Earth : Asia : Southeast Asia : Thailand : Central Thailand : West of Bangkok : Kanchanaburi
Kanchanaburi (pronounced gaan jà ná bù rii) (Thai: กาญจนบุรี) is a city located at the confluence of the rivers Kwai Noi and Kwai Yai. It is the Capital City of the Province of this name.
For most visitors the main sight of interest is the Bridge over the River Kwai (pronounced khwaae as in air), as the start of the infamous World War II Death Railway to Burma (now Myanmar), as well as the many associated museums. There is an increasingly thriving backpacker scene taking advantage of the chilled-out riverside vibe for those that need to get away from Bangkok. Kanchanaburi is also the gateway to the surrounding province of the same name. More foreign visitors are discovering why Thais know it as one of the most beautiful provinces in the country with its easily accessible waterfalls and national parks.
Regrettably, there does not appear to be as many tourists now coming here as of 10 years past, maybe because WW 2 was so long ago now, so the City appears to be slowing down compared to ten years previously.
Orienting yourself in Kanchanaburi is very easy. The main road, Saeng Chuto Road, runs through the length of town from north to south, connecting the River Kwai Bridge, the train station and the bus station. Running parallel to this, closer to the river, is Mae Nam Kwae Road where most of the guest houses and the local bar scene can be found.
From Bangkok to Kanchanaburi:
BKS public buses (line 81) leave from Bangkok's Southern Bus Terminal (Sai Tai Taling Chan สายใต้ตลิ่งชัน), which is located far west in the suburb Thonburi. In Kanchanaburi, there are two separate but nearby bus terminals, with 1st class buses departing from an office off Thanon Saengchuto, and 2nd class buses from the larger terminal one block east.
There are also tourist minibuses directly to/from Khao San Road, departing Kanchanaburi at 13:30 and 18:30.
There are also some buses leaving less frequently from Bangkok's Northern Mo Chit bus terminal (note: not the same as Mo Chit BTS station, and not within walking distance of it, although a standard 50 baht motorbike ride is available. It's often called "Mo Chit 2"). Here are the times found online at the station:
First-class bus with toilet (3 hours, 122 baht): 06:00, 11:00, 14:30
Second class bus with no toilet inside: 05:00, 07:00, 09:30, 12:30, 17:00
Minibus leave from Terminal 4 regularly, (12 noon was one of the scheduled times) taking 3 hours for 120 baht (July 2015)
Bus rides may be variable or cancelled (for example, with 14:30 being last of the day.) BUT there are vans available at the bus station leaving even when you're told there's no way to get there by bus! It may pay to talk to the information desk for this. Price Feb '11 was around 120 baht, about 2 hrs.
From Nakhon Pathom, there are direct buses (2nd class only) every 15 to 30 minutes between 04:00 and 18:00, which take two hours. Alternatively, you can hop off a 1st class bus when it passes by Nakhon Pathom, but double-check with staff to ensure the route allows this and they know your plans.
From Sangkhlaburi to Kanchanaburi, you're spoilt for choice:
There is a direct bus from Pattaya to Kanchanaburi, running 2 times a day (9:30am and 7:30pm), departing from Central Pattaya, arriving at Kanchanaburi Bus Terminal. The bus service is provided by Sri Mongkol bus company.
Tips: best to buy ticket at least one day in advance. As with many other Thais outside Bangkok, the company staff cannot understand & speak English well, especially over the phone. If there is any problem communicating to the staff, consider asking your hotel/hostel staff to speak to them in Thai over the phone, e.g. asking for the bus station address and have the hotel staff write it down in Thai - taxi/tuk tuk driver could find the place easier that way.
The 5-hour journey is quite long but the road quality is pretty good with hardly any problem. A good option to consider if one does not want to go to Kanchanaburi from Pattaya via going back to Bangkok. Beats using two minivans (cost 280 B depending on which company you use) and is only 30 Baht more.
Ayutthaya - Suphanburi, public minibus no. 703, 80 baht, travel time 1.5h, leaves every 30m. from Chao Phrom market bus station. Suphanburi - Kanchanaburi, bus no. 411, some busses have aircon, 70 baht, travel time 2h, leaves every 20m. By minivan directly from your hotel at 9:30am or 4:30pm. 400 baht per person. Takes 2.5 hours. Book through a tour agent.
