Kanchanaburi - Hellfire Pass
Hellfire Pass, called "Konyu Cutting" by the Japanese, made way for one section of the Death Railway than would link Thailand and Burma. Groups of men, sick from disease and near starvation, slaved around the clock; sometimes in 18 hour shifts. They were forced to chisel through solid rock, working by firelight.
The din of steel hammers on stone, the dancing fiery glow of carbide lamps and oil fired bamboo torches must have seemed like hell on earth. So the cutting came to be known as Hellfire Pass.
You can walk the same path that the prisoners walked every day to and from the cutting. The infamous pass is only 250 meters from the entrance to the Hellfire Museum. Visitors can take a concrete stairway or a path (recommended) that leads through a stand of bamboo. The bamboo trail affords a better view of the cutting from above.
Pause a moment and, if you possibly can, imagine what life must have been like for those thousands of men.
Memorial Walking Trail
Some visitors may want to take a four-kilometer trek over the trail which has been cleared and is maintained and monitored daily. It is a serene walk along the old railway track. Beginning at Hellfire Pass Cutting, the trek passes Compressor Cutting, Hintok Station, both the "Pack of Cards" and Three Tier Bridges. It also offers a panoramic view from the Kwae Noi lookout.
Kwae Noi Lookout
Offers a spectacular view of the Kwae Noi Valley. Photographers may find their best photo opportunities here. From the Kwae Noi lookout, POW's could see the entire valley and thousands of men working on embankments, cuttings, and bridges. The lookout is about 200 meters north of Hellfire Pass. Visitors walk across a remarkable timber bridge to reach the site.
The walking trail passes 9 bridge sites where concrete and rock foundations still exist. Some still have mounting bolts for the timbers. Eleven 1,000 lb bomb craters can still be seen around the site of the Three Tier Bridge and Hintok Cutting. The trail has concrete steps with handrails as well as a number of rest areas. Toilet facilities are located near Hintok Station.