75th Anniversary of the End of WWII


On this itinerary we scatter the ashes of the last Allied ex-POW soldier to be buried in Thailand, and perhaps the last ex-POW WWII soldier to be publicly interred, anywhere. We also include highlights of Singapore and explore Bangkok, Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai. See 'Tour Overview' on Dates & Prices page.


Dates & Prices

To book this tour, please refer to the sidebar ►

Prices below are per person, twin-sharing costs in US Dollars (USD). Pricing does not include airfare to/from the tour and any applicable taxes. For single supplement rates and taxes (if any), please refer to the entries under the blue box below.

Start DateEnd DatePriceMore Info
Sun 12 Jul 2020Sun 26 Jul 2020 $4750 USD

Optional Single Supplement: $1180 USD (number of singles limited).

Tour Overview

On this itinerary we scatter the ashes of the last Allied ex-POW soldier to be buried in Thailand, and perhaps the last ex-POW WWII soldier to be publicly interred, anywhere.

On 7th December 1941 CE, the Japanese landed an army in Malaya, invaded Hong Kong, and attacked the American fleet in Hawaii. For the previous decade, the Japanese military had fought a brutal war in China and the soldiers that invaded Malaya were from the same army responsible for the notorious 'Rape of Nanking', one of history's most damning brutalities. In contrast, the allied forces were an army of amateurs, mostly conscripts led by untested officers.

One of the British conscripts was artist Jack Bridger Chalker, a bombardier in the 118 Regiment Royal Field Artillery, Territorials. Captured during the Fall of Singapore in February 1942 CE, Chalker was part of Britain's 'Forgotten Army' which had just suffered the worst military defeat in British history. Along with 60,000 other POWs captured in Singapore, Chalker was taken to Thailand and enslaved to work on the "Death Railway" being constructed across a teak-forested granite mountain range between Thailand and Burma in order to supply the Japanese invasion of India. The Japanese enslaved 160,000 POWs and Malays to build the Death Railway. Just 52,000 survived.

Gunner Chalker spent three and a half years as a POW slaving on the Death Railway. He was in the very worst place (Hellfire Pass) at the very worst time ("Speedo" period). Commissioned at the risk of his own life by CMO of Nakon Pathom Hospital Camp, Sir Edward "Weary" Dunlop, to keep a pictorial record of the atrocities and medical techniques used in the camps, Chalker's life, and those of the remaining POWs, were saved only by the dropped of the Atom bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in August 1945 CE. Immediately after the war, Gunner Chalker was seconded to the ANZAC forces and became one of the official war artists at the Bangkok War Trials.

In the 1980s CE, Chalker's paintings became well-known in the UK, and were soon used as the iconic images of the FEPOW organizations of British, Australian, New Zealand and Dutch armies. His war drawings made him moderately famous among the POW survivors, particularly in ANZAC circles, and Chalker has subsequently featured in more than twenty documentary films on the POW experience, both in the UK and Australia. Later, Chalker became principal of the Falmouth School of Art, then the Royal Western Academy of Art and headed the Bower Ashton School of Art in the UK. Today his paintings hang in the Tate and Portrait Galleries in London and the majority of his wartime illustrations are owned by the Imperial War Museum and the Australian War Memorial.

Jack Bridger Chalker, who was born a month before WWI ended in October 1918 CE, died in 2014 CE at the age of 96 years. His son, who is an expedition leader, tour operator and sometime film maker, has made a film of his father's experiences (which will be shown during the itinerary). He will accompany the group offering an overview of the larger POW experience by sharing his father's personal anecdotes and experiences.

We also visit the main touristic highlights in Singapore, explore Bangkok, Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai, take a train trip on the Death Railway across The Bridge on the River Kwai.

Regions visited: Southeast Asia
Countries visited: Singapore and Thailand

Full Itinerary

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Day 1 Arrival in Singapore
Today we arrive in Singapore; any balance of the day is at leisure.