Trains leave Bangkok's Thonburi Train Station at 07:50 and arrive at Kanchanaburi at 10:25, also at 13:55 and arriving at 16:24. You may be interested in buying a ticket all the way to the River Kwai Bridge, since these two trains are the only ones which cross the bridge each day. Since December 2005, the fare is 100 baht for foreigners.
Be warned that reaching Thonburi Station from Khao San Road is harder than it looks; tuk-tuk drivers will try to charge you outrageous rates, and walking involves crossing two bridges and looping back a ways. The best way is probably to take the passenger boat from Phra Arthit Pier and connect to a cross-river ferry that reaches the Thonburi Railway pier, then walk or take the open minibus from there. The other way to reach Thonburi (Bangkok Noi) Station is walk little bit south from Thammasat university (next to Sanam Luang), take river ferry (3THB) from Wat Mahathat to Wanglong, on the other side of river walk west until you reach main north-south road, here walk north until you reach big bridge where you will go under it and then just walk west to train station, all this from Khao San Road to train station takes only about 30-40mins easy walk + river ferry. You can also walk a bit away from Khao San Road and find a metered taxi that will not rip you off. The fare should be about 70-80 baht from Khao San on the meter. If you miss the train taxi from Thonburi train station to Sai Tai Mai bus terminal for buses to Kanchanaburi (110THB) costs 80 baht.
Alternatively, use google maps routeplanner on your smartphone or on the computer in your hostel, and look for a local bus connection.
Return trains leave at 07:25 and 14:48 from the main railway station; from the River Kwai Bridge they leave 6 minutes earlier. Riding 3rd class is an adventure in itself, and definitely recommended.
Both train services continue to/from Nam Tok, the current terminus of the Death Railway. The normal trains will charge "Farangs" (Westerners) 100 baht in each direction from Kanchanaburi to Wang Pho, the last station before Nam Tok.
The 10:30 train has a special tourist section, where the low, low price of 300 baht gets you air-con, a soft drink and a certificate of having ridden the Death Railway.
Minivans depart to Kanchanaburi from either Mo Chit or Southern Bus Terminal.
Kanchanaburi is about 3 hours drive from Bangkok, along Hwy 4 (Phet Kasem) from Bangkok until it meets Hwy 323. This will take you all the way to Kanchanaburi.
You can catch a taxi to Kanchanaburi, return to Bangkok for the day for around 2,000 baht. This should include stopping at the Bridge over River Kwai and museum, Kanchanaburi township, the local dam and the cemetery for the prisoners of war. You may need to pay a bit extra to visit Erawan Falls which is about an hour out of the town centre and the Tiger Temple.
By limousine taxi
Bangkok (Airport) limousines are a comfortable and swift means of travel between Thailand's capital and Kanchanaburi. Transfer rates by luxury Japanese sedan are typically between 3,000-3,500 baht.
For shorter travel, day trips from Bangkok are commonly sold at Bangkok travel agencies. Typically these include Toyota minibus transport from one's hotel to Kanchanaburi and back (visiting the famous bridge, Erawan National Park, etc., depending on the package), and perhaps lunch and entrance fees.
Kanchanaburi is just a little too stretched out to comfortably walk around. Small orange and large yellow songthaews (converted pickups) cruise up and down Saengchuto between 6am and 6pm, connecting bus station, train station and the bridge, and charge a standard 10 baht. However, if they see a solitary "Farang" (Westerner) or two, they will offer you a lift to wherever. You need to negotiate the price. Motorbike taxis and tuk-tuks are also available, with negotiable prices, and some guesthouses offer bicycle rental. A number of places in town (mostly along Maenam Kwai Rd) rent bicycles for 50 baht/day, or motorcycles for 150-200 baht, depending on whether it is an automatic. In the area near to budget accommodation / guesthouses such as Ploy, you can rent bicycles or motorcycles from Yanee at 197 Maenumkaew Rd. Remember to ask for a map and directions to popular sights. If you are staying near Chakkadone Pier in the south, tourist services are hard to find. Ask your hotel to call a tuk tuk for you as you will not find them on the road. Chakkadone to bus station, 60 baht; to war cemetery or River Kwai bridge, 100baht. The return ride will be cheaper. Also English is not spoken here, and all road and shop signs are in Thai. It is worth walking in the street market to see the local delicacies.
