The Ultimate Kanchanaburi Travel Guide
In this Kanchanaburi travel guide, you will find a range of waterfalls, caves, rivers, jungle trails, national parks, and interesting World War 2 History to discover.
Some iconic attractions include the Erawan Falls, Hellfire Pass, and the Bridge Over the River Kwai. However, I will also introduce you to many more off-the-beaten-path attractions in Kanchanaburi Province. Many of these are destinations where hardly any tourists go!
Kanchanaburi has one of the most accessible waterfalls near Bangkok called the Erawan Falls. Many people visit the Erawan Falls on a day trip from Bangkok, however, if you stay in Kanchanaburi a bit longer you might just start exploring some of the other 7 national parks around.
The town center of Kanchanaburi is located just two hours from Bangkok by a minivan – book your van tickets here. On arrival, you will quickly see how much more relaxed it is than Bangkok. Before you know it you’ll be hiking the mountains, showering under a waterfall, and cruising leisurely down the river.
Oh, and did I mention you can stay at one of these amazing floating jungle rafts for under $50 per night on Agoda? Check it out now for great discounts.
- Waterfalls in Kanchanaburi
- War History in Kanchanaburi
- How to Get to Kanchanaburi
- Hotels in Kanchanaburi
Waterfalls in Kanchanaburi
There are officially 23 waterfalls in Kanchanaburi which you can explore. Many of these are located deep in the jungle, accessible only by trails where you are supposed to take a guide.
Some waterfalls are quite small and only have water running during the wet season, I’ll let you know which ones they are. Others have running water all year round.
Here I have detailed some of the best and most popular waterfalls in Kanchanaburi.
1. Erawan Waterfall
The Erawan Waterfall is one of the most accessible waterfalls near Bangkok. This 7 tiered waterfall runs through a leafy green jungle where a freshwater stream is turned a cloudy emerald green color as it dissolves the calcium carbonate in the limestone.
The lower levels of the waterfall can be quite busy. but as you climb higher through the jungle the crowd tends to drop off. There are a series of deep pools where you can jump in for a refreshing swim, the perfect escape from the tropical jungle heat. My favorite level here is right at the top.
The Erawan Falls is located in the Erawan National Park, about 53 kilometers from Kanchanaburi. It is possible to reach the Erawan Falls by public bus, motorbike, Tuk-Tuk, and taxi. Read my full guide to the Erawan National Park for more information on how to get there from Bangkok.
2. Huay Mae Khamin Waterfall
The Huay Mae Khamin Waterfall is arguably the most stunning waterfall in Kanchanaburi. It is located deep in the forest of the Sri Nakarin National Park, about 95 kilometers north of Kanchanaburi, next to the Sri Nakarin Dam. If you are the adventurous type, this will be one of the ultimate things to do in Kanchanaburi province.
There are 7 levels of the Huay Mae Khamin Waterfall which are accessed by two different trails. The first trail which provides access to levels 1 to 4 starts just near the carpark and takes about 30 minutes to complete a round trip without stopping. The second trail which provides access to levels 5 to 7 starts just across the bridge from the carpark. This trail is unpaved, muddy and longer than the first. These are both separate trails that cannot be connected together to form a loop.
The Sri Nakarin National Park is open from 6am to 5pm daily. There is a 300 THB (USD 10) entry fee for foreigners.
3. Kratengjeng Waterfall
The Kratengjeng Waterfall is located about 170 kilometers north west of Kanchanaburi on the way to Sangkhlaburi. Kratengjeng is a super remote waterfall deep in the forest and sees hardly any tourists, mainly because no one knows about it. This makes it one of my favorite waterfalls in the whole of Thailand and one of my favorite places to go jungle trekking in Thailand.
There are 9 levels to this waterfall which are accessed by a heavily overgrown jungle trail. Along the way, you will find jungle bananas and sings of wild elephants passing the area like deep footprints in the mud.
Kratengjeng Waterfall is located in the Khao Laem National Park which means that national park entry fees of 300 THB (USD 10) for foreigners apply.
4. Sai Yok Noi Waterfall
The Sai Yok Noi Waterfall, also called Khao Pung, is located 48 kilometers northwest of Kanchanaburi. It is less touristy than the Erawan Falls and sees even fewer tourists than the Sai Yok Yai Waterfall.
