Kanchanaburi holidays offer incredible riverside scenery, flawless national parks and a fascinating war history. Take a train ride on the Thai-Burma railway line to Hellfire Pass and visit the bridge over the River Kwai to learn about Kanchanaburi’s WWII history.
Located less than three hours from bustling Bangkok, Kanchanaburi is set in the Thai countryside, surrounded by mountains and forests. The town lies on the confluence of the Kwai Noi and Kwai Yai Rivers and is best known for its turbulent war history, made famous by the book and film, The Bridge over the River Kwai. You can visit Kanchanaburi’s Thailand Burma Railway Centre and JEATH museum to learn about the 415 kilometre railway, built by the Japanese between 1942 and 1943 to transport troops and supplies. Over 102,000 Asian labourers and mainly British, Australian and Dutch prisoners of war died in the process.
Visit Kanchanaburi for war history and pristine nature
Today, you can walk across a reconstruction of the notorious steel bridge over the River Kwai and visit the nearby Kanchanaburi War Cemetery to pay your respects. Ride a section of the so called Death Railway, which passes over the bridge and winds through lush countryside and the Wang Po viaduct to Nam Tok. From there, visit the Hellfire Pass Museum and walk this sheer rock section of the line, which workers were forced to construct with hand tools and dynamite. Stop at the Australian memorial and listen to the excellent audio guide. Afterwards, relax at a riverside restaurant back in Kanchanaburi or visit nearby cave temples like Wat Tham Khaopoon.
Kanchanaburi is also known for its stunning natural wonders, which include nearby Sai Yok National Park, home to caves and hot springs. Don’t miss Erawan National Park, which has a seven tiered waterfall with topaz water and bathing pools. For more nature, take a jungle trek to unique hill villages such as those belonging to the Mon Tribe, an ethnic group that originates from Mongolia. Our River Kwai Float House tour includes a stay at a floating hotel and a visit to the Mon Tribe. Want to explore more of Thailand’s treasures? Combine a trip to Kanchanaburi with beach escapes in Hua Hin or Pattaya. Our Contrasting Thailand tour takes in the capital and Kanchanaburi, as well as southern gem Phuket and an elephant sanctuary in Khao Sok National Park.
Great sample itineraries
Browse our selection of Thailand tours to discover everything from white sand southern beaches and wildlife rich national parks to elephant sanctuaries, sparkling palaces and war history in Kanchanaburi.
Bangkok To Phuket Holidays
Bangkok And Hua Hin Holiday
Best time to visit Kanchanaburi
Thailand enjoys a tropical, year round climate. The best time to visit Kanchanaburi is between November and February when it’s slightly cooler, ranging from 24°C to 27°C, with low rainfall levels. Temperatures can exceed 30°C in the hottest period from March to May, while the rainy season falls from May to October. The wettest months are September and October, which can see up to 250mm of monthly rainfall.
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“While you’re in Kanchanaburi, I would recommend visiting the Mon Tribe, set in the peaceful surrounding forests. The villagers are so friendly and really not at all influenced by the modern world. It offers a real insight into a remote section of Thai culture.”
“Whilst it is possible to visit Kanchanaburi in a day from Bangkok, I would strongly encourage anyone to stay for a few days. That way, you can really delve into the area’s history and soak up its natural beauty.”
ANZAC Remembrance Day
Held on the 25th April, ANZAC Day is when Australia and New Zealand commemorate soldiers who’ve fought in conflicts around the world. In Kanchanaburi, it’s a day to remember Australian prisoners of war, including soldiers from D Force, who coincidentally started work at hellfire Pass in April 1943. Veterans and relatives visit the Hellfire Pass memorial on ANZAC Day each year and attend a moving service at the Kanchanaburi War Cemetery.
River Kwai Bridge Festival
If you’re visiting Kanchanaburi in November or December, catch the annual River Kwai Bridge Festival. Held over a week, there are nightly light and sound shows that tell the story of WWII and honour the labourers and prisoners of war who built the railway. Be sure to visit the riverside fair for food stalls and souveniers.
Kanchanaburi has some amazing, high end riverside restaurants where you can enjoy a meal overlooking the water. Sample Thai, Asian and international dishes at top eateries, or dine on a floating raft. Feast on local specialities such as river prawns and fish or classic meals like pad Thai.
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