Two Day Trip to Kanchanaburi for ANZAC Day

ANZAC Day is held every year on 25th April. This is a national day of remembrance that commemorates all Australians and New Zealanders “who served and died in all wars, conflicts, and peacekeeping operations”. In Thailand, this day is commemorated by the Hellfire Pass Dawn Service at 5:30am and then the Kanchanaburi War Cemetery Memorial Service at 11am. I went last year for the first time as a day trip. This year I decided to go again but this time I went a day early to do a bit of exploring. The following photos were posted live during the trip.

Trip dates: 24-25 April 2018

My three-day road trip this week is to Kanchanaburi to the west of Bangkok. The drive is about two and a half hours. I will be there for the ANZAC Day dawn service tomorrow morning.

My first stop in Kanchanaburi is to pick up some tourist brochures and a map at the local office for the Tourism Authority of Thailand. Map:

When visiting Kanchanaburi, I like to stop at the main war cemetery to pay my respects to the fallen heroes of the Allied Army. Today, Australian soldiers are preparing for tomorrow’s ANZAC Day service. Map:

Next to the Kanchanaburi War Cemetery is the excellent Thailand-Burma Railway Centre. This details the history of the Death Railway in graphic detail. Worth visiting to fully understand the hardship they faced. Map:

The Bridge over the River Kwai in Kanchanaburi became famous due to the World War II movie of the same name. However, the movie itself was shot in Sri Lanka and it’s the River Kwae, not Kwai. But despite that, it’s very popular. Map:

Please be careful while walking across the Bridge over the River Kwai as a number of tourists have been seriously injured and even killed by falling from the bridge or being hit by the train. Stand well back on provided platforms when the train passes.

You can catch a train over the bridge in Kanchanaburi to Nam Tok, which is the last stop on the line. Tickets for foreigners are 100 Baht. Times are 6:15am, 10:44am and 4:33pm for trains to Nam Tok. They stop at the bridge on the return trip at 7:12am, 2:40pm and 5:31pm.

Drone photos of the Bridge over the River Kwai.

The wooden trestle viaduct at Tham Krasae in Kanchanaburi. This is the most beautiful spot on the train ride between the town and Nam Tok station. Map:

There is also a cave at Tham Krasae with a Buddha image. You can walk along the tracks here but check the train timetable first. Map:

Drone photos of Tham Krasae in Kanchanaburi. Map:

Tonight I’m staying at In My Dream Resort in Sai Yok District of Kanchanaburi. A room at this resort is 800 Baht with air-con. It’s fully booked tonight. as most guests will be attending the ANZAC Day dawn service at nearby Hellfire Pass. Map:

DAY TWO: Good morning from Kanchanaburi. It’s 4am and I’m walking down to the Hellfire Pass for the ANZAC Day dawn service. Dead quiet walking through the forest. Only the sound of cicadas. Map:

Already a big crowd in Hellfire Pass an hour before the dawn service starts. People started arriving before 3am apparently.

Former POW survivors Harold Martin (101 years) and Neil McPherson (96 years) are attending the dawn service in Hellfire Pass in Kanchanaburi.

Very moving Dawn Service at Hellfire Pass in Kanchanaburi this morning for Anzac Day.

“At the going down of the sun and in the morning. We will remember them”.

Among the attendees at the Dawn Service were Australian Ambassador to Thailand HE Mr Paul Robilliard (3rd from left) & New Zealand Chargé d’ Affaires Mr Peter Rider (1st on the left).

I highly recommend for you to attend the Dawn Service at Hellfire Pass next year. It’s not easy to get there in the middle of the night, though it’s well worth the effort. But go early. People start arriving at 3am.

After the ANZAC Day Dawn Service at Hellfire Pass, there was a ‘Gunfire Breakfast’ – tea and coffee served with traditional Anzac Biscuits and a tot of Bundaberg Rum.

Photo highlights of the Commemorative Service at the Kanchanaburi War Cemetery on Anzac Day. This took place at 11am in the town.

Ambassadors of Australia, Great Britain and Germany, and the Chargé d’ Affaires of New Zealand laying wreaths at the Commemorative Service at the Kanchanaburi War Cemetery on Anzac Day.

The Ambassador to Turkey, HE Ms Evren Dagdrlen Akgun, gave the tribute of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk at the Commemorative Service at the Kanchanaburi War Cemetery on Anzac Day.

It was good to see the former POW survivors Harold Martin (101 years) & Neil McPherson (96 years) attending both the dawn service in Hellfire Pass and the commemorative service in Kanchanaburi War Cemetery. They represent all the brave men who did not return.

The latest attraction in Kanchanaburi is this Giant Rain Tree. The trunk measures 15 metres in perimeter & 20 metres in height. The branches spread out about 25.87 metres. It is very hot today, but it is significantly cooler under the tree. Map:

Lunch with a view at Meena Cafe (มีนา cafe’) in Kanchanaburi. Eating noodles in a rice field while enjoying a view of Wat Tham Suea in the background. Map:

Meena Cafe (มีนา cafe’) in Kanchanaburi has only been open a year but is already proving to be very popular. Best to visit on a weekday.

The temple on the hill in the background is Wat Tham Suea. This is worth visiting for the giant Buddha image. Map:

Drone photos of Meena Cafe (มีนา cafe’) surrounded by rice fields in Kanchanaburi. The temple in the background is Wat Tham Suea.

That’s a wrap on my Kanchanaburi Trip for the ANZAC Day Service. I hope you enjoyed my photos and I’ve inspired you to visit. See you on the next trip.

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