Kanchanaburi


"Muang" Kanchanaburi is the capital of Kanchanaburi Province, located where the River Kwai Noi and River Kwai Yai merge to form the Maeklong (Mekong). An ancient Thai civilisation, Kanchanaburi is best know for it's more recent history when, during World War II the Japanese Imperial Army began construction of the infamous "Death Railway" which included the Bridge Over The River Kwai.
In total, over 100,000 POW's lost their lives building the railway, tunnels and the famous bridge.
A relatively modern province, the origins of Kanchanaburi can be traced back to the reign of King Rama I, who established the area as a defence against the invading Burmese in the late 18th century. The Thais and Burmese have a long history of cross-border troubles and Three Pagodas Pass in Sangkhlaburi district is still used today as a smuggling route!
Over the next century, Thailand as a nation became the economic power of South East Asia, due in large part to the creation of small towns such as Kanchanaburi, complimenting the established Kingdoms of Ayutthaya, Sukothai and of course Bangkok.