things to do in kanchanaburi kwai bridge

The 26 Best Things to Do in Kanchanaburi

While it’s the town of Kanchanaburi that most people visit, Kanchanaburi also refers to an entire province that’s only 2 hours northwest of Thailand’s capital city, Bangkok. The area held an important role during World War II which is also the reason why many visitors to Thailand visit this area. Since it’s only a few hours from Bangkok, Kanchanaburi is an ideal destination if you have a limited time before you move on to your next destination.  If you want to squeeze a day trip to Kanchanaburi into your travel plans, it’s best to look up the places you want to see and analyze how you want your itinerary to look like and if it’s doable for a day trip. There are a lot of things to do in Kanchanaburi, and it can get overwhelming especially if you are short on time.



Erawan National Park

Visit Erawan National Park

Explore the glorious landscape of Erawan National Park in this five star reviewed trip, where you’ll swim in waterfalls and hike in the park. There’s more here.

Apart from memorials, remnants, and museums of World War II, Kanchanaburi also has gems related to national parks, waterfalls, and limestone caves. The Thai tourism department has been putting a huge effort into promoting these attractions in the province since the primary source of visitors, the WWII veterans and families are getting older, memories are fading, and interest in war-related attractions has also seen a decline. Regardless, the tributes to the war heroes in Kanchanaburi are well-preserved and still a must-see.  It was these World War II memorials that were our primary reason for visiting Kanchanaburi.

The Top 26 Things to Do in Kanchanaburi

Kanchanaburi is a sought-after destination in Thailand. Since its location is near Bangkok, it makes this province an even more attractive place. I’d recommend when you visit Kanchanaburi, to visit historical sites related to World War II, museums, explore the train tracks and the history, but also if you have more time, you should also go for a hike and explore the less-traveled sites in Kanchanaburi. The best way to plan your trip is by splitting the attraction types. For example, make a list of the war-related attractions and then another list of must-see places such as national forests. In this way, you will have an easier time visualizing, navigating, and planning your Kanchanaburi itinerary even better.

WWII Things to Do and WWII Kanchanaburi Attractions

Kanchanaburi is well-visited because of its significant contribution related to World War II. Many of these places are well-preserved and open to the public.  I do recommend taking your time to explore them, the true stories here are compelling and we should never forget what happened here.

1. Visit the Bridge over the River Kwai in Kanchanaburi

The bridge over the River Kwai has many names. This includes River Khwae Bridge, the Thailand-Burma Railway Bridge, and the Death Railway Bridge. It is visiting this structure that is the most famous thing to do in Kanchanaburi. Many visitors to the province visit this bridge which is still in service. You’re allowed to walk along the railways and wait for a train to pass – which can be a somewhat breathtaking and scary thing to experience yet it’s popular. 

The original bridge and the tracks were built by Allied prisoners of war and local laborers who were essentially enslaved by the invading Japanese. It only took a year to finish the whole building of the bridge.  The rail line was built to support and supply the Japanese forces in the then Burma (now Myanmar). In 1944, the Allies bombed the bridge. The pieces and sections of that original bridge are now displayed in the War Museum.

walking over the river kwai things to do in kanchanaburi

Today, the current day bridge is a major attraction but also functions as a train line where trains pass regularly. If you plan to visit and walk on this bridge, be extremely mindful when the train passes. The bridge is narrow and there are very small spaces where you can safely stand if you’re caught on the bridge as the train is passing.

You can learn more about River Kwai Bridge through the 1952 book which was later adapted into a film (1957) called “The Bridge on the River Kwai” by Pierre Boulle.

The river used to be the upper section of the Mae Klong River but was renamed in the 1960s to be the Khwae Yai River, to be more in line with the name of the fiction, but based on a true story name of the river in the book and movie.

2. Arrive in Kanchanaburi on the Thai Burma Railway

The best (IMHO) and coolest way to get to Kanchanaburi from Bangkok is by train using the Thai-Burma Railway. This is a terrific way to start your Kanchanaburi adventure because you actually get to enjoy some scenic views. You will also get a chance to get off at Tham Krase Bridge if you have time. This is a wooden bridge that appears to have seen better days and looks like it’s about to fall down – it’s quite the view!

