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Kanchanaburi

Orientation

The main traveller strip and most budget accommodation is located towards the south of Maenam Kwai Road, which follows the east to west path of the River Kwai Yai. Though it gets thinner the further you go, accommodation and other services also stretch a couple of kilometres north up to where the road ends at the Death Railway Bridge and River Kwai rail station. With souvenir markets, restaurants and parking lots for the endless stream of tour buses, the area immediately around the bridge is a tourist trap.

Note that many of the bars towards the southern end of Maenam Kwai Road host very loud live bands or DJs on most nights, so you'll want to stay at accommodation further north up Maenam Kwai, south on Rongheabaoy Road, or on Thamakham Road on the other side of the river if wanting peace and quiet before 02:00 in the morning.

The bridge to Thamakham Road is accessible from the centre of the traveller strip off Maenam Kwai Road, opposite France Road. Even if not staying at one of the resorts or guesthouses on the other side of the river, it's worth venturing over there to enjoy the rural setting and a meal at Apple's.

The main traffic thoroughfare through town is the northwest to southeast running Sangchuto Road, which runs parallel to Maenam Kwai Road. Follow this north out of town and you can continue all the way to Erawan National Park up Route 3199 or Prasat Muang Singh, the Tiger Temple, Hellfire Pass, Sai Yok National Park and eventually Thong Pha Phum and Sangkhlaburi up Route 323.

The main tourist police office is located on Sangchuto Road, opposite Indonesia Road. A small tourist police booth that doubles as a tourist info centre is also found near the Death Railway Bridge. With plenty of car dealerships and little else, Sangchuto is not a very charming road as it runs through the west of town, but the main train station, a few hotels, the largest war cemetery and the Death Railway Museum are found along Sangchuto as it gets closer to the centre of town.

Further south and Sangchuto hits a major intersection with the east-running U-Thong Road, immediately after which the bus station and a large shopping complex are tucked just off Sangchuto. The TAT office is located near the bus station, also on Sangchuto, so if you're arriving by bus and need to pick up some information on things to see and do in the region, it's worth popping in before you head off to your accommodation. Continue south from here along Sangchuto and you'll reach a Tesco Lotus supermarket, the government hospital and the immigration office after a few more clicks. A couple of private hospitals -- Thanakan and Memorial -- are also found off Sangchuto Road.

Head west towards the river from the bus station and you'll pass through the narrow streets and weathered shophouses of old Kanchanaburi town, the best of which are found along Kikprak Road. This is a charming area to walk around but is very much the "local" part of town with no traveller services to speak of. Continue to the river and you'll find the JEATH War Museum in a large temple complex and a slew of riverside restaurants.

ATMs are found just about everywhere around town. The main banks for changing travellers cheques or foreign currency can be found on Sangchuto just north of the bus station. The main post office is a kilometre south of the TAT office on Sangchuto, but a small post office is also found within the traveller strip on Maenam Kwai Road.

Several internet cafes are dotted around town and offer reliable, high speed access and many guesthouses provide a couple of terminals in their reception areas. WiFi is also available for customers at most cafes along Maenam Kwai Road. If you prefer paper to electrons, several English-language book shops are found along the traveller strip, and many of these also sell the best maps.

Immigration Bureau: Mae Nam Mae Klong Rd (on the road over the bridge just south of Tesco Lotus), Kanchanaburi. Open: Mon-Fri 08:30-16:30, closed weekends. http://www.immigration.go.th
Kanchanaburi Memorial Hospital: 111 Mu 5 Sangchuto Rd, Kanchanaburi. T: (034) 624 184-193.
Phahonphonphayuhasena (government hospital): 572/1 Sangchuto Rd, Kanchanaburi. T: (034) 622 999.
Post office: 1 km south of the TAT office, Sangchuto Rd, Kanchanaburi. http://www.thailandpost.com
Thanakan Hospital: 20/20 Sangchuto Rd, Kanchanaburi. T: (034) 622 366-375
Tourism Authority of Thailand Central Region 1: Sangchuto Rd, Kanchanaburi. T: (034) 511 200; F: (034) 511 200. Open daily 08:30-16:30. http://www.tourismthailand.org
Tourist police: Sangchuto Rd. T: 1155; (034) 512 668. http://tourist.police.go.th

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