English adventurer Stamford Raffles founded colonial Singapore in 1819 CE as a trading post of the British East India Company. After the company's collapse in 1858 CE following the Indian Mutiny, the islands were ceded to the British Raj as a crown colony. During the Second World War, Singapore was occupied by Japan, but reverted back to Britain in 1945 with the Japanese surrender, gaining independence from the UK in 1963 CE by federating with other former British territories to form Malaysia, but separated from Malaysia two years later over ideological differences. Singapore become a sovereign nation in 1965 CE. After early years of turbulence and despite lacking natural resources and a hinterland, the nation developed rapidly as an Asian Tiger economy, based on external trade and its multi-national workforce, and today is one of the world’s most vibrant economies, with the world’s 3rd highest GDP, its politics a heady mix of socialism and capitalism.

Overnight in Singapore.

Day 2 Singapore: Full Day Tour
After breakfast we depart on a full day tour of Singapore.

We first take an orientation drive round the Civic District, passing by the Padang Cricket Club, historic Parliament House, Supreme Court and City Hall. Next we stop at Merlion Park and enjoy the impressive views of Marina Bay. We also visit Thian Hock Keng Temple, one of Singapore’s oldest Buddhist-Taoist temples. We then visit the National Orchid Garden located within Singapore Botanic Gardens, which boasts a sprawling display of 60,000 orchid plants. Our final morning visit is to Little India a market region where the scent of joss sticks, jasmine and spices dominates. It is fascinating to glimpse the relationship between Singapore’s successful modern economy and the ancient rituals, traditions and beliefs from which it flows. Little India, with its colourful, crowded and noisy streets that contain much of Singapore’s history. Many can trace their ancestry to when Sir Stamford Raffles (founder of the Raffles hotel and much else of colonial origin on Singapore), arrived in 1819 CE with 120 Indian assistants and soldiers who dwelled in Chinatown. Eventually the growing Indian community migrated into the region now known as Little India which, by the turn of the 19th century was a flourishing business district. It remains so today, with much of its historic traditions intact.

In the afternoon we return to the city center and explore Chinatown. Singapore’s Chinatown dates back to 1821 CE when the first Chinese junk carrying immigrants arrived from Fujian province. Much has been reconstructed and the old shop-houses restored. The market area of Chinatown is a maze of stalls, shops, booths and hawkers, and the colors, food smells and bustle are hugely entertaining. After our tour we return to our hotel. Any balance of the day is free.

Overnbight in Singapore.

Included Meal(s): Breakfast

Day 3 Singapore: Full Day Tour
Today we depart on a full day Battle of Singapore tour.

We first drive to Kranji Memorial (war cemetery) overlooking the Straits of Johore at the north end of Singapore Island. Nearly 4,500 Allied service personnel killed during the Fall of Singapore are buried here. It is also the site of the of the Singapore Memorial, which lists over 24,000 names of Allied soldiers killed during Malaya Campaign and retreat who have no known graves.

Next, we visit the site of the Bukit Batok Memorial, built by the Japanese using POW labour to commemorate Japan’s war dead, and destroyed by the Japanese prior to their surrender in 1945. However, the imposing stairway still exists, and we pause here briefly before continuing to the Old Ford Factory Museum, the infamous Art Deco site of the allied surrender to the Japanese. We visit the room where the surrender was signed, and roam the Museum, which offers visitors a greater appreciation of the plight of the local civilians at the hands of the Japanese after the surrender. The Japanese, for example, executed over 6,000 Chinese civilians in Singapore alone. These were the same Japanese troops who had fought in China, and who were responsible for the ‘Rape of Nanking’, in which something like 45,000 Chinese civilians were raped and murdered by Japanese occupying troops.

In the afternoon we visit the Johore Gun Battery where a replica 15" naval gun is situated over the original complex. We then drive to Changi Chapel and Museum, passing Selarang Barracks, one of the POW prisons, en route. Changi was one of the main prisons used by the Japanese to house allied POW’s after their surrender in February 1942 CE. The museum focuses on the allied forces at the time of the surrender and the prison conditions experienced by the POW’s, and has records of all POWs incarcerated in Singapore during the war.

After our visit we return to Singapore city, passing the entrance of the original Changi Prison en route. In Singapore we visit the National Art Gallery, site of the Padang and the City Hall, where the Japanese officially surrendered in September 1945. We then return to the hotel.

