Things to do in Kanchanaburi | Top 13 Attractions
Kanchanaburi War Cemetery, locally known as the Don-Rak War Cemetery
This war cemetery is located on the main road, Saeng Chuto Road. Designed by Colin St Clair Oakes and maintained by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission, this war cemetery contains the remains of 6982 POW’s (Prisoners of War), most of them are Australian, British and Dutch, and they all died during the construction of the ‘Death Railway’. The quietness reminds the people who visit this place of the war, its violence and its effects.
This interactive museum is located near the Kanchanaburi War Cemetery (Don-Rak War Cemetery). It was privately funded and is run by Rod Beattie, an Australian expert in the history of this railway. The museum provides an exhibition of the history of this railway, regarding the construction, its geography, how it was to live in the POW camps, the deaths, the operation and the end of the railway. The museum is daily opened from 9AM till 5PM. Admission fee is 60B for adults and 30B for children <12.
Kanchanaburi City Gate
This ancient city gate to Kanchanaburi is located in the heart of the city and was built in 1831 during the time when King Rama III reigned. It has become an interesting attraction near the Kwai Yai and Kwai Noi rivers.
During World War II this bridge was built by British, American, Australian, Dutch and New Zealand Prisoners of War and by a large number of Asian slave laborers, under the supervision of the Japanese Army. It was part of the strategic plan to link Thailand with Burma by the use of a railway. It is a part of the Death Railway. Thousands of people lost their lives during this period, mainly because of the difficult terrain, the violence of the war and diseases and starvation. Nowadays this bridge is a tourist attraction. The track is developed into a walkway with side platforms. This allows crossing the railway bridge on foot. These platforms are useful as viewpoints and for avoiding trains. A small tourist train runs back and forth across the bridge.
Also known as the Burma Railway, the Burma-Siam Railway or the Thailand-Burma Railway was a 415 kilometers long railway between Ban Pong, Thailand, and Thanbyuzayat, Burma. It was built by Prisoners of War and Asian slave laborers, under the supervision of Japan in 1943 to support the Burma campaign of World War II. Thousands of people lost their lives during the construction of this railway. The Death Railway is a reminder of the cruel war and its painstaking construction. It runs through a scenic landscape, especially the area of Tham Krasae where it skirts the cliff overlooking the River Kwai. The railway currently ends at Ban Tha Sao or Namtok Station, a distance of approximately 77 kilometers from Kanchanaburi Station. A special train running from Bangkok to Namtok Station is available on weekends and national holidays. The construction of the railway has been the subject of a novel, The Narrow Road to the Deep North by Richard Flanagan and an award-winning film named The Bridge on the River Kwai.
JEATH War Museum, locally known as Wat Tai War Museum
This museum is located approximately 300 meters from the main road, Saeng Chuto Road. JEATH stands for the primary nationalities involved in the construction of the railway: Japanese, English, Australian, American, Thai and Holland. The museum is divided into two sections, one representing the construction of the Death Railway which is meant to recreate the quarters used by the POWs, and the other consisting of reconstructed bamboo huts containing an exhibition of a collection of photographs, paintings, drawings, articles about the living conditions of the POW’s, weapons, tools, and maps. The museum is daily opened from 8AM till 6PM. The admission fee is 30B.
Wat Thant Mangkon Thong
This temple was built in 1904 and is named after the dragon staircase of 95 steps leading up to a small cave on top of the hill. Mangkon Thong can be translated as ‘golden dragon’. The temple is famous for the ‘floating nun’, who floats on the water while meditating. The admission fee, also seen as a donation is only 10B.
How to get here? Turn left off the main road, Saeng Chuto Road when you are in front of the City Hall, after approximately 1,5 kilometer you cross a bridge over the Mae Klong River and the temple can be seen.
Mueang Sing Historical Park
Mueang Sing is a historical park. It contains the remains of two Khmer temples from the 13th and 14th centuries. Mueang Sing was declared as a historical park in 1987. The temples are built in the Bayon-style and date to the Khmer Kingdom under the lead of King Jayavarman VII (1180 to 1219). The Park is daily opened from 8AM till 4.30PM. The admission fee is 40B.
How to get here? Take Highway 323 (Kanchanaburi – Sai Yok), turn left after 15 kilometers, and continue for another 7 kilometers to Prasat Mueang Sing.
The cave once provided a place for the POW’s to rest during the construction of the Death Railway as it is located right next to it. The Krasae Cave consists of a sacred Buddha image and provides a stunning view of the River Kwai. Due to this it is now a popular spot for visitors who take a walk on the railway and would stop to rest or to pray towards the Buddha in the cave.
Namtok Sai Yok Noi Waterfall
This waterfall is located within the Sai Yok National Park, about 2 kilometers away from Nam Tok Train Station and about 60 kilometers from Kanchanaburi on highway 323 to Sangkhlaburi. The locals use the waterfall for having a picknick or to have a rest at. It is one of the several picturesque waterfalls in Kanchanaburi, which is especially beautiful during the rainy season (July – October).
Sai Yok National Park
This park was declared as a national historical park in 1987. This large national park is home to many limestone mountains, waterfalls and caves. It is easy to explore this park independently since there are well-marked and maintained trails throughout the park. The most popular attraction is Nam Tok Sai Yok Yai, the Sai Yok Yai Waterfall, where a stream makes a drop into the Mae Nam River Kwai Noi River. This waterfall and many more, are really beautiful of how they flow out of the forest. Other interesting points are the natural springs, riverside viewpoints and old Japanese soldiers’ stoves. This national park is also home to the world’s smallest bat, the khun Kitti bat, it was first spotted in this park in 1973. Another animal species discovered here is the red, white and blue Rachinee crab, but you will probably not be ablo to see it. This one is discovered in 1983. The admission fee is 300B for adults and 200B for children. The park is daily opened from 9AM till 6PM.
Explore Kanchanaburi’s largest and most famous cave located in Saiyok National Park. The cave is very spacious and is beautifully designed by breathtaking, sparkling stalactites and stalagmites in many unique formations. The Lawa Cave consists of chambers inside. Each chamber has its own stunning stalactites and stalagmites. Also the khun Kitti bat, world’s smallest bat, is living in the cave.
This museum is established by the Australian Government. It consists of information regarding the World War II and the origin of the Hellfire Pass. The museum contains a collection of data, photographs, equipment and utensils used during the construction of the Death Railway. There is a nature trail leading to Hell Fire Pass, this was realized by the POW’s who drilled manually through the mountain. The museum is daily opened from 9AM till 4PM and the admission fee is free.