Kanchanaburi town is located in a mystical mountainous area in Western Thailand. The town has a wide variety of temples, museums, shrines, cemeteries, waterfalls and so much more. Kanchanaburi has a very rich history because of the role it played during the second world war. It’s home to the world-famous Bridge over the River Kwai. The death railway was built by the prisoners of war taken by the Japanese soldiers during World War II. This part of Thailand has a very special feel to it and because of this, it sets it apart from other places in the country. With this in mind, here are our top 5 things to do in Kanchanaburi, Thailand:
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Where is Kanchanaburi located?
Kanchanaburi is located two and a half hours from Bangkok in Western Thailand. Kanchanaburi in fact borders Southern Myanmar (Burma) and this is the main reason for its rich history.
Things to do in Kanchanaburi, Thailand
1. Erawan National Park
Thailand is famous for its beaches and temples but it also has some of the most exquisite waterfalls in the world. Erawan Waterfalls is one of, if not the best waterfalls in the kingdom. Located in Erawan National Park, the waterfall has 7 tiers.
It’s a 2-kilometre (1.2 miles) walk up to level 7 but it’s defiantly worth the effort. What makes this place so amazing is that the water is a baby blue colour and crystal clear. This is surprising since the waterfall is located in the middle of a jungle. The beautiful blue water is what makes this national park so magical.
You can swim in the pools. Don’t be alarmed by the fish nibbling your toes whilst you get in, they aren’t dangerous, they are just after your dead skin cells. There are shops where you can buy food and drinks up to level 3, however beyond that, there are no shops.
Entrance fee: Foreigners- Adults 300 baht, Children 200 baht. Thai Locals- Adult 100 baht, Children 50 baht. Motorbike 20 baht, Car 30 baht.
Opening Hours: 08:00 to 16:30 Daily
2. Bridge Over the River Kwai
This bridge is a must-visit when in Kanchanaburi. Built by the prisoners of war between 1942 and 1943, the bridge actually makes up part of the “Death railway”. This bridge became famous because of the book and movie “The bridge over the River Kwai”.
The bridge has a sombre atmosphere especially when you are walking over it. Nowadays, there are many shops and restaurants around this area where you can find any food, drinks and souvenirs. You can also take a longtail boat ride along the river, from here while you are visiting. Boat trip prices start from 800 Baht but the price depends on the trip you want to take.
There are still trains that drive over this bridge daily so maybe you will be lucky and see one of these trains. The best time to visit the bridge is during sunset but it can get very busy during this time, however, it is an absolutely beautiful time of the day to visit.
Book a tour to the Bridge Over the River Kwai here
3. Death Railway Museum
There are many museums to visit that highlight the time of the war and what happened during this time. However, the Death Railway Museum is the best in town. It has so much in-depth information and incredible visual models that put many things into perspective.
This is a great place to learn more about the history of the war as well as see what the prisoners of war went through from their stories and visual aids. It’s a must-visit for anyone, from history lovers to people just curious about what happened here.
We also highly recommend looking around the Kanchanaburi War Cemetery which is just across the road from the museum.
Entrance fee: Adults 150 baht and Children (7-12 years old) 70 baht.
Opening Hours: 09:00 to 16:00, Daily
4. Wat Tham Sua (Tiger Cave Temple)
This is the most impressive temple in Kanchanaburi and people come from all over the country just to visit here. Built-in 1972, this massive temple is perched on top of a hill that offers great views of the rice fields around.
There are two ways to get to the top of the hill where the temple is; a cable car or stairs. The stairs are free but it’s 157 steps to the top where the cable car is 10 baht per person per ride!
Once you are at the top, you will see the 18 meters tall Buddha along with many other temples and shrines. We recommend climbing up the 7-story chedi to get amazing views of the Buddha from above.
Dress code for Wat Tham Sua
They are very strict when it comes to the dress code, especially for women. Women have to cover their shoulders, knees and cleavage. Make sure you dress appropriately otherwise you will have to rent a sheet to cover your knees. Men have to cover their shoulders and chest.