Overnight in Singapore.

Included Meal(s): Breakfast

Day 4 Singapore Touring
This morning we first check out of the hotel and depart on a full-day tour of Singapore, focusing on the defenses of Singapore, a major part of Singapore’s strategic importance during WWII. Our first stop is Mount Faber Lookout with its magnificent view across to Sentosa Island. We then take a short walk to the spectacular cable car ride to Sentosa Island, during which we view the harbor entrance (and the vast number of container wharves in the distance), before taking a second cable car ride to the Fort Siloso complex. Here the gun emplacements, tunnel complexes and underground ammunition stores have been restored to give visitors an appreciation of the way they were when in full operation. In Fort Siloso, we also view the Surrender Chambers which recreate the surrender of the allied forces in February 1942, and that of the Japanese in September 1945.

In the afternoon we visit Fort Canning. In the days before the Fall of Singapore, this area was a major military establishment and greatly different to what it is today. However, some evidence of WWII still survives, including the Battlebox, an underground bunker complex where the British commander General Percival commanded the final days of the Battle of Singapore. We explore the complex, which has been restored with various rooms, including Percival’s meeting room, fitted out as they would have been at that time. After our tour we return to the hotel.

Overnight in Singapore.

Included Meal(s): Breakfast

Day 5 Singapore - Fly to Bangkok: City Touring
This morning we transfer to the airport and fly to Bangkok in Thailand. On arrival, we are met and transfer to our hotel for check in.

This afternoon we depart on a half-day tour of Bangkok to visit Jim Thompson’s House, a beautiful Thai-style house owned by the man who made Thai silk famous throughout the world before mysteriously disappearing on a trip to Malaysia in 1967. Since his disappearance, little has changed in the home that was the "talk of the town" and the "city's most celebrated social center". Even today the charming Thai style house continues to be a key stop for visitors to Bangkok. After our tour we return to the hotel.

Overnight in Bangkok.

Included Meal(s): Breakfast

Day 6 Bangkok: Full Day Tour
This morning we depart on a full day tour of Bangkok.

We depart the hotel and drive first to the Grand Palace situated on the Chao Phraya River. Construction started in 1782 CE, and today the complex is a collection of buildings covering 1.5 sq. km (0.9 sq. mile). Within the grounds we visit Wat Phra Kaeo, known for the venerated Emerald Buddha. Sitting on a golden altar, it is carved from green jade and is only 75 cm (30 inches) high! Since its discovery in the 15th Century, the Emerald Buddha has known many homes, including Lampang, Chiang Rai and two locations in Laos, Luang Prabang and Vientiane. We then take lunch in a local restaurant.

This afternoon we visit Wat Pho also known as the Temple of the Reclining Buddha. The temple is the largest in Bangkok and it is 200 years old. On its grounds, we will see the tremendous 46m (150f.) long, 15m (49ft.) high gold-plated reclining Buddha. The soles of his feet have detailed work of mother-of-pearl. Wat Pho also has more than 1,000 bronze images from Ayutthaya and Sukhothai rescued by Rama I's brother. Next we visit Taling Chan Floating Market, which is utilized mostly by locals and frequented by less tourists than the more famous markets near Bangkok (like Damnoen Saduak and Amphawa).

We continue crossing the "khlong" (river) by boat in order to visit Wat Arun, or the Temple of the Dawn. It was built in the early 19th Century and its tower is the highest in Thailand measuring 81m (265 ft.). The tower, or "prang," is covered with pieces of Chinese porcelain and its beauty is appreciated from a distance. The temple gained its name from the Indian god of dawn, Aruna. Here there are superb statues of the Buddha at the most important stages of his life: at birth (north), in meditation (east), preaching his first sermon (south) and entering Nirvana (west). After our tour, we return to the hotel. The remainder of the day is at leisure.

Overnight in Bangkok.

Included Meal(s): Breakfast and Lunch

Day 7 Bangkok - Fly to Pitsanolok - Chiang Mai
Today we transfer to the domestic airport and fly to Pitsanolok, birthplace of King Naresuan the Great of Ayutthaya (reign: 1590-1605 CE), and his brother Prince Ekathosarot. Phitsanulok has long been an important center for political and strategic reasons and a major recruitment center when Ayuthaya waged war with Burma. It was the capital of Thailand for 25 years during the 1448-1488 CE reign of Ayuthayaos King Boromtrailokanat.

