Kanchanaburi is a town in Thailand which is quite popular amongst many for the Burma Railway or Death Railway. The town is a witness of the sufferings endured by civilian laborers and prisoners of war during the construction of the Burma Railway Bridge. There are many points of interest in Kanchanaburi that pay homage to these lost lives. Many museums and historical sites are dedicated to the fallen prisoners. Besides history, Kanchanaburi has lush green nature to offer its visitors. There are two national parks engulfed in greenery and waterfalls that make for tourist attractions in Kanchanaburi. ElephantsWorld, Mueang Sing Historical Park, and numerous cave temples are a few other places to visit in Kanchanaburi. Read on and you will know about the best things to do in Kanchanaburi. Add them to your itinerary and be assured that you will have a great tour.
Let's explore 15 best things to do in Kanchanaburi:
1. Visit the historical Burma Railway Bridge
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Burma Railway Bridge or Death railway Bridge as it is popularly known, is one of the prime attractions in Kanchanaburi, Thailand. The bridge is of great historical importance since it was built at the cost of the lives of thousands of war prisoners. Since its center was destroyed in the 1945 bombings, only its outer curved spans are original till this date. Visitors are allowed to roam across the bridge and observe the bridge from a safe point when a train is passing. As the bridge is a tourist point of interest, it is always bustling with hawkers selling food and souvenirs.
2. Step into the land of green at nearby National Parks
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If you wish to escape the hustle and bustle of Kanchanaburi and be amidst nature, then Erawan National Park and Khuean Srinagarindra National Park are your best bets. Erawan National Park is the 12th national park of Thailand and was established in 1975. Its prime feature is the Erawan Waterfall which cascades in a total of seven stages. It is also home to four caves, namely Mi, Rua, Wang Bahdan, and Phartat. Khuean Srinagarindra National Park is spread over an area of 592 square miles and was established in 1981. This national park also features a seven-tiered waterfall named Huay Mae Khamin waterfall. There are several cave systems inside the park that showcase stalactite and stalagmite formations.
3. Revisit the old times through the war museums in Kanchanaburi
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Kanchanaburi has a rich but dark history. Get a glimpse of the melancholic past by heading towards the war museums in town. Your best options lie in JEATH Museum, Arts Gallery and War Museum near the Burma Railway Bridge, and WWII Museum. The JEATH Museum will let let you know all about the Death Railway which was built in between 1942 and 1943 using the Allied Prisoners of War. This museum was established in 1977. To get an insight into the history of Second World War, you must visit WWII Museum and Arts Gallery and War Museum.
4. See ancient temple ruins at Mueang Sing Historical Park
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Mueang Sing Historical Park is of great point of interest, especially for the connoisseurs of architecture as well as history. Declared as a historical park in 1987, it is home to the remains of two Khmer temples that go as back as 13th and 14th century. The temples showcase Bayon style of architecture and exude an old charm. Besides the two temple, two more ancient monuments also exist inside the historical park.
5. Enjoy the beauty of nature at Sai Yok Noi Waterfall
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If you fail to visit the Erawan Falls then make your way towards Sai Yok Noi Waterfall. Although it may not cascade like the Erawan Falls in all its glory, Sai Yok Noi Waterfall makes up for it by allowing you to swim in its pristine pool. It is a favorite picnic spot not only amongst the tourists, but amongst the locals as well. If you wander around, you will also come across an old locomotive from the second world war put up on display. You may even head towards Rock Valley Hot Spring and Fish Spa to get a relaxing treatment amidst natural settings.
6. See the gigantic elephants up-close at ElephantsWorld
Enjoy a one-on-one interaction with friendly elephants at ElephantsWorld in Kanchanaburi. This animal protection facility is home to numerous rescued elephants. While you get to see the majestic animals in their natural habitat, you may also get to feed and bathe them. The facility is tucked away in lush greenery and has a large pond where you may enjoy bathing the elephants. The guides at ElephantsWorld are very knowledgeable and will make your visit even more special.
7. Visit the historical site Hellfire Pass
Hellfire Pass is a part of the Burma Railway. It is a railway cutting which was constructed using forced labour and the prisoners of war. Many prisoners and laborers are said to have lost their lives during the process of building the pass. Although Hellfire Pass is known for its jarring past, it is now more of a memorial site. People visit it to pay homage for those who suffered during the construction of the cutting pass. Since the site is now preserved, it is possible to walk through the cutting. The path leading to the Hellfire Pass Memorial Museum is also very scenic and treats you with breathtaking vistas.
