0
32 In Culture/ Guides + How-Tos/ Hiking + The Outdoors/ Religion + Spirituality/ Thailand/ Travel

Top 10 in Kanchanaburi, Thailand

Kanchanaburi has totally stolen my heart. Even though I had been in this area before in 2015, I didn’t really take the time to appreciate and explore this beautiful area. Luckily, I got a second chance and I’ve complied my top 10 in Kanchanaburi – most I’ve done myself, but the last three are a bit of a wanderlist for us to visit when we return.

Explore the 7 Levels of Erawan Falls in Erawan National Park

top 10 in Kanchanaburi

Erawan Falls is a spectacular series of waterfalls in Erawan National Park. It’s not every destination that has such a spectacular natural sight. Erawan Falls is location outside of the town of Kanchanaburi. The beauty of the waterfalls comes not only from 7 unique falls, but from the bright turquoise water that spills over them + pools into perfect swimming holes.

top 10 in Kanchanaburi   top 10 in Kanchanaburi

Getting there from Kanchanaburi is really easy. You just show up at the Kanchanaburi Bus Station and it takes you right to the gate of the national park. It’s 50 baht each way per person. Buses leave hourly (ish) starting at 8 am, last bus at 4pm. Entrance to the National Park costs 300 baht per person.

top 10 in Kanchanaburi

Pay Respect at the Side-by-Side Temples of Wat Tham Sua + Wat Tham Khao Noi

top 10 in Kanchanaburi

These two contrasting temples are also outside of the town of Kanchanaburi. Wat Tham Khao Noi is a Chinese-style Buddhist temple that overlooks the gorgeous fields to one side, the gorgeous big Buddha figure to the other side and the river to the third scenic side. They offer stunning views. Don’t miss out on climbing to the very top for some incredible views.

  top 10 in Kanchanaburi   top 10 in Kanchanaburi

To me, the beauty of this temple is in the views + in the details of each room. Like the tiles in the photo on the left and below. 

top 10 in Kanchanaburi

The Thai-style Wat Tham Sua sits directly beside it and everything is different about it from the architecture to the details.

top 10 in Kanchanaburi

Wat Tham Sua is the more beautiful temple, I think. There’s a massive seated Buddha figure, a huge orange tower and it’s just so unique. Although I think it’s more beautiful, I think the beauty is seen better from Wat Tham Kao Noi. You have to climb several stairs to get to the top of this one too. Both of these temples are free to visit as long as you can get to them!

Learn More About the Pacific’s Role WW2 at the Bridge Over the River Kwai or a Museum

While the War in Europe and Pearl Harbor are the parts of WW2 that we learned the most about in U.S. history classes, a large portion of WW2 was fought in the Pacific as well. The infamous Bridge over the River Kwai was a the location of a deadly bombing. Soldiers had been taken prisoner by the Japanese and they were being forced under brutal conditions to build a bridge to connect Burma to Bangkok. The original bridge was destroyed in a brutal bombing that was so deadly it reportedly turned the river red.

top 10 in Kanchanaburi

It’s possible to walk across the Death Bridge. However, it is a functional railway bridge, so move to the side if you hear a train coming.

There are multiple WW2 cemeteries + museums that you can visit all through Kanchanaburi. We chose to visit the JEATH War Museum. It was interesting, but a little all over the place because there are so many exhibits. Not all of which are related to the WW2 history in the area.

top 10 in Kanchanaburi top 10 in Kanchanaburi

Left: Train Engine // Right: All that remains of the original train track according to the sign at the museum

Marvel at the Base of Thailand’s Largest Bronze Standing Buddha Figure or Climb the Steps to the Big Buddha in Bo Phloi

There are so many big Buddha figures all over the Kanchanaburi area and we had a great time exploring them. These two stood out to me though.

top 10 in Kanchanaburi   top 10 in Kanchanaburi

Left is the Big Buddha at Wat Thipsukhotharam. This is actually Thailand’s largest, standing, bronze Buddha figure. Along with the beautiful statue, there are gorgeous gardens and a museum on the process of building this gorgeous figure. It’s one of the coolest Buddha figures I’ve seen. On the right is the big Buddha that overlooks Bo Phloi. My dear friend Salapong took us to see both of these and it was a love of fun getting to see these impressive works of art.

