Thailand’s third largest province, Kanchanaburi borders Myanmar to the west. Kanchanaburi holds great significance as the site of the Death Railway and the Bridge over the River Kwai. An abundance of verdant forests, lofty mountains, grand waterfalls, and gushing rivers make it ideal for nature and ecotourism.

  • Top 10 things you should not miss when in Kanchanaburi
  • The Bridge over the River Kwai: Made famous by the eponymous movie, the bridge has been repaired after the wooden parts were damaged during the war. In spite of its dark origins, the bridge stands firm in memorial to those who built it, overlooking cozy riverside restaurants and sprawling lush, green banks. The train continues to the very end of the track, providing tourists with a scenic and sobering journey.
  • Tour the National Parks: SaiYok National Park has several attractions, including beautiful waterfalls, the Old Railway Bridge, interesting caves, and nature trails. A two-hour train journey runs thrice daily and passes through steep gorges and sheer cliff faces. Boat operators offer trips on the river before the train returns. Erawan National Park offers vistas of deciduous and evergreen forest cover surrounding a magnificent seven-tiered emerald waterfall with plunge pools all around.   
  • Thailand-Burma Railway Centre: A must visit for those interested in war history, the Death railway was constructed for Japanese troops to cross the Burma border to the north-west. Carriages still operate on the track and wound through vistas of sugarcane, rice fields and farmland.
  • Adventure activities: Kanchanaburi is an ideal spot for boat tours, riverside camping, and water sports. In and around town, tourists can opt for kayaking, canoeing, river rafting and tranquil river cruises. Scenic hiking trails wind around the countryside, passing by gushing waterfalls, spacious caves, and verdant flora and fauna. Opt for quaint and simple tents pitched by the river, riverside resorts with villas on the river, or all-out luxury glamping. Families can visit the West Wonder Water Park, which offers six thrilling rides, food stalls, and some fun souvenirs.
  • WatThamSuea: Enclosed in this hilltop temple is a striking 18m-tall Buddha covered in golden mosaic. Several styles of stupas, the biggest being 69m tall, encircle this beautiful temple, and murals depict Kanchanaburi’s history and Buddha images. En route, tourists can stop by Kantana Movie Café, which is about 2.5 kms from the temple. A unique experience, it offers mouthwatering dishes with diverse movies to keep you entertained in a cinema atmosphere.
  • Floating river hotels:As Kanchanaburi spreads out around the River Kwai, many hotels, villas, and resorts offer accommodation and activities built on and around the river.  Staying at these hotels is a unique and scenic accommodation experience, where one can stay or dine on the river surrounded by lush mountains and jungle.
  • Hellfire Pass:  The Hellfire Pass is the name given to a 4-kilometer stretch of the Death Railway–the largest cutting made in the mountain. It was nicknamed Hellfire Pass by the prisoners because of the torches that lit the place at night while they were forced to work. Each year, on November 11 (Armistice) there is a memorial service held in the Hellfire Pass to commemorate the suffering and sacrifice of the prisoners.
  • Elephant Sanctuary:Tourists can also spend some time with domestic elephants and learn more about these wonderful and gently creatures at some of the ethical elephant sanctuaries around the city. Elephants World is a self-supporting environmental conservation organization situated just outside the town of Kanchanaburi, Thailand. They offer visitor programs ranging from one day to one week, and providing a mahout experience. The sanctuary takes care of 30 rescued elephants.
  • War cemeteries: Keeping with its history, Kanchanaburi has various war cemeteries and museums that honour the prisoners who worked here. Don Rak cemetery serves as the resting place for 6,982 Allied prisoners who perished while constructing the Death Railway. The Kanchanaburi memorial also names 11 Indian prisoners.
  • Giant Tree:Believed to be over 100 years old, this giant rain tree serves as a cool spot for vacation pictures. The trunk measures an impressive 15 metres in perimeter & 20 metres in height.  The branches spread out about 25.87 metres.Relaxing under this mammoth tree’s shadeand watching cows and horses graze in the distance makes for a pleasant evening. 
  • Dishes to Try in Kanchanaburi
  • Kaeng Pa PlaKhang: This spicy, clear soup is made with pieces of freshwater fish,three types of eggplant, and Thai red curry paste with lots of herbs. It can also be made with other meats or vegetables.
  • Miang Pla Pao:Feast on a large grilled fish served with mixed fresh vegetables and noodles and a sweet or spicy homemade sauce.
  • Go Local in Thailand: (Community based Tourism)
  • Malika RE 124: Mallika R.E.124 is a Siamese Living Heritage Town set as per the reign of King Rama V in 1901. Located about 30km from the town, it operates as a theme park where visitors can travel back in time to observe Thailand’s roots and traditional lifestyle. About crew members act and dress according to the era, and different zones exhibit the lifestyle, harvesting and cooking methods, and even markets. Visitors have the option of obtaining coins from that era and trading in the market to make for a unique experience.
  • Pak Prak Community: The short stretch of Pak Prak Road is lined with rows of Chino-Portuguese style buildings built during WWII. The Pak Prak community has turned the road into a Heritage Walking Street, celebrating their culture.The market comes alive at night, with hundreds of street vendors, artists selling their art, and street food stalls. The merchants here even get into a character as they sell vintage food and dessert which you’ll very rarely see elsewhere nowadays.
  • Mon Village, Sangkhlaburi: Close to the Thai-Myanmar border, this idyllic village is home to a mix of Burmese, Karen, Mon, Thai and Lao people. About four hours from Kanchanaburi’s town centre, the village’s local market offers Mon food and handmade Mon products. In addition to its natural beauty, it has many historic and cultural attractions. The famous Mon Bridge is Thailand’s longest an the world’s second longest wooden bridge. WatSaamPrasob is a sunken temple in the dam, accessible by boat during low water levels. The Three Pagodas Pass is situated around the border between Thailand and Myanmar, and has served for ages as the main land route between the countries.

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