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KANCHANABURI
Historic and Natural Beauty22

Kanchanaburi is Thailand’s third-largest province, stretching far west of the border with Myanmar. The province boasts of some of the country’s most beautiful waterfalls and caves, as well as the historic bridge over the River Kwai. The hills and valleys are scattered with intriguing temples, historical sites, and the lush, wooded landscapes are ideal for cycling, trekking, and raft trips.

01. The historical bridge over the River Kwai

Situated just to the north of the town, this bridge was made famous by the 1957 film “Bridge over the River Kwai” by David Lean. The bridge was the so-called “Death Railway” that connected Thailand and Myanmar, and was intended to provide a supply line for Japanese troops in Myanmar during World War II, though the work was completed at the loss of countless lives of POWs. These days, it is possible to cross the bridge on foot or by train.
02. Walk without leaving your mark at the Thung Yai Naresuan Wildlife Sanctuary

Blessed by great natural beauty, Thailand’s UNESCO Natural World Heritage Site of Thung Yai Naresuan and Huai Kha Khaeng Wildlife Sanctuaries are joined to make the kingdom’s largest protected land. An adventurous journey to Thung Yai Naresuan offers visitors a glimpse of the few remaining virgin forest canopies remaining in the world. Feel like an intrepid explorer as you trek through vegetation that few humans have ever set foot upon.
03. A solemn memorial for the fallen: Kanchanaburi War Cemetery

The remains of almost 7,000 Allied prisoners are buried here. Many of the memorial slabs are unidentified. A memorial service is held each year on Anzac Day, April 25.
04. If only walls could talk at the Prasat Muang Sing Historical Park

Built around the end of the 12th century, this place was once the westernmost outpost of the Angkor-centered Khmer Empire, strategically located on the bank of Kwai Noi River west of Kanchanaburi. Remains dating back some 2,000 years have been discovered, and artifacts, including temple carvings, religious statuary, and pottery shards indicate that the city must have been inhabited between the 12th to 14th centuries.
05. The ethereally striking Erawan National Park

Visitors come to see the seven-tiered waterfall that gives this national park its name. The top level of the falls is thought to resemble a three-headed elephant, called “Erawan” in Thai, which is said to be ridden by Indra in Hindu mythology. With milky turquoise water tumbling over various cascades, the falls are wonderfully photographic and one of Thailand’s most beautiful. Trekking is the most popular activity in the park. Bungalow accommodations and camping facilities are also available.
06. Take the scenic route: a rail journey to the waterfall

One of the best ways to see the countryside around town is to take the two-hour journey by train from Kanchanaburi to the waterfall. The train stops at attractive village stations, and the views are particularly impressive. The route passes through steep gorges and round sheer cliff faces. The most popular attraction is Sai Yok Noi Waterfall.
07. Relive history at the Hellfire Pass Memorial Museum

Located northwest of Kanchanaburi, the most difficult terrain met in the construction of the Death Railway was dubbed “Hellfire Pass” by those who worked there, hacking away at solid rock with the most basic tools. The Memorial Museum here is perhaps the best of all those in the region, combining maps, war relics, models, photos, and accounts by survivors. A trail from the museum leads along part of the railway’s former route, where a section of the track has now been relaid.
08. Rafting is the way to travel

Another relaxing way to enjoy Kanchanaburi’s surroundings is to take a raft trip, which typically includes stops at several of the nearby attractions, a leisurely lunch, and an overnight stay on the raft. For those with less time to spare, a two-hour jungle raft excursion can be arranged from a mountain pass to the stunning Lawa Cave. Bamboo and inflatable rafts are also available for a trip down the Songkalia in Sangkhlaburi.
09. Shop for fabulous jewelry

Kanchanaburi is famous for its gemstones. The small village of Bo Phloi is well known for its locally mined blue sapphires, and semi-precious stones such as the onyx. Visitors can visit the Jewelry Handicraft Center to see how these materials are honed and fashioned into spectacular jewelry sets. For souvenirs, River Kwai Park Market, right next to the bridge, is quite convenient.
10. Savor freshwater fish at Kanchanaburi

Kanchanaburi is a province famous for its freshwater fish. The most popular dining areas are the Song Kwai Road waterfront area and the riverside restaurants in the vicinity of the River Kwai Bridge.

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