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Kanchanaburi..To go or not to go

Posted by poey1111 on 30/1/2013 at 05:38

I will be in thailand early april for 3 weeks and wanna be in bangkok for songkran.I arrive on the 4th and plan on a few days in bangkok.Was thinking of killing sometime at kanchanaburi before my return for songkran.Is there enough to do warrant 4-5 days in kanchanburi and whats nightlife like as im solo?

#1 poey1111 has been a member since 25/4/2012. Posts: 4

Posted by DLuek on 30/1/2013 at 05:55 TF writer


Kanchanaburi province offers a lot, but unless you're into the WW2 stuff (cemetaries, museums and a very average looking bridge with an interesting history), I personally think Kanchanaburi town is uninspiring. Yeah, the river is nice, but it gets better as you go further north (at Sai Yok National Park for example). However, there is a decent nightlife scene in the town and it is a good place to meet other travelers. I would just say that if you go, be prepared to pay for a tour or two (or a motorbike if you're up for solo adventures) because the best stuff to see is a good ways outside of town (waterfalls, national parks and such).

Also, I just came back from Sangkhlaburi and highly, highly recommend it. It's another 4 or 5 hours by bus past Kanchanaburi but the scenery up there is spectacular and the people super friendly. The town itself is pretty tiny, but interesting - a lot of Mon, Karen and Burmese, not to mention the expats who work at the refugee camps in the area. It's easily worth the extra travel just for the boat trip on the lake there at sunrise - beautiful! Going to Sangkhlaburi this time made me feel like a complete idiot for not making it up there when I last made it to Kanchanaburi a few years ago.

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Posted by exacto on 30/1/2013 at 09:53

Excellent suggestions from DLuek, as always. I love Kanchanaburi as a weekend getaway from Bangkok, for the history and time along the river. It does have a bit of a travel scene and is a place to meet others. But five nights is a long time there because, as D says, once you've worked through the bridge and the museums and the cemeteries, the town itself isn't that inspiring.

I've never made it up to Sangkhlaburi as I've always run out of time. But Somtam waxes poetic about the place too and it seems like the perfect addition to Kanchanaburi for your 5-day side trip. An alternative to Sangkhlaburi, if you didn't want to go there or still had some extra time, would be to take the back way through Suphanburi over to Ayutthaya and hang out there for a night or two. The modern town is similarly uninspiring, but there is a good travellers scene and the UNESCO area is definitely worth a look. Regards.

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Posted by alisonmilliken on 30/1/2013 at 22:12

Go definitely, there are a lot of interesting things to see and do. Many are out of the town itself, so a day tour is a good idea - make sure to check out Erawan waterfall (lots of levels, take swimmers) and others in the area. Hellfire Pass is worth the trip too, especially if you are slightly interested in history. There are lots of guesthouses that will fulfil your travel needs - it is good to get one ON the river, in a floating house. There are lots of travellers around to chat with. The National Parks are great and beautiful.
If you have time and haven't been, I second checking out the temples of Ayuttaya. Stunning. I always liked to take a tuk tuk round the first day, and then a boat in the morning the next day, to see the khlongs.

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Posted by tezza on 31/1/2013 at 00:18

I consider Kanchanaburi one of the better near Bangkok locations.
I'd suggest you split your time between a guesthouse in town (one on the river is a good idea) and do a few of the excellent trips into the hinterland (Erawan Falls is great - but there's a heap of other good hinterland trips) - and some time staying up country. Last time I called by I spent a few days on a raft-house moored on the river near the northern terminus of the Death Railway - magic.

As is the railway trip between Kanchanaburi and there - many trips out of Kanchanaburi inlclude a trip on the Death Railway.

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Posted by Tilapia on 31/1/2013 at 09:20

I was just there a few weeks ago. I've been before and have always enjoyed my time there. A pretty substantial backpacker scene has developed so it shouldn't be a problem meeting people. There are plenty of bars, a bunch with live music, and when there's a football match pretty big crowds (of mostly Thais) will develop in and around any bar with a TV. Some places will hang TVs on their outside walls for the games and they're always fun to be at. Almost like being at a drive-in movie.

Lots of military history, of course, but there's even more to do beyond town as mentioned above.

If you've got that many days, I'd consider renting a motorbike while there for the whole time. That way you can make your own way to Erawan, the out-lying temples and cave temples, and even to Sangkhlaburi . Sangkhlaburi town is quite nice, as is (if memory serves correctly) Wang Kha, the Mon village on the other side of the lake. The scenery is beautiful and considering the time of year, the temperature might be more agreeable than in Kanchanaburi. It'll be hot! In my opinion, the ride there is even better than being there. Gorgeous scenery along the way. It will be packed on weekends and holidays, though, so if you go then make sure you reserve a room. It's usually empty the rest of the time. At least, it was.

If you get a motorbike, you may also want to ride down to Ratchaburi. I just cycled this stretch of the Mae Khlong, sticking to the west side, and it was really nice tour. Loved Ratchaburi, too. Not high on many peoples' "must see" list, but a lovely town regardless. From there it's about 30 km to Amphawa, also worth visiting.

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Posted by poey1111 on 2/2/2013 at 07:23

Cheers for your time folks....

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Posted by LeonardCohen1 on 16/2/2013 at 05:29

Nice area but it's best if

1 you have your own car or bike
2 you stay outside Kanchanburi town, Sai Yok is a pretty nice nice village and it's about halfway between the hot spring baths and the Erawan waterfall.

Sangkhlaburi is a lot futher still and not sure it's really worth it.

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Posted by tatspaghetti on 21/3/2013 at 00:00

You could stay in Kanchanaburi for years and never see everything on offer.. i know, i've been here 3 years!

There is something for everyone - hot springs, undiscovered waterfalls (take a machete! - Erawan is overpriced and over visited these days), rides through the mountains, countless one of a kind beautiful temples, places to make merit by feeding the fish, dams where you can meet wild monkeys and see the beautiful view, take the road to Sangklaburi as previously suggested but do it there and back in 3 days stopping at Thung Pa Phum on the way... possibilities are endless!

I live at the Safari Park in Bo Phloi improving animal welfare standards and training thai staff correct animal husbandry techniques. Pop by for a coffee!

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