Erawan Waterfall in Kanchanaburi, Thailand

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Beyond its hectic modern center and river views, Kanchanaburi (กาญจนบุรี) has a dark history, paid tribute to at excellent memorials and museums. During WWII, Japanese forces used Allied prisoners of war (POWs) and conscripted Asian laborers to build a rail route from Thailand to Burma (Myanmar). The harrowing story became famous after the publication of Pierre Boulle’s book The Bridge Over the River Kwai, based very loosely on real events, and the 1957 movie that followed. War cemeteries, museums and the chance to ride a section of the so-called "Death Railway" draw numerous visitors to Kanchanaburi.

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