Home Visit Kanchanaburi Kanchanaburi, the complete guide to the city and province

Kanchanaburi, the complete guide to the city and province

by Pierre To
10 minutes to read
Kanchanaburi, the complete guide to the city and province

Kanchanaburi is known for its tragic history during the Japanese occupation and the construction of the famous Bridge over the River Kwai, but it is also an attractive waterfront town popular with tourists.


Kanchanaburi Province

Kanchanaburi Province

It is a pleasant little town that spreads out along the River KwaiIt is 130 km from Bangkok and has a population of 52,000.

Many of its restaurants, concert bars and guest houses are located on barges on the River Kwai.

72 Kanchanaburi restaurants on the River Kwai

History of the Bridge on the River Kwai

In 1941 the Japanese army invaded Thailand with the primary aim of invading Malaysia.

In 1942 the Imperial Japanese Army ordered the construction of a railway to link Thailand to Burma.

30,000 Western prisoners and 100,000 Asian workers were used to build 415 km of railway.

Then the Japanese decided to invade India using this route, they then accelerated the work and the work rate became infernal.

Forced labour and malaria caused thousands of deaths. In the final months, the Japanese military was also forced to participate in the work to meet the deadlines.

During this period the bridge was bombed ten times by the Allies.

After the war, the Thai government decided to restore this line to attract tourists and they did not hesitate to ask Japanese banks to participate!

A monument and two museums have been built to commemorate this tragic history:
the Thailand-Burma Railway Museum (opened in March 2003) and the Jeath War Museum about the bridge itself.

There is also the Death Railway and an Allied World War II cemetery.Kanchanaburi Railway Station

Things to see and do in Kanchanaburi

The tourist office is located on Saeng Chuto Rd just south of the bus station.

Open from 08:00 to 16:00 every day.

The Bridge on the River Kwai

64 Bridge on the River Kwai 2

It is located 3 km north of the city.

See his story above.

Kanchanaburi Military Cemetery

Located on Saeng Chuto Street, opposite the railway station, this perfectly maintained enclave contains the remains of 6,982 Allied prisoners of war who perished during the construction of the Death Railway.

An estimated 16,000 Allied prisoners of war and 49,000 forced labourers died during the construction of theDeath Railway and the Khwai River Bridge.

Kanchanaburi Cemetery

Kanchanaburi Cemetery

The JEATH War Museum

The name JEATH is derived from the initials of Japan, England, America, Australia, Thailand and Holland.

The thatched detention hut with its cramped, high bamboo beds contains photographic, graphic and physical memorabilia of the Second World War.

Several POWs who survived the horrendous conditions donated objects from that time to bring more authenticity to the museum.

Address: Thanon Pak Phraek (adjacent to Wat Chaichumphon temple, 1 km south of the city centre).

Open from : 08:30 to 18:00.
Entrance fee : 20 baht

Chongkai War Cemetery

It is a small, well-kept cemetery 2 km from the town along the road to the Wat ThaopoomThe last resting place of the Dutch and British forces.

Wat Tham Khao Pun

Located 1 kilometre south-east of the Chong Kai War CemeteryThis Buddhist temple is locally famous for a cave containing stalactites and stalagmites as well as many beautiful reproductions of the Buddha.

Festivals, festivals and concerts

Every year in the autumn, a festival lasting several days is held to commemorate the construction and destruction of the first bridge.

Entry to the compound is approximately 20-30 baht depending on the day.

A sound and light show featuring this story is held each night of the festival, for about 100 baht per person.

There is also a rave party and concerts.

But above all, it is an opportunity for many local merchants to boost their turnover by displaying their stalls to the huge festival crowd: fried insects, popcorn, hot dogs and clothing are the main goods sold.

Other activities

Kanchanaburi is the closest city to the Temple of the tigers (now closed) and the Erawan National Park with its magnificent waterfalls.

Erawan waterfall panoramic view

Erawan waterfall panoramic view

Find a hotel in Kanchanaburi

You'll have no trouble finding hotel accommodation, but if you're coming between November and February, Thailand's high season, it's best to book in advance.

You can find the best hotel deals in Kanchanaburi with Booking.com

Climate of Kanchanaburi

Kanchanaburi enjoys a generally cooler temperature than central Thailand due to its geographical location.

Indeed Kanchanaburi is located in the River Kwai and bordered by mountainous terrain.

The average temperature is around 30 degrees Celsius, with winter being felt mainly from the 1st to the 15th of January, but still pleasant.

The climate of Kanchanaburi can be divided into two six-month periods: a wet period where it rains every afternoon until mid-December and is subject to violent storms (the monsoon), then a very dry period until mid-June.

Transport to/from Kanchanaburi

Long-haul flights can be found at SkyscannerFor regional flights see above.

To get an idea of the prices of transport by bus, train, boat or plane or to book your ticket you can consult our partner 12go.asia.

Powered by 12GB system

By bus

From Bangkok (3 hours travel time):
- Via the southern bus station Sai Tai Mai : Departure from 5:30 am until about 10:30 pm every 30 minutes (about 80 baht)
- Via the North Station of Mo Chit departure between 5 am and 3.30 pm (approx. 130 baht)

By train

From the Thonburi (in Bangkok) Departure at 7.35 a.m. and arrival at 10.30 a.m. or at 1.45 p.m. and arrival at 4.30 p.m.
From Kanchanaburi The train leaves at 7.19 a.m. to arrive at 10 a.m. or at 2.44 p.m. to arrive at 5.03 p.m.

By car

From Bangkok just follow Road No. 4 (Phetkasem) via Nakhon Chaisi, Nakhon Pathom, Ban Pong, Tha Maka, Tha MuangThe journey takes about 2 hours.

See also : Transport in Thailand, getting around in the land of smiles

Video on Kanchanaburi

A nice little video that presents the city and the main attractions in less than 3 minutes (in English but gives a good overview of the things to see and the atmosphere):

Maps of the city and province of Kanchanaburi

Map of Kanchanaburi City

Map of Kanchanaburi City


Map of Kanchanaburi Province

Map of Kanchanaburi Province

Photos: Bridge on the River Kwai: Tsavop World War II cemeteries in Kanchanaburi: Rdsmith4 ; Kanchanaburi Railway Station: yeowatzup; Bridge over the River Kwai 2 : Aekkapuncs

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