5. Prasat Mueang Sing Historical Park
This historic park was constructed between 857 and 1157. This religious temple was part of the Khmer Kingdom. Built on the banks of the Kwai Noi river, these ancient ruins in fact give you a glimpse into what life used to be like back in the day.
During renovations, artefacts, pottery, religious ornaments and antiques were found that have thousands of years of history. This is an interesting place to visit. It could however be challenging to visit here if you don’t have your own transport but it’s worth it if you can manage to get there.
Entrance fee: There is a 100 Baht fee per person.
Please remember to be respectful and do not damage the ruins.
How to get Around Kanchanaburi?
Getting around Kanchanaburi is not as easy as many other places in Thailand but there are some options available.
Rent a motorbike
Like most places around Thailand, the easiest way to get around is by motorcycle. You can rent a scooter for around 200 baht and a bigger motorbike for around 500 baht. If you are interested in renting a motorcycle, have a look at the following places; NP Motorcycle For Rent, Cha Car and Motorcycle Rent and OK Bike Rental.
Get a Private Taxi
A private taxi is probably the best option if you don’t feel comfortable doing it yourself. Many people in Kanchanaburi offer to take you to some of the most popular Kanchanaburi attractions.
These taxis are more expensive but it’s a good option if you are travelling as a group or family. If you are interested in renting a private taxi you can visit a tour agency in Kanchanaburi or you can have a look at this website.
Motorbike taxis are drivers who own motorcycles and use them to drive people around almost like a taxi but they can only transport one or two people at a time. This is an affordable way to get around but it’s not always the safest way. Motorbike taxi drivers can easily be identified by the orange vests that they wear. Depending on the distance these taxis can charge anything from 20 baht to 200 baht.
❥Also Read: The best things to do in Krabi, Thailand: Top 8
How to get to Kanchanaburi from Bangkok?
There are three ways to get to Kanchanaburi from Bangkok. These three ways are by car, by train or by bus.
Transfer to Kanchanaburi
You can either do this by renting a car from Bangkok or by paying a transfer company to take you to Kanchanaburi. If you are interested in renting a car you can do this from the airport or any trusted rental company in Bangkok. Depending on the size of the car it will cost between 900 to 1500 baht per day.
The transfer companies can pick you up from the airport or from your hotel in Bangkok and take you to your hotel in Kanchanaburi. These transfer companies normally charge between 1500 to 2500 baht per transfer. If you want to book a private transfer you can visit this website here.
Train to Kanchanaburi
Some trains run from Bangkok to Kanchanaburi every day. You can take a train from Bangkok to Kanchanaburi for about 100 baht. Have a look at the train schedule here.
Bus to Kanchanaburi
The most popular way to travel to Kanchanaburi is by taking the bus. You can take a bus from the Southern and Northern bus terminals to Kanchanaburi. A bus will cost you anything from 80 baht to 200 baht. Have a look at the bus schedule here.
Is Kanchanaburi Worth Visiting?
In our opinion, yes Kanchanaburi is worth visiting. Not just does Kanchanaburi have an extremely rich history it also has beautiful temples, mountains, lakes, waterfalls, railways and so much more. Kanchanaburi is a beautiful hidden gem here in Thailand and because it’s only 2 hours from Bangkok, it’s worth visiting if you have some time.
Where to Stay in Kanchanaburi, Thailand?
There are a lot of beautiful hotels in Kanchanaburi. The 3 hotels that we recommend:
- Prelude Hotel– A 3-star hotel just outside of the main town of Kanchanaburi. This hotel has a big pool and big rooms. Rated 7.8/10 on booking.com
- Sakarin Valley Resort– A 4-star resort located only about 7 minutes outside of the main town of Kanchanaburi. It has a beautiful pool and is surrounded by nature. Rated 8.6/10 on booking.com.
- U Inchantree Kanchanaburi– A 4-star hotel located right next to the river. It has beautiful views of the surrounding nature and a restaurant overlooking the river. Rated 8.9/10 on booking.com
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