Kanchanaburi: The Complete City Guide317
BY Professor Bear

Kanchanaburi: The Complete City Guide

Are you looking for a comprehensive travel guide to the Kanchanaburi province? 🧑‍🎓 You're in luck as we are now taking you to Kanchanaburi, a well-known tourist city that foreigners and Thais love visiting.

The city of Kanchanaburi is a microcosm of what creates Thailand such an interesting country. You'll discover various historical sightseeing opportunities, in addition to overgrown tropical forest areas, where you can enjoy the outstanding natural beauty of the Land of Smiles 🧐

 

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Located only 140 km from Krung Thep Maha Nakhon (Bangkok), Kanchanaburi is an incredible place to visit for those looking for a short journey to escape the solid walls of the city 🧑‍🎓

Within this complete city guide, we comprised all the knowledge you expect for an incredible trip around Kanchanaburi City 💯 From all the amazing things to do to how to get to all these places. So, let's begin 🧐

 

A History of Kanchanaburi

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Kanchanaburi was heightened to "Kanchanaburi Province" in 1924 during the supremacy of King Rama 5. Divided into 13 districts, its "Muang Kan" is the third biggest district in Thailand 🧑‍🎓 Most of the area is forested, and on the west side is the boundary with Burma. Khwae Noi and Khwae Yai rivers flow through this province. 

Here there are cultural traditions of different nationalities, including Thai, Burmese, Mon, and Karen. Most nature lovers and historical explorers find tons of things to do here 🧐 Many national parks lie in the surrounding area, with chances to see impressive waterfalls, mesmerizing cave systems, and a variety of wildlife. Located only a 2-3 hours drive from the big-city interests of Krung Thep Maha Nakhon (Bangkok), Kanchanaburi is easily convenient via bus or train.

 

Essential Items for Your Travel to Kanchanaburi

  • Walking/Hiking Shoes
  • Breathable Shirts 
  • Shorts/Jeans
  • Outer Shell Jacket 
  • Microfiber Towel
  • Swimsuits 
  • Camera
  • Water Bottle
  • Universal Adapter
  • Packing Cubes

 

Recommended Duration for a Trip to KanchanaburiKanchanaburi  The Complete City Guide 17

You will have to spend 2 or 3 days properly covering the best tourist attractions in Kanchanaburi 🧐 But you will have to spend 5 to 6 days exploring all the other noteworthy attractions in Kanchanaburi.

 

Safety Considerations for Traveling in Kanchanaburi

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As Thailand is a safe country to travel to, Kanchanaburi also is very safe for even solo and female travelers 🧑‍🎓 But, be careful and don't be silenced into a false sense of security as petty and opportunistic corruption can still happen in any country 💯

Petty theft from hotel rooms and restaurant tables can take place if the criminal is offered a golden chance, so take care of your belongings at all times 🧐 You may be hoping to drive yourself or be a passenger in a taxi and a pedestrian, but be careful as the traffic is the biggest danger. Be extremely cautious if you select to drive, and take extra care when crossing the road.

 

Kanchanaburi Weather and Best Time to Visit

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You can visit Kanchanaburi any time of the year as the weather doesn't vary a huge amount from season to season 💯 But it is recommended that the coolest months of November to February are the best times to visit Kanchanaburi as they are the coolest months of the year. March to June are very hot, up to 38 degrees Celsius. July to October have rainfall, and sightseeing can become undesirable 🧑‍🎓

 

Prices, Expenses, and Typical Costs in Kanchanaburi

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Think cheap. According to my research, a bed in a dorm room will cost around 150 Thai Baht per night, while you will have to pay 600 Thai Baht for a room in a good boutique-style guesthouse 🧐 In addition, 5-star accommodation will cost around 3,000 Thai Baht per night. Whichever the choice, all guest houses in Kanchanaburi will offer a good standard of accommodation.

 

Transportation 

  • Taxi: 40-60 Thai Baht 
  • Songthaews: Thai Baht 
  • Motorcycle rental: 150 Thai Baht per day 
  • Small car: 800 Thai Baht a day

Some of the national parks and attractions are a bit way out of the city, so having a car or renting one would be the best option if you're planning to do a lot of traveling, or you could share a taxi with several people 🧑‍🎓 However, the best budget for transportation would be reasonable, if you are not visiting the national parks.

