Hellfire Pass: The Aussie POW Camp You've Probably Never Heard Of
For Aussie tourists planning a trip to honour the ANZACS, Gallipolli seems the obvious choice. But many may not have considered -- let alone heard of -- Hellfire Pass.
Located 200 kilometres north-west of bustling Bangkok, and set among the lush wilderness of Sai Yok National Park, this stretch of jungle was once home to Australian and Allied Forces prisoners in World War II.
As the name suggests, those who ended up in the prison camp suffered hellish conditions, working 18 hours a day on starvation rations.
Their task: cutting through rock to build the Burma Railway -- a story made famous in the cinematic classic ‘The Bridge On the River Kwai’.
The Hellfire Pass Interpretive Centre and Memorial Walking Trail -- developed with funding from the Australian Government -- is dedicated to these labourers, many of whom died there and elsewhere in the Asia Pacific Region in World War II.
Since opening its doors in 1998, the museum has amassed five-star reviews on Trip Advisor and attracts visitors from around the world.
However, most of the 100,000 or so visitors to the centre each year are non-Australian, despite the site playing host to ANZAC commemorations. An estimated 6,000 Aussies visited the museum last year: the same numbers over a whole year that Gallipoli gets in one service.
In light of this, custodians want everyone to know the site exists and encourage more tourists to attend the dawn service in 2020.
Main image: Getty.