You can’t currently book your ticket in advance at Thonburi train station. (And to be honest, its been like this for years), Just turn up, buy a ticket, you WILL get a seat, there aren’t many people taking this train.   The ticket costs 100 THB (US$3) and the train departs twice a day (7:50 AM and 1:55 PM). The train has a toilet, and for food and drinks, there are vendors walking up and down the train selling snacks, drinks, and beers. The travel time is about 3.5 hours from Bangkok to Kanchanaburi.  I wrote more about this option here.

things to do in kanchanaburi train on the kwai bridge

3. Ride from Kanchanaburi to Nam Tok on the Thai Burma Railway

If you didn’t arrive in Kanchanaburi by train, you can still experience part of the train ride by taking a short trip from Kanchanaburi to Nam Tok station. Nam Tok is the end of the time.  This is also a great way to take a trip to see Hellfire Pass.  You can take the train to Namtok and then you’ll need a ride onto the pass.  Coming from Bangkok, you can see breathtaking views along the way and visit the important sites on a guided tour.  You can make the most out of your trip by adding a visit to Sai Yok Noi Waterfall which is only a 20-minute walk from the Nam Tok train station.

4. Go to Hellfire Pass and the Hellfire Pass Interpretive Center

Hellfire Pass was one of the hardest sections to build during the construction of the Thailand-Burma Railway. It’s located along Route 323, between Sai Yok National Park and Erawan National Park. Also called Konyu Cutting, the POWs who suffered and survived working on the railway started calling it Hellfire Pass.  If you visit you’ll see why.  The interpretive center here is a must.

things to do in kanchanaburi go to hellfire pass

The railway doesn’t connect to Myanmar (Burma) any longer, the rails were removed years ago, and the jungle grew back over it. However, if you want to see the Burma side of the railway, you can go to Mawlamyine where you can go to Thanbyuzayat and visit the Death Railway Museum from that side. We visited and you can read about it here.

There are a few things you can do when you visit, so planning to spend about 2-3 hours would be ideal. There are also different ways to reach the Hellfire Pass depending on how much time you have.

There’s a hiking trail along the route of the railway and an incredible museum.  I wrote about visiting Hellfire Pass here.  Plan to spend about 2-3 hours.

  • Address of Hellfire Pass: 207/11 Tha Sao, Sai Yok District, Kanchanaburi 71150, Thailand
  • Opening Hours of Hellfire Pass Museum: 9 AM to 4 PM
  • Entry Fees for Hellfire Pass Museum: Free, donations welcome

5. JEATH War Museum, Kanchanaburi

The JEATH War Museum is an incredible place that displays not only World War II memorabilia but also discusses the history that happened in this very part of Kanchanaburi specifically for the Thai Military. You’ll find the original pieces of the train and bridge, war items, and printed information (English and Thai) in the museum.

things to do in kanchanaburi the jeath museum
  • Address of JEATH War Museum: Ban Tai, Mueang Kanchanaburi District, Kanchanaburi 71000, Thailand
  • Opening Hours of JEATH War Museum: 8:30 AM to 4:30 AM every day
  • Entry Fees for JEATH War Museum: 50 THB

6. The War Museum at the Bridge (World War II Museum and Gallery)

The World War II Museum and Gallery is situated on the left side if you’re facing the River Kwai Bridge. This Kanchanaburi museum displays aircraft, wartime antiques, and information. It tackles the story of the war and the soldiers who died here. It’s not particularly well-organized, so if you have a true interest in finding out what’s here and why, then it’s recommended to have a guide with you.

things to do in kanchanaburi visit the war museum at the bridge
  • Address of World War II Museum and Gallery: 395, 415 River Kwai Rd, Tha Ma Kham, Mueang Kanchanaburi District, Kanchanaburi 71000, Thailand
  • Opening Hours of World War II Museum and Gallery: 8 AM to 6:30 PM, daily
  • Entry Fees for World War II Museum and Gallery: 50 THB

7. The Thai Burma Railway Centre aka the Death Railway Museum, Kanchanaburi

The Thai Burma Railway Centre is also called the Death Railway Museum and is located near the central Kanchanaburi War Cemetery.  It’s about half an hour on foot or a 5-minute drive from the River Kwai Bridge.  In comparison to the other museums in Kanchanaburi, this focuses only on the Thai-Burma railway, the reasons it was built in the first place, and why the parts that remain are still in use today.

things to do in kanchanaburi visit the death railway museum

The Thai Burma Railway Museum is well-organized compared to the other museums offering explanations both in English and Thai. I’d recommend visiting here first before the other museums, as it will give you lots of context.  The displays include maps to help you visualize the railway from Thailand to Burma. I also recommend visiting this place first before you go to the war cemetery next to it.

