Top 15 BEST Things to do in Kanchanaburi

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One of the best places to visit in the kingdom and you must not miss these top things to do in Kanchanaburi! Read on and learn more about each attraction.

Thailand, in recent years, has been getting a lot of tourist influx from all around the globe, and it is still on the rise as we speak.

The reason why this has to do with Thailand‘s unique natural beauty, its amazing beaches, out of the world cuisine, its thick forests along with its fauna and of course the most important thing its super friendly people that play the perfect host.

Whenever we hear about Thailand‘s many wonders, we always hear just a few places being talked about, namely Phuket, Bangkok, and Krabi. But people do not know that there is so much more to Thailand than just these three places.

Kanchanaburi is one such place that everyone that visits it cannot stop raving about it and why not it has got it all, lush green foliage, great historical spots, national parks, and so much more.

It is a town located in the western part of Thailand. What makes Kanchanaburi so special is that it is the perfect place for you if you are looking for a place that has great natural beauty and also has a historical significance.

Kanchanaburi shines in both of these spheres as it has one of the most beautiful tropical forests in the whole of Thailand, as well as numerous museums and other historical monuments built during World War II.

It also might intrigue you to know that Kanchanaburi was a famous Neolithic Civilization site, as proven by the number of burial sites and artifacts found here that point towards the existence of ancient settlements.

Additionally, during World War II, Kanchanaburi was the famous site for the bridge that was built over the Kwai River constructed by the Prisoners of War in order to help the Burmese- Thai Railway.

Apart from being a treasure trove for all history buffs, nature lovers can also expect a lot of things to do and see here.

Kanchanaburi has several National parks that allow you to witness rare animals, hidden caves, and so much more. Being so centrally located, which is a mere 2 hours away from bustling Bangkok, the town of Kanchanaburi can be reached via a train or a good old bus. So what actually makes Kanchanaburi such a favorite among all of its visitors? Let’s find out all about it below.

Top 15 BEST Things to do in Kanchanaburi

Visit an Elephant Sanctuary

The Tham Than Lot National Park, also known as Chaloem Rattanakosin National Park has various sanctuaries and camps dedicated to Thailand’s most respected animal- the Elephants.

There are many groups working for wildlife conservation that advocate against elephant riding owing to the poor conditions of elephants at some of these camps. Elephant’s World is home to mostly elephants that have been rescued after going through abuse and harsh labor for years.

Elephant’s World provides an ethical way for its visitors to have an up-close and personal interaction with the elephants. The elephants here are not forced to do anything, no performing, no keeping them shackled, and definitely no riding on them.

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Kanchanaburi War Cemetery
deror_avi / CC BY-SA

Visit Kanchanaburi War Cemetery

The Kanchanaburi War Cemetery or Don-Rak War is as the name suggests a graveyard that has graves of almost 7000 Britishers along with Australian and Dutch prisoners of war that died during the building process of the Kwai River bridge or the Death bridge.

The whole experience of walking through the rows and rows of graves is very heart wrenching, given the fact that most of these prisoners of war were very young at the time of their deaths.

What is even more distressing is to think about how much they must have suffered and under what pathetic conditions they might have had to work until they could not take it anymore and passed away. The Kanchanaburi War Cemetery, even after so many years, is still in good shape and is well maintained.

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River Kwai Kanchanaburi
via pixabay| Tracey Wong

Relax Along the River Kwai

The tranquillity that you experience at the River Kwai is worlds apart from the buzzing atmosphere of Bangkok city. The Mae Nam Kwae Road runs along this river and is dotted with a lot of eateries, guest houses, cafes, and more.

A lot of these cafes and guest houses are located overlooking the River Kwai or even better right next to the bank. You can relax and laze around in a hammock and soak up the beauty of this river with a chilled drink to accompany you.

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Kanchanaburi Bridge
via Flickr|spotter_nl

Walk Over The Bridge on the River Kwai

The bridge is known as the ‘’Bridge on the River Kwai’’ was made famous by the award-winning movie ‘’The Bridge on the River Kwai’’ which was based on a book written by Pierre Boulle. The film showed the daily lives of prisoners of war that were forced to construct this railway as a way to connect Thailand with Burma by the Japanese forces.

