Hellfire Pass Walking Trail and Elephant Rides

Kanchanaburi Thailand

Our outing today takes us to Hellfire Pass which is about 30 min drive NW from Nam Tok and a return train trip along the original Burma Railway line from Nam Tok to The Bridge Over the River Kwai.

It is possible to catch the early train from the Bridge to Nam Tok however as we wanted to do the 4.5k walk along the old death railway from Hellfire Pass we needed to allow 3-4 hours there. Hiring a car and driver is the fastest way there and the driver will wait for you to complete the walk and take you to Nam Tok in time to catch the train.

Hellfire Pass, known by the Japanese as as Konyu Cutting is the name of a railway cutting on the former Death Railway in Thailand which was built with forced labour during the second world in part by prisoners of war and the majority of the labour performed by Asian labourers.

The pass is noted for the harsh conditions and heavy loss of life suffered by its labourers during construction. Hellfire Pass is so called because the sight of emaciated prisoners labouring at night by torchlight was said to resemble a scene from hell.

4.5k of the Old Burma railway at Hellfire Pass has been cleared and reclaimed from the jungle as a joint venture between Australia and Thailand to honour those that died here. Our plan was to walk the entre length however the Thai military had closed off the last 2k. There had been some trouble in Burma near the Thai boarder that week which is only 45k away although there may be no connection.

Our driver met us at the end of the walk and as we had some extra time it was off to ride the Elephants. I guess a trip to Thailand is not complete until you have driven an Elephant!

Steven Taking Trish for an Elephant Ride

Nam Tok to The Bridge Over the River Kwai by train.

Boarding the train at Nam Tok

If you visit Kanchanburi today, the train ride departing from Nam Tok to The Bridge Over the River Kwai is an experience not to miss. A journey into the past, moving on the infamous stretch of The Death Railway between Tha Kilen Railway Station and Tham Krasae Railway Station. It takes one to experience passing on the wooden viaduct alongside River Kwai which was once predicted as ‘mission impossible’. However, the project of 400 m wooden track that hugged the cliff adjacent to River Kwai (Noi) was completed in 17 days on the backs of prisoners of war (POWs) and Asian laborers!

Wooden Viaduct alongside River Kwai
Wooden Viaduct alongside River Kwai 2


  1. […] Tomorrow we will catch the train over the bridge on the way to Hellfire Pass Walking Trail and Elephant Rides […]

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