Bridge over the River Kwai
Located some 3 km north of Kanchanaburi (down New Zealand Road, off Saeng Chuto Road), this iron bridge (Saphan Mae Nam Kwae) across the Kwai Yai River is the main attraction for many visitors. Immortalized in the famous movie and novel, it was a part of the infamous Death Railway to Burma, constructed by POWs working for the Japanese in hellish conditions during World War II. Some 16,000 POWs and 90,000 Asian workers (most of them enslaved) died during the railway construction. The present iron bridge is the second wartime incarnation (a part of the original can be found in the War Museum), but two central 'boxy' spans were rebuilt after the war to replace three sections destroyed by Allied bombing.
World War II
Pretty much all the sights in Kanchanaburi itself are directly related to World War II. The museums are dusty and generally not worth it, except for the Thailand-Burma Railway Centre, which gives a good introduction of the Death Railway and its history. There are also two war cemeteries, the most moving of which is the Kanchanaburi War Cemetery.
The area northwest of Kanchanaburi is dominated by the beautiful River Kwai Valleys. It is an area of great natural beauty, with a dazzling amount of waterfalls, caves, lakes and mountainous scenery. Most attractions can be visited as a day-trip from Kanchanaburi. Independent travel is possible for most attractions, but can be a hassle as local trains and buses are slow and inflexible. If you want to visit Hellfire Pass and the Erawan Falls in one day, be aware there is no public bus connection between them although there are guided tours.
Along the Death Railway
While most visitors see the spectacular Erawan Falls, the Sai Yok Noi Falls are more accessible, because they are straight on the road to Sangkhlaburi. The Sai Yok Yai Falls are located further away from Kanchanaburi on the same road. But beside the falls, the national park is home to limestone caves and hot springs as well. And it can easily be combined with the Hellfire Pass Memorial.
Only re-located in the 1980s, Konyu Cutting (known as Hellfire Pass by POWs and Asian labourers who cut and blasted through rock by hand to clear this pass for the Death Railway) has been reclaimed from the jungle as a profound war memorial funded by the Australian government. Excellent museum and self-guided walking tour facilities are available (donations welcome). Highly recommended. The descent through the jungle down to the pass (listening to oral histories from survivors through audio headsets) is a moving experience. Before leaving, take a moment to reflect at the peace lookout overlooking the beautiful Kwai Noi Valley. More challenging walking options are available. An annual Anzac Day Dawn Service held here. 80 km northwest of Kanchanaburi. To get to Hellfire Pass from Kanchanaburi, you can take the local bus from the main Kanchanburi bus station heading towards Sangkhlaburi, 50 baht; to return to Kanchanburi, there is a small bust stop opposite the Hellfire pass entrance (last bus is around 5pm back to Kanchanburi). For a day trip, consider taking the morning train from Kanchanaburi to Nam Tok (2.5 hrs), then a bus to the memorial from the main road (20 min); return by bus (1 hr) or afternoon train. One could also take a taxi from Kanchanaburi or hire a scooter. The experience is not the same without listening to the oral histories as you walk down the path. Note that the walking track in its entirety is roughly 4km long and passes through different kinds of cuttings, if you want to walk the entire length allow ~2 hours for the return journey. However there is a shorter track showing you the initial cutting and the dawn service site, allow about 45min return.
Sai Yok National Park, Phra That Falls and Hin Dat Hot Springs
Tiger Temple has been closed, and the tigers removed by the Government. Charges of criminal negligence are pending.
Erawan National Park
The Erawan Falls are contenders for the most beautiful waterfalls in Thailand, and a must-see if time and budget allow. The entrance fee is 300 baht for foreigners (May 2019), with an additional 20 baht per motorbike. The falls are composed of seven tiers — all of which are picturesque shaded forest areas and great for swimming. Plan to spend at least two hours hiking plus the time you want to spend swimming in the falls. There are also shaded seating areas throughout.
