JEATH War Museum

JEATH War Museum

A moving art gallery

More on Kanchanaburi

Pieced together in 1977 by the abbot of Wat Chaichumpon, the JEATH War Museum was among the first in Kanchanaburi to recount the atrocities of the Death Railway and honour the Allied POWs who toiled on it—four decades later, its collection of paintings and photographs is as moving as ever.

Travelfish says:

The acronym JEATH stands for Japan, England, Australia, America, Thailand and Holland, highlighting some of the nations whose citizens were captors, captives or hosts during the 1942-43 construction of the Death Railway.

Old photos form a mainstay of the exhibits. : David Luekens.
Old photos form a mainstay of the exhibits. Photo: David Luekens

A series of several dozen images, many in very poor condition unfortunately, are displayed on platforms beneath thatch roofs in a primitive structure, intended to recreate the shelters that POWs slept in.

Decades-old photos show actual emaciated prisoners wearing loincloths and toiling with pick axes or lying on bamboo platforms, too weak to move. One painting shows a prisoner asking to receive the ration of a pale man lying next to him; the caption reads: "Let me have his, he's dead!" Contrasting images like these are photos of well-fed Japanese soldiers taken in Kanchanaburi town.

Lighten the mood with a visit to nearby Wat Chaichumphon. : David Luekens.
Lighten the mood with a visit to nearby Wat Chaichumphon. Photo: David Luekens

After perusing the museum you could stroll over to neighbouring Wat Chaichumphon to see beautiful teakwood wihaans, the remains of an ancient wooden boat accompanied by a shrine to a feminine spirit, and a “magic ship” fronted by an enormous horse statue—kids will love climbing on it. A longtail boat pier and riverside walkway are also found here.

Transport information

JEATH War Museum is located on Pak Prak Road towards the south end of town and can be reached on foot, by bicycle or as part of a longtail boat tour.

Contact details for JEATH War Museum

Address: Pak Prak Road, Kanchanaburi
Coordinates (for GPS): 99º31'50.2" E, 14º0'58.61" N
See position in Apple or Google Maps: Apple Maps | Google Maps
Admission: 50 baht

Reviewed by

David Luekens first came to Thailand in 2005 when Thai friends from his former home of Burlington, Vermont led him on a life-changing trip. Based in Thailand since 2011, he spends much of his time eating in Bangkok street markets and island hopping the Andaman Sea.

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