If you are interested in taking a trip to the west part of Thailand, there are a ton of things to do in Kanchanaburi. It is 110 kilometers to the northwest of where Bangkok is. The Klong and Khwae Noi Rivers join together near the town. The purpose of building Kanchanaburi during the eighteenth century was to defend against the Burmese invasion. There are 2 paper factories in this walled town. To commemorate the soldiers in the alliance who perished during the construction of the death railway, there is a cemetery.
Kanchanaburi is a hidden treasure for historical and natural attractions. There are plenty of opportunities for sightseeing in spite of which area you are visiting there. Memories of WWII can be observed through their protruding presence at Kanchanaburi. You can find quite a few war memorials and museums dedicated to the lives lost during the Japanese occupation.However, Kanchanaburi is not all about remembering the war only as there is a plethora of natural excursions and recreations. Let’s discuss our picks of 10 things to do in Kanchanaburi.
10 Things To Do in Kanchanaburi
1. Take a Stroll on the Death Railway Bridge
Starting off our things to do in Kanchanaburi list, we have the Death Railway Bridge. The construction of the Death Railway was to connect Bangkok to Yangon. The Japanese used the railway to supply resources to their imperial troops in war at Burma.
The Death Railway Bridge is a three hundred meters long bridge filled with the Railway’s history. Allied bombings back in 1945 destroyed the center of the bridge, so the curled spans are its only original parts. You can feel free to walk on the bridge but stand in a point of safety, in case any trains appear. There are tons of souvenir and food hawkers around the bridge.
The visit to the bridge can be a funfair-like, jarring experience. This bridge is open to visitors all day long throughout the week. If you want to avoid the crowd, go to the bridge late or early.
2. Commemorate at the Kanchanaburi War Cemetery
Next in the list is the Kanchanaburi War Cemetery. It is a brief distance away from the Kanburi, which used to be a base camp during the war. The cemetery holds more than 1,800 Dutch and 5,000 Commonwealth casualties as graves or memorials. Colin St Clair Oakes design the cemetery.
You can find the Kanchanaburi Memorial at the Kanchanaburi War Cemetery alongside the Saeng Chuto Road, in the North-West part. The memorial and cemetery registers are located in the service area of the cemetery. You must request a gardener there for access to them. Keep in mind that you cannot access the site in the wheelchair.
There’s no fee to enter the cemetery and it’s open throughout the week from 7 AM to 2 PM. The location of it is by the train station and visitors can get to the cemetery by taxi for 10 Baht or on foot.
3. Explore Hellfire Pass Memorial Museum
Among our other picks in the things to do in Kanchanaburi list, you can visit the Hellfire Pass Memorial Museum. The locals call it the Museum of Chong Khao Kad, and it is considered as a part of the cruelly built Death Railway. Chong Khao Kad or Hellfire is where this railway had to get through the highland there.
The forced work of prisoners led to an incredible pass of five hundred meters long. It only took six months during the year of 1943. Currently, the pass is not active anymore and now it is used as a museum to showcase the related photographs and tools.
You can visit the museum on any day between 9 AM to 4 PM without any entry fee. The museum is situated in a dense forest by Km. 66 of Sai Yok-Thong Pha Phum Road.
4. Take a Dip in the Erawan Falls
The Erawan Falls is a beautiful place to visit in Kanchanaburi. There are seven different tiers of the waterfall and it belongs to the Erawan National Park. Apart from the waterfall, you can also enjoy other explorations opportunities in the park, such as limestone caves.
Tiers of the waterfall span to about fifteen hundred meters in length, going through the dense rainforest. Each of them has its own name. You can comfortably get to the first one called Hlai Keun Lung. The trail is flat straight from the car park of the visitor center. There are fish in the pond there that will come and swim around you.
Entering the park costs 300 Baht for adult foreigners and 200 Baht for kids. The park is open from 8 AM to 4.30 PM officially. Taking a taxi from Bangkok will cost you around 4000 Baht unless you take the Bangkok-Kanchanaburi-Erawan route.
5. Head into a Cave to See Wat Tham Khao Pun
From the things to do in Kanchanaburi list, one of the most exciting ones has to be the cave temple. Exploring the cave temple of Wat Tham Khao Pun has natural halls that are well-lit. These lead to 9 caverns that are filled with Buddhist/Hindu shrines. The 1st cavern contains a reclining image of Buddha that has been there supposedly since the end of the nineteenth century.
The Ganesha images collection and hermit Ruessi depiction are perhaps the most interesting to see in the caverns. If you are tall, you have to duck at certain places. However, you’ll not find any tight pinches and you can easily find your way around.
You can explore the place from 8 AM to 6 PM on any day for a fee of 30 Baht. Boat tours, tuk-tuk or songthaew rides, and bicycle rentals are available to reach the site.
6. Spend a Day with Elephants at Elephant’s World
Compared to other attraction points where abused elephants are used for entertaining tourists or visitors, Elephant’s World is different. It’s a rehabilitation sanctuary for the elephants that people overworked or abused. You can consider it as one of those retirement homes, but for elephants.
