Have you watched the movie “Bridge over the River Kwai“? If you have, know that it was filmed here in Kanchanaburi and is based on a true story that took place during World War II.
Therefore, you’ll find that most of the things to do in Kanchanaburi revolve around this history. But there are also plenty of things to do that have nothing to do with the war.
So you don’t have to be a history buff to enjoy your time here. In this post, I’ll share the 27 best things to do in Kanchanaburi according to traveler reviews and my own experience.
Things To Do In Kanchanaburi
1. Visit The Bridge Over The River Kwai
This is the most famous attraction in Kanchanaburi and one that you can’t miss. The bridge was built in 1942 by prisoners of war and forced laborers as part of the Burma-Siam railway. It’s estimated that over 13,000 prisoners of war and over 80,000 Asian laborers lost their lives in the course of its construction.
The bridge was bombed by the Allies in 1945, but it has been rebuilt and is now a national heritage site. And today, you can walk across the bridge, take a train ride, or just enjoy the views from the riverbank. Some sections of the original bridge are still standing and can be seen from the riverbank.
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2. Explore the Thai-Burmese Railway Centre
Next, we move to Thai-Burmese Railway Centre, a museum packed with information and artifacts relating to the construction of the railway. You can learn about the conditions that the prisoners of war had to endure, see how they lived and worked, and get an insight into their daily lives. The museum also has a section on the Japanese military’s role in the construction of the railway.
After exploring the museum, take a walk through the Allied War Memorial Garden, which is located next to this center. This memorial garden is a beautiful tribute to the prisoners of war who lost their lives during the construction of the railway. Although it’s a somber place, a trip here is definitely one of the best things to do in Kanchanaburi.
3. Visit the Hellfire Pass Memorial Museum
Imagine having to dig a 25 meters deep hole in the ground with only a hammer and chisel. Now imagine having to do that in the blazing hot sun, with little to no food or water.
This was the reality for the prisoners of war who were forced to work on the construction of the Burma-Siam railway. The Hellfire Pass was one of the most difficult sections of the railway to build, and it’s estimated that more than 2,700 prisoners of war lost their lives here.
Today, the Hellfire Pass is a memorial to those who died during the construction of the railway. The Hellfire Pass Memorial Museum is located next to the pass and is well worth a visit. The museum tells the story of the construction of the railway and the conditions that the prisoners of war had to endure.
The Hellfire Pass Memorial Museum is one of the best places in Kanchanaburi to learn about the Burma-Siam railway. It’s a moving experience and one that you won’t forget.
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4. Visit the JEATH War Museum
Kanchanaburi is home to a number of war museums, but the JEATH War Museum is one of the best. Why? Because it was designed as an actual replica of the POW camp that was located here during the construction of the Burma-Siam railway. It includes photographs, bunks, and other authentic artifacts from the camp. There are also written accounts from former prisoners of war and their families.
A visit to this museum is a moving experience. However, it’s also an important reminder of the things that happened here during the construction of the railway. This makes it one of the top attractions in Kanchanaburi.
5. Explore The War Museum At The Bridge
You might think you’ve seen enough war museums for one trip, but the War Museum at the bridge is definitely worth visiting. This museum tells the story of the Second World War in Kanchanaburi, with a focus on the events that took place during the construction of the Burma-Siam railway.
You’ll find exhibits on Thai political history, the battle between Thailand and Burma, photographs, uniforms, Helmets, old Japanese vehicles, and much more.
Take your time to explore the museum and learn about Kanchanaburi’s role in the Second World War. It’s one of the most interesting things to see in Kanchanaburi and is a must-visit for anyone interested in history.
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6. Take A Stroll Through Chungkai Cemetry
I know cemeteries are not usually high on people’s list of best things to do in Kanchanaburi. But Chungkai Cemetery is different. This cemetery is the final resting place for more than 1,700 prisoners of war who died during the construction of the Burma-Siam railway. As you already know, these people suffered greatly, and their graves are a testament to that.
Chungkai Cemetery is a beautiful and peaceful place. It’s a somber reminder of the horror of war, but it’s also a place of great beauty. The cemetery is well-maintained, and the graves are adorned with beautiful flowers. If you’re interested in the history of the Burma-Siam railway, then Chungkai Cemetery is a must-visit.
7. See the Erawan Falls
Away from the history of the Burma-Siam railway, Kanchanaburi is also home to some of Thailand’s most beautiful waterfalls. The Erawan Falls are located in the Erawan National Park and are one of the most popular things to see in Kanchanaburi.
