When planning a trip, sometimes it’s impossible to fit everything in. If you’re in Thailand for just a few days, consider heading to Kanchanaburi, which has the feel of northern Thailand, while being within a few short hours from Bangkok. Kanchanaburi offers some great outdoor adventures and quality elephant parks. Read on, to learn more about what Kanchanaburi has to offer.
1. Erawan National Park
Erawan National Park is best known for the Erawan Falls and its seven tiers of cascading water. The park also boasts many caves, such as Phartat Cave, known for its stalactites and stalagmites, and Ta Duang Cave, with its rock paintings. The park has trails crossing over it and is very easy to navigate. There is also golf cart transport, available for hire, within the park. The park is easily accessible from Kanchanaburi by bus or car. Buses leave about every hour and take about two hours to arrive at the park with the last bus generally leaving at 4pm. Sturdy shoes are quite helpful, as climbing the falls, especially the higher ones, can be slippery and rocky. Bring a bathing suit, as well, so you can swim in the falls! Check conditions before you go if the weather has been rainy. The falls do close occasionally, due to flooding.
Erawan National Park
Address: Erawan Falls, Tha Kradan, Si Sawat District, Kanchanaburi, Thailand
Price: entrance fee is about 8 USD
Opening Hours: everyday, 8am - 4:30pm
Contact: +66 34 574 222
Website: Erawan National Park
2. Sri Nakarin National Park
Sri Nakarin National Park was founded in 1981 and it holds a vast array of wild creatures, within its tropical forest. There are many, many beautiful caves within this national park that you can choose to visit. Cruising on the lake and hiking up to the waterfall are also popular activities within the park. You can get to the park via bus, boat, or car. If you are taking a car, ensure it is well maintained and powerful, as roads can be poorly maintained and difficult. Ideal months to visit are October - April.
Sri Nakarin National Park
Address: Amphoe Si Sawat, Kanchanaburi
Price: about 8 USD, less for children
Opening Hours: 9am - 6pm. Closed on public holidays.
Contact: +66 53 29 8068
Website: Sri Nakarin National Park
3. Thong Pha Phum National Park
Yet another park located in the Kanchanaburi Province, Thong Pha Phum National Park is located on the border with Burma. It is about a three-hour drive from Kanchanaburi, through some very hilly, beautiful terrain. This park has a variety of activities and sites, like the border town of Pilok Village, waterfalls, mountains, and very nice views.
Thong Pha Phum National Park
Address: Thong Pha Phum National Park, P.O. Box 18, Amphoe Thong Pha Phum, Kanchanaburi 21110
Contact: +66 81 382 0359
Website: Thong Pha Phum National Park
ElephantsWorld is an animal-friendly, non-profit organization that offers quality time with elephants. Most of the elephants here are sick, abused, rescued, or old and most have lived very hard lives. ElephantsWorld has created a space for them to retire in peace. Their motto is: “We work for the elephants, the elephants do not work for us!” By signing up to help care for the elephants at ElephantsWorld, you are agreeing to a unique opportunity to care for these giant, gentle creatures, all while learning more about them.
ElephantsWorld offers a day program, overnight program, and multiple-week programs. When you schedule a day with ElephantsWorld, they can even pick you up right in Kanchanaburi! In order to make a reservation, the booking form must be filled out, on their website.
Address: Wang Dong, Mueang Kanchanaburi District, Kanchanaburi 71190, Thailand
Opening Hours: Open everyday 10am - 4pm
5. Wat Tham Khao Pun
Wat Tham Khao Pun is a cave and temple complex. The cave is easy enough to move throughout, though there are low ceilings and narrow passageways. There are many Buddhas around and inside the cave. You’ll see a reclining Buddha inside and a sitting one, again, at the exit. At the exit of the cave, there is also a small area with photos from the time the Death Railway was being built. Keep an eye out for bats as you wander through the cave! It’s worth a quick visit and fairly easy to get to. If you enjoy cycling, it is a fairly easy bike ride. Or taking a longtail boat from the Bridge over the River Kwai is a unique way to get there.
Wat Tham Khao Pun
Address: Nong Ya, Mueang Kanchanaburi District, Kanchanaburi 71000, Thailand
Price: about 1 USD
Opening Hours: 9am - 5:30pm
6. Wat Tham Sua
This temple can be seen from afar, as you approach and it houses the largest Buddha image, in Kanchanaburi. When here you have the option to climb 157 steps to the top or take a round trip tram. The Buddha is situated outside, for all to see, as you approach. It was originally built in 1973 and is 18 meters high (about 60 feet), 10 meters wide (about 30 feet). There is a beautiful panoramic view of the Mae Klong River and lush green rice fields.
Wat Tham Sua, located on the hill top of Tumbon Tha Muang, is about 12 kilometers (about 7 miles) from Kanchanaburi and is an easy stop off, on the way to or from Bangkok.
Wat Tham Sua
Opening Hours: Monday to Friday: 8:30am - 4:30pm; Saturday to Sunday: 8am - 4:30pm
7. Take a cooking class
Learn how to cook authentic Thai food at one of the cooking schools, in Kanchanaburi!
On’s Thai Isaan, is a vegetarian and vegan restaurant that offers great food and great cooking classes! Here you’ll learn to make any three dishes on the menu and one dessert, in a relaxed environment, with a great teacher. Best of all you get to eat everything you make!
Apple & Noi Cooking is another great school, in Kanchanaburi. The course begins with a visit to a local market where you’ll learn how to pick out your ingredients. You will then be guided through making three savory dishes and one traditional dessert. At the end of all that hard work, you can sit back and enjoy the food!
On's Thai Issan
Address: 1 71000, 268/1 Maenamkwai Rd, Ban Tai, Mueang Kanchanaburi District, Kanchanaburi 71000, Thailand
Price: about 17 USD
Opening Hours: Classes run from 10am until 6pm
Duration: Classes last for 2 hours
Contact: +66 87 364 2264
Website: On’s Thai Issan
Apple & Noi Cooking
Address: 153/4 Sutjai Bridge Moo 4 Thamakham, Muang Kanchanaburi 71000 Thailand, Kanchanaburi, 71000, Thailand
Price: about 57 USD, price includes recipe book
Opening Hours: morning class from 9:30am - 2:30pm.
Duration: Classes last for 5 hours
Contact: +66 34 512 017
Website: Apple & Noi Cooking
8. Try a trekking tour
One of the most popular things to do, in northern Thailand, is trekking. But don’t think you can’t do that, in Kanchanaburi. Viator offers a great two-day tour, that takes you from Bangkok to Kanchanaburi, visits some of the main WWII Death Railway sights, then boats down the river to do some trekking in the area of Hellfire Pass. Day 2 itinerary includes trekking to a local ethnic Mon tribal village.
Viator 2-Day River Kwai Jungle Rafts Tour
Price: from 160 USD
A great city!
Kanchanaburi is a great city, with a lot to offer, from it’s WWII history to the amazing national parks that surround the region. Enjoy your time visiting!