On arrival, we are met by our vehicle and guide and begin our sightseeing tour. We visit Wat Phra Si Rattana Mahathat, commonly called by the inhabitants as "Wat Yai." This is Pitsanulok’s most important monastery, located at the foot of Naresuan Bridge on the city side of the river. The monastery was built in the reign of Phra Maha Thamma Racha I (Phraya Lithai) In 1357 CE. It houses the Phra Buddha Chinnarat regarded as the most beautiful Buddha image in Thailand.

We continue to Sukhothai where we visit the Ramkhamhueng National Museum, an excellent introduction to the city, including much in the Sukhothai style. From here we proceed to Wat Mahatat, dominated by a 14th century lotus-bud tower and encircled by a moat. Some of the best architectural ornamentation is found in the main tower. We also visit the remains of the Royal Palace.

We then depart and continue our drive to Chiang Mai, arriving mid evening. On arrival we check into the hotel.

Overnight in Chiang Mai.

Included Meal(s): Breakfast

Day 8 Chiang Mai: Full Day Tour
Today we depart on a full day tour of Chiang Mai and surroundings.

Chiang Mai has over 300 temples, its old quarter set within a 2 sq. km moat, and has retained many of its traditional wooden houses. At the main sanctuary of the Buddhist temple is a tower constructed in 1345 CE to house the ashes of King Kam Fu and the beautiful Viharn Lai Kam. This wooden structure is a marvelous example of Lanna architecture. Inside the temple there sits one of Thailand's three Phra Singh (or Sihing images). The setting of the image is enhanced by a colourful mural with scenes showing piggyback fights, merchants, fishermen and children playing.

Later we visit the National Museum, home to a glorious collection of Buddhist images. We also visit Doi Suthep, which dominates the skyline to the west of Chiang Mai, characterized by the eagles-nest temple of Wat Phra That Doi Suthep. This is Northern Thailand's holiest shrine and one of Thailand's most important pilgrimage destinations. The view on a clear day extends over a seemingly infinite plain, making Chiang Mai look surprisingly compact. We then return to the hotel.

Overnight in Chiang Mai.

Included Meal(s): Breakfast

Day 9 Chiang Mai - Chiang Rai: Half Day Tour
This morning we depart our hotel and drive to Chiang Rai. On arrival we check into our hotel.

In the afternoon we depart on a half day tour of Chiang Rai. We first visit Wat Phra Kaeo, the city's most revered temple. According to legend, lightning struck and cracked the chedi in 1436 CE, revealing a plaster cast statue encasing the Emerald Buddha (actually made of jadeite). Today, Thailand's most holy Buddha image is housed in Bangkok; a replica, presented in 1991, is now kept here. The wat dates from the 13th century and is also notable for its fine bot, decorated with elaborate woodcarving, and the Phra Chao Lang Thong, one of the largest surviving bronze statues from the early Lanna period.

This afternoon we will take a boat trip on the Maekok River and visit a local Hill Tribe Village. The rugged, forested limestone hills of northern Thailand are home to a mélange of some of the most interesting indigenous peoples in the world. The Lao, Karen, Hmong (or Meo), Mien, Lahu, Akha and Lisu minorities are a fascinating example of a vibrant pre-industrial way of life. They originated in Tibet and south China and live on the migration route that the Thai people themselves traveled 1,000 years ago.

We then visit to the Hill Tribe Education Center where we can see typical clothing worn by each tribe. We will also be able to see different folk implements and other anthropological exhibits. Chiang Rai was founded in 1262 CE by King Mengrai. He decided that the site, in a basin between mountains, would be ideal for the new capital of the Lanna Kingdom. However, the capital was transferred to Chiang Mai only 34 years later and Chiang Rai declined in importance. Today it is known as the "Gateway to the Golden Triangle." With its varied ethnic groups and beautiful surrounding scenery, Chiang Rai, the capital of Thailand's northernmost province, feels far removed from Bangkok or even Chiang Mai. Evidence of the town's historic importance can be seen in monuments such as Wat Phra Kaeo even though modern development is becoming increasingly prominent.