The falls are made up of seven tiers, each with its own pool. The water is crystal clear, and the views are simply stunning. You can swim in the pools, relax in the natural surroundings, and take in the beauty of the falls.
Keep watch for the monkeys that live in the national park. They’re not shy and will often come right up to you in search of food.
8. Participate in Unique Activities at Xtreme Centric Park
Are you looking for adrenaline-pumping activities in Kanchanaburi? Then you need to head to Xtreme Centric Park. This adventure park offers a range of unique activities, such as ATV rides, sky biking, DTV shredding, zorbing, bamboo rafting, archery, abseiling, paintball, and zip-lining.
The most popular activity here is ATV riding. You can choose to ride an ATV through the jungle, and there is also a track where you can race against your friends. Other popular activities include sky biking, DTV shredding, and zorbing.
Xtreme Centric Park is the perfect place to let loose and have some fun. It’s located just 45-minute drive northwest of Kanchanaburi, near the River Kwai Village Hotel.
9. Get up Close with Gentle Giants at Elephant’s World
Elephants in Thailand are often seen as working animals, used for things like logging or tourism. However, Elephant’s World is changing that perception by providing a sanctuary for retired and rescued elephants.
Elephant’s World is located in the town of Kanchanaburi and is home to more than 30 elephants. The elephants here have been rescued from abusive situations and now live in a safe and loving environment.
Visitors to Elephant’s World can get up close and personal with the elephants. You can feed them, walk with them, and even help them bathe. It’s a truly unique experience and one of the best things to do in Kanchanaburi that you won’t find anywhere else.
10. Take A Boat Ride On The River Kwai
One thing that Kanchanaburi is famous for is its beautiful scenery. And what better way to enjoy the scenery than by taking a boat ride on the River Kwai?
There are a number of different boat tours that you can take, ranging from short trips to full-day excursions. During your boat ride, you’ll enjoy stunning views of the jungle-covered hillsides and the river itself. You might even spot some local wildlife, such as monkeys and birds.
Another great way to enjoy the River Kwai is by renting a jet ski and explore the river at your own pace. There are a number of different companies that offer jet skis and kayaks, so you’re sure to find something that suits your budget. However, I recommend River Kwai Jet Ski Tour because they offer a great service at a reasonable price.
11. Enjoy Nature At Khuean Srinagarindra National Park
Although Kanchanaburi is best known for its past history, there’s also plenty of nature to enjoy in this province. And Khuean Srinagarindra National Park is a great place to start. This national park is home to waterfalls, forests, and rivers. It’s the perfect place to escape the hustle and bustle of Kanchanaburi town and enjoy some time in nature.
Here, you can go for a hike, take a dip in the river, go spelunking, marvel at the lovely Huay Mae Khamin Waterfalls, or just relax in the forest. There’s also an observation tower where you can get a panoramic view of the park.
Khuean Srinagarindra National Park is one of the famous attractions in Kanchanaburi if you’re looking to get back to nature. So, be sure to add it to your list of things to do.
12. Have Fun At Tree Top Adventure Park Kanchanaburi
Tree Top Adventure Park Kanchanaburi is an adrenaline junkie’s paradise. This adventure park is located in the jungle and has more than 40 stations of extreme and exciting adventures.
There’s a zip line that runs through the jungle, a giant swing, hanging bridges, trapeze, flying bicycles, climbing nets, and much more. It’s the perfect place to let loose and have some fun. And if you have kids, they’ll love it too!
This adventure park is part of Phutoey River Kwai Resort, which is one of the best places to stay in Kanchanaburi. Therefore, if you’re looking for fun things to do in Kanchanaburi and want to stay at a great resort, this is the place for you.
13. Soak Up the Sun at Chuk Don Beach
Many people visit Kanchanaburi to see the historical sights and learn about the country’s past. Unfortunately, this means that most visitors miss out on other things that Kanchanaburi has to offer, like its beautiful beaches. And although this province is landlocked, it’s actually home to a number of man-made beaches.
Chuk Don Beach is one of the most popular, located about 19 km southwest of Kanchanaburi. The beach has clear water, soft golden sand, and plenty of things to keep you entertained, like water slides, restaurants, and shops. In addition, this is also one of the best places in Kanchanaburi to watch the sunset. There are comfortable chairs along the beach where you can sit back, relax, and take in the stunning view.
14. Take a Trip To Sai Yok Noi Waterfall
Feeling adventurous? Why not take a trip to Sai Yok Noi Waterfall, one of the most popular tourist spots in Kanchanaburi. This waterfall is located in the Sai Yok National Park and cascades down a limestone rock into a pool below. The waterfall is surrounded by lush jungle and is a great place to cool off on a hot day.