It is recommended to bring sunblock, water and a suitable gear for swimming, since you'll want to have a dip in the turquoise pools on most levels away from the heat (although they revert to dirty brown during the rainy season). When swimming, watch out for fish feasting on the soles of your feet. They won't hurt you and are only looking for a meal on dead skin cells, but the feeling can be disconcerting and it's quite tickling. Also guard or lock up your belongings since there are monkeys around which will be happy to steal your stuff looking for food, while your camera is worthless for them.
Everyone can do the hike, but don't underestimate it; some shoes with profile will make the trip more pleasant, though flip flops are commonly worn. At the highest levels, one may have to walk through shallow water. The first four tiers are relatively close together and the walk is very straightforward. For the more adventurous, there is a large rock at the fourth tier that can be used as a water slide. Beyond the fifth tier, the hike will become slightly more difficult. The sixth and seventh tiers are not far from each other, but the paths are not well defined at this point, so be sure to look for the hard-to-spot signs. Additionally, beware of hornets at the top tier.
They close access above the 4th tier after 3pm, so if you come afternoon, consider hiking to the highest tier first, and then walking reverse way slowly, stopping at each tier.
Bicycles can be rented at the entrance for 20 baht/hr, however you can only bike to the first level, which is only a 5 min walk, so they don't really have any use. Many Thais don't go further than the second level as beyond this food & beverages, water bottles excepted after leaving a deposit, are not allowed.
Erawan can be very crowded with huge package tourist groups most of the day (especially popular with Russian tourists). So the best visiting time is early morning or just before sunset.
Public Transport: Public bus 8170 leaves the Kanchanaburi bus terminal every 50-60 min. between 08:00-17:20. The fare is 50 baht each way and takes 90 minutes. If you stay far away north from the bus terminal, and you probably will, you can just walk to Saeng Chuto Rd from your guest house and hail the bus there, the regular bus stop is next to 7-Eleven across the road from evening market at train station. Be sure to get an early bus, since there will be fewer people at the falls and you won't have to hurry to get back. The last bus leaves for Kanchanaburi at 17:00. There is only one bus with limited seating so it is a good idea to wait for the bus from 3pm, or you may be standing the entire trip or be left behind. You cannot buy tickets in advance. (May 2019)
Motorbike: If you are not traveling alone the good idea might be to rent motorbike since bus tickets for 2 people cost 200 baht and you can rent motorbike for 120-180 baht (depending if semi-automatic or automatic) + 3.5 litres of petrol for automatic motorbike with 2 people cost less than 140 baht and you can leave Kanchanaburi and Erawan national park at any time and it's much more convenient than waiting for bus or walking far from accommodation. The road to national park is well signed, just take the road 3199 from Kanchanaburi, there is only one confusing place on the way where you can go to dam entrance maybe 50 meters from main road, but it's not problem to return back to main road and guards here speak English.
Transport Tour:, Tour agencies in Bangkok commonly sell a package that includes Toyota minibus transport from your Bangkok hotel to the falls and back, with lunch and the park entrance fee of 200 baht included, for 1,100 baht, circa early 2011. The packages are generally standardised and non-negotiable in price. Some tours also include a stop at the bridge over the River Kwai, so inquire.
Tour packages that visitors can purchase from the nearby hotels/resorts in Kanchanaburi may include a stop to the Erawan waterfalls and other selected tourist attractions such as elephant riding, bamboo rafting, Tiger Temple and Hellfire Pass. These packages range around 1600 baht and include all transportation to and from the resort, the park fees, lunch, and an English-speaking guide.
In July 2011, many tour agencies and hotels were offering tours for 1,000-1,100 baht including entrance fees, lunch, elephant walk, bamboo raft ride, River Kwai Bridge, and a choice of Hellfire Pass or Erawan Falls. Not all combinations of tours leave every day so check a few days ahead if you're after something specific.
It is possible to spend the night in the national park, meaning you get to experience the falls without the day tripper crowds. Camping sites are available on a nice green area by the riverside. The National Park rents out tents starting from 50 baht up to 300 baht for the biggest. The park also rents out accessories such as sleeping bags, lanterns or stoves for a very small amount. The accommodation services office is just past the car park. Bungalows are also available from 800 baht and if you book through their website for a weekday stay you receive a 30% discount.
