Wednesday, January 01, 2014

River Kwai Bridge Festival-Sound and Light show Dec 2013

Between December 6th and 15th every year, the annual river kwai bridge festival is held around River Kwai Bridge, Kanchanaburi, Thailand.

This year, our Ride Thailand timing coincided with this and we were there on 11th Dec night and got to experience the festival first hand.

Apart from exhibition, giant wheel and shopping, primary attraction at river Kwai festival is a stage show, wherein the historical event of bridge construction and subsequent destruction is enacted, in full glory, using lots of fireworks. Actual war like scenario is recreated, to help visitors understand the full gravity of the situation faced by the POWs during world war 2 (1943 to be precise)

The best place to enjoy this stage show would have been one of the seats laid out exclusively for this event- near the other end of the bridge. There will be a 20 baht entry fee during this event and bridge will be closed when the show is in progress.

However, we couldn't plan well for this show. When the show started, we were at our resort's restaurant, from where the show was  visible, though not in full clarity. I had to decide between two options- stay back and try for some good photos using the 300mm lens or go to the bridge, which would have taken 10 minutes by walk- but given the crowd and the fact that the bridge is closed, there is no guarantee that I will get a good place to take decent photographs. I opted to stay back and took some photos from my camera's zoom lens. Unfortunately night shots using zoom lens needs extra care. Due to shaking, some of the photos had to be discarded. From whatever good ones left, below is a quick photo essay...

The first few moments involved stage show that depicted life at the camp- where prisoners of war were forced to work as construction laborers for the bridge, with very little food, rest or medical care. Thousands died in the process, due to ever increasing expectations and deadlines that were fast approaching, without real progress in bridge construction. A display screen showed key information/messages while the explanation of the act were explained both in English and Thai.

Real fire was created on stage to depict scenarios of bombing etc

On the bridge, the act of constructing it was enacted, and also the deaths

Act of destroying the bridge was enacted in full glory, including a missile fireball dashing towards the bridge and exploding on contact. Lots of careful planning has gone into execution of this stage show- to ensure that historical bridge or the people are not harmed in anyway while lots of fire related stunts are performed.
 Celebrations in the end, as the war ended

Next morning, I got up early and went to the area where the stage show was performed. Below photos depict the scene.

It is a very commendable job done by the people behind the show. If you're planning to visit Thailand next winter, do plan such that you can see this show.

You may also read Niranjan's post on Kanchanaburi

Also see- Sunrise at River Kwai bridge & my 2012 post on River Kwai Bridge. For other Ride Thailand posts, check here


R Niranjan Das said...

That was a magnificent show! Lovely captures.

D.Nambiar said...

I'm sure that was quite a show. I'd just read Niranjan's post on the place.

Shrinidhi Hande said...

Thanks Niranjan and Nambiar