If you’re wondering what else is there to see in Bangkok, maybe it’s time to consider adding Kanchanaburi in your itinerary. This place may not be as culturally rich like Ayutthaya or well-known as Pattaya, but it sure has lots to offer.
How to get there
Kanchanaburi is a solid 2-hour drive from Bangkok. While you may opt to do it DIY style, I highly suggest pre-booking a tour instead. Why? Because there are loads of cheap ones in the market that will take away all the planning that you need.
This time though, I will not suggest that you buy from Klook because it’s almost three times more expensive than local rates. One thing I always do when I travel outside the country is look for local agencies with good Tripadvisor rating and compare rates.
For our Bangkok trip, we decided to book via Canary Travel Thailand. For only 850 THB or 27 USD, you already have a whole day trip to Kanchanaburi’s main attractions plus a free lunch.
Just note though that you might get transferred to quite a few vans before you finally head to the destination. We were first picked up from our hotel and had to go fetch the rest of the passengers around Silom area before heading to Khao San Road. Once we were there we were then transferred to two other vans and ended up not seated together.
That’s by far one advantage of booking via Klook. You can read more about our Klook experience in Bangkok here.
What to see in Kanchanaburi
Personally, I don’t have a single idea what Kanchanaburi is all about before I stepped foot in the place. I usually just rely on what I will see there once, you know, I’m actually there. So for me, it was truly a nice surprise to know the rich and tragic history of the place.
Our first stop should have been the War Memorial Cemetery but that was skipped so we can align our schedule with the train ride. The tour guides grouped the same people with the same tour package and we were thankfully only six in our group.
You have the option to see the JEATH (which stands for Japan England America Australia Thailand Holland) war museum for a measly 40 THB. However, we were only given an hour to see both the museum and the Bridge over Kwai as the train will operate at exactly 11AM.
Despite the time constraint, the JEATH museum gave me enough visual details to somehow understand the suffering the Thais have to go through to build what is known as the Thailand-Burma railway also known as the Death Railway. At the far end of the museum, one can look over to the magnificent replica of the the bridge.
As relayed by our tour guide, only the replica of the bridge remains because it was bombed around two years after it was built.
The view from the bridge was perfect and one will probably appreciate it more upon hearing its rich background. We also got to walk around the rail tracks before we were finally herded by our tour guide to join her in the meeting spot.
At exactly 11AM, we boarded the wooden train. It was a refreshing and honestly, thrilling experience, While I understand that the 1KM wooden bridge is not 100% the original one, it was still quite nerve-wracking to pass that length in an old style, slow train.
Definitely one for the books though.
We then alighted in one of the stations (midway the trip) and met our driver who will take us to Sai Yok river. It was quite a distance from the station but we had a filling lunch with decent portions (shared by 6 pax) so we were able to regain some energy.
Next stop is the Sai Yok waterfall which is around 10 minute ride away from the restaurant. It was honestly a bit underwhelming, just a normal waterfall. And if you’re from the Philippines, you’ll know exactly what I mean.
Still, we enjoyed people watching as locals and tourists enjoyed the cool waters together. And of course, shopping! I tell you, prices were so much cheaper in the small shops near the waterfall.
We then traveled back to the War Memorial Cemetery and took a quick look, headed back to the city and were finally alighted in Khao San Road.
We then took this chance to enjoy Khao San Road’s very interesting streets–where everything is happening all at once.
Check my post about Khao San Road here.
And that’s it. Despite having some flaws during the first part, we totally enjoyed and felt the value of this trip. So if you’re looking for quick day trip outside Bangkok, why not consider Kanchanaburi?