 

Food and Drinks 

  • Street food: starts at 30 Thai Baht per bowl
  • A Thai green curry with rice: 60-120 Thai Baht
  • A bottle of local beer: around 60 Thai Baht
  • Eat well with a couple of alcoholic drinks: around 600 Thai Baht per day

 

Getting Around Kanchanaburi

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Kanchanaburi is a relatively small city but too large to walk around comfortably 🧑‍🎓 On top of that, as many interests are found outside the city, you will desire to use some form of transport.

 

  • Renting a motorcycle 
    Renting a motorcycle is reasonable, easy, and convenient, with prices beginning at as little as 150 baht ($5) for an older bike 💯 The main caveat is safety; many rental places will neglect to maintain their bikes nicely, so check the bike over before you sign.  

 

  • Songtaews 
    Songthaews are like combined taxis that drive on limited routes around the city. You will just have to sign as flag one down to jump on, and if you need to get off, it is better to ring the bell 🧑‍🎓 I know a short Songthaew trip will start at 10 Thai Baht. If the vehicle is empty, the driver may be ready to take you directly to your destination for a fixed fee.

 

  • Tuk-tuks 
    Tuk-tuks in Kanchanaburi are much like everywhere else in Thailand; a costly gadget that only seems to appeal to tourists 💯 The drivers will quote steep prices wishing that you won't bother negotiating and are therefore best forgone.

 

  • Taxi / Motorbike Taxi 
    Taxis are a safe, convenient, and cheap way to get around the city and some attractions. The main bugbear is drivers who decline to use their meter and try to agree on a price in advance; always this price will be several times higher than the meter fare 🧐 Motorcycle taxis are very reasonable and quick, although a bit too chilling for some, weaving in and out of static traffic at high speed. 

 

Where to Stay In Kanchanaburi?

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  • Wang Dong
    Wang Dong is located northwest of the city. It is fairly rustic but has a few high-end resorts and lovely scenery 🧑‍🎓 It is also home to the Elephant World, so that it would be a good selection for families.

 

  • Mae Nam Kwai Road
    Mae Nam Kwai Road is the best place for most visitors, with many inexpensive accommodation options, bars, restaurants, and shopping. It has many luxuries, public transport options, and some nightlife.

 

  • Sai Yok
    Sai Yok is a bit further northwest of the city; this region includes the popular Hellfire Pass and the Khmer temple complex of Prasat Muang Singh 💯 It is also relatively rural, so you'd expect to hire some transport. Accommodation is generally cheaper than in the city itself.

 

Best Hotels and Guesthouses in Kanchanaburi

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Plakan Resort

Plakan Resort is excellent for multigenerational trips and group travel as it is especially family-friendly and wheelchair-accessible. The comfy riverside rooms have cleaned wood floors and balconies 🧑‍🎓 Relax with a beer in the garden brightened by string lights, take a dip in the courtyard pool, or endeavor to the nearby Chong Kai Allied War Cemetery and the Jeath War Museum for a sobering look into the wartime history of Kanchanaburi 🧑‍🎓

 

Natee The Riverfront Hotel 

With seven stories, Natee the Riverfront Hotel is a Kanchanaburi high-rise, meaning you’ll get some of the best views of the river 💯 Soak in the scenery from your private jacuzzi bath, or take it all in from the sparkling turquoise-tiled pool.

 

Royal River Kwai Resort and Spa

For a tolerant out-of-town escape in Kanchanaburi, book a stay at the Royal River Kwai Resort and Spa 🧐 If you visit this resort, you can relax by spending a day in a huge palm-fringed pool with a traditional Thai massage at the spa. In addition, you can join a stand-up paddleboard round along the River Kwai.

 

X2 River Kwai Resort

X2 River Kwai Resort is a 15-minute drive south of Kanchanaburi 🧐 Here; you can get up close and unique with the River Kwai in your free-to-use kayak, make a splash in the riverside eternity pool or stick to dry land with a bike ride along the dusty backroads. All relish river views, while some even float directly on the water.

 

Princess River Kwai

The modern, clean rooms at Princess River Kwai have balconies and traditional carved wooden furniture – the best have streamed baths and river views. The hotel is a 10-minute drive from town, but if you’re thinking adventurous, why not hop on a free kayak or bike to make your way there? 🧐 Prasat Muang Sing Historical Park, one of the lesser-known sights in the area, is a half-hour drive toward the Myanmar border; here, you’ll find the westernmost ruins of the Khmer Empire.

