Kanchanaburi – About Kanchanaburi in Thailand

Approximately 130 km west of Thailand’s capital, Kanchanaburi is today a lively modern city. But it has a dark past. During World War II, the Japanese began construction of the Thailand - Burma Railway. This project, which lasted from 1943 to 1945, eventually became known as the “Death Railway” due to the large number of Thai workers and European prisoners of war who were tortured and eventually perished while building it. The Bridge over the River Kwai, a novel which was later made into a famous movie, told about Kanchanaburi and the infamous railway construction project. The bridge spanning the Kwai River still exists today, and together with the now disused railway, attracts many tourists. These sights act as an impressive memorial to all those who lost their lives in the course of the construction.

Kanchanaburi, Thailand Thailand,  Kanchanaburi
 

In Kanchanaburi, most of the sights visitors commonly go to see have some connection to the Second World War. Among the better known is an Australian war museum, which serves as a monument to the Australian POWs who toiled on the railway. You can still see the remnants of the railway bed and the cutting that these men worked on.

In addition to the war memorabilia, the city is currently looking to improve its facilities and is planning other activities for tourists, such as golf courses.

Getting there

Kanchanaburi is about a 2 hour bus ride from Bangkok, with regularly scheduled buses leaving every half hour from Bangkok’s Southern Bus Terminal. So while you’re staying in the capital, you can easily take a day trip to Kanchanaburi. There is also a train from Bangkok’s Thonburi station, although the train trip is a half hour longer than traveling by bus and there are fewer departures. The most expensive means of transportation but also the most convenient, especially if you are traveling in a large family group, is mini bus; a local travel agent can arrange this for you.

Accommodation

You’ll find a lot of hotels and guest houses to stay at in the area of the railway. Even a very comfortable hotel with a swimming pool and room service will not be overly expensive. Because there is so much to see and do in Kanchanaburi, it is most convenient to stay within easy reach of the tourist attractions. The best time to visit is between November and January, the (comparatively) cool and dry season, although travel is possible year round.

Kanchanaburi - Thailand Kanchanaburi show
 

Restaurants

Kanchanaburi is not a dance all night party town. Look for pleasant restaurants and bars in the hotels. Here you will be able to relax and unwind at the end of the day, perhaps enjoying an outdoor venue. Thai is the featured cuisine, naturally, but if you are in the mood for a taste of home, pizza and burgers are also available. This is great if you have children in the party who are picky eaters. There are also a number of simple and authentically Thai local cafes.

Activities

Many of the activities in Kanchanaburi tend to center on the World War II construction of the bridge across the river. Visit the three war museums and talk to the WWII veterans who come to visit to find out what it was like in those times.

Guided tours visit the rain forest nearby to see national parks with waterfalls, mountains and caves. This is a great activity for everyone, large and small. The Erawan National Park is home to the spectacular Erawan waterfall, one of the most beautiful in all Asia, which has seven different levels. Attend an elephant camp to learn how to ride and look after these splendid creatures. In the jungle many people also like to visit the Wat Pa Luang Ta Bua, or Tiger Temple.

Golfers will have a great time in Kanchanaburi. The town has developed a number of golf courses for every level of skill. Golfing surrounded by the incredible natural surroundings is an amazing thrill that has to be experienced to be believed.

At the end of November is the time of the Kwai Bridge Festival in Kanchanaburi. This annual event memorializes all the men who suffered and died while slaving on the bridge construction. The highlight of this Festival is an outstanding sound and light show. Come here to learn more about Kanchanaburi and its history.

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