across this cemetery earlier this year, I think it is Chinese. Personally i have never seen a cemetery like this in my life before.




    This place just has me fascinated.

    I couldn't believe they had set up home in there.





    The town itself is quite a busy little hive of activity, but it somehow manages to retain that laid back feeling and sense of 'There's nothing in the world to rush for'





    Well. who needs a heart attack?

    There was plenty of sugar cane available here.





    Note the cones as well, that surprised me, I've only ever seen twigs around accidents before.

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    There were some beautiful views on the river as well.



    I'll be in trouble for taking this one..






    This one with the satellite dish and aerial is for Jizzy!




    Home sweet home.

  8. #8
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    Imagine it in The UK...

    Yes Officer, this truck overtook me with a bull and a goat stood up in the back, and a gentleman sporting a blue bandana sitting in a hammock.


    Just blow in this bag mate and give me them keys.





    You can't make any of this up..



    One of the places we took as accomodation..




    We have really varied accomodation in Kanchanaburi, I'll show you all the different places we have stayed at. Rafts the lot.

    Brilliant place to visit and plenty to do there.

  9. #9
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    Last couple for tonight.


    Another Cave,




    Fantastic little Water Fall.

    Soi Yok I think , but I haven't checked my notes..

    Nice isn't it.


  10. #10
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    The Japanese began a very aggressive course of action with a contrived clash with China as far back as September 1931 which resulted in the occupation of Manchuria.
    In February 1933 after being severely censured regarding the aggressive action with China, Japan withdrew from The League of Nations.
    Further Japanese instigated contrived clashes with China precipitated war between the two countries,

    The First Sino - Japanese War was a major conflict between the Japanese and China {The Qing Dynasty} over the control of Korea. The War was fought between 1st August 1894 and April 17th 1895
    The war actually exposed the feebleness of China under the Qing Dynasty and demonstrated the success of modernisation in Japan since the Meiji Restoration.
    The war resulted in a shift of regional dominance in Asia from China to Japan. Historians hesitate not in stating that this First Sino-Japanese War lead to the Revolution in 1911.
    Japan and China fought intermittently from 1931 full scale war between the two countries started in 1937


    1939 was certainly the ‘Year’ which saw the real commencement of World War 11.
    1939;- Japan Invaded Hainan Island.
    Germany invaded Poland
    Britain and France declared War on Germany.
    1940 Germany Invaded Denmark and Norway, The Netherlands, Belgium and France.
    1941 Germany Invaded Russia
    Japan Invaded Hong Kong, Malaya and Thailand.
    Japan bombed Pearl Harbour, Guam and the Philippines
    Japan Sank HMS Prince of Wales and HMS Repulse, giving Japan total control of the Pacific..

    Japan Invaded Burma via Thailand.
    1942 Japan and Thailand sign a treaty of co-operation.
    Thailand declares War on The United States of America and Great Britain













    In excess of five thousand civilians died in the first two days of air raids on China in 1939.
    Historian consider that in excess of 300,000 people perished in the Nanking Massacre , some Japanese Historians deny such a massacre happened at all.

    By 1940 China’s air force was virtually wiped out, the country did not have the means to replace air-craft lost in combat.
    During the next few years Japan mercilessly bombed civilian targets on almost every major city in China leaving untold millions dead, injured and homeless.

    Japanese marines at Guangdong in the Battle of Wuhan .





    {The above photograph was taken from the internet}

    The Japanese used a strategy of creating friendly puppet governments in the occupied territories of China.
    They succeeded in recruiting and training a Collaborationist Chinese Army to maintain control of the public and ensure security in occupied areas.
    The fighting reached a stalemate situation by 1940 in china, Japan held almost all of the eastern coast of China and Vietnam, however guerrilla fighting was rampaging through the occupied areas but China did not have the technology, infrastructure or industrial capacity to launch a modern warfare counter attack against Japan.