The bridge is also known as the death railway as it cost a lot of human lives, particularly those of the allied prisoners of war. The bridge is located on the northern side of Kanchanaburi and is today flocked by scores of tourists.

However, it is worth noting that the bridge that we see today is not the original one as major parts of the bridge were destroyed in bombings by the allied forces after World War II ended. But despite all the there is no doubt about the fact that the bridge still is highly imposing. The railway track is still in use as slow-moving rails still run on it.

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Hellfire Pass Kanchanaburi
via Wikimedia Commons|calflier001

Go See Hellfire Pass

The Hellfire Pass is another painful remnant of the brutality that was inflicted on the prisoners of war during World War II. The pass is about 20 minutes away from the Death Railway, and it depicts the notorious cutting which was done along the Thai-Burmese railway.

It proved to be very hard on the people that were involved in its construction. About 500 prisoners of war worked here in shifts for as long as 18 hours per day. The entire length of the pass is about 500 meters, and it is 26 meters deep. In the 12 weeks time that it took for it to get completed out of 1000 soldiers, 700 died.

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Learn history At Death Railway Museum

The Death Railway was a project undertaken by the Japanese during World War II as a way of connecting Burma with Thailand. Work began in October of the year 1942 and was completed 14 months later in December 1943. In the entire 14 months, a lot of lives of prisoners of war were lost along with the civilians.

About 13000 prisoners of war and around 100,000 civilians lost their lives. The Thai-Burma Railway Center is the perfect place if you want accurate information on the Death Railway’s historical past, the living conditions of the workers, etc.

There are also some personal photos, videos, and various other artifacts that throw light on all the atrocities inflicted by the Japanese over these people.

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Huai Mae Khamin Waterfall
via Wikimedia Commons|Piith.hant

Camp at Huai Mae Khamin waterfall

Camping in Thailand where most people go for enjoying the beach life, partying and visiting wildlife sanctuaries, etc. might sound a little odd. But that is what the Huai Mae Khamin Waterfall is famous for.

The Huai Mae Khamin waterfall is located not far away from the famous Erawan Waterfall. The thing that makes it so famous is its seven layers of cascading waterfalls. Unlike other frequently visited waterfalls, this one despite being a hidden gem still remains in its untouched and pristine state.

The Huai Mae Khamin waterfall is just 2 hours drive away from Kanchanaburi. There is an entrance fee of about 9 dollars for tourists and 3 dollars for the locals.

For 31 dollars, you can rent a pre-erected tent here that also comes with beddings. On the campsite, you get access to showers, restaurants, and even a small gift shop. A perfect place to enjoy a great camping experience indeed.

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Erawan National Park
via Wikimedia Commons|Kanchanaphum Jantrathip

Explore Erawan National Park

The Erawan National is a stark contrast from the poignant historical monuments. It is a true paradise in the form of a national park. Apart from its seven layers of cascading waterfalls, it also has a hiking trail that takes you to the very top of the waterfall.

Along the way, you get greeted by pleasing scenery that includes emerald green pools perfect for a quick dip on a toasty day, and the fact that you are surrounded by lush green foliage is a different feeling altogether.

The national park also has some wild animals roaming around like elephants, monkeys, and the king cobra. Be extremely careful of the latter one.

If you are still not tired from all that hiking and exploring, there is also the Tham Phra That Cave that you can visit while you are there. The cave consists of century-old stalactites and stalagmites.

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Sri Nakarin Dam National Park
via Wikimedia Commons|Kittipong khunnen

Get close to nature in Srinakarin National Park

Another great choice for all nature enthusiasts is the Srinakarin National Park. The seven-layered cascading waterfall of Huai Mae Khamin is located in this national park.

If you are up for some thrill and adventure, you can go about exploring and visit the caves located around the national park, and for art buffs, there are art galleries named Tham Sawan and Tham Phra where you can see ancient paintings portraying the life of Buddha.

The National park is home to a lot of wild animals that you need to be very wary of like orioles, leopards and bats, to name a few.

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Visit a Temple in a Cave at Wat Tham Sua

Visit Wat Tham Sua

Wat Tham Sua or the Tiger cave temple is something that you just cannot miss while you are in Kanchanaburi. The Wat Tham Sua temple is perched atop a small hill overlooking the Mae Klong Dam, and on the back of the temple, you can see the never-ending expanse of green paddy fields.