Overnight in Chiang Rai.

Included Meal(s): Breakfast and Lunch

Day 10 Chiang Rai: Full Day Tour
Today we depart on a full day excursion to Mae Chan to visit the Yao and Akha Hilltribe Villages, and to Mae Sai, the farthermost northern village on the border between Thailand and Burma, with its bustling market place. We take lunch at a local restaurant, the drive into the Golden Triangle where the mighty Mae Khong River joins the Ruak River, forming the triangle
where the borders of Thailand, Burma, and Laos meet.

We then take a long tail boat trip on the Mae Khong River, stopping at an island in Lao territory to visit a Laotian village famous for liquor making and to visit the Opium Museum. Then continue on to the old city of Chiang Saen (1260 CE) on the steep banks opposite Laos, where we explore some magnificent ancient ruins and temples. After our tour we return to the hotel.

Overnight in Chiang Rai.

Included Meal(s): Breakfast and Lunch

Day 11 Chiang Rai - Fly to Bangkok - Kanchanaburi
This morning we check-out, transfer to the airport and fly back to Bangkok. On arrival in Bangkok we are met, board our vehicles and immediately depart for the drive to Kanchanaburi.

We first drive to the start of the 415k of track for the railway built under the Japanese by the prisoners at Nong Pladuk. We then continue towards Kanchanaburi along the route the POWS were force-marched from Bang Pong to Kanchanaburi on their arrival by train from Singapore. On arrival in Kanchanaburi, where the construction of the railway met its first obstacle, the river Kwai Noi, we first take lunch in a local restaurant, then visit the Thailand-Burma Railway Centre for a brief introductory talk, then spend an hour at the Death Railway Museum veiwing the various exhibits of the Thailand-Burma Railway. The museum’s founder, Rod Beattie, and his colleagues have done a phenomenal job presenting the railway’s history through the exhibit of hundreds of black and white photographs of the railway and the skeletal men who built it, and with displays of artifacts, tools and memorabilia of both Allied prisoners and Japanese guards, and using accurate models of the landscape, bridges, and the route of the railway. Here we start to put faces to the men, hear snippets of tales overheard, glimpse POW documentaries, and for those who have family members that were here, the whispers about Grandpa start to make sense, and the realities of the experience for the POWs emerge.

We then visit the adjacent Kanchanaburi War Cemetery for an explanation of background history and significance of this location. The Allied War Cemetery contains the resting places of nearly 7,000 Australian, English, and Dutch POWs who died during the construction of the Death Railway (the remains of American POWs have since been returned to the US). These men were originally buried at the POW camp grounds stationed along the railway, but years later, their remains were found, identified, and laid to rest in this memorial cemetery.

After our visit, we continue to our hotel for check in. Dinner is served at the hotel.

Overnight in Kanchanaburi.

Included Meal(s): Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Day 12 Full Day Bridge Over the River Kwai Tour
This morning we check-out of our hotel and depart for full day Bridge Over the River Kwai tour.*

We first motor down river on our long-tailed motor canoes to the wharf, then drive into town to the “Bridge over the River Kwai” – popularized in the 1950s by the movie of the same name. The bridge is actually over the Kwai Yai River, and there were two bridges built between 1942 and 1945 CE, one made of bamboo and wood the other of metal. The bridges were part of the infamous Death Railway constructed by Allied POWs working in hellish conditions under the Japanese occupation. Some 106,000 POWs and Malay workers died during the railway construction. The present iron bridge is the second wartime incarnation, but two central 'boxy' spans were rebuilt after the war to replace three sections destroyed by Allied bombing. We have the chance to wander around the bridge and walk across it (there are few trains).

We then re-gather at the platform and await the arrival of our train, to depart on a historic train ride across over the Bridge Over the River Kwai. We then steam through lush river-side teak forest on the infamous Death Railway to Wampo Siding, along tracks and sidings laid by the Allied prisoners in 1943 CE, and still in use today. We explore this area of the railway (there is a large cave just off the track out of the town which features prominently in several well used photos of the time).

