Museum, hotel, park and tourist facilities planned
Myanmar’s Tala Mon Company has been awarded a government contract to develop a museum, hotel, park and other tourist facilities at the infamous Death Railway site in Thanbyuzayat in Mon state.
The Death Railway, also known as the Burma Railway, was a 415km track that formed part of the Bangkok-Rangoon (now Yangon) railroad during World War II. Forced labour was used for its construction and it is estimated that half of the 300,000 Allied prisoners-of-war working on it died.
Min Banyar San, Tala Mon Company’s chairman, said that the work is expected to begin within the next month.
“We are looking to invest about US$3 million in the project and it will be carried out in three phases. Phase 1 will be the construction of a museum, Phase 2 will be for a hotel and Phase 3 will be for other tourist sites.”
Marcus Allender, founder of Go-Myanmar.com: “The Death Railway site in Mon State currently attracts a minimal number of tourists. As the Allied War Memorial cemetery is close to the Death Railway site, there is a clear opportunity to develop this area in a similar manner to what has been done at the other end, at Kanchanaburi [in Thailand].”
Thai authorities have constructed a memorial and museums to commemorate the railway and its workers in Kanchanaburi.
“Indeed, if the Myanmar perspective on the Death Railway and the war itself is communicated effectively, then the two sites could complement each other perfectly,” Allender added.
[pictured: POWs building Burma’s Death Railway]