Kanchanaburi: A Scenic and Historic Riverside Gem

Kanchanaburi: A Scenic and Historic Riverside Gem

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Located in the western part of Central Thailand, close to the border with Burma, Kanchanaburi is a charming town with heaps going on! There are lots of places to stay, as well as a great selection of spots to enjoy a nice meal or a drink.

History

Although a pretty and peaceful place today, that hasn’t always been the case. During the Japanese occupation of Thailand during WW2, Kanchanaburi saw lots of horrific and brutal acts. The ambitious plan to construct a railway between Thailand and Burma resulted in a huge loss of life of prisoners of war and forced labourers. The shiny black bridge is a reminder of the ruthless scheme. Made famous in a movie, the Bridge Over the River Kwai is one of the town’s most popular attractions. Visitors can take a ride on the train that runs along the so-called Death Railway. With tall sharp rocks on one side and a sheer drop on the other, it is easy to imagine how perilous it must have been to create. Within the same province, but some distance outside of the main town, Hellfire Pass is another reminder of the past. Several museums help to bring the emotive events to life for people today and the large Allied War Cemetery remembers all those who lost their lives during this period. There is a Chinese cemetery, with big decorative curved graves, next door to the Allied War Cemetery. There is also a Japanese Cemetery and memorial, although these are somewhat tucked away.

Other Attractions

On the railway line, step into the Krasae Cave – it may be small but it houses a golden Buddha image and is pretty interesting. Kanchanaburi is often said to be one of the best places for natural beauty if you don’t want to journey all the way up to the north, and there are loads of opportunities for scenic hiking and biking. Bamboo rafting on the river is a popular activity, and there are also elephant camps where you can learn more about Thailand’s national animal and get up close and personal with these lumbering giants. There are several temples, including the Tiger Temple that, unsurprisingly, is home to a large number of tigers as well as other animals. The local markets are the ideal place to pick up a few souvenirs. The multi-level Erawan Waterfall is another popular attraction within easy reach of the main provincial town.

/// Written by Sarah-Jane Williams, Thailand