  • Address of Thai Burma Railway Centre: 73 Chao Khun Nen Rd, Ban Nuea, Mueang Kanchanaburi District, Kanchanaburi 71000, Thailand
  • Opening Hours of Thai Burma Railway Centre: 9 AM to 4 PM
  • Entry Fees for Thai Burma Railway Centre: 150 THB for foreign visitors including a free coffee or tea in the upstairs cafeteria

8. Pay your respects at Kanchanaburi War Cemetery (Don-Rak)

Kanchanaburi War Cemetery also called the Don-Rak Cemetery is located right next to the Death Railway Museum. There are more than 7,000 Allied soldiers buried in this cemetery. Those soldiers are the ones who worked on building the Burma Railway as Japanese prisoners of war (POW).

things to do in kanchanaburi commonwealth graves

The cemetery is maintained by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission and is well-kept and many gravestones are named.

  • Address of Kanchanaburi War Cemetery: 284/66 Sangchuto Rd, Ban Tai, Mueang Kanchanaburi District, Kanchanaburi 71000, Thailand
  • Opening Hours of Kanchanaburi War Cemetery: 8 AM to 5 PM, daily

Our travels through South East Asia have taken us to many places associated with WWII that are moving and that we remember every day. There’s Kota Bharu, where the Japanese first landed in Malaysia, and there’s Labuan Island, where the peace accord was signed. The Sandakan – Ranau death march can be celebrated by the fact that 6 men escaped the march from Sandakan. Of course, Hellfire Pass and Kanchanaburi too on the Thai-Burma Death Railway. We visited, too, the Myanmar side of the railway at Thanbyuzyat. We explored Fortress Singapore. We saw one of the Japanese trains that ran on the death railway in Tokyo.

9. Pay Respects at the Chungkai War Cemetery, Kanchanaburi

The Chungkai War Cemetery is a second Kanchanaburi Commonwealth War Graves Commission cemetery and is situated south of the River Kwai Bridge.  It’s about a 12-minute drive. This resting place is a little smaller than Kanchanaburi War Cemetery but is particularly peaceful and it’s worth taking the time to visit. There are about 1,739 POWs buried here.

things to do in kanchanaburi chungkai war cemetery
  • Address of Chungkai War Cemetery: Tha Ma Kham, Mueang Kanchanaburi District, Kanchanaburi 71000, Thailand
  • Opening Hours of Chungkai War Cemetery: 8 Am to 6 PM, every day

National Parks to Visit near Kanchanaburi

Aside from the dark history of this province, there are other things to do in Kanchanaburi which is perfect if you have extra time.  The National Parks near Kanchanaburi are spectacular and outdoor activities here include hiking, cave exploration, and wild swimming in waterfalls.

1. Explore Sai Yok National Park, near Kanchanaburi

Sai Yok National Park can be found sandwiched between the popular Khwae Noi River which runs for 279 km (173.4 miles) and the Myanmar land border. Sai Yok National Park has a small but charming waterfall which some people might find a little disappointing as it’s not particularly tall, but the main attraction of this national park are the raft houses erected right on the River Kwai.

things to do in kanchanaburi flating hotels and restaurants on the kwai river

These raft houses were first built as local houses. Today, most raft houses serve as hotels and restaurants to accommodate Sai Yok National Park visitors. Each raft house has hammocks setup overviewing the river matched with a cool breeze air. The area is laidback, a nice place to relax, chill, and perhaps read a book.

There is also a bat cave nearby and you can head into the jungle for some trekking. Even if your view is that the waterfall isn’t that impressive, you can take a swim or cool down in the pool below the falls after a hike.  