For food, try the market which is a one kilometre walk back up the road towards the highway. There it is also possible to find cheaper snacks, drinks, or other items. Just remember to bring your National Parks ticket with you to prove you have already paid.
Srinakarind National Park
Another area of beautiful natural scenery is the Srinakarind Reservoir, which is located right behind the Srinakarind Dam. Unfortunately, there is no public bus service here. The beginning of this water way is called Lumnam Jone, which is the beginning of the ever famous River Kwai. It has some beautiful surroundings and cystal clear water. It is hard to get to though; on foot it will take a few hours walk, and by boat it takes around 5 hr from the ferry pier at Srinakarind Dam. Lumnam Jone can only be reached by one tour operator to limit the amount of visitors to the region. The trip takes two days and one night and can only be booked for the first weekend of the month. Some other interesting sights in the area are the Phra That Cave, the Huay Mae Khamin Waterfalls and the Tham Than Lot Cave. The Srinakarind Dam has a nice cafe serving mostly Thai food and is open every day.
The area has two main ethnic groups, Thais and Karen. There are several villages of mostly Karen people in tambon Naasuan of Amphoe Sri Sawat. Near the Amphoe is a small Mon village. Beyond Ong Sit village and off a side road is a Lao village called Jerot. The villagers originally came here to help clear the forest when the dam was built and ended up settling in the area. Although many of the Karen women do a wonderful job at weaving (sarongs, blouses, bags), there is no local shop that sells these products. Occasionally there will be a house that will have items for sale but they may be hard to find.
• Srinakarind Dam In north west Kanchanaburi Srinakarind Dam, named Princess Mother, impressive hydro-electric power plant. It sits on the River Kwai Yai.
• Travel by
Bangkok to Srinakarind Dam, it takes about 194 kilometers. In case of car, it will take about 3 hours.
Bus (100 - 200 Baht)
Route from Bangkok to Srinakarind Dam, take bus from Bangkok bus terminal (Chatuchak). It will take about 3 hours 30 minutes or 4 hours and drop at Kanchanaburi bus station, Ban Tai, Mueang Kanchanaburi District. Continue on bus number 8170 in Kanchanaburi to Erawan near Srinakarind Dam.
Train (100 - 150 Baht)
Bangkok to Kanchanaburi, Take a train at station Thonburi arrive at 7:45 a.m. or 1:55 p.m. and spend time about 5-6 hours. Then continue on bus number 8170 in Kanchanaburi to Erawan it’s near Srinakarind Dam.
Vintage Raft (Contact: 095-297-6268), each raft can accept 2-4 people, air conditioner, activity in resort. The fine for person is 1,200 Baht included breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Lake Heaven Resort (Contact: 084-387-6742, 084-387-6763). The maximum number of an occupant for each room are 2 people for 3,500 Baht, air conditioner and breakfast included. 12 people per raft 18,000 Baht, air conditioner and breakfast included. 20 people in two floors raft with 10 room is 30,000 Baht, air conditioner and breakfast, lunch, dinner. This resort also has activities such karaoke, jet-ski, speed boat and water park.
Rak Num Resort (Contact: 086-014-2352, 089-926-8542). 2 people per room the price is about 6,000-12,000 Baht, and 4 people per room the price is about 20,000 Baht, 2 rooms in 1 raft. Additional activities such karaoke, kayak and water park.
Tham Than Lot National Park
Kanchanaburi features several elephant camps but one of the largest is Taweechai Elephant Camp, ☎ +66 1 774-8301, ). Home to nearly 30 elephants including one born in late 2009, Taweechai offers elephant rides, bathing with elephants (suitable for children), bamboo rafting (swimming optional) and special elephant training mahout courses. You can also buy photo frames made from real elephant dung.
The camp itself is well maintained and nicely decorated, for example featuring the mounted skeleton of a 100 year old elephant. The elephants are not treated well, but are fed almost constantly. The camp owns large areas of nearby forest and at 16:00 the elephants leave the camp to spend the night wandering and grazing. They are given a very long chain but this is not sufficient as elephants are meant to travel many miles in a day. Riding the elephants is also incredibly bad for their backs.