 

Pong Phen Guesthouse 

The standard rooms at this hotel in Kanchanaburi are basic, while the barely pricier rooms are more up-to-date 💯 However, they both offer great value for money. The garden has a palm-fringed free-form pool, ideal for cooling down on hot afternoons. It will take only around 10 minutes to walk to the guesthouse from the historic Bridge on the River Kwai 🧑‍🎓

 

Must-See Attractions and Activities in Kanchanaburi

Tour the Amazing Temples of Kanchanaburi

Kanchanaburi has various stunning temples, as you might expect. However, a few are exceptionally beautiful and should be on your to-do list. Wat Tham Sua is about 12 km outside the city, seated atop a hill 🧐 It is next to another temple network called Wat Tham Khao Noi. You will come across many beautifully gilded Thai-style buildings, a giant golden Buddha, and a fascinating old funicular cable car that takes you to the top of the hill along a 45° incline. 🧑‍🎓Wat Ban Tham has a massive dragon’s head which you walk through towards the top of the steep hill with an interesting statue inside a small cave.

 

Learn the History of the City during the World War II

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The Thailand-Burma Railway Centre is an incredible place to begin if you are eager for the historic railway built by POWs during WW2 🧐 The Kanchanaburi War Cemetery is also an interesting place to visit, being the final sloping place of the 7,000 POWs who died during the construction of the railway.

Furthermore, there is a WW2 museum and art gallery, plus the famous JEATH War Museum, where you can see how the prisoners were kept and treated during the railway's formation 🧑‍🎓 You may also be enthusiastic about visiting the Chungkai War Cemetery, about 2 km outside the city where the fallen Dutch and British POWs were buried.

 

Go Jungle Trekking at a National Park

Kanchanaburi is an outstanding place to go jungle trekking. There are thousands of acres of gorgeous fresh countryside, ideal for appreciating a bit of the outdoors within the province 🧐 In addition, there are several National parks within the area, with plenty to see and do, including camping, cave-exploring, bamboo rafting, and monkey feeding.

Kanchanaburi has many routes and itineraries, but do you know the Kanchanaburi is unique as it has famous local forests and jungles, which will give you a fresh feel? Incorporate that with some of the most scenic waterfalls in the country, and jungle trekking could handily become one of the most unusual things you do in Thailand.

 

Try the Local Cuisine

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Kanchanaburi does not have any local concentrations, but there are some outstanding local restaurants and places for inexpensive eats 🧑‍🎓 The cheapest place to fill up is the night market close to the train station. On's, Thai Isaan is another best local restaurants on Maenam Kwai Road. It obtains rave reviews online and serves faultlessly cooked Thai foods at incredible prices. If not, you can try some Thai-style burgers from the Bicycle Cafe on Chao Khun Nen Road 🧐

 

Relax with a Massage and Spa Visit

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If you're on vacation in Thailand and still haven't experienced a Thai massage? Then Kanchanaburi is an incredible place to give it a go. Many massage salons and spas located across the city offer a huge range of services 🧑‍🎓 Massages normally start from as little as 150 Thai Baht ($5) for an hour for the most basic type and expand if you select to add aromatherapy oils, hot stone massages, and so forth.

Ficus Spa is very famous and experienced and worth paying a little extra. The reasonable places are evident everywhere and will have the prices posted outside for you to compare, but be familiar that the prices are fixed and negotiating normally won't work 🧐

 

Grab a Bargain at the Markets

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Kanchanaburi has some outstanding local markets where you can pick up some bargains, extremely if you are ready to haggle, though beware that the dwellers of Kanchanaburi commonly don’t speak much English, if at all. The markets in the city are normally intended for the locals, meaning they are cheap 🧑‍🎓

The night market is known as JJ’s, the River Kwai Park Market, and the Kanokkarn food market. You can pick up some extremely cheap clothes, souvenirs, arts and crafts and have a nice dinner without wasting much. You will discover the prices here are much lower than in the tourist-oriented markets or places such as Chiang Mai or Phuket 🧐

 

Kanchanaburi Nightlife

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There are various karaoke bars, but these are mainly aimed at the locals, with not much English being spoken 🧑‍🎓 However, there are many British/Australian-style bars around Mae Nam Kwai Road, with a few places to drink until the early hours or listen to live music and a few hostess-type bars.

It might not be as the famous Pattaya Walking Street, but there is enough to keep you fascinated for a few nights; try the Aussie Rules Bar and the Jahmaikarn Reggae Bar for a few cold beers and some wonderful local food 🧐

 

🧑‍🎓 Quick Trivia!

