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Kanchanaburi Travel Information

Kanchanaburi is the largest of the central provinces of Thailand and covers an area of approximately 19,473 square kilometers and is the third largest province in Thailand after Chiang Mai and Nakhon Ratchasima. Situated approximately 129 kilometres west of Bangkok, Kanchanaburi shares a border with Myanmar to the west, Tak and Uthai Thani Provinces to the north, Suphan Buri and Nakhon Pathom Provinces to the east, and Ratchaburi Province to the south.

Situtated on the banks of the Mae Klong River where its two tributaries - Kwai Noi and Kwai Yai rivers meet the city serves as an overnight base for tourists visiting the province's many attractions. There are spectacular waterfalls, river cruises, fishing trips and jungle tours for the nature lovers or one can visit ethnic Mon and Karen settlements.

In north and west Kanchanaburi, the terrain is comprised mainly of mountains and high plains, with the Thanon Thongchai Range acting as a natural border between Thailand and Myanmar. The range is the source of Kanchanaburi's two most important rivers Maenam Khwae Noi and Maenam Khwae Yai, which form the famous Maenam Mae Klong. As a result, several of Thailand's largest Namtok (waterfalls) and most extensive wildlife sanctuaries are found in this area.

Kanchanaburi borders with Myanmar (Burma) and a rugged mountain range and almost impregnable jungle separate the two countries. British engineers surveying the terrain in 1905 for a projected rail route, declared it impossible to build only to have the Japanese army do it 17 months later, in wartime conditions.

In Kanchanaburi city, there is a war museum and a large cemetery of prisoners of war who died during construction of the Death Railway.
Nine Army War History national park (Uttayan Haeng Chart Songkram Kao Tab) located at Ladya field, Tambon Chongsadao. It?s around 40 kilometers from Kanchanaburi downtown. This place was collected the history evidence of nine army war. The nine army war was the war between King Rama I of Thailand and King Padung of Burma. The war was ended with Thailand victory.

In the Sai Yok district, there is a Buddhist Tiger Temple where tame tigers roam freely once a day. Also in Sai Yok is the Mueang Sing historical park, ruins of a Khmer town and temple, as well as the Sai Yok National Park with the two Sai Yok waterfalls.

Bridge On The River Kwai

The province is most famous for the Bridge on the River Kwai, which was built next to the town of Kanchanaburi crossing the Mae Klong river. The Death Railway ran all the way from the Kwae river valley up to the Three Pagodas Pass. Today only the lowest part of the railway to Nam Tok is still in use.

The river has gained international fame due the construction of the Death Railway and the famous "Bridge on the River Kwai". The curved spans of the bridge are the original sections.

The bridge, part of the infamous 'Death Railway' joining Thailand with Burma, was where thousands of soldiers lost their lives due to brutal treatment by their captors in the area during its construction and subsequent completion and the film depicts this time of horror and sorrow in graphic detail. Although the movie of the same name is highly inaccurate in it's facts, there's no question the horror that the prisoners of war had to endure during construction of two bridges.

The 1950's world box-office hit movie "The Bridge on the River Kwai" put Kanchanaburi, on the world map. After the film hit the screens around the world, tourists flocked to Kanchanaburi to see the bridge. Now, Kanchanaburi is a prosperous province, sugar cane plantations cover her plains and mines, her hills. As for tourism, the province's spectacular scenery and rugged mountainous terrain give rise to a growing number of jungle resorts for nature-lovers and trekking trails for the more adventurous.

All over Kanchanaburi are testements to the suffering of the labourers who were forced to work under appaling, inhumane conditions. An estimated 16,000 war prisoners and over 100,000 local labourers died between 1942-1943.

The celebrated war cemeteries and war museums are beautifully kept and maintained and help keep Kanchanaburi in the minds of historians from all over the world!
The River Kwai is an important landmark in central Thailand. Along the banks are several guesthouses, hotels and some excellent restaurants. The main "Travellers District" of Kanchanaburi follows the river down from the bridge.

Each year in November is the "Light & Sound Show", which replays the events leading to the destruction of the bridge using impressive lasers, fireworks and sounds!

This event brings in thousands of visitors and is quite spectacular! River boats and floating restaurants cruise up and down the famous old waterway offering excellent views of the show and some superb photo opportunities!

Thungyai National Park, within Kanchanaburi province remains the most pristine jungle area in the whole country and is listed as one of the world's natural heritages by the United Nations. Here one can stay in floating bungalows on the River Kwai in remote jungle areas, an experience not to be missed or wander along jungle tracks where time seems to have stood still.

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