Kanchanaburi is close to Bangkok (130 km West) and borders Myanmar (Burma) to the North - West. It has 7 National Parks, and is one of the most beautiful provinces of Thailand - perfect for nature lovers. It is the 3rd largest of the 76 provinces of Thailand, and has over 735,000 inhabitants. Kanchanaburi town is home to approximately 54,000 people and was established by King Rama I to defend against Burma.
The town is situated on the River Kwai – the start of the infamous WWII death railway. There are a number of museums in the area with more information. Kanchanaburi is also a popular place for tourists wanting a more chilled out vibe than can be experienced in Bangkok. The town has become very popular in recent years, especially with backpackers who enjoy relaxing by the river with a beer or two.
Kanchanaburi province is a perfect year round travel destination with the temperature ranging from 25 to 40 degrees Celsius. There are three different seasons experienced in the town. The warm season is from February to May, the rainy season is from June to October and the cool season is from November to January. Kanchanaburi has a tropical climate so humidity can be expected.
At the end of every year the Death Railway is remembered during the River Kwai bridge festival. Remembering includes an amazing sound and light show, meant to represent the Word War II bombardments. The Floating Lanterns festival (otherwise known as Loy Krathong) is another sight to behold. Held in November when the moon is full, baskets shaped like the Lotus flower or boats made from banana leaves holding flowers, candles, incense and a coin, are set sailing down the rivers. The festival originated with the Buddhists, and honours the Goddess of Water.
This province does not have an airport, so travelling to the city can be done by bus, train or car. The drive to Kanchanaburi from Bangkok takes around three hours and some taxis can be hired from in Bangkok for 2000 baht return. Once in the city songthaews, motorbike taxis and tuk tuks can all be hired for easy transportation. Bicycles can also be rented for daily hire.
The natural attractions in Kanchanaburi include a multitude of waterfalls, mountains and caves. Evidence of Neolithic man has been found in caves in the region. There are also 7 national parks and of course, the River Kwai. The seven level Eraway waterfalls are a must see, set in the jungles and rated as the most beautiful falls in Asia. There are also 3 war museums, and two cemeteries to match. The national museum and historical park will update you on the history of the area, while the hot springs and Thai and Chinese temples will get you into the spirit of things. The tiger temple is not to be missed, and a trip on the Death Railway might help with putting things into perspective. A visit to the Monkey School is also recommended.
If you decide to stay in Kanchanaburi for more than the day, the city has a variety of accommodation on offer. From houseboats to bamboo huts or river bungalows, there is something for everyone. For the less intrepid traveller, guest houses, resorts and hotels are also available throughout the town. Most accommodation is close to the River Kwai and prices start from just a few dollars per night. Kanchanaburi is a perfect place to visit to learn some of the history of the country, as well as to spend time relaxing by the beautiful river.