Kanchanaburi is located where the Khwae Noi and Khwae Yai rivers converge into the Mae Klong river, where in 1942, under Japanese control, the famous Bridge on the River Kwai was built by prisoners of war. A memorial and two museums are also located here: the Thailand-Burma Railway Museum (opened in March 2003), and the JEATH War Museum, dedicated to the bridge and the Death Railway. The city is also home to the Kanchanaburi War Cemetery. It is the easiest access point to the nearby Tiger Temple.
Kanchanaburi City is 150 km west of Bangkok on an excellent, scenic highway. Kanchanaburi city, itself a popular resort town, is on the bank of the picturesque Mae Klong River at the meeting point of its two tributaries - Kwai Noi and Kwai Yai rivers. Kanchanaburi is a prosperous province with endless sugar cane plantations covering her vast plain and rich mines in the bills. The rugged countryside, the wild jungles and mountain rivers are still there. However, a road system has succeeded in making most areas accessible, which gives rise to a growing number of jungle resorts for nature-lovers.
Route 1: a 2-hour drive along Highway No.4 (Phetkasem) via Nakhon Chaisi Province, Nakhon Pathom Province, Ban Pong, Tha Maka and Tha Muang (of Ratchaburi Province) to Kanchanaburi.
Route 2: drive along Highway No. 338 from Bangkok to Nakhon Chaisi Province then switch to Highway No.4 to Kanchanaburi.
- Non air-conditioned buses leave Bangkok’s Southern Bus Terminal daily every 15 minutes from 4 a.m. until 8 p.m. The trip takes about 3 hours.
- First class air-conditioned buses (blue color) leave Bangkok’s Southern Bus Terminal daily every 30 minutes. There are also buses leaving frequently daily for Kanchanaburi from Nakhon Pathom. The journey takes up to 1.5 hours. From Ratchaburi and Suphan Buri Bus Stations, there are several buses leaving directly to Kanchanaburi. The trip takes some 2.5 - 3 hours.
Ordinary trains leave Bangkok’s Thon Buri Railway Station (Bangkok Noi Station) daily. Only 3rd class seats are available.
The journey takes approximately 3 hours. Taxis and songtaeows are the most popular modes of transport in and around the city.
Erawan National Park
The highlight of the Erawan National Park is the 1.5 km long Erawan waterfall with its 7 levels. At each level is a pond and who has packed the bathing suit, can enjoy a swim can. A tour to the waterfall takes about half a day. Those who want to explore the cascades in tranquil should avoid the weekend.
Sai Yok National Park
The Sai Yok National Park has one of the most beautiful sceneries in Kanchanaburi province. In addition to the many waterfalls, all of which run into the river Kwai, are some interesting caves. Tham Lawa and Tham Daowadung are the most famous caves in the park. Here lives also one of the smallest mammals in the world, the pig nose bat.
Bridge over the River Kwai
The famous Bridge over the River Kwai, a part of the Death Railway constructed by Allied prisoners of war. Take leisurely walks around town and pictures on the world-renowned Death Railway. There is also a war memorial and museum with an adjacent POW cemetery.
A little further away from the bridge, famous through film and literature, is the Hellfire Pass. This part of the track was cut through a giant rock. The dreadful work was carried out by night under torchlight and in this firelight the forced labor saw it as a scene from hell.
Wat Luang Ta Maha Bua (Tiger Temple)
Well known as Tiger Temple. The Tiger Temple is a rescue centre for wild animals and the home of wild tigers, wild pigs, deer, antelopes, water buffalos, apes and a hand full other animals. The tigers are taken out from their cage from in the afternoon and visitors can even touch them. The tigers brought tiger cubs into the world there.
Thungyai-Huai Kha Khaeng Wildlife Sanctuary
The huge Thungyai-Huai Kha Khaeng Wildlife Sanctuary is since 1991 a UNESCO World Heritage Site and covers 6.000 km². The reserve is bordered by Myanmar and extends from Kanchanaburi province in the west-central Thailand to Tak Province in northwestern Thailand. In this area the most elephants, tigers and other big cats such as the leopard and jungle cat roam the wild. Also the Asian jackal can be seen. Furthermore it is a haven for a big variety of rare bird species.
If one chooses to stay overnight out in the wild, there are the floating bungalows on rafts moored off the River Kwai bank in remote jungle areas. A night on a float hotel is an unforgettable experience. By nightfall, hushed stillness settles over the jungle, with only occasional night bird calls.
The climate in Kanchanaburi is influenced by a tropical monsoon. The average annual rainfall of the province is comparatively low, 900 mm. -1,000 mm. The rainy season lasts from May to October, though June can be quite dry. The dry season is from November to April. December is usually the coolest month and April the hottest. Average temperatures range from 20 to 35 degrees C., but daytime temperatures can exceed 40 degrees in the hot season. However, there can wide variations between daytime and nighttime temperatures.