October 2012
« Sep   Nov »

Kanchanaburi – a city located at rivers Kwai Noi and Kwai Yai.

Kanchanaburi is a city located at the confluence of the rivers Kwai Noi and Kwai Yai.

Overview of Kanchanaburi

• The main sight of interest is the Bridge over the River Kwai.
• The start of the infamous World War II Death Railway to Burma (now Myanmar).
• There are many associated museums.
• There is an increasingly thriving backpacker scene taking advantage of the chilled-out riverside vibe.
• Kanchanaburi is also the gateway to the surrounding province.
• It has easily accessible waterfalls and national parks.
• The main road, Saeng Chuto Road, runs through the length of town from north to south connecting the River Kwai Bridge, the train station and the bus station.
• Closer to the river, is Mae Nam Kwae Road.
• Here most of the guest houses and the local bar scene can be found.

Things to do in Kanchanaburi

Bridge over the River Kwai
• This is located some 3 km north of Kanchanaburi.
• This is an iron bridge (Saphan Mae Nam Kwae) across the Kwai Yai River which is the main attraction for many visitors.
• The present iron bridge is the second wartime incarnation, which is a part of the original can be found in the War Museum.
• Two central ‘boxy’ spans were rebuilt after the war.
• This was built to replace three sections destroyed by Allied bombing.
• You can cross the bridge on foot.
• There are guardrails, but some areas of the bridge lack them.
• Off the end of the bridge, you can feed or ride an elephant bare-back at negotiated price of 600 baht per ride.
• The bridge is still used locally.
• It is possible to take one of the trains that cross the bridge every day.
• The ride from Nam Tok (the train line’s terminus) to River Kwai Bridge station takes a bit longer than 2 hours.
• The museums are dusty and generally not worth it, except for the Thailand-Burma Railway Center.
• This centre gives a good introduction of the Death Railway and its history.
• There are also two war cemeteries, the most moving of which is the Kanchanaburi War Cemetery.
Chongkai War Cemetery: A neatly maintained smaller cemetery 2 km out of town.

Kanchanaburi War Cemetery
• Open Time: 07:00-14:00.
• This is the final resting place of almost 7,000 POWs who gave their life for the construction of the Death Railway to Burma.
• All POWs at this site are from the United Kingdom, the Netherlands and Australia.
• After World War II, the Allies decided to move all the buried POWs along the railway line to two war cemeteries in Kanchanaburi.
• The graves are set up in straight lines with neatly kept lawns.
• Some of the graves have a moving personal inscription.
• Entry : Free.

Thailand-Burma Railway Center
• Open Time : 09:00-17:00 daily.
• Thailand-Burma Railway Centre is considered to be the best source of information regarding World War II in Thailand.
• There are very moving exhibits, including video and interactive.
• A visit takes at least one hour.
• Fee includes a free coffee or tea at upstairs cafe, where you can sit at the window bench overlooking the Kanchanaburi War Cemetery.
• It is a good place to sit and reflect after your tour of the center.
• Price:120 baht.

World War II Museum and Art Gallery
• 8:30-17:30 daily.
• This well-signposted complex houses a bizarre collection of museums and exhibits.
• Most of these are poorly maintained and labeled.
• There are good views of the bridge from the roof of the riverside building.
• Above the WW2 museum is the most bizarre section, housing dusty stamp collections and a gallery with wall paintings of all Miss Thailand winners.
• The World War II and (old) JEATH Museum is lurking in the basement.
• Entry fee: 40 baht.

JEATH War Museum
• Open time: 08:30-18:00.
• Exhibits are housed in a palm hut, modeled on the kind of buildings that Death Railway POWs would have slept in.
• The exhibits themselves are timeworn and many have been attacked by insects and weather.
• A cross-river boat service is available from the Jeath museum.
• This is the main draw card of the World War II Museum and Art Gallery complex.
• It features a section of the first wooden bridge, recreations of the POW barracks and random military paraphernalia
• Downstairs is an exhibit of prehistoric Thailand complete with semi-erotic murals.
• Entry fee : 40 baht.

Notable Temples
• Don Chedi archaeological site
• Giant Tree
• Kuan Yum
• Wat Ban Tham
• Wat Tham Sua
• Wat Tham Khao Noi
• Wat Tham Khaopoon, 5 km out of town , 20 baht entrance fee to cave complex with Buddha images.
• Wat Tham Mungkornthong

What is there around Kanchanaburi?

