Dec 14 2011

December getaways: Bangkok to Kanchanaburi

Published by at 1:09 pm under Bangkok excursions,Transport

Tis the season to be jolly, or if you are in Thailand, hang out by the beaches, trek alongside elephants, or stand under a waterfall. Thailand, a Buddhist country, may not have a traditional white Christmas, but there are plenty of easy-to-get-to getaways just outside of Bangkok for fun in the sand. If you’re looking for a Christmas chill, or at least temperatures below scorching, one non-beach option is Kanchanaburi, two to three hours (139 km) west of Bangkok along the River Kwai.

Believe it or not, it still runs trains daily.

The main tourist attraction is the Death Railway Bridge , a creaky iron structure built by prisoners of war and later a prime target of Allied bombing raids. You can wax historic at any number of the museums dedicated to showcasing Kanchanaburi’s involvement in WWII, including the WII Museum, Kanchanaburi Allied War Cemetery, the JEATH War Museum, Chung Kai Allied War Cemetery, and the Thailand-Burma Railway Centre — you can see a full list of things to do here.

You’ll also no doubt hear about the Tiger Temple, a strange place for tourists to take pictures with sedated looking tigers. We don’t recommend a visit; if you’re considering visiting, please read this first.

But the real gem of Kanchanaburi is the sleepy River Kwai itself, which flows sleepily through the town — there are plenty of riverside places to stay.

Sunset from Keeree Tara (aka the best meal you will eat in Kanchanaburi).

The food alone is enough of a reason to come to Kanchanaburi. You can eat river prawns and pineapple fried rice inside a carved coconut at Keree Tara Restaurant, a modern eatery with oh-so-fresh tastes and delectable views. At night, the river sparkles, and you can take a river (and karaoke!) cruise to enjoy all of its splendour. Finish off the day strong by hitting up the Night Bazaar by the bus station and then bar-hopping along Maenam Kwai Road.

The riverside city is a bit too big to get around on your feet; the best and most enjoyable way to see the sights while still catching the river breeze is by renting a bicycle.

To fully appreciate what Kanchanaburi and its surrounds has to offer, take a day trip to Erawan National Park or Sai Yok Park, both with a 200 baht entry fee for tourists. You can visit waterfalls, kayak through limestone caves with hidden Buddhist temples, take a bamboo raft along the river, and feed elephants. Now, how’s that for a merry Christmas or a happy Hannukah?

Nothing more romantic than a train ride, eh?

To get to Kanchanaburi, buses leave from the Southern Bus Terminal every 30 minutes to Kanchanaburi’s bus station for 100 baht. Or catch a minibus at Victory Monument/Khao San Road, which will leave as soon as it fills up. Prices may vary depending on the company, but expect to pay 100 to 200 baht. For a slow and scenic journey, take the Bangkok Noi-Nam Tok train line, which leaves from Bangkok Noi Station in Thonburi and takes around three hours (100 baht). You can find a more detailed schedule here.

Keeree Tara Restaurant
43/1, Tha Makham
T: (034) 624 093

Open 11:00-24:00

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One Response to “December getaways: Bangkok to Kanchanaburi” ...

  1. soi1davidon 26 Apr 2012 at 12:07 pm

    To a majority on the back packers trail, this will be the most Thai of your run.
    Erawan park the waterfalls are fantastic, a real trek you the 7 tiers of Clean, cold swimable waters. The fish will give ya kisses. and if you let them, the monkey’s on the 2nd tier will drop from the tree and grab the food from your hand.
    Evreyone knows the popular tiger temple there as well as the Bridge over the river Kawi , but you may not know of the interesting interesting history museum beside it. and Hell fire pass, ” Lest we Forget” .Elephant riding here is also very good. River rafting is fun as you can help make your own raft and enjoy the coolness of the river.
    Most never see or know of the Monkey training zoo Or of the Huge acacia tree with it’s little shrine out past the Calvary training grounds.(horses are something you don’t see much in Thailand as a tourist.) you have to go back almost 3 blocks to get a full picture of it. Not many tourist go there so making your point to the driver may be a while to get across.
    If you choose to go to Kanchanaburi, One day can do the Basic 2 things, but 2-3 days would be comfortable. As advised above , the train there ( nice view) leaves from Thonburi train station at 7:35 am takes two hours and if you wait 6 minutes past the Kanchanaburi stop to get off, you will be on the “river kwai bridge” we suggest this. then take a moto bike to you guesthouse. We like the “Jolly frog” on the river.
    Don’t buy any tours for Kanchanaburi outside of Kanchanaburi. No one can beat local prices. Buying them in Kanchanaburi will save you A lot.

    This is the kind of detailed info brought to you by soi1guesthouse. We’ve made the mistakes already lol.