We then take lunch at Wampo Siding in a local restaurant. In the afternoon we depart Wampo and drive to the Hellfire Pass Memorial and Museum. Hellfire pass is the most notorious section of the Death Railway, built during the ‘speedo’ period that resulted in the heaviest POW casualties of the war. Here we explore the impressive museum and walk along the railway itself to the infamous Hellfire Pass cutting where so many Australians and British were worked to death. Here we find a plaque erected to Sir Edward ‘Weary’ Dunlop, the Australian CMO of Hintok Camp, who saved so many Australian and British prisoners’ lives through corporate organization and sanitation, and by simply not allowing his staff or himself to give up. This siding represents the worst period of the railway construction. Thousands were worked to death along this 40-mile section of the railway, and many more died later of disease and injuries and as a result of their labor. Hellfire pass is a sobering reminder of what man does to his brother when populism and extremism rule.

After our visit we continue to our hotel for check-in. Dinner is served at the hotel.

* Why two hotel in Kanchanaburi? Due to our stops of interest yesterday en route to our hotel, we chose a property close-by given the nature of our full day. To reach tonight's accommodation, which places us well for today's/tomorrow sightseeing and also requires a 40-minute boat transfer to reach, we have chosen to shift homes for the next two nights.

Overnight in Kanchanaburi.

Included Meal(s): Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Day 13 Death Railway Dedication Ceremony
This morning we rise before dawn and transfer to a location on the Death Railway to attend a private sunrise dedication ceremony where the son of POW Jack Bridger Chalker, will sprinkle his father’s ashes onto the tracks of the railway at a point where POW Jack Bridger Chalker once laboured.

We then return to the hotel for breakfast. After breakfast we are escorted around the grounds of the complex on which our hotel stands, to visit with our guide the Weary Dunlop Museum, which is located within our resort grounds. This is a small museum honoring the Australian national hero of the camps, Colonel Sir Edward ‘Weary’ Dunlop, who’s bravery and temerity as a medical officer saved countless lives, and whose fame as a pre-war rugby international for Australia, gave Dunlop instant recognition after the war. Alongside and adjacent to the Dunlop Memorial, is the Jack Chalker Gallery memorializing the British Bombardier and artist, Jack Bridger Chalker whose ashes we interred at this morning’s ceremony. After being beaten almost to death by a Japanese guard, Dunlop patched Chalker up, which included plugging a hole in his fractured skull above his nose, and discovered his beating was for illegal sketching pictures of the guards, then commissioned Chalker to, at the risk of his own life, make a pictorial record of the brutality, appalling conditions and medical techniques employed in the camps. The King of Thailand’s sister graced Home Phatoey with her presence when she officially opened the Jack Chalker Gallery, which contains a selection of Chalker’s better known art work of the POW Death Railway experience. Chalker’s POW art work is a significant contribution both to the historical record, and to medical science of tropical diseases and their long-term effects. The prisoner’s malnutrition and varied and multiple tropical diseases, their work injuries, the beheadings and random murders, the constant beatings and the random tortures - often to death, are understood only when placed in context, alongside Auschwitz and Dachau. Chalker’s pictorial record of POW techniques of survival in the face of this brutality is unique – he witnessed and shared the starvation, the outdoor living in monsoonal jungle with no medical equipment or medicine, under the strain of constant torture and brutality, and the gnawing suspicion, later a certainty, that they would all be killed. And they were right. That was the plan. Chalker’s drawings were of great use to other medical orderlies and also to camp morale officers during captivity, as they could be used in the reproduction of equipment for medical needs, and also theater when the vital to morale plays were staged. Long after the war, when the Fall of Singapore was far enough in the past that it could again be spoken of in polite British society, Chalker’s drawing became some of the most iconic images of the entire POW experience itself, for both the English and the Australian survivors and their families.

We finish the day with a documentary film entitled Survivor made by the family of Jack Bridger-Chalker which portrays the entire POW experience, using the story of this one man.

The remainder of the day is at leisure to take advantage of the resort facilities. Dinner is served at the hotel.

