10+ Best Things To Do In Kanchanaburi, Thailand

If you are too familiar with the crowded and busy Bangkok, or the sleepy but charming Chiang Mai, we recommend spending a day or more exploring the largest suburb of Central Thailand: Kanchanaburi.

In this article, we share the list of things to do and see in Kanchanaburi, Thailand, with tips to enjoy the best of your trip here. 

 

Visit Kanchanaburi War Cemetary

The first place we visited in Kanchanaburi was the Don Rak War Cemetary.

This Cemetary is the resting place for 6892 Prisoners of War (POW) who died during the Death Railway’s construction.

The place is well-maintained, and you can learn valuable information on the wall.

Kanchanaburi War Cemetery Thailand

How to get there

Don Rak cemetery is located on Saengchuto Road, opposite Kanchanaburi Railway station and 1.5 km from the bus station.

Opening hours

Kanchanaburi War Cemetary opens daily from 8:30 am to 6 pm. There is a memorial service each year on Anzac Day – 25th April.

Kanchanaburi War Cemetery Thailand

 

Visit Death Railway Museum

The Death Railway Museum and Research center, or known as Thailand-Burma Railway Center, is located opposite Kanchanaburi station, next to the cemetery. 

This museum is very informative, offering information about railway construction, prison life, bombing, and after the war. 

It took us about 1 hour to visit this place. We could use our coffee/tea coupon to exchange for a drink on the second floor. 

Kanchanaburi Thailand Death Railway Museum

Entrance fee

Below is the admission fee of Thailand-Burma Railway Center

  • 120 baht/ adult
  • 60 baht/ child

Opening hours

The center opens daily from 9 am to 5 pm

 

See the Kwai River and visit the River Kwai Bridge

Leaving the Death Railway Museum, we continued our journey to River Kwai. 

The river water was green and cool, far different from the noisy and dusty atmosphere in Bangkok.

There were many trees on the banks, and we could see different war items such as trucks and airplanes.

River Kwai Bridge

Across the river is the historic River Kwai Bridge.

Kwai River Kanchanaburi Thailand

The bridge was built in 1943 and suffered many bombs by Allied troops during World War II in 1944 and 1945.

It was repaired after the war. It’s also presented in the novel by Pierre Boulle and the film of the same name by David Lean.

How to get there

The bridge is located 5 km from the bus station. 

 

Visit the JEATH War Museum

Another museum that we visited on this list is the JEATH War Museum.

The name JEATH is taken from countries that involved in the war: Japan, England, America, Australia, Thailand, and Holland. 

JEATH War museum Thailand

The museum displays photos and illustrations of POWs’ living conditions and items during the war.

Most of them look very horrifying and distressing, so consider before you visit. Outside of the museum is a beautiful view of the Kwai River.

Entrance fee

The admission fee to the JEATH War Museum is 50 baht.

Opening hours

JEATH War Museum opens from 8 am to 5 pm daily.

 

Take a historical train ride

Visiting Kanchanaburi without taking a train ride to Death Railway is a huge miss.

We decided to take a 10:30 am train, as the 6 am was too early for us. The train ride was enjoyable with beautiful scenery. 

The outstanding point of our trip was Death Railway. This area was the hardest part to construct the railway, and many POWs passed away here.

train

 

Walk the Hellfire pass

We took the train to Nam Tok train station to visit Hellfire Pass, which was a part of Death Railway using POW labor to cut through the mountain.

This pass witnessed a considerable number of POWs’ death due to short-time construction and a harsh working environment. 

We visited the museum first and borrowed audio before walking this pass. The audio was very useful, offering an inside experience of what happened.

Hellfire pass Thailand

How to get there

You can get there from Kanchanaburi by bus or train. Check this detailed transportation guide for more information. 

Opening hours

The museum opens from 9 am to 4 pm daily and admission fee by donation.

 

Watch the sunset on Chuk Don beach

We found this little beach during our trip to Kanchanaburi. 

It was not actually a beach, but a chill-out area with sand on a river, with a restaurant and swimming area.

We sat at the restaurant, dined, and watched the sunset. 

Chuk Don beach Kanchanaburi Thailand

Chuk Don beach Thailand
Watching the sunset on Chuk Don beach was a fantastic experience!