8. Pay your tribute to the lost lives at Kanchanaburi War Cemetery
Kanchanaburi War Cemetery was established in 1956. It is dedicated to the prisoners of war who were used to build the Burma Railway or Death Railway. It has a total of 6,982 graves, primarily those of Australians, Germans, and Britishers. A few others belong to those from Commonwealth Nations. After visiting this well-maintained cemetery, you may head towards Thailand–Burma Railway Centre which is just across the road. Here you will get to know more about the prisoners who built the Burma Railway.
9. Get transported back to the Stone Age at Ban Kao National Museum
Located near the Khwae Noi river, the Ban Kao National Museum is a small place with exhibits that date as back as 4,000 years. The artifacts include pots, axes, and bowls from the Stone Age. It also has a burial site of Neolithic men. All these objects were recovered from archaeological site near Ban kao. Funerary objects and skeletons are a few other things that make up for the collection at Ban Kao National Museum. It is a great place to visit if you are a history buff with enough time on your hands.
10. Visit the numerous cave shrines in Kanchanaburi
If you are tired of visiting all the historical sites in town, then spend a day hopping from one cave temple to another in Kanchanaburi. Many of these caves are developed and have statues of Buddha placed inside. A few of the must visit cave temples include Wat Tham Khao Pun, Wat Tham Pu Wa, Wat Ban Tham, and Wat Tham Mangkon Thong. Visiting the caves will also allow you to see different natural formations. Tourists make it a point to visit Wat Tham Khao Pun since it is a system of 9 caves. Wat Tham Mangkon Thong is also of particular interest since it has a floating nun show that attracts the visitors.
11. Be in awe of the huge Buddha statue at Wat Tham Suea
Wat Tham Suea is a hill-top Buddhist temple. You may either hike to the top or take a mini train if you wish to skip the leg work. The huge Buddha statue at the top will leave you awestruck. Reaching at the peak of the hill, you will also be treated with stunning vistas of the surrounding nature. Since the temple is quite famous amongst locals as well as tourists, it may get quite crowded during later hours of the weekdays and on weekends. To avoid the crowds, start off early morning when even the weather is quite pleasant.
12. See a little of China at Wat Tham Khao Noi
Located very close to Wat Tham Suea, Wat Tham Khao Noi is a Buddhist temple constructed in Chinese-style. To reach the main temple, you will have to climb many stairs. But it is worth all the efforts, since you are treated with mesmerizing scenic views of surrounding nature. The temple itself makes for a spectacular piece of architecture and is a beautiful sight to behold. There are many gilded statues inside Wat Tham Khao Noi.
13. Experience the Thai culture at Malika R.E 124
If you wish to be one with the Thai culture then you must visit Malika R.E 124. This is a recreated ca.-1905 Thai town. Many cultural shows are held in the village that are must-visit to soak in the hues of Thai traditions. People mostly enjoy having traditional Thai food which is fresh served and steaming hot from the boats that are rowed in the water body of the Malika R.E 124. You may go ahead and even rent the traditional Thai costumes. Get an insight into the lives of Thai people by visiting this place.
14. Rest in the shade of the Giant Rain Tree
The century old Giant Rain Tree is a popular tourist attraction near Kanchanaburi. Many locals as well as outsiders flock to this place to admire the 100 year old specimen of a chamchuri, that is a rain tree. The branches of the tree are so wide-spread, that numerous people can rest under its shade at a time. A board near the tree offers information about it. The location is seen more of a good photography site. A small market selling local produce is also set near the tree frequently. If you wish to buy a few Thai fruits at cheap price, then you may head towards this market.
15. Soak in the sun at Thale Nam Jued Had Sai Tha Lo
Thale Nam Jued Had Sai Tha Lo is a tiny beach by the banks of Mae Klong River. Its soft sand makes it a great place to visit for those who want to enjoy the sun, sand, and swimming. Although the beach is small, it is clean enough making it possible for you to enjoy sunbathing. You may also get a lounging chair on rent if you do not wish to lie on the sand. The river water near the beach is shallow enough and is safe for swimming. Many eateries are also set up along the beach. Treat your taste buds to mouth-watering food as you enjoy at the beach.