Kanchanaburi, Thailand

KanchanaburiAfter enjoying the lights and buzz of the busy metro city of Bangkok, a laid-back trip to beautiful waterfalls and national parks awaits you at Kanchanaburi City.

About three hours away by bus from Bangkok, Kanchanaburi offers you activities in picturesque natural landscapes, rich cultural exploration, and historic adventure into vestiges of World War II. There are four dispersed national parks in Kanchanaburi, all with distinct attractions and a number of museums and temples that are all worth visiting, so a guided tour may be the best option for you to organize your trip and save time. Whether you are a nature tripper or a history enthusiast, this quiet city has many marvelous stops for you to enjoy.

The most famous attraction in Kanchanaburi is the Bridge over the River Kwai which you can cross by foot. It was part of the Death Railway to Burma during WWII, reminiscent of the dreadful experiences of thousands of slaves and prisoners of war who constructed the railway. One attraction not to miss is the Konyu Cutting, more prominently known as the Hellfire Pass by the POWs who blasted rocks by hand to make way for the railway – sounds eerie but there are magnificent natural sights on the way. Hellfire Pass is surrounded by the refreshing jungle overlooking the scenic Kwai Noi Valley. Trekking activities are also available, and there are remarkable sites nearby like the stunning Sai Yok Noi Falls.

Erawan-National-ParkIf war history excites you, there are museums resonant of WWII with wide collections of authentic objects from the war. The Thailand-Burma Railway Center, World War II Museum and Art Gallery by the Bridge, and the quirky JEATH War Museum give you a glimpse of pre-war Thai history, military operations, and living conditions of POWs. You may also visit the Chung Kai Allied War Cemetery and Kanchanaburi War Cemetery, graves of the POWs with very touching epitaphs.

But your Kanchanaburi trip will never be complete without indulging in the beauty of nature. Erawan National Park is a perfect place to immerse in lush forest with monkeys and grand seven-tier waterfalls, which are among the most beautiful in Thailand. Srinakarind National Park is another attraction to behold with crystal clear waters and awesome caves but ideal only if you plan on staying long because of the travel time it entails. It is extra exciting because here you will meet two ethnic groups – the Thais and Karen. And if you want to be culturally engrossed, there are also Thai temples in Kanchanaburi to welcome you.

Experience a thrill with the wild at Wat Pa Luang Ta Bua or the Tiger Temple. The actual temple may not be seen at the site, but tigers can be seen lurking in the canyons. There are handlers who can help you get up close with the tigers. Also, check out Taweechai Elephant Camp, where you can enjoy elephant rides, special elephant training courses, and even bathing with these gentle giants. Children will surely love the activities in elephant camps.

Kanchanaburi-trainThe different attractions collect entrance fees, so remember to bring loose bills. Other activities you can enjoy in Kachanaburi are camping, white water rafting, canoeing, cycling, golfing, and even learning Thai cooking. There are just so many exciting things in store for you!

After a long day getting around, have a relaxing Thai massage at any of the massage clinics in town. And, just before you leave Kanchanaburi, scour the shops in town offering nice finds that are distinctly from this beautiful city.

About Author:

Arie Boris has extensive travel industry experience, including business and sales development for commercial aviation, the International emergency assistance & travel insurance industry and a national association of travel agents. He was a contributing editor to several print and Internet travel publications, including Fieldings’ Worldwide Cruise Guide and was part of the start up team for CruiseCritic. He has written over 400 cruise ship reviews. Arie also produces and hosts Cruise Gourmet Voyages, a variety of fundraising & theme group cruises for various charitable and arts organizations. He has produced theme cruises for a variety of special interest groups including opera, comedy, spiritual retreats and fan clubs for TV shows like Dark Shadows and Dancing with the Stars!