Kanchanaburi, Thailand: A Travel Guide To The Historic province Of Thailand
The province of Kanchanaburi is about a 2.5 hour drive to the west of Bangkok. It’s easily accessible by road or rail and is a must-visit for anyone interested in an authentic Thai experience filled with cultural, natural, and historical attractions. Kanchanaburi city, located on the confluence of the Khwae Noi and Khwae Yai rivers which form the Mae Klong River, is a great base to explore the region from. In this article, we highlight the most important things to know before going to Kanchanaburi, the best places to stay, the best places to eat and drink, and 6 fun things to do in Kanchanaburi, which can easily be combined into a 3 to 4 day visit.
Check out our video on Kanchanaburi to see the best things to do through our camera!
Table Of Contents
Important Things To Know about Kanchanaburi
Best time to travel to Kanchanaburi
The best time to visit Kanchanaburi is between December and February. In this period the weather will not be as warm and humid as normal. The months of March to June are very hot, up to 38-degree Celsius. July to October have heavy rainfall and sightseeing can become difficult.
How to get to Kanchanaburi
Kanchanaburi is easy to access from Bangkok by train or bus. Trains to Kanchanaburi depart a few times per day from Thonburi (aka Bangkok Noi) Station in Bangkok, located on the west side of the Chao Phraya River. Buses and vans also leave from major cities like Bangkok and Chiang Mai on multiple times per day and from various bus stations. The most reliable website to find bus schedules is 12 Go Asia.
Safety in Kanchanaburi
Kanchanaburi is very safe. we did not experience any problems here nor have we heard from other people that had problems. It is one of the safest places to visit in Thailand.
Where To Stay In Kanchanaburi
Chez Bure Homestay: this is where we stayed during our trip and loved it!
Royal River Kwai Resort and Spa -SHA Extra Plus: the perfect hotel if you want a relaxed luxurious stay
P.Y. Guest House: a cozy guesthouse in an oasis of greenery close to the center of the city
Where To Eat And Drink
Tapas Thai Bar Restaurant: a mixture of Thai and English food, a very popular restaurant!
Jit Sod Chuen: chill vibes, delicious food, and great cocktails
Pai-Kan: affordable and great food
IM-JUNG Mu Kratha: A popular local barbecue place (you pay for a buffet)
Best Things To Do In Kanchanaburi, Thailand
If you're traveling to Kanchanaburi and want to save time searching for directions to all of the places we mention in this article, then look no further than our custom map. Simply click on a point in the map below to get directions there for yourself!
Let's now jump into the 6 best things to do in Kanchanaburi!
6. Visit the Death Railway
The Death Railway is a sad part of Thailand’s history. Originally called the Thailand-Burma Railway, it was constructed during World War II by prisoners of war and enslaved civilians under Japanese occupation. Over 100,000 laborers died during its 16 month construction because of inhumane conditions. Today, you can walk or take a train across this bridge as well as learn more about it at the Death Railway Museum or JEATH War Museum. You can also visit the nearby Kanchanaburi War Cemetery. The bridge was made famous by the movie “The Bridge on the River Kwai” from the 60s which used the historical setting of the construction of Death Railway.
5. Stroll around the night market
Wherever you go in Thailand, you are never far from a night market and Kanchanaburi is no exception. Located next to the Kanchanaburi train station, this night market sells just about anything. It’s a great place to spend an evening sampling Thai cuisine, from a range of rotis and coconut-rice pancakes to fresh juices, fried rice, and noodles.
4. Visit the colorful temple "Wat Tham Suea"
One of our favorite temples in all of Thailand is located in the heart of the Kanchanaburi province. Set amongst stunning scenery, the Tiger Cave Temple is located on a hilltop and can be reached by a set of stairs or a small tram. Inside the temple, you can see a massive Buddha image and several chedi’s that are divided into different floors. The orange chedi offers the most incredible view of the Buddha below. But be aware that the temple is still very active, so be respectful at all times. As it’s located a bit outside Kanchanaburi town, you’ll have to rent a scooter or take a taxi to get here.
3. Visit the narrow cave temple "Wat Tham Khao Pun"
Another sacred site worth visiting near Kanchanaburi town is the limestone cave temple, which used to be a concentration camp during World War ll. Inside the cave, you can find 9 rooms that are connected by narrow passageways. Besides buddha images, you can also find a room where they illustrate the history of Kanchanaburi during the second World War. After visiting the temple, you can walk down the road and take in a beautiful view of the river and mountain scenery. And if you can’t get enough of cave temples, there is also Wat Tham Phu Wa, situated 15 kilometers or 9.3 miles to the west.
2. Relax and watch the sunset over the river
A nice peaceful thing to do in Kanchanaburi is to simply relax on the banks of the river during sunset. Many hotels, restaurants, and bars in Kanchanaburi are located along the river's edge, offering some breathtaking evening views. And if you’re looking for more action, it’s also possible to rent a jet ski, kayak, or stand-up paddleboard to take in the views from the water.
1. Spend a day at Erawan waterfalls
Last but not least, most travelers come to Kanchanaburi to see the picturesque seven-tiered Erawan Falls, located about a 1.5 hour drive or bus ride from Kanchanaburi town. We caught the Erawan bus from the side of Sangchuto road heading northwest and you can ask your hotel for an updated bus time schedule since it changes often.
Once you get to the falls, you will see how the water cascades down the limestone mountains, surrounded by lush vegetation. You can follow a scenic hiking trail to the different levels of the waterfalls, and some of the turquoise pools are a lovely spot to take a refreshing swim. It’s easy to spend a full day here!
If you don't have time to spend multiple days in Kanchanaburi, then we recommend doing a day tour here from Bangkok. This day tour includes the highlights of the area: the Erawan falls as well as the Death Railway.
Additional things to do in Kanchanaburi
There are a few things to do in Kanchanaburi we didn’t mention that are definitely worth doing if you have some extra time in Kanchanaburi:
Hellfire Pass Memorial Museum and Walking Trail
Khuean Srinagarindra National Park
Sai Yok Noi Waterfall
Ruins at Mueang Sing Historical Park
Khao Laem National Park
Use These Websites To Save Money On Your Trip To Kanchanaburi
Booking.com for places to stay
Skyscanner for cheap flights
GetYourGuide for local tours
Rentalcars.com for affordable car rentals
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If you're looking for some other suggestions and tips on Kanchanaburi, here are some great articles that will help you:
11 Awesome Things To Do In Kanchanaburi, Thailand by Nomadasaurus
13 Amazing Things to do in Kanchanaburi Province by The Lost Passport
33 Amazing things to do in Kanchanaburi, Thailand by Stingy Nomads
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