Overnight at Kanchanaburi.

Included Meal(s): Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Day 14 Kanchanaburi - Bangkok
Today we transfer down river in long-tailed river boats, then drive to Bangkok, stopping first in Kanchanaburi to visit the Allied War Cemetery and the adjacent Death Railway Museum.

The Allied War Cemetery contains the resting places of nearly 7,000 Australian, English, and Dutch POWs who died during the construction of the Death Railway (the remains of American POWs have since been returned to the US). These men were originally buried at the POW camp grounds stationed along the railway, but years later, their remains were found, identified, and laid to rest in this memorial cemetery. Beside the Cemetery is the Death Railway Museum, where we spend an hour exploring the various exhibits of the Thailand-Burma Railway. The museum’s founder, Rod Beattie, has done a phenomenal job presenting the railway’s history through exhibiting hundreds of black and white photographs of the railway and the skeletal men who built it, displays of artifacts (both tools and memorabilia of Allied prisoners and Japanese guards), and models of the landscape, bridges, and the route of the railway. Here we start to put faces to the men, here the snippets of tales overheard, the glimpses of POW documentaries, the whispers about Grandpa, they all start making sense, and the reality of this legend emerges.

We then continue our drive to Bangkok, where we check into our hotel on arrival. The afternoon is at leisure in Bangkok.

Overnight in Bangkok.

Included Meal(s): Breakfast

Day 15 Departure
Departure from Bangkok.

Fond farewell!

Included Meal(s): Breakfast

Tour Map

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*The red tour trail on the map does not represent the actual travel path.

Hotel List

The following is a list of sample hotels at some locations included on this tour. The hotels shown here are meant to provide a general sense of the standard of hotel we usually aim for; they are not necessarily confirmed for your chosen departure.

Yotel Orchard Road

Rating: 4 Star Accommodation4 Star Accommodation4 Star Accommodation4 Star Accommodation
Location: Singapore
Country: Singapore

In a high-rise building with city views, this sleek hotel is a 3-minute walk from the shops of Orchard Road,
... km from 74-hectare Singapore Botanic Gardens, and 21 km from Changi Airport. The snug, modern rooms provide free Wi-Fi and smart TVs, plus rainfall showers, minifridges, and tea and coffeemaking facilities.
Read More.

Click here to visit hotel website

River Suraya Bangkok Hotel

Rating: 4 Star Accommodation4 Star Accommodation4 Star Accommodation4 Star Accommodation
Location: Bangkok
Country: Thailand

Set along the Chao Phraya River, this polished hotel is a 4-minute walk from Phra Arthit Ferry Terminal, a 12-minute
... from the buzzy Khaosan Road and a 16-minute walk from Phra Kaew Temple in the grounds of the Grand Palace. Featuring floor-to-ceiling windows, the elegant rooms offer free Wi-Fi, flat-screen TVs, iPod docks and minibars, plus tea and coffeemakers.
Read More.

Click here to visit hotel website

Tamarind Village

Rating: 4 Star Accommodation4 Star Accommodation4 Star Accommodation4 Star Accommodation
Location: Chiang Mai
Country: Thailand

In gardens with courtyards and a long-standing tamarind tree, this upscale hotel is 27 km from the Wat Phra That
... Suthep temple, 6 km from the Chiang Mai Zoo and 3 km from the Chiang Mai Night Bazaar market.

Read More.

Click here to visit hotel website

The Legend Chiang Rai Boutique River Resort & Spa

Rating: 4 Star Accommodation4 Star Accommodation4 Star Accommodation4 Star Accommodation
Location: Chiang Rai
Country: Thailand

On the banks of the Mae Kok River, this posh resort with lotus ponds and lush gardens is 2 km
... Chiang Rai Night Bazaar. Featuring terraces with garden or river views, the lavish rooms and villas offer free Wi-Fi, flat-screen TVs and DVD players, plus desks, minibars, and tea and coffeemaking facilities.
Read More.

Click here to visit hotel website

Royal River Kwai Resort

Rating: 3 Star Accommodation3 Star Accommodation3 Star Accommodation
Location: Kanchanaburi
Country: Thailand

Set in lush gardens on the banks of the River Kwai, this polished hotel is 8 km from the WWII
... and 9 km from both Saphan Kwae Yai train station and the storied Bridge Over The River Kwai.