If you have a car or rented scooter, you can get to Sai Yok National Park by taking Route 323, the drive will take a bit over an hour. There is a parking lot that costs 30 THB, and you should plan to spend about 3-4 hours here.  If you have a hankering for a particular hike, then you can easily spend all day here, but if you don’t plan to stay overnight, make sure to leave the trail and get back to the main entrance before dark.

  • Address of Sai Yok National Park: Sai Yok, Sai Yok District, Kanchanaburi, Thailand
  • Opening Hours of Sai Yok National Park: 7 AM to 5 PM
  • Entry Fees for Sai Yok National Park: 300 THB for adults and 200 THB for children

2. Hike and Swim in Erewan National Park

Erewan National Park is the place to be if you want to explore scenic waterfalls, go on fantastic hikes, and enjoy wild swimming at Erawan Falls. This is also where you will find the magnificent Phra That Cave. Erewan National Park is located between Route 323 and Route 3199.

If you have a limited time, you can explore all the top places of Kanchanburi and visit Erawan National Park by booking a group tour.  The best tours include all transportation, entrance fees, and drinking water.

things to do in kanchanaburi visit erewan national park

Swimming in the pool at the base of the waterfall is allowed and there are different pool levels, but Level 7 is closed after 3 PM. However, if you want to swim, you will have to wear a lifejacket which can be rented in the area. The walk from the main entrance to different levels of the waterfalls is quite easy but can be very slippery. You can also take a golf cart to get to the pools and waterfall, this costs 30 THB each way. At the waterfall, levels 1 and 2 are the busiest and most crowded, make your way up if you want to get away from the crowd, but take every step slowly. It’s not recommended to wear flip-flops.

Erawan National Park is one of Thailand’s top National Parks for spotting wildlife – read about it and the others here.

If you plan to go further, you are not allowed to take snacks or more than one water bottle per person. This rule is implemented to manage trash pollution in the national park and for snacks and further drinks you can go back to Level 1 or the main entrance where you will find restaurants and restrooms.  If you’re looking to head here from Bangkok as one of the best Bangkok day trips, then this is a super option.

To get to Erawan Waterfall from Kanchanaburi it’s a 50-minute drive from Kanchanaburi. There is a bus that runs directly from Kanchanaburi Central Station to Erawan Waterfall at 9 AM, 11 AM, 4 PM, and 5:40 PM. From the waterfall back to the Central Station, the bus runs at 5:20 AM, 6:10 AM, 12 NN, and 4 PM. The bus ticket costs 65 THB each way and you’ll need to pay cash.

  • Address of Erewan National Park: Tha Kradan, Si Sawat District, Kanchanaburi 71250, Thailand
  • Opening Hours of Erewan National Park: 8 AM to 4:30 PM
  • Entry Fees for Erewan National Park: 300 THB for adults, 200 THB for children, and 30 THB for parking your vehicle. It’s 100 THB cheaper for Thai citizens

3. Thong Pha Phum National Park

Thong Pha Phum National Park is rich in thick forest, and towering waterfalls, and is home to wild elephants and the odd elusive tiger. There is a well-maintained trail that will take you to the waterfalls, however, you’re not allowed to go swimming here. If you have your own tent, you can camp here and wait for a stunning sunrise, but remember to bring enough food, water, and an extra power bank. Take a filter water bottle with you and you can use the water from the streams and rivers.


Best Filter Water Bottle

The Lifestraw Go Water Filter Bottle has a 22-ounce capacity, it has a two-stage carbon filter that lasts for 100 liters of water and a membrane microfilter that lasts up to 4,000 liters of water.  The bottle itself is reusable, extremely durable, and BPA-free.  

If you want to watch the sunrise in Thong Pha Phum National Park, then you’ll have to spend the night here, but if you plan to simply go for a day hike, 3-4 hours is plenty of time. This National Park is located near the Myanmar border, about 166 km (103 mi) northwest of Kanchanaburi. You can get here by motorbike and the drive is around 3 hours. The entrance fee is 200 THB  for foreign visitors.