In the mid-20th century, this urban center rose to prominence as it became widely renowned for its connection to an engineering marvel known as the Bridge on the River Kwai. This intricate construction was meticulously crafted by prisoners of war amidst the backdrop of World War II, serving as a vital component in the development of the Thai-Burmese railway system.

 

 

Main Attractions in Kanchanaburi

Bridge Over the River Kwai

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Commemorated in books and films, the Bridge Over the River Kwai is famed worldwide. This particular stretch of the Thailand-Burma Railway holds a distinguished status, widely acclaimed as a favored choice among visitors. Very hard to build due to the surrounding landscape prisoners of war and slaves were compelled to work on its construction; over half of them died due to the terrible disorders 💯 While the bridge’s brutal past very much still exists in the war monuments, museums, and memorials around Kanchanaburi, its environment is still gorgeous to behold; it spans the spectacular Mae Klong River 🧑‍🎓

 

Erawan National Park

Erawan National Park was founded in 1975; this amazing national park is located around an hour’s drive from Kanchanaburi and is full of beautiful waterfalls, gloomy caves, and stunning panorama 🧐 Named after the three-headed white elephant that is a significant figure in Hindu mythology, Erawan’s main draw is its seven great waterfalls, which each has their look and feel.

 

Thai-Burma Railway

While the Thai-Burma Railway was party to such tragic events and cruelty during the Second World War, nowadays, it is a beautiful stretch of railway to travel along. It is well worth visiting when in Kanchanaburi 🧑‍🎓 The train passes alongside rivers and forests hugging the mountainside, and you can see rice fields and small villages as you pass by on the shaky rails to Nam Tok 💯

 

Kanchanaburi War Cemetery

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Kanchanaburi War Cemetery was established in 1956. This cemetery houses the tombs of countless prisoners of war who were caught by the Japanese and forced to build the Burma Railway during the Second World War 🧐 Such was the cruelty and brutality meted out to those constructing the railway; it soon became known as the ‘Death Railway,’ as so many people died building it. A moving place to visit, the Kanchanaburi War Cemetery is very well-maintained, and it is relatively surprising to see the row upon row of graves stretching away before you 🧑‍🎓

 

Safari Park Open Zoo

With a wide variety of animals, the Safari Park Open Zoo is a wonderful place for families to visit, both delightful and educational 🧑‍🎓  Located in what was once a mining pit, the zoo is huge, with eight different zones on offer captioning animals living in natural-style habitats. Features include the fascinating crocodile show; you can even have up-close meetings with giraffes, tigers, and more.

 

JEATH War Museum

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Dedicated to telling the story of the Prisoners of War who endured so much while building the Death Railway, the JEATH War Museum exhibits harrowing accounts from the workers themselves and showcases old Detention Huts, memorabilia, and photos from the time 🧐 Standing for Japan, England, America, Australia, Thailand, and Holland, the abbreviation ‘JEATH’ highlights the countries involved in the construction of the railway.

 

Wat Tham Sua

Renowned by the moniker of the Tiger Cave Temple, this exquisite sanctuary gracefully perches atop a majestic hill, treating its visitors to awe-inspiring vistas from its summit. While the sceneries on the show make the climb worth it, the massive golden statue of the Buddha is the undoubted highlight 🧑‍🎓 Elegant to behold, the statue and chedi that ensure its tower above, and the neighboring monastery after which the site is named, are just as wonderful as the great architecture on show. 

 

Sai Yok National Park

Located around 100 kilometers from Kanchanaburi, Sai Yok National Park is a wonderful place full of waterfalls, caves, and wildlife. It is a big day trip option if you’re staying in the city. The park is hilly, and much of it is trimmed in dense forest, which hides such a prosperous array of fauna and flora 🧐 A very outstanding place to visit, the Kwai River runs through it, and loads of great trails twist their way through the forest. With the Sai Yok Yai Waterfall and the huge Tham Lawa cave on offer, this national park will fascinate nature lovers with all the incredible panorama 💯

 

Hellfire Pass

Built using forced labor during the Second World War, Hellfire Pass is so named because it was the difficult part of the railway line to build. Cutting through solid rock, many slaves and prisoners lost their lives 🧑‍🎓 Located in the Tenasserim Hills, around an hour from Kanchanaburi. Embarking on a day trip to this destination is strongly encouraged, as it presents a valuable chance to delve into a captivating museum that meticulously documents the history and adversities surrounding the past.

 

Giant Chamchuri Tree

The Giant Chamchuri Tree is located about twenty kilometers from the city center. This giant century-old raintree is one of the main attractions in Kanchanaburi 🧐 It has a 15 meters diameter trunk and a height of 20 meters. However, the most important fact is that its wingspan of more than 25 meters, as it has a shape of a big parasol.

