Want to visit the fascinating Hellfire Pass near Kanchanaburi? Here is your up to date guide on how to get from Kanchanaburi to Hellfire Pass.
What is Hellfire Pass?
Hellfire Pass has a deeply sad history. It is the railway cutting on the former Burma to Thailand Railway (often called the Death Railway). Hellfire Pass is only a small part of the Death Railway. It got it’s name as prisoners cut through the rock by hand, their emaciated bodies were lit up by fire torches and the clanging of hammers was reminiscent of a scene from hell.
The Death railway was built during the Second World War by the Japanese through brutal forced labour of allied prisoners of war and South East Asian workers. Hellfire Pass is totally worth a visit if you are interested in contemporary history.
Hellfire Pass Museum
The Hellfire Pass is now a well maintained free museum and memorial, funded by the Australian government. You’ll get a free audio guide at the beginning. You can walk through the Hellfire Pass and along the path.
The audio guide offers moving accounts of the experiences of surviving Australian prisoners of war who worked on Hellfire Pass. The longer walk takes around 2 hours (there and back), along the 4km of railway whilst listening to the stories shared on the audio guide.
How to get from Kanchanaburi to Hellfire Pass
To get from Kanchanaburi to Hellfire Pass, you can take a bus from the main Kanchanaburi bus station or flag it down outside the War Cemetery on road 323.
The first bus goes from the bus station at 7:30am. Buses are meant to go every hour from then, however as it’s Thailand come with an open mind. We sat at the bus station for 50 minutes though on the 7:30am bus. The journey takes about 1.5 hours. Bring your passport for random police checks. The bus drops you outside the gate of the Hellfire Pass centre.
Price of bus to Hellfire Pass
It costs THB 50 (around $1.60) for a normal bus or THB 70 (around $2.20) for the air con buses. It’s a total lottery which one you get.
Return bus to Kanchanaburi
You can catch the return bus on the other side of the road, outside the Hellfire Pass centre. To find the bus stop, go out of the gate, cross over, turn right and walk a bit further down to a bus shelter with seating. The last bus is at about 4.20pm.
Train to Hellfire Pass
Alternatively you can catch the train to Hellfire Pass. This costs THB 100 (around $3.15 USD) from Kanchanaburi or the River Kwai Bridge to Nam Tok.
From Nam Tok get a THB 20 (around $0.60 USD) bus to the Hellfire Pass Centre. The train is a longer but more scenic route. However, the last train back is 3.30pm. Don’t miss it!
You can change it up and go by bus and return by train. It’s up to you!
Price of Hellfire Pass
It’s free, but donations are welcome.
Travel guide to Kanchanaburi
Kanchanaburi is full of awesome things to do. If you are a contemporary history nerd (like me), it’s got loads of museums and historic sights. And at Erawan falls, you can take a refreshing dip in one of the 7 waterfall tiers and have your feet nibbled by fish. Read my travel guide to Kanchanaburi:
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