4. Khuean Srinagarindra National Park

Khuean Srinagarindra National Park is mainly popular for its 7-tier waterfalls, the Huai Mae Khamin Waterfalls. You can easily plan a day trip here and enjoy the waterfalls. The main entrance provides all the information you need. From hiking, camping, and finding the breathtaking waterfall. Khuean Srinagarindra National Park is around a 2-hour drive (111 km/69 miles) northwest of Kanchanaburi.

things to do in kanchanaburi huaw mae waterfall

You can either hire a taxi or rent a scooter to get here from Kanchanaburi. Plan to spend between 1-2 hours excluding the driving time.

5. Srinakarin Dam National Park

Srinakarin Dam National Park is located in the northern part of Erawan National Park. There are not a lot of things to do here apart from admire the dam. However, it’s conveniently located between Erawan and Khuean Srinagarindra National Park, so it’s worth stopping by. Srinakarin Dam National Park is 2.5-hour from Kanchanaburi.

6. Chaloem Rattanakosin National Park

Chaloem Rattanakosin National Park is a smaller national park that offers a different type of natural beauty. You will still find stunning waterfalls along its lush green trails. However, its main attractions are caves with rock formations. There are two caves, one is small and the other is much bigger.

If you plan to come and see the caves, stick to the first few hundred meters from the main entrance. Going deeper into the cave, you will most likely encounter bats and their specific and strong ammonia scent. The terrain is rough and lots of steep climbs will be required.

Chaloem Rattanakosin National Park is an hour and 40-minute drive north of Kanchanaburi’s main town, that’s around 94 km (58.4 miles) in distance. It’s best to come in the morning and plan to leave no later than 3 PM to avoid mosquitoes and hiking through rocks in the dark.

Cultural Things to do in Kanchanaburi

Now that we’ve covered Kanchanaburi’s war-related sites and natural beauty, it’s time to go through the cultural and historical attractions of Kanchanaburi.

1. Mueang Sing Historical Park

Mueang Sing Historical Park is also known as Prasat Muang Sing Historical Park and is an amazing place to start. This is perfect if you love wandering through temples and pagodas. This historical park is the location of the preserved 2 ancient ruins; a Khmer temple and a burial site.

Prasat Muang Sing Historical Park is rarely a busy place which means you can take your time, and take some great photos, without feeling that you have to rush. It is located near Route 3455, and it’s easy to stop by here after a day trip to Sai Yok National Park.

  • Address of Prasat Muang Sing Historical Park: Sing, Sai Yok District, Kanchanaburi 71150, Thailand
  • Opening Hours of Prasat Muang Sing Historical Park: 8 AM to 4:30 PM, daily
  • Entry Fees for Prasat Muang Sing Historical Park:  100 THB, 50 THB for parking

2. Visit Pak Prak: the Historic Road of Kanchanaburi

Pak Prak is a historical village in the heart of Kanchanaburi. The Pak Prak Road runs along the two rivers; Kwai and Mae Klong. The village is surrounded by the oldest buildings in the town. Many owners of these establishments are locals who risked their lives during World War II by passing messages between POWs to their governments.

Pak Prak Road is a great place to explore on an afternoon, and you can easily find information here about the 20 heritage buildings in the village. If you visit at the weekend, you’ll find streets of local vendors selling their wares. In the middle of Pak Prak, there’s the beautiful City Pillar Shrine (San Lak Mueang) and the Kanchanaburi Town Gate.  There’s more about Pak Prak here.

  • Address of Pak Prak: 119 Pakprak Rd, Ban Tai, Mueang Kanchanaburi District, Kanchanaburi 71000, Thailand

3. Wat Tham Sua aka Tiger Cave Temple

Wat Tham Sua, also known as the Tiger Cave Temple, is a very popular and well-known location in Kanchanaburi. The highlight is an 18-meter-tall Buddha which was constructed in 1973 on a hilltop. There is a magnificent tower here, which you can climb on a staircase and from the top, enjoy the beautiful and peaceful view of rice paddies and the mountains.

things to do in kanchanaburi tiger temple

Apart from admiring the temples and the pyramid tower, you will also find paintings that tell the history of Thailand and this region. Getting to the peak of the hilltop can be challenging, but the easiest way to get to the top is to take the cable car which also offers panoramic and glorious sights.