You’ll need to hike three kilometers to reach the waterfall, but it’s definitely worth the effort. The hike is relatively easy and takes you through some beautiful jungle scenery. Or, if you’re feeling lazy, you can always hop on a motorbike taxi.
15. Ban Kao National Museum
Another one of the best things to do in Kanchanaburi is to visit the Ban Kao National Museum. This museum is dedicated to the prehistoric humans who lived in the Kanchanaburi area more than 4,000 years ago.
The museum is located on an archeological dig site that uncovered the remains of a prehistoric settlement and Neolithic burial site. It exhibits some artifacts found at the site, such as bone jewelry, skeletons, shell ornaments, axes, tripod pots, and much more.
The Ban Kao National Museum is a fascinating place to learn about the history of Kanchanaburi and the people who have lived here for thousands of years.
16. Have Fun at Safari Park Open Zoo
Want to get up close and personal with some of the world’s most popular animals? Then you need to visit Safari Park Open Zoo.
This zoo is home to a variety of animals, including tigers, giraffes, lions, zebras, and monkeys. The animals are divided into eight different zones, and you can take a safari bus through the different zones to get a closer look at the animals.
The popular encounters at the park include feeding the giraffes and taking photos with friendly zebras. The park also has a variety of shows and educational presentations that are sure to entertain the whole family.
If you’re traveling with kids, then Safari Park Open Zoo is one of the best places to visit in Kanchanaburi. It’s a great way to learn about different animals while having a lot of fun at the same time.
17. Travel Back in Time at Mallika City, 1905 A.D.
Thailand depended highly on slaves to build their country up until the early 20th century. However, things started to change when King Rama V visited Europe and saw how well the Europeans were living.
He started to implement changes in Thailand, and one of those changes was the abolishment of slavery. And during that time, over a third of the population in Thailand were slaves.
The recreated city of Mallika now shows how people had to be self-sufficient back then and how they had to live. Different zones in the city represent different parts of Thai life, such as the ancient market, Reuan Dieow traditional house (where commoners used to live), traditional Thai buildings, and much more.
All in all, Mallika is a fascinating place to visit and it’s one of the top attractions in Kanchanaburi to learn more about how Thailand used to be.
18. Wander Around the Night Market
One thing that Thailand is known for is its night markets. These markets are set up every evening and are the perfect place to buy souvenirs, try local food, and experience Thai culture. And when you’re in Kanchanaburi, you definitely have to check out the night market.
There are two night markets in Kanchanaburi, one at the train station and the other at the main bus center. Both markets are packed with stalls selling everything from souvenirs to clothes to Thai food.
However, the train station market is a bit more touristy than the bus center market. This night market is larger and has more to offer than the market near the bus center. Nonetheless, both are great places to wander around and experience Kanchanaburi’s nightlife. So be sure to include it in your list of fun things to do in Kanchanaburi.
19. Go Spelunking at Kaeng Lawa Cave
Are you looking for something a little different to do in Kanchanaburi? Then why not go spelunking at Kaeng Lawa Cave? This is the largest cave in Kanchanaburi and is definitely one of the unique things to see in town.
Kaeng Lawa Cave is located in the forest Park of Sai Yok National Park. The cave is huge, with a total length of 500 meters with several chambers to explore. The most notable chambers include the curtain chamber, the throne chamber, and the music chamber. All of these chambers are filled with beautiful stalactites and stalagmites.
So bring your flashlight and your sense of adventure, and get ready to explore this unique attraction in Kanchanaburi.
20. See the Century Old Buddha at Tham Phu Wa Temple
As you know by now, Buddhism is the main religion in Thailand. So, it’s no surprise that there are countless temples (or wats) scattered all over the country. So it’s always a good idea to visit at least one or two temples when you’re in Thailand.
One of the most unique temples in Kanchanaburi is Tham Phu Wa. This temple is located in a cave and is home to a century-old Buddha statue. The statue is sitting in the Lotus position and is said to be made from a single piece of jade. The cave itself is interesting with its stalactites and stalagmites.
Most of the people who visit this temple are those who come to learn how to meditate. The monks at the temple offer meditation courses for both beginners and advanced students. So if you’re looking for interesting things to do in Kanchanaburi, why not try your hand at meditation?
