As I’m preparing to travel for the last quarter of the year, I’m reminiscing about my time in Thailand. There are still things I haven’t shared so be prepared to read about them. After exploring the Temples in Bangkok, we spent two nights in Kanchanaburi. Our tour guide kept emphasizing staying in the jungle, but it was one of the most peaceful moments on our entire trip. If you plan on visiting central Thailand, read more about what to do in Kanchanaburi.
Kanchanaburi is mostly known for the activity around the area during World War II. The Japanese had control of the area and forced Thai and Allied POWs to build a railway from Choom Thang Nong in Thailand to Than Be Au Sa Yai in Myanmar (formally Burma). There are a number of museums and memorials honoring lives lost during this period around the city.
Things to Do in Kanchanaburi
- Elephants World Elephant Sanctuary – After announcing our arrival in Bangkok, comments of riding elephants and petting tigers flooded my DMs. I dreamed about taking “cool pics” like those mentioned, but after reading and researching, my views on these activities have changed. Our group decided to visit Elephants World, an elephant sanctuary that rescues old, sick and abused elephants used for trekking, begging and entertainment. Here we spent a full day learning about the mission of Elephants World while feeding and bathing the elephants.
- Damnoen Saduak Floating Market – The Damnoen Saduak Floating Market is about two hours driving from Kanchanaburi, but it’s worth the trip. Take a sampan boat on the journey and purchase food, clothing, spices and other goods for friends and family. Don’t be afraid to negotiate final prices when purchasing.
- Thailand-Burma Railway Centre & War Cemetery – The Thailand-Burma Railway Centre is a museum and research center dedicated to the men who were forced to build the death railway. It is a fully interactive facility that includes videos, photos and actual memorabilia from allied POWs and Asian laborers. Across from the museum is the War Cemetery which is the main POW cemetery for these victims.
- Bridge over River Kwai – Built along the Thailand-Burma Railway route, visitors can walk on the Bridge over River Kwai. Around the area, you can see beautiful views of the River Kwai and purchase goods from vendors. Be careful when walking, there is an active railway within the bridge.
Here are some other popular attractions we didn’t get to see on our visit:
- Erawan National Park – For the nature lover, Erawan National Park is about 65 miles from Kanchanaburi. This area is well known for its seven-level waterfall. You can do hikes, swim, and camp overnight within here.
- Hellfire Pass – Hellfire Pass is a point within the Death Railway where laborers used hand drills, picks, and shovels to carve through the mountain. The Hellfire Pass Memorial Museum includes an audio guided walking trail with informative panels for visitor’s education.
- Death Railway – Often done with a trip to the Hell Fire Pass, the Burma-Thailand railway (now called Death Railway) was originally created as a pass through Burma (Myanmar) to transport Japanese troops, supplies and possibly invade India. This is a popular attraction where tourists often take a trip on the actual rail from Bangkok to Kanchanaburi.
Where to Stay
Our full day and two nights in Kanchanaburi was at the River Kwai Resotel, a 3-star property in the jungle. We didn’t get a chance to enjoy all the amenities, but this property has kayaking, boat tours, cultural dance shows, karaoke and offers services to said excursions. We also received some of the BEST massages ever.
Check out my room tour and more in my video below:
Although our visit was short, I enjoyed the time spent. Kanchanaburi isn’t as much of a popular destination, but it was a peaceful and informative stay. You can easily do these activities within three days and it is well worth it if you’re a history lover.
Have you heard of the town of Kanchanaburi?