Taweechai is conveniently located halfway along the route from Kanchanaburi to the Erawan Falls and so can be included in a day trip to the falls. The majority of Western tourists have not yet discovered the camp as it seems to be visited almost exclusively by Thai and Russian tour groups. It is very busy so calling ahead to book is a good idea for groups. For couples or small groups it may be possible to turn up and ride, particularly in the low season.
The camp is very easy to get to from Kanchanaburi, essentially a straight line drive for 40 km along Route 3199. There are English road signs indicating the camp. If coming by bus, take bus 8170 bound for the Erawan Falls and tell it to stop at Taweechai. You'll need to take a motorcycle taxi to the camp for 30 baht. Admission prices vary depending on activity and group size so again it is a good idea to call ahead.
If you would like to visit and you are staying in the city of Kanchanaburi the sanctuary can pick you up at 9 AM from your guesthouse and take you back at the end of the day.
A songthaew can be hired at the bus station the day before you want to travel - should cost between 1,500-2,000 baht, and you tell the driver where you want to go. He will pick you up from your hotel in the morning as part of the deal and return you there afterwards.
For your day out, check out Hellfire Pass and the museum, 80 km from Kachanaburi - take a couple of hours or more there - then come back along the same road to Naamtok Saiyoknoi waterfall. (Erewan waterfall is too far away for this trip but well worth a look) There is also an old preserved steam locomotive at Saiyoknoi. From there ask to go to Wang Pho village, and make sure to get the driver to stop at a market along the way to buy bulk peanuts/bananas because you want to see "Ling Ling" (Thai for monkey, and the repeat means a lot of them) On the road down to Wang Pho,the driver should veer off to the left near the bottom of the winding road leading towards the River Kwai. Here there are millions of wild monkeys or at least an awful lot of them. Enjoy yourself feeding them peanuts or bananas - they are not aggressive. You can watch all the tour buses driving past this little known attraction. However, feeding monkeys disrupts their natural feeding habits and can make them reliant on humans for food. So, its probably better just to watch the monkeys in their natural environment.
In Wang Pho village, take time to have a look at the place - the Death Railway has a station here, the final one before Naamtok - the villagers are friendly, and one stall does a really good fried banana! Then go to Tam Grasae - a cave a couple of kilometres distant where the railway crosses a trestle bridge built by the WW2 POWs, it appears to be in original condition. The River Kwai is immediately below you, and the trestle hugs the side of the cliff in skirting it. The cave itself is well worth a look. There is a tourist market here also.
On the way back, on the main road to Kanchanaburi, depending on the time you have taken so far, there is a temple on the way back on the right where the monks are friendly to tourists.
For those wishing to avoid the package tourism to Hellfire Pass they can opt to catch the 0607 train to the last stop at Nam Tok and quickly catch a connecting 30 baht songthaew with the locals to the main road. Along the main road there are infrequent buses (30 baht again) that stop both outside the memorial and to the road shack restaurant/university bus stop near Wang Pho/Tam Grasae. Be warned that these buses don't often come frequently or come to a complete stop so you may have to run to board them!
At the Wang Pho/Tam Grasae stop there is a motorcycle taxi rank connected to the restaurant shack and a driver will take you to the cave/track/station at Tam Grasae for around 50 baht including a stop at the monkeys which are on the way. Note that there are no bananas or peanuts sold anywhere nearby (except in abundance at the Tam Grasae market itself) so if you are interested in ignoring the sign 'not to feed' the monkeys you will need to bring your own. If you arrive at Tam Grasae before 16:00 you can catch the return train back to Kanchanaburi.
This method is much cheaper than a package deal (100 baht each way for the train plus about 100 baht for songthaews and buses) and you'll only be able to visit Hellfire Pass. Walk the 2.4 km return and visit the cave nearby. You could try to visit Sai Ya Nok Falls along the way but you will probably be pushing to catch the final 16:00 train back to Kanchanaburi and may have to avoid the hike should you wish to do the falls. You are also relying on local transport so it will be hit and miss at best, but overall a much more interesting experience!
