Kanchanaburi’s new shades are casting a fresh light on the destination, mixing in sports fuelled activities with its abundant natural and historical attractions that appeal to younger travellers and families alike.
Whilst the history of Kanchanaburi is very much about the impact from the World War II era, there is a lot more to see and do in this picturesque province than just revisit war history.
When visitors take time to explore, they can find Thailand’s most impressive waterfalls, one seriously enormous tree, and a whole host of temples including one featuring a floating nun. All this and more makes it a perfect backdrop for one of the country’s best event destinations that features a bit of everything from the surreal to the sublime.
Natural Beauty, Thai Local Experiences
Erawan National Park
One of the most beautiful natural attractions in Kanchanaburi is the Erawan Waterfall that attracts thousands of Thai and foreign tourists. Its ease of access is a big plus given its location in the Erawan National Park, Si Sawat district and covers a total area of about 600 square kilometres off Highway 3199, which is the same route as the Srinakarin Dam.
Tham Kra Sae (Kra Sae Cave)
Kra Sae Cave (photo by: tourismthailand.org)
Tham Kra Sae is the famous and dangerous point in Kanchanaburi located in Saiyok district. This small cave is tucked into towering cliffs near the site of a former prisoner of war camp along the infamous Thai-Burma Death Railway. Visitors arriving by car can walk along the sleeper track and visit the Buddha statue enshrined in Kra Sae Cave. There is a restaurant and souvenir shop catering to tourists in the area of the train station.
Giant Rain Tree
An enormous rain tree, which is part of the Fabaceae family native to Latin America, is situated on one rai of land in Ko Samrong, Mueang district. It is an awe-inspiring sight with a trunk measuring 7.83 metres in diameter and is said to be over 100 years old. This giant tree should be part of any pilgrimage to Kanchanaburi. There is no entrance fee and the site is open daily from 06.00 – 18.00 Hrs.
Pakprak Walking Street
Pakprak Walking Street is the one of the oldest roads in Kanchanaburi that reflects the local lifestyle of Kanchanaburi’s residents with examples of unique period architecture that dates before World War II. Nowadays, Pakprak Walking Street is well established as a tourist point of interest with its many street stalls serving both traditional and modern Thai food in addition to shops selling local handicrafts and historical artefacts. Open every Sunday from 16.00 – 22.00 Hrs.
River Kwai Bridge Festival
Every year in late November and early December, Kanchanaburi comes alive during the celebrated River Kwai Bridge Festival. The highlight of this festival is its spectacular sound and light show, which recreates the history of the bridge over the River Kwai.
Old locomotive display at River Kwai Bridge railway station
Events, Sports, Adventure
River Kwai International Half Marathon
The River Kwai International Run 2018 will be held on 9 September 2018 and is the longest legendary long-distance event in Thailand, which was established by international runners; e.g. Europeans and Americans, who were inspired by the natural wonder and challenging running courses. The first River Kwai Half Marathon was held in 1982, which comprised approximately 400 international runners (the majority) and Thai counterparts. This year celebrates the 37thanniversary, and the event limits the number of participants to 4,000 runners due to the venue’s space.
River Kwai Trophy Adventure Race
The River Kwai International Trophy, which celebrated its 12th anniversary edition in 2017, is fascinating participants who truly love wilderness and adventure racing. Over 200 teams (male, female and mixed) from around the world took part in the race, which claims to be the most popular and largest adventure race of its kind in Southeast Asia. The event consists of three to eight hours of running, mountain biking, kayaking, river swimming (with surprise obstacles) along challenging scenic trails traversing the mountains, farmlands, jungles and the historic Kwai Valley. Normally takes place in May, the next race is scheduled in 2019.