    General Chiang Kai-Shek had lost the best part of his army defending Shanghai, he was really at the mercy of his Generals who maintained a high degree of independence from the central KMT {Kuomintang or Chinese Nationalist Party} government.
    Japan had suffered heavy losses from the unexpected and very effective stubborn resistance in China and was experiencing great difficulties in managing the conquered and seized territories.

    We certainly were not seeing the type of progress in China which Germany was getting in Europe, that’s for sure.

    You can of course Google The Nanking Massacre for yourself, there are some outstanding accounts.



    OK I got carried away again, but the introduction is quite important I think.

    The British had considered building a railroad linking Thailand with Burma many years before the War but had shelved the idea due to the numerous difficulties envisaged and predicted.
    Plus they did not have ‘unlimited slaves’ to do the donkey-work.
    The Japanese did however use the same route which the British had considered using.

    The Japanese had made use of railways as part of their mode of operation throughout Asia and soon after Japan and Thailand signed their agreement of co-operation the Commanding Officer of Southern Region Army’s 2 Railway Control in Thailand, Major General Hattori ordered that construction of a railroad begin linking Nong Pladuk in Thailand to Thanbyuzayat in Burma.

    Due to the inhospitable and difficult terrain, there was no chance of using heavy construction machinery, they assessed that a workforce of some 60,000 inclusive of 10,000 prisoners of war would be required to build the same.

    After losing the battle of Midway and the heavy losses incurred by the Japanese Navy the long sea voyage around the Malay Peninsula to Rangoon became a more perilous undertaking for the Japanese and the railroad became a project of vital importance to the Japanese war Machine.


  11. #11
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    nice place you have there.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mathos View Post

    I'll be in trouble for taking this one..



    Why because you haven't got any zoomed in?

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    Nice pics

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    wery nice pics thanks for the wue

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    went to kanchanaburi, bridge, tourist thing etc. 20 yrs. ago when i was
    working in Thailand.
    took my parents who were on holiday, went to the big cemetary too.
    overwhelming memory is of jap tourist groups with cameras, laughing
    having a great time, while my mother had to contain herself due to her
    cousin losing his life in Malaysia against them.
    and to rub it in, they were staying at the montien in bangkok, which had
    many japaneese tourists and on returning from the trip, going to their room
    in the elevator, got barged around by a gang of boisterous japs.
    aaaah.... memories. - she certainly never forgot.

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    Another great thread Mathos, thanks!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rascal View Post
    nice place you have there.

    Needs a coat of paint, but it'll do for another year or so.

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    Quote Originally Posted by cimboc View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Mathos View Post

    I'll be in trouble for taking this one..



    Why because you haven't got any zoomed in?
    Here you go cimboc...Amsterdam........


  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by k1klass View Post
    Nice pics
    Cheers K1klass.


  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by jizzybloke View Post
    Another great thread Mathos, thanks!

    Thanks jizzy.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by dobella View Post
    went to kanchanaburi, bridge, tourist thing etc. 20 yrs. ago when i was
    working in Thailand.
    took my parents who were on holiday, went to the big cemetary too.
    overwhelming memory is of jap tourist groups with cameras, laughing
    having a great time, while my mother had to contain herself due to her
    cousin losing his life in Malaysia against them.
    and to rub it in, they were staying at the montien in bangkok, which had
    many japaneese tourists and on returning from the trip, going to their room
    in the elevator, got barged around by a gang of boisterous japs.
    aaaah.... memories. - she certainly never forgot.
    Hi dobella, yes there are still many people throughout the world, mainly close family of those who lost their lives or went through the periods of hell under Japanese atrocities during the period applicable to WW11.

    I will be covering much on the Thai/Burma Railway as the thread progresses.

  22. #22
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    I thought I'd do a little tonight on one of the mountain temples in the Kanchanaburi area.

    The Dragon Temple or Wat Ban Tham, giving it it's correct title is rather unique, we certainly found it very interesting indeed.

    You climb quite a lengthy staircase before reaching the mouth of the dragon and then you walk up many more stairs through the body of the mythical creature.

