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Kanchanaburi or Sangkhlaburi?

Posted by travelingalpaca on 1/5/2013 at 09:27

Hello! I will have six full days in Bangkok upon arriving in Thailand before I move on to the southern part of the country. After reading these forums, so many people have posted about how great Kanchanaburi and Sangkhlaburi are. So here's my question -- with six days in Bangkok, should I just hang around Bangkok and see the sights for all six days? Or should I break away from the city and head to Kanchanaburi and/or Sangkhlaburi for a few days? And if I don't have time for both, would you recommend Kanchanaburi or Sangkhlaburi if I have to pick between the two? Any advice is greatly appreciated!

#1 travelingalpaca has been a member since 3/4/2013. Posts: 4

Posted by exacto on 1/5/2013 at 10:11

It really depends on how much of a city-type folk you are. Bangkok has a great deal to see and do, but most folks will pick off the highlights in three or four days max, which gives you plenty of time for a side trip. If you only had time for one, then Kanchanaburi makes sense because of the greater variety of things to see and do. Plus, it is closer to Bangkok by several hours travel and you'd have to pass through it to get to Sangkhlaburi anyway. The advantage of Sangkhlaburi is how off the beaten path it is relative to other spots and the sense of being/going somewhere particularly special.

Not to clog up your plans too much, but Ayutthaya is also an excellent side trip out of Bangkok if you like history and temple ruins. It is suitable as an overnight or even a day trip, and you can even get there directly from Kanchanaburi by taking the back route through Suphanburi. Regards.

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Posted by travelingalpaca on 1/5/2013 at 10:44

Thanks for the advice! They all sound great! Here's what I'm considering -- 2 nights Bangkok -- bus to Sangkhlaburi, stay 2 nights -- bus to Kanchanaburi, stay 2 nights -- bus back to Bangkok. Does this sound realistic or am I packing too much in? I don't want to be too rushed, but at the same time, I'd love to see as much as I can!

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Posted by LeonardCohen1 on 1/5/2013 at 11:27

Not realistic. Buses are slow and you'll lose a lot of time moving. Kanch province is nice but the town itself is touristy and not my cup of tea. I've stayed out there and both times I stayed outside Kanch - once at a resort near Lawa cave and once near Sai Yok village. Personally I would skip Sangkhla. I'd go Bangkok 4 nights and 2n around the Sai Yok area. You should hire a car to do it though as Erawan waterfall is 50km from sai yok and kanch town. It's sort of in the middle. Hot springs west of Sai Yok and then you have the war musuems and river rafting.


This place is nice:

http://www.boutiqueraft-riverkwai.com/main.html

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Posted by captainbkk on 2/5/2013 at 06:22

BKK-Sang, is always via Kan, taks 6-7 hrs by bus, though there is seemingly some kind of overnite bus (maybe only in 1 direction now). Its nice, but not that awsome as many seem to think-maybe more due to inexperience of many young travellers. Sang is a minor village of less as 2000 people, its ''night''market consists of like 4-5 stalls.

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Posted by LeonardCohen1 on 2/5/2013 at 07:50

Long way to go for 4-5 stalls.

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Posted by travelingalpaca on 2/5/2013 at 09:55

Thanks for the advice. I'll probably give Sang a miss this time around and focus on the highlights of Bangkok and try to escape to Kanch for a day or two. @Leonard - I noticed in the link you sent that the Boutique Raft River Kwai offers package deals for one or two nights. Any idea how expensive they are? I'm not too keen on hiring a car, as this will be my first trip to SEA, so I'm guessing a tour in Kanchanaburi might be my best bet.

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Posted by LeonardCohen1 on 2/5/2013 at 10:19

I paid 1600 baht a night and did it via a car. It is a bit isolated without one. If you are too scared to drive just book an overnight tour from any Bangkok travel agent or the hotel you are staying at. Best to do a 2 night deal so it won't be so rushed.

Ayuthaya can be done via a day tour.

I'd also recommend Wat Arun, Grand Palace and the National museum and all 3 can be done via boat/taxi yourself. Just ignore the tuk tuk drivers who will try to con u into a city tour and then take you to some suit/gem store.

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Posted by Tilapia on 2/5/2013 at 14:43

I think that Sangkhlaburi is a fantastic spot, except on weekends and Thai holidays. Not as much to do as in Kanchanaburi and surrounds, but quite different from most other towns in the country, and definitely more scenic if you're into that sort of thing.

But then again, that might just be my youth and obvious inexperience talking.

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Posted by busylizzy on 2/5/2013 at 15:16

Tilapia - sounds like Koh Phangan at FMP might be more your thing. ;-)

I was reading DLeuk's recent blog entry about Sangkhlaburi and it looks like it's right up my alley (or is that soi)! https://www.travelfish.org/blogs/thailand/2013/04/28/sunrise-boat-trip-to-sangkhlaburis-sunken-town/>

Thanks for the reminder about avoiding it at weekends though.... I wouldn't enjoy that so much!

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Posted by exacto on 2/5/2013 at 16:43

It seems to me that Somtam2000 has long been a fan of Sangkhlaburi as well. It's a long way to go, but depending on what you are seeking, could very much be worth the trip. I wouldn't be discouraged by a few negative comments if you think this is your type of place.

Personally, I love Kanchanaburi exactly because of the mix of history and touristy stuff along with a bit of genuine gritty Thai provinical town feel. I particularly like taking the train there from the Bangkok Noi station in Thonburi, because that route passes over some of the original track route built during WWII of Bridge Over the River Kwai fame. The museums and especially the cemeteries in Kanchanaburi are always emotional experiences for me. And when you consider how close it is to Bangkok relative to other choices, it is a winner of a destination.

alpaca, I hope you'll let us know what you eventually wind up doing and share a few details of the experience in a trip report too. Cheers.

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Posted by Geer1 on 2/5/2013 at 22:21

Imo 3 days in Bangkok is all I would want to spend(although the extra time I was there was ok since it was my first stop in SEA and I was fighting jet lag). I ended up passing on both Kanchanaburi and Sangkhlaburi but for me if I were only going to be in an area for 6 days I wouldn't want to be spending 10 extra hours on a bus unless it was amazing so I probably wouldn't do Sangkhlaburi. If you had a little more time or already been to Bangkok and don't need to spend much time seeing sites there I would say go for it though.

Lots of people like Kanchanburi and Ayutthaya, time wise these could be done quite comfortably along with Bangkok if you are thinking Kanchanaburi alone wouldn't be enough.

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