Ideal duration: 3-4 days
Best Time: November - February Read More
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Blessed with ancient rainforests, waterfalls and limestone caves, Kanchanaburi is a popular resort town located at the confluence of the Khwae Noi and Khwae Yai Rivers in western Thailand. Regarded as Thailand's microcosm, Kanchanaburi and its surrounding region boast stylish resorts, scenic reservoirs, pagodas, historical sites, trekking, golfing and white-water rafting destinations. Located just 2 hours away from Bangkok, the town is mainly reachable by roadways and trains, with the latter being the more common.
Kanchanaburi attracts a lot of backpackers and those interested in Thailand's gruesome World War II history. Kanchanaburi's WWII-era Burma Railway, built by prisoners of war, was immortalised in the film 'The Bridge on the River Kwai'. The bridge, and the railway line, along with other war remnant historical sites and museums, stand as proof of this quiet town's past.
Kanchanaburi, as mentioned earlier, is blessed with untouched flora and fauna. Erawan National Park is a soothing contrast to the world war remnant experience of the town. The park shelters tropical jungles, gibbons, cobras and elephants, aqua-coloured seven-tiered waterfalls for swimming, and the extensive Tham Phra That Caves system. Travellers especially go on hiking trips to tourist hotspots within the lush vegetation or nearby villages.
While Kanchanaburi was mainly a backpacker's haven, over the years, many affluent resorts and hotels have come into business, providing a more modern stay experience without taking away from the old-world charm of the town and its surrounding regions. For those who wish to experience a bucolic Thailand and immerse themselves in a historical journey, this laid-back town is more than ideal.
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Kanchanaburi is not very strict with following any particular dressing code, so if you're visiting during the summer months, feel free to wear shorts.
Although, while entering temples, you should be careful and preferably cover yourself appropriately.
Thais are very calm and patient people, so always maintain a smile on your face while talking to them because being rude is going to get you no good.
Tipping is not common, but it's nice to tip waiters or hotel staff for good service.
The most important consideration in Kanchanaburi is the access fee to various museums and national parks which range from 100-200 Baht. The food here is comparitively cheaper costing you around 300 Baht per day. Travelling around costs 80-100 Baht. So in total, a daily budget of 1,000 Baht would suffice.
Thai and especially southern Thai, is spoken more in Kanchanaburi. Most hotels and restaurants have staff who speak English, so it shouldn't be challenging to converse for tourists. However, some local vendors might know very little English, so learning a few Thai phrases is advisable for a smoother experience.
Kanchanaburi has a more recent history, dating back to World War II. The Death Railway was built by the Allied prisoners of war and the Asian labourers under the Japanese command during the war. Due to time restrictions, thousands of Australians, British, Dutch and other Allied POWs were forced to work on the Thai-Burma military supply railway. While working, most of them died.