21. Experience the Mon Culture in Sangkhla Buri Town
Sangkhla Buri is a small town located in the northwest of Kanchanaburi province, about 3 hours from Kanchanaburi. This town is home to a large community of Mon people, an ethnic minority group in Thailand. The Mon people have their own culture and traditions, which are quite different from the mainstream Thai culture.
I suggest starting your exploration of Sangkhla Buri at Wat Mon Temple, which is the largest and most important temple in town. Next, head to Mon Bridge, which is a beautiful wooden bridge that was built by the Mon people. This bridge is the largest wooden bridge in Thailand and is definitely worth a visit.
In the evening, take a stroll through the town and try some of the Mon food. The Mon people are known for their delicious noodle dishes, and you’ll find plenty of street food vendors selling these dishes.
A trip to Sangkhla Buri is a great way to experience the Mon culture and learn about a different side of Thailand. This town is off the beaten path, but it’s one of the best places to visit in Kanchanaburi.
22. Take a Cooking Class
One thing that Thailand is known for is its delicious food. So if you’re a fan of Thai food, then you’ll definitely want to take a cooking class while you’re in Kanchanaburi.
In a cooking class, you’ll learn how to cook classic Thai dishes like pad thai and green curry. You’ll also get to experience the local food culture and learn about the ingredients used in Thai cuisine. After your cooking class, you’ll be able to impress your friends and family with your new skills. And who knows, maybe you’ll even find a new favorite dish.
23. Take A Soak At Hindad Hot Spring
There’s nothing quite like soaking in a hot spring to relax your muscles and soothe your soul. Discovered by Japanese soldiers during the Second World War, Hindad Hot Spring is one of Kanchanaburi’s most popular hot springs.
The hot spring is located in a stunning jungle setting and is fed by natural hot springs. The water is said to have healing properties, and many people come here to soak in the mineral-rich waters. There are three pools to choose from, and each is a different temperature. In addition, there is a river that runs beside the hot springs, which is perfect for cooling off after a soak.
So when you’re looking for things to do in Kanchanaburi that make you relax, add Hindad Hot Spring to your list. It’s the perfect place to unwind after a long day of exploring.
24. Play A Round Of Golf At River Kwai Golf & Country Club
If you want to experience a different side of Kanchanaburi, playing a round of golf at River Kwai Golf & Country Club is definitely the way to do it. This 18-hole golf course is set amongst the beautiful scenery of Kanchanaburi. The course is challenging but also scenic, and it’s the perfect place to relax and unwind.
After your round of golf, refresh yourself with a cold drink at the clubhouse. There is also a restaurant here, so you can enjoy a meal with scenic views of the golf course.
Enjoying a game of golf is a great way to spend a day if you’re looking for fun activities in Kanchanaburi. It’s a different way to experience the town, and it’s an activity that everyone can enjoy.
25. Relax At Shinto Park
When you’re tired of all the sightseeing, head to Shinto Park for a relaxing break. This park is located on the west side of the River Kwai and is a great spot to relax and enjoy the views. The park was built as a joint project between the Japanese and Thai governments, and it’s a beautiful spot to take a break from all the Kanchanaburi attractions. It features a Japanese garden, a Thai garden, and a variety of sculptures. There are also shaded areas where you can relax and take a break from the heat.
26. Get a Thai Massage
Have you had a Thai massage? If not, then you’re in for a treat! Thai massages are world-renowned for their relaxation benefits which are said to improve things like circulation and flexibility.
There are many places in Kanchanaburi where you can get a Thai massage. Most of these places are located in the town center, so you won’t have to go far to find one.
I’ve had Thai massages severally during my trip. And while in Kanchanaburi, I had the opportunity to visit JADAR Massage. It’s a small but popular massage place that offers both traditional Thai massages and oil massages. I opted for the traditional Thai massage and I was not disappointed.
After an hour of being pummeled and stretched, I felt like a new person. So if you want to relax and rejuvenate, then I highly recommend adding a Thai massage to your list of best things to do in Kanchanaburi.
27. Visit Wat Thaworn Wararam
Finally, Wat Thaworn Wararam is another temple that’s located in Kanchanaburi town. This beautiful Vietnamese-style temple is set on the banks of the River Kwai. The temple itself is beautiful, with intricate details and colorful paintings. The best time to visit the temple is in the evening when the sun is setting, and the sky is a beautiful hue of orange and red. You’ll find several people jogging or relaxing along the riverfront at this time of day.
There’s no denying that Kanchanaburi is a beautiful province in Thailand with a lot to offer visitors. You’re sure to find plenty of things to do here, whether you’re interested in history, nature, or simply relaxing.