The best way to get here to the area is by bike or car since the distance between the Tiger Cave Temple and Kanchanaburi downtown is 14.5 km (9 miles). You can park your motorbike or car near the car cable.

  • Address of Wat Tham Sua: Muang Chum, Tha Muang District, Kanchanaburi 71110, Thailand
  • Opening Hours of Wat Tham Sua: 8 AM to 5 PM, daily
  • Entry Fees for Wat Tham Sua: Free, the cable car ride is 10 THB each way and 20 THB for a round-trip ticket

4. Wihan Phra Phothisat Kuan Im

Wihan Phra Phothisat Kuan Im is a Chinese temple that sits right on the Kwai River, across the River Kwai Bridge. There is a big set of stairs that lead to the actual temple where pilgrims can pray. Visiting Wihan Phra Phothisat Kuan Im is very different from any other site in Kanchanaburi. It’s peaceful and offers an open space overlooking the river. It’s also a nice place to watch the sunset.

  • Address of Wihan Phra Phothisat Kuan Im: 423 River Kwai Rd, Tha Ma Kham, Mueang Kanchanaburi District, Kanchanaburi 71000, Thailand
  • Opening Hours of Wihan Phra Phothisat Kuan Im: 24 hours

5. Tham Krasae Cave 

Tham Krasae Cave is a temple situated inside a limestone cave along the Kwai River, about 45-minute drive northeast of Kanchanaburi’s main town. There’s not much to do here but it’s located near the tracks of the Thai-Burma Railway and you can enjoy walking along the tracks near the river.

  • Address of Krasae Cave: Lum Sum, Sai Yok District, Kanchanaburi 71150, Thailand
  • Opening Hours of Krasae Cave: 8 AM to 6 PM, every day
  • Entry Fees for Krasae Cave: Free

6. Wat Ban Tham

Wat Ban Tham is also a cave temple, however, compared to Krasae Cave, this one is bigger, more elaborate, and interesting. The entrance is designed as if you’re entering a dragon’s mouth. There are a lot of stairs, and climbing up and down is required.

You must dress appropriately (bring a sarong, or leg coverings and cover your shoulders.  Once you reach the top, there’s an impressive view of the Buddha, the cave, and the river.

Wat Ban Tham is a remarkably fun temple to visit if you’re traveling with young children. To get here, drive along the west side of the river for about 15-minutes from the center of Kanchanaburi.

  • Address of Wat Ban Tham: 711110 Khao Noi, Tha Muang District, Kanchanaburi 71110, Thailand
  • Opening Hours of Wat Ban Tham: 7:30 AM to 5 PM, every day
  • Entry Fees for Wat Ban Tham: Free

7. The Ban Kao National Museum, Kanchanaburi

The Ban Kao National Museum is a gallery that displays artifacts that were discovered during archeological digs around Kanchanaburi. It showcases tools used by the Kao people during the prehistoric and the stone age.  Ban Kao National Museum is situated along the River Kwai surrounded by ricefields. It’s about a 35-minute drive from Kanchanaburi.

  • Address of Ban Kao National Museum: 164 Ban Kao, Mueang Kanchanaburi District, Kanchanaburi 71000, Thailand
  • Opening Hours of Ban Kao National Museum: 9 AM to 4 PM, Wednesday to Sunday
  • Entry Fees for Ban Kao National Museum: 30 THB for foreign visitors and 10 THB for Thai citizens

8. Elephant World Sanctuary, near Kanchanaburi

Elephant World is a rehabilitation center that rescues elephants and provides them with a better life. If you want to see and interact with these magnificent animals, you can visit this sanctuary where you can bathe, feed, and get close to the elephants.  If you’re coming from Bangkok and want an ethical elephant experience, then this is an excellent option.

You can book a tour that includes both visiting the elephant sanctuary and exploring Kanchanaburi’s top attractions. This is suitable if you have very limited time. The tour lasts for the entire day and includes transportation from Bangkok and back plus a local lunch.

things to do in kanchanaburi elephant sanctuary

If you’re already in Kanchanaburi, you can get to Elephant World by driving for 40-minutes northeast. It’s located along the River Kwai.