 

Thailand-Burma Railway Centre

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Devoted to the sufferers who helped build the Death Railway, this incredible, interactive museum will help you come to grips with what went on in Kanchanaburi during the Second World War.

 

Tham Krasae

This cave used to be a residence for prisoners of war when the Death Railway was built 💯 Inside the cave; there is a Buddha image. Krasae Cave is an outstanding spot for visitors to take pictures. You can take the train to River Kwai Bridge Station. For Thai people, no fare is charged. For foreigners, the fare is 100 Thai Baht per person. 

 

Muang Sing Historical Park

Muang Sing, or Prasat Muang Sing, is a palace built in the Lopburi era, or about 800 years ago, during the Khmer reign. It was built using laterite stones according to Khmer architecture 🧑‍🎓  With an area of ​​more than 640 rai, located on the banks of the Kwai Noi River, Sai Yok District, open for visits from 8:00 AM to 6:30 PM, the entry fee is 20 Thai Baht per person 💯

 

Vibrant Events and Festivals in Kanchanaburi

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Mineral Water and Waterfall Bathing Day

It is held at Hin Dat Hot Spring at the onset of November. At the festival, stalls of agricultural products and a tourism presentation of Thong Pha Phum District 🧑‍🎓 Travelers watching will have an opportunity to bathe in the Hin Dat Hot Spring and enjoy the view of Namtok Pha Tat.

 

Boat and Raft People's Day 

Each year, in the middle of November, an exhilarating event unfolds at Song Khwae Road, near the scenic riverside, in front of the captivating city of Kanchanaburi 💯 This highly anticipated gathering brings together an array of engaging activities, including vibrant folk concerts, captivating Thai music performances, enlightening academic exhibitions focused on river and canal conservation, and a variety of water sports adventures, such as invigorating long-boat rides, thrilling speed-boating, and exciting jet-skiing experiences 🧐

 

River Kwai Bridge Week 

An annual commemorative event takes place from late November to early December, honoring the historical significance of the Death Railway and the iconic Bridge over the Khwae River, both intertwined with the events of World War II. This solemn occasion serves as a poignant reminder of the sacrifices and enduring legacy associated with these remarkable landmarks 🧑‍🎓 If you visit this festival, you will explore the historical and archaeological exhibitions, folk performances, booths of products, entertaining activities, and light and sound shows.

 

How to Visit Kanchanaburi?

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  • Taxi 
    The taxi is the most flexible and comfortable way to take you to Kanchanaburi from Krung Thep Maha Nakhon (Bangkok) 🧑‍🎓 But finding a reliable taxi driver willing to undertake the trip may be difficult. However, you can get the help of your hotel reception to locate a driver. 

 

  • Buses 
    Getting a bus to Kanchanaburi is relatively easy, primarily if you have used public buses in Thailand before 🧐 To commence your journey, make your way to the southern bus terminal in Thonburi. Upon arrival, you will discover that the first-class buses set off at regular intervals of 15 minutes, starting from 5 am and continuing until 10:30 pm. It will cost around 110 baht ($3.63) per person one way. There is also an option for some second-class buses departing from the terminal for 95 baht ($3.14) 💯

 

  • Train 
    Taking a train in Thailand is an eye-opening adventure if you come from Europe or the USA, where the trains are new and comfortable. Thai trains are old and slow by comparison. Keep remembering that the trains depart from Bangkok's Thonburi station at 7:50 am. It will cost about 100 Thai Baht ($3.33) each way and take around two and a half hours for the journey.

 

Kanchanaburi The Complete City Guide

 

🧑‍🎓 Vocabulary Time!

Aromatherapy
:
it involves the utilization of essential oils to harness their therapeutic properties and promote overall well-being.

 

Microcosm
: a community, place, or situation seen as a condensed representation embodying the essential traits of something significantly larger in scale.

 

Parasol
: a portable sunshade designed to offer protection and shade from the sun's rays

 

Ramifications
:
a complex or unwelcome consequence of an action or event

 

Wingspan
:
it is a competitive, medium-weight, card-driven, engine-building board game from Stonemaier Games

 

 

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Written by
Professor Bear

Hi! I'm Professor Bear, your scholarly travel companion, here to take you on immersive journeys to new places. Join me as I delve into history and provide detailed tours and guides for an unforgettable travel experience of your life.

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