Khao Chang Puak
Khao Chang Puak is located in Thong Pha Phum National Park. Khao Chang Puak is art tourist attraction for people who love hikes and adventure. On the top of the hill is a mountain grass, there are some rocks on the ridge. Tourists must start travel at Ban I Tong. Most tourists will travel to Ban I Tong before sunrise to prepare before the adventure trip on the Khao Chang Puak, to climb the distance is about 1249 meters above sea level.
Muang Badan was formerly called Wang Wiwekaram Temple. It was built in 1953 at Sangkhla Buri District, Kanchanaburi Province. The Wang Wiwekaram Temple is located near Luangpho Uttama, the Karen people, and the Mon people near the Thailand-Myanmar border where three rivers converge - the Song Kalia River, Beekly River and Rantee River. In the year 2527 (1984), Khao Laem Dam or Vajiralongkorn Dam was built and when it overflowed, it flooded the whole Sangkhla Buri District and Wang Wiwekaram Temple. The temple has been submerged underwater for a long time. In the dry season about March through April, the water level drops making the temple visible. When the water level is up, people can use a boat to visit it. Only the top of the Buddhist monastery can be see from the surface. Thus the name “Muang Badan” or the underwater city.
There are many massage parlors along Mae Nam Khwae Rd in Kanchanaburi. Having a Thai massage is cheap and a good place is Foot & Thai massage at 228/2 Tambon Tamakam, ☎+66 87 166 6381). It is diagonally opposite to Yanee (bicycle or motorbike rental). Or relax at a spa. Some better ones include:
There are plenty of ATMs, which all charge a 200 baht commission for using foreign cards, except for Aeon. Their ATMs are at the corner of Saeng Chuto Rd and Chaichumphon Rd, which is the crossing with traffic lights just south of the bus station. Aeon ATM should be also located in 1st floor of Tesco Lotus in front of food court according Aeon ATM locator.
For cheap street eats, the evening market in front of the train station will fulfill all your 10 baht pad thai needs, you can find here 5 baht sushi, plastic boxes with chicken rice from 10-20 baht, one curry topping with rice for 20 baht, 3 mangoes (500g) for 25 baht, delicious som tum (spicy papaya) salad for 30 baht, different kinds of meat (squid for example) on sticks for 10 baht, many kinds of candies and most of the food sellers are honest. Don't forget to be always careful and check how much locals are paying, don't support cheaters and don't accept their prices.
There is also a string of street eats on the main road just out from the bus station road. All sorts of meals available and buy your beer at the nearby Family Mart/7-Eleven. You can have dinner or breakfast here for 30 to 50 Baht. Some of the signs are written in English.
Street vendors parade up and down River Kwai Rd all day & night. Approximately 20 baht per serving. Many stop outside of 7-Eleven by Jolly Frog selling sausages, roti, and other small snacks. Ice cream and pastries during the day. For a more local experience, try Mae Nam Kwai Rd. Street vendors there sell snacks (freshly fried crisps, iced coffee), flocking to the school grounds behind the Kanchanaburi War Cemetery.
There are numerous locations where you'll be able to enjoy your drinks, but most of the bars are close to the guest houses along Mae Nam Kwai Road. Most of the bars are noisy karaoke bars popular among the locals or the usual British pubs with football on show. Some bars have young Thai ladies on the hunt for rich foreigners, and as a result there are a number of middle-aged foreigners in these areas.
There are lots of guest houses, resorts and hotels available. The density increases the nearer you get to the bridge. As usual if you book in advance they will arrange a free pick up service for you. If you haven't done so yet, you should try one night in a raft room floating on the river.
An online check shows this resort to be very busy in tourist season, and the cost is B4000 - 6500 per night, including breakfast. Price depends on the season. It is a 40 minute drive from the City.
There are many stray dogs roaming the streets. Whilst the vast majority are very placid, some can become aggressive and will charge at people and attempt to bite. Take care and be alert around them. Keep to well lit main streets at night as the dogs seem to become territorial and very aggressive down the small side roads.
Most of the guest houses along Mae Nam Kwai Rd have at least some form of Wi-Fi available. Some of the bars along that road also have Wi-Fi.