Kanchanaburi, a province situated about three hour drive North of Bangkok has a lot to offer. There are huge national parks to explore with mountain bike or on foot with an impressive tropical nature including limestone caves and waterfalls. Culture is another aspect of the region, the local, old Mon culture is nowadays still present living in small communities in Mon villages. Besides the area contains an intriguing history, the Japanese army was in charge of the POW (Prisoner of war) workforces who had to build a railway between Thailand and Burma, also referred to as: the Death Railway.
Well, as you can see you will need more than one day to explore it all. But here a short impression of one day in Kanchanaburi full of highlights.
Impressive Lawa Cave
After having breakfast and a refreshing shower it is time to go into action! In the mornings it is not so hot yet, the ideal weather for a hike through the tropical jungle. Your efforts will be rewarded, after a climb uphill you will reach the narrow entrance of a massive Cave: the Lawa Cave. Once you enter with your torch (and potential with a guide as well) it’s time to admire the unique sculptures of stalagmites and stalactites. Explore much more in the spacious cave like Buddhism relics and the smallest bat in the world, also called the Bumblebee bat (completely harmless though).
Hellfire Pass and Museum
Descend to the river and relax in a long-tail boat taking you to the Hellfire Pass and corresponding museum. The Hellfire Pass has everything to do with the terrible events during the Second World War as the name might tell you. POWs had to dig through a mountain in order to construct the Thailand-Burma railway. Working 18 hours per day, they were holding torches when it was getting dark, that’s why it’s called: The Hellfire Pass.
Dinner with the Mon
After taking the long-tail boat to the Floatel Jungle Rafts, you can explore the local Mon culture. Visit their villages, school and temple to get an insight in their culture. It is all located close by the Jungle Rafts. When you come back you can sit down in the authentic restaurant mainly made of bamboo. The restaurant is being lit with several torches as there is no use of electricity in the resort. In the evening you can attend a traditional Mon dance performance in the theater on the Jungle Raft.
Other places you should see!
There is much more to see and to do in the area. There are many national parks, multiple caves and restful waterfalls like the Erawan fall. Animal lovers can spot rare birds or visit Sai Yoke Elephant Village. If you want to learn and see more about the WOII in Kanchanaburi it is recommended to visit multiple museums and historical sites like the Donrak War Cemetery and Bridge over the river Kwai. Moreover a train ride is possible on the original Death railway.
The Lawa Cave with impressive sculptures
POWs are constructing the Death Railway – here smiling for the picture.
The Mon temple – hidden in the jungle you wouldn’t expect it.