• The area northwest of Kanchanaburi is dominated by the beautiful River Kwai Valleys.
• This area has great natural beauty, with a dazzling amount of waterfalls, caves, lakes and mountainous scenery.
• Most attractions can be visited as a day-trip from Kanchanaburi.
• Independent travel is possible for most attractions.
• If you want to do Hellfire Pass and the Erawan Falls in one day, it’s almost compulsory to take one of the guided tours as there is no public bus connection between them.

Sai Yok Noi Falls
• While most visitors see the spectacular Erawan Falls, the Sai Yok Noi Falls are more accessible
• They are straight on the road to Sangkhlaburi
• The Sai Yok Yai Falls are located further away from Kanchanaburi on the same road
• The national park is home to limestone caves and hot springs as well
• And it can easily be combined with the Hellfire Pass Memorial.

Best time to visit / climate

• Thailand is largely tropical.
• It’s hot and humid all year around with temperatures in the 28-35°C range (82-95°F).
• From November to the end of February, it doesn’t rain much and temperatures are at their lowest.
• From March to June, Thailand swelters in temperatures as high as 40°C (104°F).
• From July to October, although it only really gets underway in September, tropical monsoons hit most of the country.

Location on Google Maps

View Larger Map

Or click and paste the URL below on your browser:

How to get there?

1. By Bus
– BKS public buses (line 81) leave from Bangkok’s Southern Bus Terminal which is located far west in the suburb Thonburi.
– In Kanchanaburi, there are two separate but nearby bus terminals, with 1st class buses departing from an office off Thanon Saengchuto, and 2nd class buses from the larger terminal one block east.
– 1st class buses should leave Bangkok every 15 minutes from 05:00-22:30, take about 2 hours, and cost 99 baht, including a bottle of water.
– 2nd class buses (new route) leave Bangkok every 20 minutes from 03:30-19:00 and take about 2 hours. Cost 95 Baht.
– 2nd class buses (old route) leave Bangkok every 15-30 minutes from 04:00-18:00 and take about 3 hours.
– There are also tourist minibuses directly to/from Khao San Road, departing Kanchanaburi at 13:30 and 18:30.

From Sangkhlaburi to Kanchanaburi:
– Air-con VIP buses leave at 08:45, 10:45 and 14:30 and take 4 hours.
– Air-con minibuses leave at 06:30, 07:30, 11:30, 13:00, 15:30 and take 3.5 hours.
– Standard buses leave at 06:45, 08:15, 10:15, 13:15 and take 5 hours.

2. By Train
– Trains leave Bangkok’s Thonburi Train Station at 07:45 and arrive at Kanchanaburi at 10:20, also at 13:45 and arriving at 16:35.
– You may be interested in buying a ticket all the way to the River Kwai Bridge, since these two trains are the only ones which cross the bridge each day.
– The fare is 100 baht for foreigners.
– The best way is probably to take the passenger boat from Phra Arthit Pier and connect to a cross-river ferry that reaches the Thonburi Railway pier, then walk or take the open minibus from there.
– You can also walk a bit away from Khao San Road and find a metered taxi that will not rip you off.
– The fare should be about 70 or 80 baht from Khao San on the meter.
– Return trains leave at 07:25 and 14:48 from the main railway station; from the River Kwai Bridge they leave 6 minutes earlier.
– Riding 3rd class is an adventure in itself, and definitely recommended.

3. By Car
– Kanchanaburi is about 3 hours drive from Bangkok, along the highway no.4 (Phet Kasem) from Bangkok until it hooks up with Highway 323, this will take you all the way to Kanchanaburi.
– You can catch a taxi to Kanchanaburi, return to Bangkok for the day for around 2,000 baht.
– This should include stopping at the Bridge over River Kwai and museum, Kanchanaburi Township, the local dam and the cemetery for the prisoners of war.
– You may need to pay a bit extra to visit Erawan Falls which is about an hour out of the town center and the Tiger Temple.

4. By Minibus
– For shorter travel – day trips from Bangkok are commonly sold at Bangkok travel agencies.
– Typically these include Toyota minibus transport from one’s hotel to Kanchanaburi and back

Some Travel Books about Thailand

Lonely Planet Discover Thailand Thailand PhotoMazing Thailand

Places to stay (hotels / restaurants along with website / contact numbers)

Hotels at wikitravel.org
Hotels at tourismthailand.org
Hotels at gothailand.com

Blogs / Sites about Thailand – kanchanaburi

Blogs at wikipedia.org
Blogs at travelblog.org
Blogs at travbuddy.com
Blogs and reviews at lonelyplanet.com

Images and photos of Thailand – kanchanaburi

Images at google.com
Images at tripadvisor.in
Images at flickr.com
Images at trekearth.com

Videos of Thailand – kanchanaburi

Leave a Reply

You can use these HTML tags

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>