  • Address of ElephantWorld: 90, Wang Dong, Mueang Kanchanaburi District, Kanchanaburi 71190, Thailand
  • Opening Hours of ElephantWorld: 9 AM to 4 PM
  • Entry Fees for ElephantWorld: 2,000-4,500 THB depending on the package you choose

9. Take a Cookery Class in Kanchanaburi

One of the best ways of learning about the culture of an area is through the food, and taking a cooking class is an excellent way to take a skill home. In this Thai cooking class in Kanchanaburi, you’ll learn how to make 3 authentic Thai dishes from a local chef and enjoy the meal you make. A Kanchanaburi cooking class includes all the ingredients, instructions, and transport to and from your accommodation, and you can read more about the dishes you can make here.

Chilled out Things to do in Kanchanaburi

Kanchanaburi is a province rich in waterfalls, mountain peaks, and dark history. Most of the things to do in Kanchanaburi that’ we’ve explored so far involve a deal of energy and activity, so be sure to add a relaxing activity to your Kanchanaburi plans.  Here are some suggestions

1. Head to the Jungle Rafts floating hotel and relax on the river

These wooden rafts are one of the highlights of Kanchanaburi. The floating raft hotel will surprise you with what services they can offer. If you want to stay away from the crowded Kanchanaburi main town, book yourself a 2-day stay at this amazing river raft hotel. This location is much more peaceful and relaxing than the city. Staying here also includes a guided tour of the top sites in Kanchanaburi and all the meals during your stay.

This is a more convenient way to explore Kanchanaburi, very suitable if you only have 2 days and 1 night to spare. You don’t have to worry about your transport from Bangkok and back, accommodation, attraction tickets, and meals.  You can see the room facilities and check out pricing, as well as the transport included from Bangkok to Kanchanaburi here.

2. Explore the Hin Dat Hot Springs 

The Hin Dat Hot Springs are located along the Kui Mang, a smaller body of water connected to River Kwai. It offers natural pools where you can enjoy a spa and massage in a tranquil environment surrounded by trees. There are 3 hot spring pools for you to choose from that offer different temperatures. To beat the crowd, the best time to go to Hin Dat Hot Spring is in the morning.

To get here, take a motorbike or taxi and drive through Route 323, it’s a bit further out than the Hellfire Pass, the drive will take about 1.5 hours.

  • Address of Hin Dat Hot Spring: Hin Dat, Thong Pha Phum District, Kanchanaburi 71180, Thailand
  • Opening Hours of Hin Dat Hot Spring: 6 AM to 10 PM
  • Entry Fees for Hin Dat Hot Spring: 60 THB for foreign visitors and 20 THB for locals

Like hot springs? Check out our guide to the best hot springs in Korea here

What & Where to Eat in Kanchanaburi

There are a few key places to eat in Kanchanaburi and a specialitiy that you should try while you’re here.  Along with traditional Thai food, you will also find lots of curry-based dishes in Kanchanaburi. This province also has plenty of foreign expats which means finding restaurants serving western food is easily possible.

Eat Gaeng Paa Pla Khang in Kanchanaburi

Gaeng Paa Pla Khang also called Kaeng Pa is a curry dish made of local fish and vegetables such as eggplants, curry paste, lemongrass, and a big amount of chilies. The particularly popular spots to try this dish in Kanchanburi are Boon Nam Kaeng Pa Restaurant, Kang Pa Restaurant, and Khao Noi Kaeng Pa Bistro.

Kanchanaburi night market (JJ market)

The JJ Night Market in Kanchanaburi is located near the Death Railway Museum. The stalls and tents sell clothing, footwear, electronics, and of course food. This is a huge, and fun place to find local and international dishes to try at very affordable prices. Okazu, a Japanese dish is a local favorite, while a cold coconut drink is a tasty refreshment as you walk around the market. JJ Night Market is open every day from 6 PM until 10 PM.

Chukkadon Market in Kanchanaburi

Kanchanaburi’s Chukkadon Market is on the other side of the town around 3 km south of JJ Market. Instead of massive tents, the streets of Chukkadon Market have food stalls lined up selling local dishes. This market is more popular with locals. The prices are much cheaper and the food options are specific to Thai dishes. It’s open daily from 5 AM to 8 AM then 3:30 PM to 7 PM.

