Kanchanaburi province is often overlooked as a prime tourist destination in Thailand, but this historical town has a huge amount of attractions to offer. Thailand has long been a mainstay on the South East Asia tourist circuit, but quiet Kanchanaburi does not make all itineraries at the expense of more glamorous Thai destinations like Bangkok, Phuket or Chiang Mai. However, this riverside boom town has a jam-packed list of attractions that will appeal to every visitor.
Bridge Over The River Kwai And World War 2 History
The big draw cards Kanchanaburi offers are the internationally famous Bridge over the River Kwai, the Tiger Temple, and Hell Fire Pass Memorial site a little further out of town. For twentieth century history enthusiasts, this is one of the most easily accessible and interesting World War 2 sites that this region has to offer.
A weekend is an ideal amount of time to spend in Kanchanaburi, as almost all of the other major attractions are several kilometers outside of town. Hellfire Pass, several local waterfalls including the seven-tiered Erawan Falls, The Bridge of the River Kwai and elephant trekking can all be combined as part of an organized day trip from Kanchanaburi town for around 700-1000 Baht, (23-33 USD.)
If staying in the main budget traveler strip in Kanchanaburi, it is not necessary to include the Bridge of the River Kwai as part of an organized day trip, as it is only a leisurely 10 minute cycle or a short trip on a motorcycle taxi. Although an obvious tourist trap, the bridge is still an awesome sight, and one of the best, (and quietest views,) is from inside the J.E.A.T.H War Museum adjacent to the bridge, named after the countries that involved with the Death Railway, (Japan, England, America, Australia, Thailand, Holland.)
Hell fire pass, or trips to see any of the major waterfalls in the area, do however, need to be booked a part of a day trip, (or independently on a motorbike for adventurous travelers,) as they are located between 50-100 kilometers outside of town. Any tour office or hotel on the main strip can assist with booking such trips.
Getting To Kanchanaburi From Bangkok
Kanchanaburi can easily be reached from Bangkok, either as a day trip, on two to three day package trips, or independently. From Bangkok, trains run twice daily from Thonburi station, buses run regularly from both the North and South Bus Terminals, or a taxi can be hired for as little as 1000 Baht, approximately 33 USD.
A taxi can be worthy choice on the outward journey if only to minimize hassle, as Bangkok is not always an easy city to navigate for newcomers and the South Bus Terminal is a long way out of the city and away from public transport connections. The North Bus Terminal links closely to the sky train that now makes travel around central Bangkok a dream, but many travel agents in Bangkok prefer to sell a package trip of 2 days and 3 nights to Kanchanaburi rather than assist with buying train or bus tickets.