Since the beginning of the open season, the Death Railway Museum in Thanbyuzayat, Mon State, which was opened to attract tourists, has been crowded with both local and foreign visitors.
The museum is located at Waekawa Village at the junction of Yangon-Yay railway and Yangon-Myeik railway and has been open since Independence Day, 4th January, with the approval of the Mon State Government.
The museum was built on four acres of land by the Talamon Company and the entrance of the two-storey museum contains sobering statues of emaciated prisoners of war holding hoes, shovels and spades who were enslaved into forced-labour to build the railway.
Foreign tourists frequently visit the place where a railway locomotive is displayed, as well as the starting point of the Thailand-Myanmar railway and the museum, which is open from 7am to 7pmdaily. Entrance fees to the museum range from Ks800 for locals to Ks5,000 for foreigners. Monks and children can visit the museum free of charge.
“The Japanese built the railway to connect Thailand and Myanmar to open the Asain theatre. They forced POWs from defeated countries and people from Southeast Asian countries to be labourers. About 120,000 people died of exhaustion, starvation and diseases. The number of the sleepers of the railway could represent the number of deaths to build the railway. There is also a commonwealth war cemetery for those who died to build the railway,” an official of the museum said.
It is said that visitors to the museum also go to the war cemetery as well as the Kyaikme-Setse Beach.—Soe Win MLA