Map of the Best Things to do at Kanchanaburi

You can see the full map of Kanchanaburi’s best things to do here.

The 26 Best Things to Do in Kanchanaburi

How to Get Around Kanchanaburi

The best way to get around Kanchanaburi is either by scooter, tuk-tuk, or on foot. Depending on where you are staying, you can easily get around just by walking from one location to another. If you are staying a bit out of the main attraction area, you can either rent a scooter or hail a taxi/tuk-tuk.

If you’re coming here on a day trip without being on a guided tour, it’s better to hire a tuk-tuk for the day or rent a scooter. Unfortunately, Grab or other ride-hailing apps don’t operate in Kanchanaburi.

Where is Kanchanaburi

Kanchanaburi is 123 km (76.43 miles) northwest of Bangkok near the land border with Myanmar. There are 2 main border points from Kanchanaburi to Myanmar. The most popular is Ban Phu Nam Ron Border Crossing Station which is only 73 km (45.36 miles) west of Kanchanaburi town center. Three Pagodas pass is 230 km (143 miles) in the northern part of the province.

How to get to Kanchanaburi

Kanchanaburi is only 2 hours away from Bangkok if you are in a private car or a tour bus. You can get here by minivan as well, which will take about 3-4 hours depending on if you catch a direct bus or one that has scheduled stops along the way.  I wrote about your options on how to go to Kanchanaburi from Bangkok here.

If you are short on time, you can either sign up for a guided tour from Bangkok that includes private round-trip transport, hire a private driver, or take a taxi.

The minivan or bus can be found at Mochit Bus Terminal and there are about 20+ buses and minivans that go every day starting from 5 AM until 7:30 PM. You can either purchase your ticket in advance or get one at the terminal.

Book a bus to Kanchanaburi here

A train option is also possible, which I think is one the best and most comfortable choices. The minivans are very tight in space while taxis or private cars can get costly. With a train, not only you can enjoy a nice view but it’s also much more spacious. You can catch the train from Bangkok at Thonburi Train station (aka Bangkok Noi Station). It’s a 10-minute walk from Khao San Road or you can take a Grab/taxi to the station. The ticket cost is about 100 THB and takes 3 hours.

Where to Stay in Kanchanaburi

There are a host of places to stay in Kanchanaburi – here’s our pick of the luxury places to stay in Kanchanaburi, mid-range places to stay in Kanchanaburi, and budget accommodations in Kanchanaburi.

Natee The Riverfront Hotel Kanchanaburi (SHA Extra plus), Kanchanaburi, Thailand: The Natee Riverfront Hotel Kanchanaburi (SHA Extra plus) is a mid-range hotel located in an exceptionally rated area in Kanchanaburi. All the rooms offered in this mid-range Kanchanaburi hotel have air-conditioning and internet access, they also have a coffee/tea machine, a balcony/terrace, and a private bathroom. This top Kanchanaburi hotel also provides free toiletries, fluffy bathrobes, a walk-in shower; and a hair dryer. This lovely Kanchanaburi hotel, the Riverfront Hotel also has cable TV, streaming movies, and fridges in the rooms. Check availability here.

Good Times Resort Kanchanaburi, Kanchanaburi, Thailand: The Good Times Resort Kanchanaburi is a budget resort in Kanchanaburi. This budget Kanchanaburi resort offers air conditioning in public areas and complimentary Wi-Fi in all of its rooms. You can always have your breakfast in their restaurant, and rooms here include a terrace.  This is a super budget option in Kanchanaburi. Want more information on Good Times Resort Kanchanaburi?

Travel Tips for Exploring Thailand

Final Words on The Best Things to Do in Kanchanaburi

Kanchanaburi is pretty close to Bangkok and easy to visit. Whether you have a day or two to spare, planning a trip to Kanchanaburi is worth your time, whether you want to visit the World War II related sites, cultural locations, temples, caves, go for a hike, swim in a waterfall, or try out local dishes, it’s a slower pace of life here, and you can kick back and enjoy a little peace or luxury, depending on where you stay.

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