Published/Last edited or updated: 11th February, 2017
Not surprising given the spread-out nature of Kanchanaburi’s many outlying attractions, scores of travellers look to local tour companies or private drivers to arrange their adventures. Abundant options make it wise to look around before you throw down for the cheapest tour you can find.
Several companies offer group tours ranging from 650 to 1,500 baht per person, including lunch, guide, transport by songthaew or van and perhaps national park fees. The most popular day tours include either Hellfire Pass or Erawan Waterfall and a token stop at Sai Yok Noi Waterfall along with one or two of the following: a ride on the Death Railway, bamboo rafting or kayaking; Hin Tad Hot Springs; or a swim with elephants. Many companies also sell morning trips to touristy Damnoen Saduak floating market.
Most companies advertise five to 10 options and there’s often little to differentiate one company from the next—at least on paper. Creativity is lacking among long-standing companies like KTC, Toi’s and BT, all of which have offices on southern Mae Nam Khwae Road. For something different, Mellow Adventures features Prasat Mueang Singh on many of its day trips, while Good Times Travel runs private day tours to a Mon village and Lawa Cave.
These are generally private and start at around 4,500 baht per person for a two-day and one-night tour, including accommodation, reaching up to 20,000 baht for several nights. Along with attractions and activities included on the usual day tours, you also might get a trek to a Mon village; a boat trip to Sangkhlaburi’s sunken temple; or a trip to the floating markets of Samut Songkhram and Ratchaburi. Mellow Adventures also offers kayaking and a night at the “Cool Camp”, a bungalow spot set along the River Khwae Noi amid lush jungle.
Group or private tour?
Some of the cheap group tours can make you feel like cattle being loaded into pick-up trucks and herded through popular attractions alongside dozens of others doing the exact same thing. If you can swing an extra 1,000 baht per person, a private tour will likely make for a more enjoyable experience while providing flexibility to hit attractions that aren’t usually included on group tours, such as Wat Ban Tham and Prasat Mueang Singh.
Another option is to negotiate a day tour directly with a songthaew driver at the bus station. Expect to pay 1,000 to 2,000 baht—that’s total, not per person—depending on which attractions you want to hit. This price is only for the transport and will not include lunch or any other extras. The lack of a licensed guide is another disadvantage, though some songthaew drivers speak English and enjoy playing tour guide for the day. Private cars and drivers can also be arranged through companies like Good Times.
Longtail boat tours
Launching from the pier beneath the Death Railway Bridge and another behind the JEATH War Museum, among other places, longtail boat tours typically cost 500 to 1,500 baht—per boat, not per person—depending on how long of a cruise you want. Expect to pay 800 baht for a two-hour ride with stops at Chung Kai War Cemetery, Wat Tham Khao Poon and JEATH War Museum. These trips are especially popular around sunset. Travel companies can also arrange them if you don’t feel like negotiating on your own.
Kayaking, bicycling and watersports
While several companies offer a kayaking or bamboo rafting option as part of day tours, I Kan Kayak is a reputable outfit focusing mainly on the paddling. They’ll drive you upriver and let you paddle back to town or lead you on longer riverine excursions. A full-day tour that combines mountain biking and kayaking is also available for 1,650 baht per person. If you prefer a faster pace, Aqua Club offers wakeboarding, kneeboarding and tubing for 1,390 baht per hour.
Love to rev? Check out Deathrail Motorcycle Tours for a single- or multi-day guided trip around the province and beyond. Led by guides who know the area well, the usual day tours start at 1,500 baht per person and include stops at Wat Tham Khao Poon, Tham Krasae and other points along the Death Railway. Utilising medium-powered Kawasaki bikes, trips are customisable and can also include more remote spots like Huai Mae Khamin Waterfall.
Delve deeper into the Second World War history with a tour led by a local expert arranged through the Thailand-Burma Railway Centre. Five-hour programs include a guided tour of this excellent museum along with visits to both of the war cemeteries, a former POW campsite and selected cuttings on the Death Railway. The full-day excursion adds Hellfire Pass and Wang Pho Viaduct along with a train ride. Tours start at 2,050 baht per person for groups of two so it’s not cheap, but you probably won’t find a more educational option.
Aqua Club Sangchuto Soi 5 T: (090) 915 6511 www.facebook.com/AquaClubKanchanaburi
Deathrail Motorcycle Tours T: (086) 027 3162 email@example.com www.deathrailtours.com
Good Times Travel 63/1 Mae Nam Khwae Rd T: (034) 624 441;(081) 913 7758 Good_times_travel@hotmail.com www.good-times-travel.com
I Kan Kayak T: (089) 602 8085 www.ikankayak.com
Mellow Adventures 295/5 Mae Nam Khwae Rd T: (084) 727 1959 firstname.lastname@example.org www.mellowadventures.com
David Luekens first came to Thailand in 2005 when Thai friends from his former home of Burlington, Vermont led him on a life-changing trip. Based in Thailand since 2011, he spends much of his time eating in Bangkok street markets and island hopping the Andaman Sea.
These tours are provided by Travelfish partner GetYourGuide.
Our top 10 other sights and activities in and around Kanchanaburi