From Hua Hin to River Kwai, Elephant’s world and the Tiger Temple

IMG_4450 The River Kwai and the Tiger Temple are both unique and amazing attractions. But combined, the contrasts of human tragedy, love for animals,  war history and the strange feeling of being inside a BBC tiger-documentary, makes it an experience you will never forget. I have been there two times, in 2008 and in january this year, and it’s easy to get there both from Bangkok and my second home town, Hua Hin. There are a lot of guided bus-tours to these destinations, and you can choose from one day-trip to several days. We found it easier to hire a driver and his car: 6000 baht for two days, and about 500 kilometers both ways. (Last time – in 2008, we travelled by minibus and paid 3800 baht per person). We departed early in the morning and arrived at lunch time. We had a very good lunch by the bridge, where we also rented a longtail-boat. The boat was quite expensive, 2000 baht, but it was worth it – both the trip in it self, but also as a way to get around to see several attractions. First visit was the Jeath war museum. This museum offers both the story about the railway and the war, and it also shows how the prisoners of wars slept and lived. It tells the story about the railway that was never finished from Bangkok to Rangoon. This railway is known as the Burma railway og The Death railway. About 180.000 asiatic builders and 60.000 allied prisoners of war worked on this railway. About 90.000 workers from Asia and 12.399 prisoners of war died. The soldiers came mainly from Great Britain, Australia and the Netherlands. The Jeath war museum is not only a museum about the cruelty of war, but also a monument of its absurdity. The prisoners who survived dysentery, malaria and other life threatening diseases, died because they were killed – not by the enemy, but by their own friends and countrymen. They railway was massively bombed by allied forces due to strategical reasons. Next stop was an amazing cave, Kaeng Lawa Cave, where you in fact climb and walk trough a mountain. There are hundreds of bats in narrow paths and big cavities.

 In the world of tigers girls are crazy and boys are lazy. it’s as simple as that.

I suppose the most exotic way to spend the night in Kanchanaburi is on one of the fleets on the river with candles. Our driver recommended The River Kwai Hotel, and bought the rooms through Agoda. It was a cheap, but clean and nice hotel with a very pleasant breakfast buffet by the river. The Tiger temple open it doors at 12 noon. A perfect way to start the day is to visit the Elephant’s World.  In 1900 there were about 100.000 elephants in Thailand, today its about 2000 wild and 2000 domestic elephants. Elephants world, situated about 30 kilometers from the town of Kanchanaburi is a kind of retirement home for elephants that have been injured or are just old and tired. A non-profit organization runs the amazing «home». The Tiger Temple is a kind of surrealistic camp where tigers, monks and tourists exist together, side by side. The buddhist monks have been critized for using religion in a commercial way in this temple, and the monks seem fewer and not so musch present compared with the last time we visited the temple. The temple has been criticised by animal welfare organizations, but there are now very mixed reactions. The welfare of the tigers have imporived. In December 2008, ABC News spent three days at the temple and did not see any evidence of drugging or mistreating the animals. Both Thai and Western employees who were interviewed claimed that the animals were well treated. Anyway, its incredible to watch tigers in a kind of relation with humans. How is this impossible. An employee told us: «The tigers walking around are boy tigers. In the world of tigers girls are crazy and boys are lazy. it’s as simple as that. IMG_4300 IMG_4307 IMG_4273 From the Jeath Museum and the River Kwai IMG_4343 IMG_4333 IMG_4337 The Cave IMG_4431  IMG_4450 The Tiger Temple

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  1. Hi,

    Have a good day. I came across your article and would like to inform you about the documentary film this which talks about ASIAN workers.

    Please find more details about our SIAM BURMA DEATH RAILWAY – Documentary Film.

    Trailer : (English Version, 03 mins 29 Sec)

    IMDB :

    Website :

    FaceBook :

    This is a documentary film about the Asian Labourers (Indian Tamils, Burmese & Javanese) who worked like slaves at Siam (Thailand) – Burma death railway line during WWII.

    Generally the title “Siam-Burma Death Railway” emphasizes the tearful faces of POW’s and their sufferings to the outside world. The Records of WWII are projecting the cruelty of this 415 KM lengthy railway construction by Japanese army and role of POW’s in archives and Libraries. The Books published on this issue after the war by POW’s and their families had announced the wounded experiences of allied forces. The existing war records of WWII are illuminating the stories of POW’s alone.

    But the truth is, this railway project was filled with the life and blood drops of thousands of innocent Asian labourer too. Approximately 2,50,000 innocent Asian labourers (from Malaya,Burma and Java) worked in the same railway construction and devoted their life. There is no doubt that the stories of Asian Labourers are unimaginable and peak irony in the war pages. But it was not recognized and registered in the History so far. The names of the Asian Labourers who were killed and affected during the construction are unknown to our current world.

    This painful truth had triggered us to make this documentary film. Nearly 10 years have spent to trace & collect the information’s about Asian labourers from commonwealth and other countries. The war chronicles of POW’s, Records of WWII & Historians helped highly to get the outline of Asian labourers.

    The main source of this documentary’s strength is survivors. Yes. The survivors from Asian labour side played a major role in this film. Nearly 10 survivors shared their unforgettable experiences in this film without any exaggeration. Their memories didn’t mislay the tormenting experiences after 72 years. Much unpopular information’s about the Labourers are revealed in this documentary through these survivors.

    Surprisingly the sorrows of the railway construction were documented in the form of folklore songs by Asian labourers (Malaysia) during the war time. Those songs also navigated us to get more news about this pathetic incident.

    The highlighting part of this film is the participation of great Historical Researchers Dr.David Boggett, Emeritus Professor, Kyoto University, Japan, Mr. Rod Beattie, Director, Thai-Burma Railway Museum, Thailand & Prof.M.Annamalai, India. The above mentioned scholars had shared and revealed concrete information in this project and some of that are very new to South East Asian Indian community.

    This documentary film was released in Paris and London in July 2014. It got released in Pondicherry (india) and Malaysia recently. We are planning to screen this documentary film to the common wealth & other important countries. Our journey will continue till the task get end.

    We have already screened this documentary film in Paris, London, India and Malaysia.

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    On 14th October 2014 Richard Flanagan was announced winner Of the Man Booker Prize 2014 for his “The Narrow Road to the Deep North”.

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