Tha Pai Memorial Bridge historical landmark in Pai
Tha Pai Memorial Bridge or Tha Pai World War II Memorial Bridge, this antiquated-looking steel bridge is indeed a compulsory stop for tourists for a selfie or three, and is also an historical venue after all, though it is no longer the original one with a wooden structure that preceded the one you see now.
During World War II, the Japanese army wanted to have a route from Chiang Mai to Mae Hong Son to attack Burma which was a colony of the United Kingdom at that time. To establish the route, the bridge was built over the Pai River (Tha-Pai river near Tha Pai village) in 1941 using elephants to drag trees from the jungle and forcing villagers to work. After the war, Japanese soldiers left and burnt down the bridge. However, the villagers was in trouble because the bridge was very important for their daily life, and rebuilt the wooden bridge over the Pai river.
History of Tha Pai Memorial Bridge
In 1939 World War II : A huge conflict, opponents on every continent and almost everywhere in the world, caused the biggest loss in the entire world history.
Japan went to war against the allied countries and created an army base in Thailand in order to achieve their strategic goals.
The plan was to attack Burma. At that time, Burma was a colony of the UK, but it was a difficult route for the army to travel, the way being blocked by the Pai River.
The Japaneses army forced villagers to work on the route from Chiang Mai to Mae Hong Son.
Meanwhile, villagers from Mae Hong Son were forced to build the route from Mae Hong Son to Chiang Mai. The road met in the area of ” Tha – Pai ” river near Ta Pai village.
The bridge was built using elephants which dragged trees 30 inches wild from the jungle. Strong poles were set up and the bridge to connecting the road between Chiang Mai and Mae Hong Son.
This became the historical World War II bridgeHis1946 World War II ended. Japanese soldiers left and burnt down the bridge. This caused the villagers major inconvenience in their own ways of transportation.
Because there was no bridge they had to make log boats th cross the river ( these were logs with holes dug inside ) .
Since the villagers were used to using the bridge for their transport and deliveries, they all came together and rebuilt the wooden bridge over the Pai River.
In August, there was a huge flood that caused damage to all the paddy fields, farms and also destroyed the bridge.
Pai district office asked Chiang Mai province for permission to have the ” Nawarat Steel Bridge ” to replace the ruined bridge.
The Nawarat Bridge was transported to Pai, Mae Hong Son.
It took 1 year to complete the works. It then became known as the ” Ta -Pai Bridge ” and for the new generation it still stands as a reminder of our history.
Tha Pai Memorial Bridge is indeed similar in structure to the more famous bridge over the river Kwai in the Kanchanaburi. On the bridge are a few vintage samlors (three-wheeled bikes) that provide posing positions for photo shooting and selfies, and you get a nice views of the rice fields nearby. A popular local dressed as Jack Sparrow works his daily routine posing for photographs for a fee.
How to get to the Tha Pai Memorial Bridge
Tha Pai Memorial Bridge is located about 9 km from Pai on the road to Chiang Mai, on the way from Chiang Mai to Pai and is on the kilometre marker 88 on highway 1095, Mae Malai-Pai Road. We are travel agency in Chiang Mai, we can provide the private tour which suitable for your group.
Entrance fee & opening hours
Tha Pai World War II Memorial Bridge is open to tourists all days and all times and there’s no entry fee.
Note : Wheelchair user is accessible
Our services :
- Package tour to Pai – Mae Hong Son (Private group)
Tha Pai Memorial Bridge Map
Great post. I love history and this post is awesome. Thanks for sharing!