You need to climb exactly 157 steps up towards the hilltop to see the huge Buddha statue that is encased in a half-circle dome of sorts. The main temple is built on an octagonal ground and has multi-tiered gabled roofs.

It’s Ket Kaew pagoda features numerous niches that are built along its sides. No doubt, the journey to the top is exhausting; however, you will feel your exhaustion evaporate in a moment when you see the huge Buddha statue along with the splendid paddy fields.

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Sai Yok National Park
via Wikimedia Commons| Drimascus

Explore Sai Yok National Park

The Sai Yok National Park is located at the Nam Tok Terminal Station and is known for its stunning caves, raft houses, and of course, waterfalls. The entire national park covers an area of 958 square kilometers.

Although it is not as famous as the Erawan National Park, which is located just nearby but despite that, there are many great things to see here. The park’s rugged mountain terrain is covered with thick evergreen trees.

While the lower parts of the park along its main river Khwae Noi had thick teakwood forests that were deforested by the Japanese during World War II, but it has been replanted again. The highest point of the national park lies on the border of Myanmar at 1,328 meters. People come here to see its amazing waterfalls, hidden caves, and also for a bit of a hike.

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Prasat Muang Singh Kanchanaburi, Thaïland
via Wikimedia Commons| Ddalbiez

Discover The Prasat Muang Singh

Prasat Muang Singh Historical Park can be categorized as an archaeological site that has remnants of the Khmer style from the 13th century. In addition to that, it also features a burial site for humans.

One of the largest remnants is the laterite stone-built temple that has a corn shaped spire in the center. It also has four piazza walls and four entrances in total.

As per the artifacts that were discovered here, the architecture of this place had been heavily influenced by the Khmers, and it has been seen that the Mahayana Buddhists used the temple for worship.

Since the temple’s premises does not have too many trees so it can be very difficult to find a shelter, especially during hot days. However, the best way to explore the ruins here is on a good old bicycle.

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Sunken Temple (Wat Saam Prasob)
User: (WT-shared) Cakra at wts wikivoyage / Public domain

Explore the Sunken Temple (Wat Saam Prasob)

The Wat Saam Prasob or the Sunken Temple is the last remnant of the town of Sangkhla Buri, which was flooded with water due to the creation of a dam named Khao Laem.

The town is located in the westernmost point of Kanchanaburi and is at a 300-kilometer distance from Bangkok city. The sunken temple of Wat Saam Prasob can only be visited when the water level is low. It is a 15-minute boat ride away from the Mon Bridge.

During the winter months, you can visit the temple without any issues but come rainy season the entire building is fully submerged underwater, and only a tiny portion of its upper part is visible.

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Dine at Kanchanaburi night market

The Kanchanaburi night market can be found outside of the Kanchanaburi train station. Kanchanaburi’s night market is a very lively place to be if you want to get your taste buds tingling. The night market has an endless number of stalls with vendors selling yummy local delicacies for very cheap.

They have got everything from sour pork, to deep-fried pork, to a steaming platter of mussels and much more. And if you have a sweet tooth, you are in dessert heaven as here you will get your hands on Thailand’s most revered and famous desserts like the Thai Crepe, Mango Sticky Rice, Tapioca Pancakes and scores of other sweet things. Visit at your own risk because once you start eating here, you might find it very hard to stop!

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Enjoy a delicious meal at Keere Mantra Restaurant

The Keere Mantra Restaurant is located on the way to Sai Yok in Kanchanaburi. It is a very fancy and big restaurant, something you might be surprised to stumble upon considering Kanchanaburi is such a small and rustic place.

The entire restaurant is built overlooking a huge lawn, and there is nothing but greenery and flowers as far the eyes can see. The restaurant features a huge fountain, for if you want a great backdrop for your selfies and about its menu, there have been scores of visitors from everywhere that have been raving about its mouth-watering selection of Thai food.

The restaurant has a great ambiance, and apart from its delicious food, it also serves out of this world desserts and coffee. Be sure to drop in for its famous steamed fish filet that comes with a selection of 4 different types of sauce pairings.

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Check out these activities in Kanchanaburi

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