Htaukkyant War Cemetry - Thanbyuzayat
The well maintained grounds of the Htaukkyant War Cemetry is located 1km from Thanbyuzayat's main town center on the road to Kyaikkami and Setse, and approximately 60 kilometers south of Mawlamyine. It is established on land that was donated by the Burmese people to the Commonwealth War Graves Commission to honour those who died in the construction of the Burma-Siam "Death Railway" in World War II. ANZAC day services are held here in April and although not as popular as Gallipoli, a fair number of Australians do make the pilgrimage here during this time. The layout and design of the war cemetry is reminiscent of other Commonwealth War memorials around the world, and the well kept grounds make you feel as though you're at the Shrine of Rememberence in Melbourne, Australia, rather than in Thanbyuzayat, Myanmar once you enter the grounds of the cemetry.
Hundreds of thousands of people worked on the Burma-Siam railway for 13 months at a cost of 80,000 Asian, 6,540 British, 2,830 Dutch, 2,710 Australian and 356 American lives. Some were prisoners of war; others were labourers from Myanmar and regional countries, including Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia. Not all who died were actually burried here, of course. Many were burried where they last stood along the railway line however their ID tag with name, age, rank, and battalion have been used to mark out the plaques in the war cemetry in their rememberence. Since only 112 km or 25% of the total length of the Death Railway was built within the boundaries of Myanmar (Burma) not all who died working on the railway can be found here. A similar war graves memorial has also been established in neighbouring Thailand for those who were burried there.
The main entrance to the cemetry is often locked but you'll find another entrance at the side gate near the caretaker, Mr Thet Mon's, residence. Mr Thet Mon speaks very good English as well as Thai and can give you some insights into the history of the Burma-Siam railway.
Getting there: The easiest way to get to Thanbyuzayat is by hiring a car and driver from Mawlamyine for about 25,000 kyat. Although there are cheaper alternatives such as the pickups which ply between Thanbyuzayat and Mawlamyine's highway bus station at Zeigyo, they're not that convenient since you'll have to walk a further one kilometer out of town to get there. Be sure to visit the Death Railway museum as well when you're in Thanbyuzayat.
- Last Updated: 08 July 2016