 

Travel back in time to 1985

Visiting Kanchanaburi, we also had an opportunity to travel back in time to 1985, to the era of King Rama V at Mallika R.E. 124.

This Retro city offers visitors a look into the past Siamese traditional society, lifestyle, and cuisine.

We could also experience the atmosphere of the past over 100 years with Thai architecture.

Opening hours

Mallika opens from 9 am to 6 pm daily.

Admission fee

  • Children: 120 baht
  • Adult: 250 baht
  • Extra cost if you’d like to try Thai costumes and enjoy dinner with Thai culture shows

 

Explore Muang Sing Historical Park

Located about 40 km from Kanchanaburi, Muang Sing Historical Park is an exciting place to visit. 

It was built under Khmer architecture’s influence and was abandoned until the reign of King Rama I. 

The area has impressive artifacts such as religious statuary, temple carving, and pottery shards.

Muang Sing Historical Park

How to get there

You can travel to Muang Sing Historical Park by train from Kanchanaburi to Tha Kilen Railway station and walk to the park, which is about 2km away.

Opening hours

Muang Sing Historical Park opens from 8 am to 4:30 pm.

Entrance fee

The admission fee of Muang Sing Historical Park is 100 baht. If you enter by car, the extra charge is 50 baht/ car. 

 

Enjoy local dishes

We had a great time dining in Kanchanaburi. From street food to high-end restaurants, the meals were delicious. 

Our favorite spot was the night market close to the Kanchanaburi bus stop. We enjoyed walking around, trying barbecue food, noodle soup, chicken rice, and roti. 

 

Cycle around town

As most of the attractions in Kanchanaburi are nearby, it’s easy to cycle around and explore the town. 

We rented our bicycles from our accommodation at 50 baht per day. 

  1. Kanchanaburi does seem to have a fierce history – with all those war museums and POW tales. The visit seems quite melancholic. I bet the train ride felt even more so. The death pass and the museum seems befitting visit to really know what happened there. Muang Sing Historical Park sounds like the only different kind of museum here.

  2. When we visited Thailand, we missed Kanchanaburi. It certainly looks like a spot with lots to see and do. We would definitely want to visit the River Kwai Bridge and river. Great to escape to a spot that is green and cool. A ride on the Death Railway to see the Hellfire Pass would certainly provide a good historical perspective on this part of Thailand. And finishing the day with a sunset on Chuk Don beach would be perfect.

  3. As someone who has recently been visiting all world war cemeteries, I wouldn’t miss the Kanchanaburi cemetery and the museum. The JEATH is indeed very intriguing and depressing at the same time.
    As a history buff, Muang Sing Historical Park is awesome.
    Chuk Don beach would be perfect to spend the sunset there!

  4. Thank you for such a great post! I had never heard of Kanchanaburi before, but I am very interested in visiting it now. I love museums and history and would be very interested in going to the museums and Death Railway sight. It is always heartbreaking to visit sights like that, but I think it is so important to remember history and events that happened. I would also be very interested in visiting Muang Sing. It looks so beautiful and like a nice break from all the museums.

  5. I’ve always wanted to visit Thailand but I have never heard of Kanchanaburi. It is the first time that I hear about this place, there are lots of great things to do in Kanchanaburi. Thank you for sharing these.

  6. I’ve never been to Thailand but I’ve long wanted to go. I enjoyed reading about the history of Kanchanaburi and detailed info about the sites. Your photos gave a real sense of what this city is like. Hopefully, I will get to see Thailand for myself one day soon!

  7. Thailand is all about beaches and lovely places – that’s what I used to think. I did not that there is so much of painful history also attached to the country. The number of prisoners died in the construction of Death Railway is huge! It is really painful, and being a history lover, I will make sure to visit Kanchanaburi on my next trip to Thailand.

  8. Great post!! I have been to Thailand many years ago but unfortunately, I never got the chance to visit the Kanchanaburi and now I know what have I missed. It seems a really pretty place and somewhere that I would love to visit. Saving up for future reference.

  9. Bangkok and Phuket are the most popular places that come to mind when talking about Thailand. Chiang Mai is coming close too… But Thailand has a lot to offer when it comes to tourism… Now I come to know about Kanchanaburi and it sounds pretty interesting…I feel like visiting it is like traveling through Thailands history…

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