Kanchanaburi is only 2 Hours west of Bangkok, and we cannot believe more people do not talk about this place. This was one of the most surprising places we have visited and we really feel like it is a hidden gem in Thailand.
Now don’t get us wrong, we are not saying this is the BEST and MOST beautiful place you will see in Thailand, but it is right up there. You see, everyone will mention Koh Samui, Koh Tao, Koh Phi Phi, Phuket, Chiang Mai, Khao Sok but never Kanchanaburi, and that is why we were so surprised when we visited and saw how special it is.
Kanchanaburi is set along the River Kwai surrounded by mountains and the town itself is cute. The outskirts of the town are similar to any other in Thailand, but as you get closer to the river and the Bridge Over the River Kwai this is the most lovely part.
It is easy to rent a bike and spend the day riding around the town discovering the various coffee shops and restaurants over looking the mountains or river.
For us this area gets even more special when you head out into the countryside. Everywhere you drive you are surrounded by farms, jungle, river and mountains always on the horizon.
Close by is the Sai Yok National Park & Erawan National Park which you can spend days exploring. We will try and do a separate blog about these ares in the future (we have plans to return to fully explore them ourselves), but one thing we did in this area was visit the:
Rock Valley Hot Spring & Fish Spa this hot spring has several pools at different temperatures, some with different teas and herbs in them that have various health benefits and there is even some with fish that will clean up your feet (its very ticklish).
This Hot Spring has the most wonderful setting by the river, and we noticed that there are boats that go up and down the river taking guests to raft houses that you can sleep at. So again we want to return and do this, it looks incredible.
Here are some links to the raft houses, but we will at some point do a blog about this also.
BRIDGE OVER THE RIVER KWAI:
The Bridge Over the River Kwai is one of the most well known bridges in Asia, however it has a very sad history…
Many people may of heard about it because of reading the famous fiction books which was made into a movie in 1957 based loosely on the tragic real events surrounding this railway line.
During World War II the Japanese used prisoners of war and labourers to build the Burma-Siam Railway Line, but during the construction an estimated 12,000+ Prisoners of War & over 90,000 labourers died as a result of disease, bad hygiene, lack of medical equipment and ill-treatment.
The Bridge that now exists in Kanchanaburi is a restored version, the centre of the original was destroyed in 1945.
Although only part of it is original, it is still a good experience and worth visiting.
At certain points in the day this bridge is full of visitors, so to avoid the crowds it is best to go early in the day. It is open 24hours a day, and as it is on the River Kwai (obviously) arriving early for sunrise is a beautiful time of day to see it.
Several times a day trains use this bridge, we couldn’t work out what the exact times were, but we spent a couple of hours here and got to see one cross over.
Another good time of day to go is in the evening, watching the sunset from the bridge is very beautiful and enables you to get some great photos.
It is easy to get to the bridge from either side of the river, and there is no charge to go on it.
We arrived on the south side of the bridge, where there is less people. This enabled us to get many photos with less people in the shot, and then walked all the way across and had drinks on the other side looking back across the river and bridge.
So if you are planning a trip to Thailand, or are in Bangkok and fancy a nearby break in a beautiful area then add Kanchanaburi to those plans. If you can rent a car or motorbike this would be best as you could then REALLY explore the area, and please send us a comment or DM via our Instagram if you do, we always love to hear about your travels and experience.
The Bridge Over the River Kwai is in Kanchanaburi which is around 2-3 hours west of Bangkok.
There are various ways to get there:
Bus – You can take a bus from either Southern Bus Terminal (Sai Tai Mai) and Morchit Bus Terminal in Bangkok. There are MANY that go to Kanchanaburi each day starting around 4am and leaving every hour. Price is around 150baht.
Taxi – Taking a Private Taxi or using Grab (the Uber of Thailand) is another option, this is a lot more convenient but will cost a lot more, around 2000-3000baht.
Train – This is also an option, but not the easiest choice. You can start your journey from the west of Bangkok, Thonburi Station, but there are only 2 scheduled trains a day and getting to Thonburi Station takes a lot more effort. Price is around 100baht.