5 Things to Do in Kanchanaburi, Thailand
Kanchanaburi is approximately 120 kilometers away from the bustling city of Bangkok, but it feels like you’ve slipped away to an entirely different planet. It’s the perfect weekend getaway to escape the bright lights and heavy traffic and a must for any Thailand travel itinerary. I can’t believe it took us so long to pay it a visit! Imagine beautiful mountains sloping along the River Kwai creating picturesque views and stunning sunsets every night, a chilled out vibe with very little traffic, delicious food and great prices. That is Kanchanaburi. While its definitely one of those places you can easily pass the time by just lazing around, there are a number of things worth doing and seeing in this charming riverfront town.
Best Things To Do in Kanchanaburi
1.Take a ride on the infamous Death Railway from Bangkok to Kanchanaburi
Be adventurous and opt for the train rather than a bus from Bangkok to Kanchanaburi. You can’t beat the price at 100 baht a ticket and the experience itself is priceless. Don’t let the 3rd class seats deter you. They are rather comfortable, and trust me, you can sprawl out a lot more than from the back of a mini-bus. It’s a great opportunity to see some beautiful Thailand countryside as well. There are only two departures a day and we recommend the morning as there is no air conditioning and we can imagine the afternoon could get pretty hot. Also, bring a few snacks for the ride. There are a few vendors walking up and down selling snacks, but the options are limited. Also, you may wish to relieve your bladder before you depart (I’m looking at you in particular, ladies! See video footage!). Note – the train leaves from the Bangkok Thonburi station (not the main station). You can purchase your tickets ahead of time here or in the form below if you wish, but its not necessary.
2. Visit the Bridge at River Kwai
One of the biggest draws to Kanchanaburi for tourists, a stop at the River Kwai Bridge is a must. Located just 5 km beyond the city center of Kanchanaburi, you can opt to take the train to this station (for the same price of 100 baht) and then taxi back to your hotel if your accommodations are located in the main city. There are also plenty of guest houses and places to stay close to the bridge so this might be the best place for you to depart and a great time to admire the bridge, take a stroll across and snap some photos. The train continues over the bridge all the way to Nam Tok station if you wish to ride the Death Railway over the bridge and see other scenic landmarks such as the Wampo Viaduct. Seat 61 has a lot of good information about the Death Railway, the history and suggested itineraries if you are interested in more details.
3. Get Lost on a Motorbike
Kanchanaburi is a great place to rent a motorbike and just go for a cruise, especially at a rate of 200 baht/day (just 6 USD). The traffic is much less hectic than the touristic cities of Bangkok or Chiang Mai, and around every turn is another gem of a view. Get lost in the mountains, explore temples and waterfalls, cruise along the river, interact with the locals and discover authentic Thailand. There is no better way to do it.
4. Have Dinner on a Floating Restaurant
While exploring Kanchanaburi on our motorbike, we found an abundance of floating restaurants along the river that seem to be popular among the locals and tourists alike. Some of them are used as party boats and they actually take their guests for a cruise along the river while they feast. Others are stationary and a great spot for dinner, drinks and live music especially at sunset.
5. Swim in Erawan Falls at Erawan National Park
Located about 60 km from the center of Kanchanaburi is Erawan National Park, home of Thailand’s most famous waterfalls. Plan to spend the entire day, not only because it will likely take you that long to reach the 7th tier at the top, but also because you will never want to leave the cool, emerald green pools. Eat a big breakfast, as there is no food allowed past the second tier, and be cautious climbing the very slippery rocks as we witnessed a very unfortunate accident. Wear some good shoes for the trek! A bathing suit is a must if you plan to swim, but be prepared to have the fish nibbling at the dead skin on your feet – it tickles!
Take a virtual tour of the train, the waterfalls and Kanchanaburi with us!