Kanchanaburi is a city sited where the rivers Kwai Noi and Kwai Yai meet. The Bridge over the River Kwai is the main reason for tourists on holiday in Thailand to visit Kanchanaburi which has museums proving more information on those World War II times and the ‘’Death Railway’’. It is a beautiful region with virgin forest and waterfalls popular with trekkers.Our Thailand travel guide seeks to balance history with natural environment; Kanchanaburi does that.
How to get there
The bus journey from Bangkok to Kanchanaburi takes around two hours though it is sometimes difficult to get out of the capital due to the volume of traffic. Those coming from Pattaya will also find a regular service though the journey time is five hours.
The trains from Bangkok take slightly longer; two services a day.
Thailand tour packages will of course make all the necessary arrangements.
Best time to visit
Monsoon season begins in May just after a few weeks when the temperature is rising. Temperatures are fairly high all year round though the early weeks of the dry season beginning towards the end of the calendar year are slightly cooler. Indochina tour packages involve moving around a region where there are distinctive climatic differences.
Things to see and do
The Bridge over the River Kwai is just 3 km north of Kanchanaburi. There were huge numbers of casualties during the building of the railway line and the local cemeteries, Chongkai and Kanchanaburi, hold thousands of ex pat. graves. You can cross the bridge on foot or also or take a train.
The Thailand-Burma Railway Centre is extremely informative while World War II Museum and Jeath War Museum are other local sources of information.
There are several temples including Wat Ban Tham, Wat Tham Sua, Wat Tham Khao Noi, Wat Tham Khaopoon and Wat Tham Mungkornthong.
With so much sad history it is easy to forget how beautiful this area is. The Erawan Falls is stunning and certainly one of the highlights. The Erawan Falls has seven tiers with bridges and trails making the first six very accessible but ordinary tourists should remember to have comfortable footwear. The Sai Yok Noi Falls areeasiest to reach while a third option is the Sai Yok Yai Falls.
There are lakes, pristine forests and caves and when on holiday in Thailand it is great to see the natural environment.
Konyu Cutting (popularlyknown as Hellfire Pass) has been ‘’reclaimed’’ from the jungle with Australian Government funding. There is a good museum and self-guided tours.
Wat Pa Luang Ta Bua(Tiger Temple) is a huge but controversial tourist attraction with photo opportunities.
The source of the River Kwai is Lumnam Jone; the scenery is stunning though only serious trekkers will get there. They will see some great caves locally as well; Phra Thatand Tham Than Lot Caves as well as the Huay Mae Khamin Waterfalls.
There are two main ethnic groups, Thais and Karen and meeting local villagers is an experience in itself.
Elephants are sometimes kept in poor conditions but within the Province there is a sanctuary where you can actually volunteer to get involved in their welfare and this sanctuary deserves support.
It is actually possible to stay on a camp site within the national park. There are also bungalows as an alternative. Outside in Kanchanaburi there are guest houses as well. More and more people are looking to spend some time away from cities and beaches to make time in Thailand a real experience. Kanchanaburi is one place where that can be truly be achieved.