Since the place is popular with groups from Thai schools, it is best to visit the place on weekdays. Calling to make sure that the schedule isn’t populated prior to booking is a good idea. A volunteer guide will be helping you around the place, and you can feed the elephants bananas and pineapples.
You have to book an appointment at the place through their website. They can pick you up from Kanchanaburi city at 9 AM or from and to Bangkok via taxi. You need to arrive at the Elephant’s world by 10 AM, if you go by yourself.
7. Enjoy Your Tour at Khuean Srinagarindra National Park
Khuean Srinagarindra National Park is our next pick for the things to do in Kanchanaburi list. Si Nakharin National Park is another name people call it by. The park is towards the northwest of the town of Kanchanaburi, and at the center of it, you will find Srinagarind Reservoir. It’s made by Khwae Yai river damming. Thai soldiers used the caves in the park to hide during the war with the Burmese army.
There are quite a few cave systems for exploring, in the park. You will find cave paintings in the Tham Sawan, from prehistoric times. Tham Phra Kho, Tham Neramit, and Tham Nam Mut are some of the other caves.
Khuean Srinagarindra National Park is open to visitors from 7 AM to 5 PM every day. For adults you have to pay 300 Baht and for children, you have to pay 200 Baht each to gain entry.
8. Stop by Prasat Mueang Sing Historical Park
Muang Sing Historical Park is another great place to visit in Kanchanaburi. You will find the trails of the once flourishing kingdom of Khmer. Historians estimate that the Prasat Mueang Singh along with the architectures around were built in the 857 to 1157 period.
The place was abandoned later until King Rama I’s reign. During his reign, it became a border for Kanchanaburi cities. Restorations of structures began after the year 1987. Historians found antiques, artifacts, religious ornaments, and pottery during excavations. These are said to hold a history of over two thousand years.
You can visit the park from 8 AM to 4.30 PM on any day of the week. Entry fee for each person is 100 Baht. The best way to reach the site is through public transportation. You can ride a train to the Tha Kilen train station and ride or walk another kilometer to the park.
9. Learn about History in Ban Kao National Museum
We picked Ban Kao National Museum in our things to do in Kanchanaburi list because it shows prehistoric civilizations. The museum is a Thai-style wooden house that the Fine Arts Department built. They exhibit skeletons, and whatever they found in the area from the olden times. Even now it is a popular place for travelers interested in history.
Among the eight rooms, the first show Kanchanaburi’s history. The 2nd room exhibits the archeology area of Ban Kao. Showing the archeology area of Kanchanaburi, there is the 4th room. The 5th shows the current Kanchanaburi community’s development. There is an olden wooden coffin and much more in the other rooms.
You can explore the museum on any day from 9 AM to 4.30 PM. However, keep in mind that the place is closed during public holidays and costs 30 Baht each to enter. It’s a kilometer from the Wat Tha Po entrance.
10. Checkout Sai Yok Yai Waterfall
Tons of visitors go to the Sai Yok Yai Waterfall every year. You can get there through the land as well as the boat. People go there for rafting too. The water goes down to the river of Kwae Noi from 10 meters high cliffs. There is a lot of streams and during rainy season water, there is plenty. Take extra care, if you are visiting during the rainy season.
The Saiyo Bridge has the best view if you are interested in seeing the waterfall from a close distance. You can also ride a raft or boat along the Kwar Noi. Keep in mind that the river is really cold and the currents are inconsistent.
There’s an entrance fee of 300 Baht for adults and 200 Baht for children if you want to visit the waterfall. It’s accessible any day between 8 AM to 6 PM.
Why is Kanchanaburi Attractive for Tourists?
Kanchanaburi is quite popular with tourists or travelers for its national parks and waterfalls. The city is at the convergence of the rivers Kwai Yai and Kwai Noi. Its Death Railway is perhaps the most attractive feature for the tourist, which was built at the time of the 2nd World War. Overall the city is great for history and nature lovers.
There are caves, waterfalls, rafting expeditions, elephants safe haven and many more things that make Kanchanaburi a beautiful spot to visit. The city has become quite popular among backpackers besides families and couples. The list of things to do in Kanchanaburi shows the most interesting things for tourists to do once they are there.
How to Get to Kanchanaburi?
Once you reach Bangkok or start from there, getting to Kanchanaburi is fairly simple. You can take trains, buses or take a taxi to go all by yourself.
You can hop on a train from Thonburi Station between 7.50 AM and 1.55 PM to get to Kanchanaburi. The station is on the west part of Chao Phraya River. The trains stop at Nakhon Pathom too from 9 AM to 3 PM. However, the fee is a hundred baht independent of where you get on. Once there, you can hire motorcycle taxis, songthaews, and tuk-tuks to take you around for forty to a hundred baht.
Additionally, you can hire a travel agency to arrange private transportation that can take you almost anywhere in the country. They can offer tickets combining ferry, bus, and train, but be careful with these and avoid if you can.
Kanchanaburi Useful Links
Kanchanaburi is an incredible place filled with history and natural beauty for vacation or casual trips. There are a lot of things to do in Kanchanaburi once you reach the town. From caves, waterfalls to historical sites and museums, the place oozing with wonders for you to unravel. We have compiled our ten picks for things to do in Kanchanaburi for your convenience.