The best time to visit this waterfall is in the wet season from June to October. It is possible that during the dry season there is no water flowing here and best to check with a local before visiting.
Sai Yok Noi Waterfall is located in the Sai Yok National Park which technically means there should be an entry fee. However, most people tend to go in for free as there never seems to be anyone collecting the fees here.
5. Sai Yok Yai WaterfallThe Sai Yok Yai Waterfall is located about 85 kilometers north west of Kanchanaburi in the Sai Yok National Park. It is about 38 kilometers beyond the Sai Yok Noi Waterfall as you continue towards Sangkhlaburi (I suggest combining both into one trip). Sai Yok Yai Waterfall is less touristy than the Erawan Falls, however, still sees quite a few local Thai tourists on weekends.
There is just one level here where the stream pours out into the River Kawi Noi, eventually meeting up with the River Kwai Yai further south. The best time to visit this waterfall is in the wet season from June to October. During the dry season, you will most likely find water flowing but sometimes just a small stream.
The Sai Yok National Park is open from 7am to 5pm daily. The entry fee is 200 THB (USD 8) for foreigners and an additional charge for your vehicle.
6. Jokkradin WaterfallThis is a smaller waterfall located out near the Thai-Myanmar border near the village of Thong Pha Phum. The waterfall is also sometimes spelled as Chokkradin, so don’t get confused with the names. The Jokkradin Waterfall is in the Thong Pha Phum National Park, therefore standard National Park fees apply – 30 THB for Thais, 300 THB for foreigners.
7. Pha Sawan Waterfall
The Pha Sawan Waterfall is located midway between Pha That Waterfall and Huay Mae Khamin Waterfall in the Sri Nakarin National Park. It is about 135 kilometers north of Kanchanaburi, with the final 13 kilometers passable only by 4WD. It is also possible to hike that final 13km, which would require about 7 hours total for the round trip.
There are 7 levels at the Pha Sawan Waterfall, taking about 40 minutes to hike to the top. The waterfall’s top-level is a huge 80 meters tall, making it one of the most impressive waterfalls in Kanchanaburi.
The Sri Nakarin National Park is open from 6am to 5pm daily. There is a 300 THB (USD 10) entry fee for foreigners.
War History in Kanchanaburi
Kanchanaburi has numerous WW2 History sites. Most sites are associated with the construction of the Death Railway, which used to run from Yangon (Myanmar) to Singapore.
If you want to visit multiple WW2 sites in one day you should check out this Kanchanaburi history tour. This tour includes; Hellfire Pass, the Death Railway, Bride Over the River Kwai, lunch, and private transport!
8. Death Railway
The Death Railway is the 415km long railway line that connected Yangoon to Singapore. It was used as a supply route by the Japanese Army in WW2. The Death Railway consisted of a series of bridges and stone cuttings. The most notable parts of the Death Railway are the Hellfire Pass and the Bridge Over the River Kwai.
9. Hellfire Pass Memorial
The Hellfire Pass was the most brutal section for the Allied POW in the construction of the Death Railway. This 75-meter-long, 25-meter-deep stone cutting section was excavated almost entirely by hand. Thousands of soldiers died in the construction of this section of the Death Railway.
The Hellfire Pass Memorial is located approximately 60km north-west of Kanchanaburi towards Sai Yok waterfalls.
Hellfire Pass Opening Hours: 7 days per week, 9am to 4pm. Entry is free.
10. Bridge Over the River Kwai
This piece of War War 2 history was made famous by the self-titled movie “Bridge Over the River Kwai.” The bridge was part of the 415km long Burma Railway which connected Bangkok to Yangon, serving as a supply route for the Japanese Army.
The bridge which stands today is a reconstruction of the original bridge, which during the war was repeatedly bombed.
The Bridge Over the River Kwai is located within walking distance of the town center and is open to visitors all day every day. You can walk across the bridge by foot, just watch out for the train as is comes across.
Bridge Over the River Kwai Opening Hours: All day, every day. Entry is free.
