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Bridge to the past
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  1. #1
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    Bridge to the past

    DAY OUT|KANCHANABURI

    Bridge to the past

    By Pornwara Khongraktee
    Special to Daily Xpress

    The history of WWII's 'Death Railway' will come alive for strollers on one Kanchanaburi street next month.



    Young violinist busk on the historic street.

    Kanchanaburi villagers have created a marketplace and living museum on a 260metre section of road built 177 years ago in Tambon Ban Nuea, Muang district. The old wooden homes that line the road are fronted by tables offering local wares. Inside, many of the hous¨es are personal museums, displaying World War II relics and old spoons, pots and jars.

    Developed with the help of Kanchanaburi's Tourist Authority, the road will be open free of charge in September, from 4 to 10pm, Friday to Sunday. No vehicles will be al¨lowed.

    About a twohour bus ride from Bangkok, the historic road leads visitors back to WWII and the first hotel in Kanchanaburi province, where Japanese sol¨diers once laid their heads. The Sumitrakan Hotel, as it was known before it closed in 1979, is now Kawragot Siriluangthong's twostorey house.
    Not far away is Anusorn Siriwejchapan's threestorey house, the tallest on the row and once home to the Boonpong brothers' family business. The Boonpongs sold equipment to the Japanese for the construc¨tion of the ThailandBurma rail¨way but also tried to help the workerprisoners by hiding medicine, clothes and other items in the orders.

    Today the home's owners sell local products such as plaid cloth, rattan baskets and hand¨made soap. A stroll down the road brings the sounds of musi¨cians and sights of artisans crafting baskets and chairs. Artists also create paintings of the Thai royal family and youngsters perform masked khon dances. Sweet local desserts for sale include boiled bananas with coconut milk, colourful jellies and a corn drink served in a small pot with an orchid.

    At the top of the road is the Kanchanaburi City Gate and a flower and incensestrewn statue of King Rama III, who established this passage into the town in 1831. The ancient City Pillar that stands close by is one of four; behind them is a chilling local legend. "To pro¨tect the foundations of the City Pillars, it's said that four people were sacrificed then put into the holes," says Jambo Chapuporn, 41, a Kanchanaburi resident.

    These days, the pillar is a popular shrine for those about to enter the monkhood or get married, especially during holi¨days. "Whatever vow people want to make, they do it at the shrine," says Jambo. If things work out they bring boiled eggs - as many as 100 - as an offering to the guardian spirit, Jao Phaw Lak Muang. Lottery ticket sell¨ers also hang around, hoping that some of the luck rubs off.

    Xtra
    On and off the road
    >> Don't miss the JEATH war museum located in Wat Chaichumpon Chana Songkhram for the story of the construction of the "Death Railway" and the bridge on the River Kwai. It's open daily, from 8.30 to 4.30. Admission is Bt30.
    >> For an alternative view of Kanchanaburi, try a boat trip on the River Kwai. They run night and day and come with music, Thai food and traditional Thai massage for Bt400 to Bt600 per person.

  2. #2
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    Re: Bridge to the past

    Once items of the past are gone, they may only be seen on photographs, so collecting has always been a hobby of mine.

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    Re: Bridge to the past

    Quote Originally Posted by paul_au View Post
    Once items of the past are gone, they may only be seen on photographs, so collecting has always been a hobby of mine.

    I admire your sense of humour and matured attitudes.

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