Kanchanaburi Location and distance from Bangkok
Kanchanaburi is 130 kilometers away from Bangkok. The exact travel time by car depends on your exact destination in Kanchanaburi since the province size is large. In general it takes around 2 to 3 hours, depending on traffic and the specific route taken. Kanchanaburi is situated in the western region of Thailand and shares its borders with Myanmar.
Summarized History of Kanchanaburi during World War 2
Kanchanaburi has a significant historical importance due to its role during World War 2. This geographical location became a focal point of tragic events in history mainly due to the construction of the Burma Railway, also known as the “Death Railway.”
In 1942, during World War 2, the Japanese Empire was controlling large areas in Southeast Asia. They were looking for a supply line to support their forces in the Burma campaign against the British forces. The sea routes were not a good choice due to Allied attacks, therefore they decided to look for an overland alternative route.
Therefore, the Japanese empire decided to build a railway connecting Ban Pong in Thailand to Thanbyuzayat in Burma (now Myanmar), passing through the jungles and mountains of Kanchanaburi. This railway included the infamous Bridge on the River Kwai.
To construct this railway, the Japanese used over 60,000 Allied prisoners of war and that was including British, Australian, Dutch, and American troops. In addition to the allied prisoners of war, there were also around 200,000 Asian laborers involved in the construction of this railway.
The conditions were extremely harsh, with minimal food, poor medical facilities. The laborers and prisoners were forced to work for long hours to cut through dense jungle, build bridges and lay tracks, often by hand.
The Japanese empire was rushing to completion of the project in just over a year. This led to a High death toll with an estimated 12,000 prisoners of war and up to 90,000 Asian laborers dying due to overwork, malnutrition and diseases.
The bridge over the river Kwai, part of this railway line, became globally famous through Novels and movies, especially “The Bridge on the River Kwai.” film.
Today, Kanchanaburi is hosting several memorials and museums, including the JEATH War Museum and the Kanchanaburi War Cemetery, commemorating those who died, and is often included in any Kanchanaburi tour.
Nature & Wildlife in Kanchanaburi
Beautiful Waterfalls that can be visited on a Kanchanaburi tour
- Erawan Waterfall: Located in Erawan National Park and is consisting of 7 tiers, each with its own natural pool. This waterfall is one of the most popular ones and is often included in any Kanchanaburi tour. Visitors can enjoy swimming in the emerald-green pools, hiking along the trails to explore all tiers.
- Sai Yok Yai Waterfall is famous for Its proximity to the River Kwai, which adds to its scenic beauty. It’s located near the Death Railway, and visitors can enjoy natural scenery while Boating or rafting, often included in Kanchanaburi tours.
- Huai Mae Khamin Waterfall is located in Sri Nakarin National Park in Kanchanaburi and consists of 7 levels, each offering unique scenic views and pools. This waterfall is known as a quieter alternative to Erawan Waterfall as it’s not a very popular attraction, and not often included in Kanchanaburi tours. It’s not easy to reach this waterfall, that’s why is not as popular as Erawan
- Pha Tat Waterfall is located in the Western part of Kanchanaburi. Nature lovers seeking a peaceful environment will love this place. It’s a large cascade with lush green surroundings.
- Other amazing Waterfalls in Kanchanaburi: Jokkradin Waterfall,Kroeng Krawia Waterfall, Laiwo Waterfall and Srinakarin Dam Waterfall
In order to Explore several waterfalls in this beautiful province, One day tours to Kanchanaburi wont be enough. You will need to spend 2 or 3 days in this amazing province in order to explore the most out of it.
Visiting an Elephant Camp during a Kanchanaburi tour
One of the great things to do when visiting Kanchanaburi, is Enjoying a half day in one of the elephant camps. One of the best and most popular elephant camps in Kanchanaburi is Elephants world. This camp was founded in 2008, and has grown to become one of the most respected elephant sanctuaries in Thailand. It was established with the goal of creating a haven where the needs of the elephants come first.
Elephants world in Kanchanaburi offers both half day and full day programs. During the visit, visitors can enjoy several activities with the elephants including preparing the food with them, feeding them, and help them bath in the fresh waters and the mud. It’s a great experience to interact with these lovely giants.
Other activities to enjoy during a Kanchanaburi tour from Bangkok
- Kayaking and Canoeing in the River Kwai
- Bamboo Rafting on the River Kwai
- Eploring Kanchanaburi by Bycicle
- Visiting Kanchanaburi Temples