11. Allied Forces War Cemetery
The Allied Force War Cemetery is dedicated to those soldiers in the Allied Forces who died as Prisoners of War (POW) after being captured by the Japanese Army. Many of the soldiers died due to slave labor, malaria, and poor living conditions. Over 16,000 soldiers from Australia, New Zealand, and Britain died in this part of Thailand during the construction of the Death Railway.
Kanchanaburi War Cemetery Opening Hours: 7 days per week, 8am to 5pm. Entry is free.
12. JEATH War Museum
No, it’s not a spelling mistake, the name JEATH stands for the primary nationalities involved in the construction of the Death Railway, being; Japanese, English, Australia, America, Thai, and Holland. The JEATH War Museum contains relics found from the POW camps used when building the railway.
The museum contains an interesting collection of artifacts. However, it is fairly rundown and in need of refurbishment making it one of the most obscure things to do in Kanchanaburi. 30 minutes here will be sufficient.
JEATH War Museum Opening Hours: 8.30am to 4.30pm. Entry is 40 THB.
Sangkhlaburi is the off-the-beaten-track section of this Kanchanaburi travel guide. This remote part of Kanchanaburi is located 200km north-west of Kanchanaburi, towards the Thai-Myanmar border.
Sangkhlaburi has some amazing attractions in the jungle such as the Kratengjeng Waterfall a beautiful waterfall accessed via a heavily overgrown jungle trail. The most iconic attraction in Sangkhlaburi is the Wooden Mon Bridge which crosses Lake Vajiralongkorn, the longest of it’s kind in the world.
Check out my complete guide to Sangkhlaburi for plenty more things to do around town, including; an underwater temple, the Three Pagodas Pass market on Myanmar’s border, elephant sanctuaries and more waterfalls hidden in the jungle.
How to Get to Kanchanaburi
Minivan – The quickest and easiest way to get to Kanchanaburi from Bangkok is by minivan (tickets and timetables). Tickets start from just 150 THB per person. A one-way journey takes about 3 hours. Vans depart from Mochit bus terminal which is easy to get to from the Mochit BTS station.
Train – trains are terribly slow, hot and uncomfortable in Bangkok. If you really want to get a train to Kanchanaburi you can hop on at Thonburi Station for about 100 THB per person. A one-way journey could take anywhere between 3 to 6 hours. no pre-bookings are required for the train.
Taxi – a taxi from Bangkok to Kanchanaburi will cost between 1,600 and 2,000 THB one-way. The journey will take about as long as the minivan. Flag down a taxi in Bangkok and negotiate the fare first.
Hotels in Kanchanaburi
There are some hostels and plenty of budget hotels in Kanchanaburi’s town center. You can easily get a private room for under 1000 THB (USD 40) per night in the areas just north or south of the Bridge Over the River Kwai.
While there are lots of budget options in the town, I highly recommend staying on a floating raft house in the jungle a bit further out of town. It is a fantastic experience which is quite unique to Kanchanaburi.
Jungle Raft Houses
My favorite floating raft house in Kanchanburi is the Tayan Resort and Spa where I have stayed four times so far. I love is being able to kick back in a hammock or jump in the river for a cool swim in the afternoon.
The floating rafts are fairly basic but come with a large double bed, private bathroom, air conditioner, a riverfront view, and a hammock. There is a restaurant down by the river open for lunch and dinner, and a complimentary breakfast is included with your booking.
The Tayan Resort raft house is located about 30 kilometers (25 minutes) out of town but is considerably cheaper than some of the more upmarket raft houses around Kanchanaburi.
Mid Range Hotels
There are a number of mid-range hotels in Kanchanaburi just north of the Bridge Over the River Kwai. Most of these hotels range in price from USD 30 to USD 100 per night, depending on the comfort level you are after. You will commonly find these hotels have a pool (which is great considering Kanchanaburi is the hottest part of Thailand) and include complimentary breakfast.
- Kanpura Hotel – USD 30 per night including; air-conditioning, free wifi, and pool
- Ruen Maihom Riverside Cottage – USD 50 per night including; air-conditioning, free wifi, and pool
For the absolute cheapest accommodation in town check out the Jolly Frog Backpackers where beds go for 100 THB per night. It doesn’t seem like you can book this place online, so try to walk in and see if they have any availability.
Need more info on these destinations in Kanchanaburi? Ask me in the comments section below!
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