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Click here to visit hotel website

Home Phutoey River Kwai Resort

Rating: 3 Star Accommodation3 Star Accommodation3 Star Accommodation
Location: Kanchanaburi
Country: Thailand

Set in tropical jungle, this laid-back resort on the River Kwai is 10 km from Xtreme Centric Park amusement park
... 38 km from tours of Lawa Cave. Featuring exposed stone walls and/or timber beams, airy, tropical-style rooms have flat-screens, minifridges and seating areas.
Read More.

Click here to visit hotel website

Trip Information

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Daily breakfast, six lunches, and three dinners (hotels & local restaurants) are included. All transport (including internal flights), accommodation, sightseeing, baggage handling at hotels (if available) and entrance fees for sites noted as 'visited' in the detailed itinerary are included. Airport transfers for land & air customers and for early arriving/late departing land & air customers who book their extra hotel nights through us.

In Kanchanaburi a specialist guide, the ceremony, and other POW related specialist activities are all included.


International airfare to/from the tour. Gratuities/tips, any meals not listed on the itinerary, drinks, personal items (phone, laundry, etc), international air taxes (if applicable), any excursions referenced as 'optional'. Airport transfers for Land Only customers. Optional trip cancellation insurance. Our post-reservation trip notes offer further guidance on optional meal costs and other matters pertaining to preparing for the tour.

Seasonality and Weather

Thailand is generally hot and humid, and July will certainly feature sticky heat with a good probability of heavy showers, usually late in the day. The average maximum daytime temperature in Thailand in June is a hot 33C (91°F) with high heat & humidity. The average night-time temperature is usually a warm 26C (79°F).

Singapore experiences warm and fairly humid summer temperatures throughout the year; there is no distinct wet/dry season. Most rain falls during the northeast monsoon (November to January) and showers are usually sudden and heavy.

Transport and Travel Conditions

Land transport throughout will be by private air-conditioned bus. Most of the driving days are not long, usually no more than four hours. That said, on some stretches poor road conditions and traffic can make for slow going and some bumps.

Internal flights via scheduled regional carriers.

The tour is not strenuous though it is busy; you must be steady on your feet and be able to endure some heat and full days. We have numerous walking tours and visit several sites that are LARGE with steps and uneven surfaces.

Porters are available at hotels but you must be able to manage with your baggage at airports. Our hotel on the river in Kanchanburi requires boat transfers up and down river, and although porters are there are both wharves to assist, travellers are responsible for their own luggage, so please do not pack more than you can comfortably lift and carry.

Our difficulty "Level 1" rating refers to the lack of long road journeys, our comfortable transport and accommodations, the lack of remote locations, and the easy-going nature of our on-foot/bus explorations of sites visited. Your main concerns will be limited to
our full days of sightseeing and travel and the constant presence of humid head, which can cause fatigue over time.

Am I suitable for this tour? Please refer to our self-assessment form.


The hotels used on this tour are modern, 3 & 4-star air-conditioned properties. All hotels have en-suite toilet and bath/shower. Though porters should be available, you should be prepared to manage your own luggage to and from your hotel room and at airports.

Staff and Support

Local guide in Singapore, local Thai guide/escort throughout Thailand, plus a POW expert guide in Kanchanaburi for all activities. Driver(s), local step-on guides in various locales.

Also accompanying the group is Adrian Bridger Chalker, son of Jack Bridger Chalker whose ashes will be interred at the railway.

If you have not already done so, please click on the 'Dates & Prices' tab at the top of this page and scroll down to the 'Tour Overview' for a detailed outline of this very special tour. Given our trip's historically significant nature, the BBC and independent film makers have expressed interest in filming the Dedication Ceremony, and our trip may feature some filming during the group itinerary. More details of the filming arrangements will be supplied closer to departure. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause.

Group Size

Due to the special 'one-time-only' nature of our journey, in order to maximize participation while maintaining an intimate feel, we limit this tour to a maximum of 20 guests plus escorts/guides





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