The 25 things To Do in Kanchanaburi
If you love nature and history, you’ll love visiting Kanchanaburi, a western province of Thailand. With so much to do in this inspiring part of the county let’s not waste any time and take a look at the top things to do in Kanchanaburi.
1. Death Railway Bridge
The name “Death Railway” was formed as a reminder of the many deaths of the allied POWs and slaves who constructed the Thai-Burma Railway during WWII. The rail track was built on high wooden structures, curving and bending along the cliff of the mountain on one side, and the peaceful River Kwai on the other side.
2. Take A Train Journey To Bangkok
Train journeys in Thailand are notorious for being slow, however, they're the best way to see a countries wildlife and natural beauty. The local train from here to Bangkok is an excellent way to travel if you are not in a rush.
3. Meet The Elderly At Elephant World
Very different to the normal elephant camps, here the elephants are either sick, old or abused elephants that have previously been used for some form of work or entertainment. Elephant World is a complete non-profit organization and all money earnt is recycled back into the scheme.
4. Death Railway Museum
This relatively new museum was created to tell the story of the railways construction and outlines all the facts and figures associated. You can also watch a video whilst you are here that gives even more information to the visitor.
5. Visit The JEATH War Museum
If you have visited the Death Railway Museum then a visit to this place is a natural follow on, JEATH stands for Japan, England, Australia, America, Thailand and Holland. The museum contains artwork and photos that show the visitor the appalling conditions that the POW’s were under whilst the railway was being built.
6. Hellfire Pass Museum
Every museum documents a story. Recounting the visceral history of how the Japanese army forced Allied prisoners to build a railway through Burma and western Thailand, the museum is situated at the site where prisoners labored night and day, often with torches that resembled the fires of Hell.
7. Chung-Kai War Cemetery
On the far banks of the River Kwai sits this cemetery, it used to be the actual site of the Chung-Kai Prisoner Of War Camp but now it's the resting place for about 1,750 people who lost their lives here. Naturally the place is very quiet and there are rows upon rows of graves to walk along.
8. The Floating Nuns At Wat Tham Mongkon Thong
There is not a dragon floating in Wat Tham Mongkon Thong which means the Cave Temple of the Floating Dragon in English, but there is a floating nun that can be seen walking around the temple. On a regular basis the nun will put on a show that makes it look like she really is floating on top of the water whilst she assumes various yoga positions.
9. The Erawan National Park
Set out over 550 square kilometers the Erawan National Park is pretty huge and will keep nature, cave and bird lovers happy for a long time. Most visitor’s however come to see the Erawan Waterfall which is multi-tiered and named after a three headed elephant.
10. Giant Rain Tree
No words can describe how massive this tree is. This Rain Tree is over 100 years old, is 20 meters tall, and its shade can cover an area almost half the size of a football field. The trunk is so big, you’ll need at least 10 people with the arms stretched out to make a circle around it – and its roots are bigger than a person!
11. Discover The Prasat Muang Singh
A trip to Prasat Muang Singh will take you to the westernmost Khmer site that has been discovered so far. This place is known as the ‘Sanctuary of the City of the Lion’. The site dates back to the 12th century and sits alongside the banks of the River Kwai Noi.
12. Sai Yok Noi Waterfall
The Sak Noi waterfall is located just a short walk from where the Death Railway has its final station. The falls here are not the most impressive of all the waterfalls in Kanchanaburi Province but they still look pretty impressive as they cascade down the side of the limestone rock.
13. White Elephant Summit @ Thong Pha Phum National Park
If you’re a hardcore hiker, you’ll want to add Khao Chang Phueak, the third highest mountain in Kanchanaburi, to your bucket list. At 1,249 meters high, the most thrilling aspect of hiking at Khao Chang Phueak, is walking in a single file through a narrow path on the mountain ridge. It’s so narrow, the hikers nicknamed it “Spine of the Knife Mountain”.
14. Mahawangchang Elephant Camp
This elephant camp made a lot of waves in the news a few years ago when it was trying to promote its campaign to give elephants a better life and to provide protection against the illegal ivory trade. At this camp you can swim in the river with the elephants whilst getting your photograph taken by the guide you are with.
15. Take A Cooking Class
There are several places in Kanchanaburi that offer cooking classes where you can learn to cook authentic Thai food at home. Throughout the lessons you will learn all about the traditional ways that the food is prepared before sitting down with the class to enjoy your creations.
16. Wat Tham Sua @ Tiger Cave Temple
The scenery around the temple are not something that you will want to miss during your time in Kanchanaburi. When you get to the temple there are some stairs that lead to the top, from here you can see a massive Buddha image, at the front of the ledge you can look down and enjoy some beautiful views of Kanchanaburi as well as the dam and the river.
17. Get Off The Train At Tham Krasae Bridge
The train journey stops at this station on its route and allows all of the passengers off the train to take a look around and buy their souvenirs. There is also a cave a couple more minutes up the road which is said to have been the home of the Japanese soldiers whilst the railway was being constructed.
18. An Elephant Ride At Taweechai Elephant Camp
At the Taweechai Elephant Camp visitors are treated to a ride on the elephants back that takes the visitor out of the elephant camp and down through the forest to the river. The ride lasts about thirty minutes and during that time your guide will tell you about the local scenery you are traveling past, and how elephants are an important part of Thai cultures.
19. Camp At Pha Tad Waterfall
Located within the Khuean Srinagarindra National Park, this waterfall receives its flow of water from the Kala mountain range. The waterfall has three tiers, because of its layout and location you can stand at the bottom and view the different layers.
20. Wander Around The Night Market
There are two night markets located in the city, the main market is at the train station, and the second and smaller market is at the main bus station which is a great place to pick up your fresh produce.
21. Volunteer At Safari Park Open Zoo
You can volunteer here for as little while or several weeks. You will be cleaning the animals homes and looking after the sick animals in the zoo. At the end of your shift you can head down to the river and swim with the elephants or hang out with the leopards in the cat enclosure.
22. See The Century Old Buddha At Tham Phu Wa Temple
When you arrive at the temple you are greeted with a ninety five step staircase that has carvings of dragons on either side. Inside the cave there is an image of Buddha that is more than a century old.
23. Kaeng Lawa Cave
Located near to the river Kwai, the Kaeng Lawa Cave is the Biggest Cave in Kanchanaburi (500 meters) and had several hidden chambers. The most notable of the chambers are the music chamber, throne chamber and the curtain chamber.
24. Shinto Park
Shinto Park is located in the small town of Lad Ya, which is on the west side of the river Kwai. The park itself is a joint Thai and Japanese venture that was built to promote peace in Asia and it is a beautiful memory of all the people that gave up their lives in the construction of the Burma to Thailand Railway.
25. Hindad Hot Spring
The Hindad Hot Springs are sat right by the river and have plenty of trees overhanging to provide shade. There are three pools that are perfect for swimming in and the natural coolness of the river is just next to it when you need to cool down.