วันเสาร์ที่ 10 มกราคม พ.ศ. 2552



is the capital of Kanchanaburi Province and is located at the confluence of the rivers Kwai Noi and Kwai Yai. Kanchanaburi (population 52,000) is the gateway to Kanchanaburi Province. For most visitors it holds precisely one sight of interest, namely the Bridge over the River Kwai, the start of the infamous World War II Death Railway to Burma (Myanmar), although there is an increasingly thriving backpacker scene taking advantage of the chilled-out riverside vibe. More foreign visitors are discovering why Thais know it as one of the most beautiful provinces in the country with its easily accessible waterfalls and national parks.

Orienting yourself in Kanchanaburi is very easy. The main road, Thanon Saeng Chuto, runs through the length of town from north to south, connecting the River Kwai Bridge, the train station and the bus station. Running parallel to this, closer to the river, is Thanon Mae Nam Kwae where most of the guesthouses and the local bar scene can be found.


Bridge over the River Kwai

Located some 3 km north of Kanchanaburi (down New Zealand Rd off Saeng Chuto), this iron bridge (Saphan Mae Nam Kwae) across the Kwae Yai river is the main attraction for many visitors. Immortalized in the famous movie and novel, it was a part of the infamous Death Railway to Burma, constructed by POWs working for the Japanese in hellish conditions during World War 2. Some 16,000 POWs and 100,000 Asian workers died during the railway construction. The present iron bridge is the second wartime incarnation (a part of the original can be found in the War Museum), but 2 central 'boxy' spans were rebuilt after the war to replace three sections destroyed by Allied bombing.

  • You can cross the bridge on foot. While the center of the track has been thoughtfully turned into a steel-plated walkway and there are little side platforms between the spans for sightseeing and avoiding trains, there are no guardrails so vertigo sufferers and small children should steer clear.
  • The State Railway of Thailand operates a little tourist train with which you can drive across the bridge and back again, at 20 baht for the 15 minute round trip.

Art Gallery and War Museum

This well-signposted complex is located about 50 metres from the bridge and houses a bizarre collection of museums and exhibits, most of which are poorly maintained and labeled. Open 08:30-16:30 daily; admission to the whole lot is 30 baht.

  • War Museum. To your left as you enter is this four-story building encrusted with statues, which starts off with a little Burmese shrine but is mostly devoted to pre-WW2 Thai history through the ages and is filled with wall paintings of kings and racks of rusty pistols. There are good views of the bridge from the roof of the riverside building.

  • World War II and JEATH Museum. Lurking in the basement, this is the main drawcard and features a section of the first wooden bridge, recreations of the POW barracks and random military paraphernalia.
  • Jewelry Museum. Above the WW2 museum is the most bizarre section, housing (among other things) dusty stamp collections and a gallery with wall paintings of all Miss Thailand winners.
  • Erawan Waterfalls is one of the most beautiful waterfalls in Thailand and a must see if you are in Kanchanaburi and your time/budget allows it. Public buses (No. 8170) leave Kanchanaburi bus terminal every 50 (sometimes 60) minutes between 08:00 and 17:20, fare 35 baht, duration 90 minutes. The bus drives on Saengchuto Road up to the north. If you live far away from the bus terminal, and you probably will, it may be a good idea to catch it there. Be sure to try and get an early bus, since there will be fewer people at the waterfall and you don't have to hurry to get back. The last bus will leave for Kanchanaburi at 16:00. Plan to spend at least three hours plus the time you want to spend swimming at the waterfalls. Entrance fee to the waterfalls is 400 baht for foreigners. Bicycles can be rented at the entrance (20 baht/hour), however you won't be able to use it for 90% of the distance, so they don't really have any use. Be sure to bring your hiking shoes (or whatever matches most closely) and swimming costume for a dip in the turquoise pools (although watch out for fish feasting on the soles of your feet!).
  • Sai Yok Noi waterfalls are more accessible but less spectacular than the Erawan falls.

  • Lumnam Jone Water Way is the beginning of the River Kwai. It is located in Amphoe Sri Sawat. It has a beautiful surrounding and cystal clear water. The only problem is that it is hard to get to. On foot it will take a few hours walk, and by boat it take 5 hours from Sri Nakarin Dam at the ferry pier.
  • Elelphants and Friends Conservation Camp started in November 2005, with the goal to help the mistreated, sick and old elephants in Thailand and to give them a good home. As a visitor you will help in the elephants daily care, such as riding them (bare back) to the river for their bath, growing or collecting food (banana trees) or just play with the animals.

Other sights & attractions

  • Chongkai War Cemetery
  • Kanchanaburi War Cemetery
  • Somdet Phra Sri Nakharin Park
  • Don Chedi Archaeological Site
  • Giant Tree
  • Kuan Yum
  • Wat Ban Tham
  • Wat Tham Sua
  • Wat Tham Khao Noi
  • Wat Tham Khaopoon
  • Wat Tham Mungkornthong
  • Thailand-Burma Railway Centre - next to Kanchanaburi War Cemetery (WW2 rail history)
  • Amphoe Sri Sawat
  • Many day-trips to Kanchanaburi include a visit to the Tiger Temple [1]. The temple is nowhere to be seen, but the tigers are lounging in a dusty canyon, surrounded by minders in yellow shirts and overseen by a monk off in the corner. You can watch the tigers from a distance, and when your time comes, the minders will take your camera and snap a few photos of you crouching behind the tiger, as well as a few close-ups of the tigers themselves. (You can also pay a few hundred baht extra for a "special" photo with a tiger.) It's all kind of odd, but the pictures will certainly wow your friends. However, please keep in mind that at least one tourist has been seriously mauled by the tigers. Admission is 300 baht, and comes with a nice book about the tigers.
It's impossible to get there by public transport. You can get there by motorbike or arrange a pick-up from Lat Ya or Kanchanaburi.