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Backpacking in Kanchanaburi

NOTE: An updated (2020), more in-depth look into Things to Do in Kanchanaburi is available here!

So I finally made it to Kanchanaburi, and what a place it is. It’s about 2 hours from Bangkok and has become quite a traveler hangout. Laid back atmosphere, plenty of stuff to see and do, dirt cheap accommodation and a chilled but fun nightlife. It’s so accessible too, there’s no excuse not to whack it on your Thailand itinerary. It’s a similar atmosphere to Pai and Chiang Mai but with less people, all in all one of my favourite spots in the whole of Thailand.

Kanchanaburi Thailand

Things to see in Kanchanaburi:

Bridge over the River Kwai: Made famous from the movie with the same title, this is the main draw for visitors to Kanchanaburi. It’s found at the end of the town, so hop on your rented scooter and spend 2 minutes burning down the mainstreet to get it to and you’re all set.

You can walk across the bridge or you can actually take the train from Nam Tok to the River Kwai station (2 hours) where you actually cross the bridge by train, to be honest it’s a bit of a waste of time though.

Also, Hellfire pass is worth a mention if morbid tourism is your thing :S The Australian government funded a great museum and cleared the jungle back so you can see the tunnels the POW worked on for 18+ hours a day, months on end. Grim.  

Bridge on the River Kwai Thailand

Erawan Falls: Maybe not Thailand’s tallest waterfall but arguably it’s best, 7 tiers of ridiculously gorgeous waterfalls, with bright turquoise waters all of which you can swim in. The falls are about 70km from Kanchanaburi, I drove my scooter there and it took about an hour, cool drive too. You can take a bus from Kanchanaburi bus station, every hour for about $2, takes 90 mins.

Also, tour companies run day trips here from Bangkok, it’s certainly possible but it would be a bloody long day, better to make your way to Kanchanaburi, spend a day or two there and venture to the falls from there. I wouldn’t recommend squeezing it all into a day trip.

Erawan Falls

Sai Yok Falls are worth a trip too, much closer than Erawan and still pretty awesome (complete with hot springs)

Sai Yok Waterfall Tiger Temple: This is always a bit of an ethical choice, personally I didn’t go but it’s very popular so I thought I should include it. Basically, 30 mins outside the town you can go to Wat Pa Luang Ta Bua, pay exorbitant fees ($20+ to $200!) for various types of photos with strangely subdued tigers (read: drugged up). You may want an awesome new facebook profile pic, but ask yourself is it really worth it at the expense of the tiger’s freedom and health. Also, there have been attacks on people when the tigers get antagonised, which is pretty predictable considering the life they life, some worldwide travel insurance might be a good idea. That, or avoiding the place altogether. End of rant.

Tiger Temple Thailand
I’ve chosen this boring photo, because the tiger photos are so cute, they’d make u wanna go :S

How to get to Kanchanburi: From Bangkok, it’s pretty easy.

The easiest way to get to Kanchanaburi is too book your tickets online in advance, you can do that HERE

BUS: From BKK’s southern bus terminal, leaving every 30 mins or so. $4 and 2 hours.

Also, from Khao San Road you can get mini-vans for around $5, easy and convenient.

TRAIN: From Thonburi Train Station, a train leave BKK at 7.45am and arrives around 10am. This is my preferred choice, comfortale and awesome views. Costs around $3.

Thonburi Station

There are so many guesthouse to stay at, with rooms starting at $4 you won’t struggle to find cheap places. Food is great too, and street food starts at $1. Kanchanaburi is the sort of place you could find yourself staying for a week or two, it’s that nice! Happy travels!

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11 thoughts on “Backpacking in Kanchanaburi

  1. Pingback: Visiting the Erawan Museum in Bangkok; The Giant 3 Headed Elephant | One Step 4Ward
  2. Howdy!Quick question that’s totally off topic. Do youu know how to make your site mobile friendly?
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  3. I went last year to Thailand and this was the first place i visited. I got so impressed by erawan falls and Kanchanaburi that i am going back this year to show my friend! First some new countries and places than back to one of my favorite places of Thailand! But as you discribe everything i totally agree! I stayed outside the tigertemple, unfortunately it was included the trip i booked :/

    cheers! big fan of youre site!

  4. Great detailed post and nice pic of the bridge! I was there about a month and a half ago. I agree, small and chilled out. I was surprised to see so many older ex-pats living there on their pensions. Enjoyed the food and shelled out 500 Baht a night (a lot for the Thai countryside) but I had a nice comfy room w/ a desk, great wifi and pretty much full amenities including a pool, managed to do laps twice a day. The war museum sure was educational…

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