See into Thailand's past at Kanchanaburi
For history buffs, a visit to Kanchanaburi is an essential inclusion in a Thailand tour. The town is synonymous with WWII history; thousands of forced labourers and allied POWs lost their lives in the region during construction of the notorious ‘Death Railway’.
What to expect at Kanchanaburi...
Memorials and museums are scattered throughout the area, with the most famous sites being the Bridge over the River Kwai, and Hellfire Pass with its excellent museum. For many visitors, the region’s natural beauty takes a back seat to its dark history, visible in significant World War II sites such as the famous Bridge on the River Kwai (built, under Japanese direction, by Allied POWs), the POW Memorial Cemetery and the highly informative Railway Museum.
When you need some respite from the sombre sites, the province also boasts pristine National Parks with some excellent trekking, cycling and kayaking to be had.
Just a two hour drive north-west from Bangkok, the province of Kanchanaburi is a wonderfully scenic escape from the city. The rivers and caves around Kanchanaburi town provide the natural attractions on this trip; you can explore the region's unspoilt national parks by mountain bike or along the many trekking trails; canoe down the River Kwai, or for something more 'local', try your hand at bamboo rafting.
For a complete at-one-with-nature experience, we suggest staying at Hintok River Camp. Hidden amidst dense jungle, beside the River Kwai, this campsite is roughing it with smooth edges! Drift off to sleep to the sound of the jungle from the comfort of your deluxe tent - it may have a canvas exterior, but boasts air-conditioning and an outdoor shower with hot water.
In our opinion, staying beside the river adds to your Kanchanaburi experience, but if camping (albeit up-scale) doesn’t appeal then there are alternative, more solid, properties such as the wonderfully atmospheric The Floathouse that, as the name suggests, floats on top of the river.
According to Natasha, ‘if you’re short of time or only wish to focus on one of the WWII sites then Hellfire Pass is not to be missed and is particularly moving’. This infamous railway cutting on the former ‘Death Railway’ was constructed by allied POWs and forced labourers. They worked in shockingly horrific conditions and thousands lost their lives.
Location: Kanchanaburi province, western Thailand
Duration: as long as you like
Accommodation: your choice of Kanchanaburi river-camp or hotel
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Our client said...
'Kanchanaburi was an especially moving experience - brought out the history behind modern-day Thailand'
Important to note...
A typical visit to Kanchanaburi revolves around the WWII history, but the region is excellent for light adventure if you also wish to include this in your Thailand itinerary.