    The walls are painted with various murals relating to the folklore of The Temple
    and it is a more interesting walk due to the manner of it's construction which is very beautifully done.

    It is a fair old walk from the ground level to the mouth, through the body and out of the tail which leads you into a beautiful cave.

    The cave then has an opening to the heavens which allows in rays of sunlight, giving the same a very striking and indeed picturesque finish.




    I'm surprised they haven't found a use for this setting in a movie yet.

    They will.




    It's extremely well constructed. The Temple building also is very striking in it's general appearance.



    There is new framework but un-finished buildings to the right of the Temple. They appear to have been neglected, and for some time at that.

    Probably lack of funds, this seems to happen quite often on many Temple developments throughout The Kingdom.

    It's a pity.




    As you can see, the appearance inside the cave is quite striking.

  23. #23
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    Kanchanaburi is steeped in history;- The old town of Kanchanaburi was located near Ban Lat Ya, a small village some 20 kilometers north of the present town.

    The site has been well recorded in Thai history as an invasion route from Burma, direct into the Thai kingdom.

    Thais had a habit of concealing their religious icons and other precious assets in their caves. No doubt this cave was one such place of safety and indeed refuge for the Thais.



    It was an extremely hot day when we climbed the numerous steps to the cave, I must say we found the cave to be a really welcoming cool refuge from the heat of the day.



    I don't know if they have done any excavations regarding archeology in the cave.


    I rather think it would be a very interesting exercise.





    It has an extremely interesting allure to it in general in it's own free-standing appearance.

  24. #24
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    From the mouth of the cave which rests at the tail end of the dragon, you have a superb view across towards the River Kwai.



    From the sizes of some of the magnificent Buddha images you come across in these caves, it is obvious the same have to have been made within the confines of the walls.





    It's been said before I know, but if you put these photographs to your photograph management program and enlarge them to screen size, they are quire phenomenal.



    Whenever I find myself in caves, especially when it is known that early man had an existence in the same, I get carried away, thinking what it must have been like.

    "Make me a roast mammoth butty love."

    "Roast," she replies.

    "You'd better invent fire then."

  25. #25
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    You skirt through the cave to find yourself in front of a very dilapidated iron spiral staircase which leads up and ever upwards to the glimmer of light which is shining down on you from above.

    It's one of those situations where a holy person or a regular church goer for instance might just find the hairs on the back of their necks standing on edge as they considered the route would lead them to their maker.

    I haven't found a photograph of the spiral staircase as yet, I'm sure I took at least one, so I will endeavour to locate the same again, asap.

    After the staircase, you come out into the open air through a hole in the top of the cave {not the one in the photographs with the sunlight shining through this is a much smaller aperture you climb through.

    Then you have to climb up on numerous rocks with rails to hold onto every now and then.

    Considering you had to take your shoes off to enter the 'Holy Cave' it's somewhat hard on the soles of your feet and not a lot of people I rather imagine would get past first base to the top of the mountain, purely to look out over the river and ring the bell.

    We did of course.

    This is the very top of the mountain, it was a hard and difficult climb especially with no footwear.

    You can just about see a section of the gong on the left of the photograph, which when bonged hard with what resembled a base ball bat, made it all worth while.



    Mad Dogs and Englishmen.



    All joking aside, it was hard work climbing up, but well worth the effort. Flobo enjoyed the climb as well, but as she said, she wouldn't like to be stuck up there at night.

    It was very precarious and highly dangerous in places.

    This is the top of the last section of climb. The section to the right of the brush is the holding canopy for the Buddha statues and the gong as shown on the photograph above.





    As you can see by the view it's a fair old height.



    Some Monks quarters viewed just behind the end of The Dragon Tail.




    Looking towards the heavens.



    You can even see a daft looking bird on the photograph above which appeared to be grinning at us both.

    Typical terrain on the upwards climb up the mountain.




    I had to show another photograph od the Dragon's mouth, it was superb.



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