Climb 713 Stairs Through Cave Temples to the Top of Wat Ban Tham

top 10 in Kanchanaburi

Yes, you read that right. 713 steps each way! I think there are so many amazing things about Wat Ban Tham that make it stand out. First of all, there’s the entrance. Just look at those bright red steps with a dragon mouth to walk through. Secondly, to get to the upper stupas you have to walk through cave temples to get to the top. It’s really beautiful.

top 10 in Kanchanaburi top 10 in Kanchanaburi

Left: One of the many cave temples // Right: the Top stupa

When you get past the cave temples, you continue up more stairs, following rows of prayer flags up to the top of the mountain with this beautiful golden stupa crowning the top.

Stand Under the Aptly Named Giant Rain Tree

top 10 in Kanchanaburi

They aren’t messing around when they call this 100-year-old tree the Giant Rain Tree. This beautiful giant’s diameter measures 51.75 meters in diameter (that’s about 170 feet!). Visiting the Giant Rain Tree is a free attraction, which is an added bonus.

top 10 in Kanchanaburi top 10 in Kanchanaburi

You can visit the tree from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. and you can find snacks, drinks and even horseback rides under this tree. If you’re out and about in the area, definitely be sure to stop and take a little time to appreciate this beautiful natural sight.

Relax + Unwind at D Hostel

top 10 in Kanchanaburi

The amazing mountain sunset view from one of the hammocks on the dock.

It’s not often for me that my accommodation is the reason for me to return to a destination. However, D Hostel is very much a must-stop for me. I cannot imagine staying anywhere else on a trip to Kanchanaburi. The front of the hostel doesn’t look like much, but the inside is modern, perfectly decorated and has a back dock lounge area that’s beyond perfect for relaxation.

top 10 in Kanchanaburi top 10 in Kanchanaburi

The private room isn’t massive or anything, but it has everything you need and then some. The bed, although it only seems like a mattress on the floor, is super comfortable. Firm enough, but still soft. There’s a beanbag chair to relax on and holy cow the view! We were so obsessed with the view at all hours of the day. We even got to watch a lightening storm from the window.

top 10 in Kanchanaburi top 10 in Kanchanaburi top 10 in Kanchanaburi

Left: Early Morning light from bed // Center: View of the Deck from the Hall // Right: The amazingly modern + clean bathroom

My biggest gripe about staying at hostels now that I’m a little older and traveling with my husband, is the lack of private bathrooms. Although, I have to say that the bathrooms at D Hostel were so spotless and perfectly designed that it didn’t feel like nearly as much of a hassle. The showers had baskets hanging outside of them to put your clothes in, the toilets were separate and they were always amazingly clean. Let me tell you, this place is spectacular!

PLUS, THINGS WE’RE DYING TO SEE ON OUR NEXT JOURNEY TO KANCHANBURI:

Explore the Lesser-Visited Huay Mae Khamin Waterfall + Others

Photo from Pinterest

Every local I met in Kanchanaburi told us that Erawan Falls is amazing but Huay Mae Khamin was bigger, less-crowded and even more beautiful. Because we don’t drive a motorbike, we skipped it because there’s no bus there. However, Matt has convinced himself that if we go back to Kanchanaburi, he’s going to give it a go. In addition to Huay Mae Khamin, there are other beautiful waterfalls in the area.

Wander Through The Magical-Looking Caves of Kanchanaburi

Photo From Pinterest

It was only while toodling around on our last day before taking a bus to Chiang Mai that we realized that there were loads of caves in the area. Some are filled with crystals and some are covered in amazing formations. I know that next time we’ll be exploring these beautiful caves.

Trek the Epic-Looking Knife Edge

Photo from Pinterest

This was another trip that we skipped because of the lack of motorbiking skills. It’s the absolute top of my list for my next trip to Kanchanaburi. I always love an epic mountain view!

Kanchanaburi is a destination for everyone. It has it all: history, nature, culture and relaxation. There are so many amazing things to do + see here. Don’t make the mistake of passing over it on your trip to Thailand!

Did You Enjoy This Post? PIN IT So Others Can Too!

Booking.com

 

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. If you book with Booking.com through For the Love of Wanderlust, you will help me stay on the road + keep my site running at no additional cost for you.

You Might Also Like

32 Comments

  • Reply
    Dale
    November 9, 2017 at 7:46 am

    Great pics!!

    • Reply
      Paige Wunder
      November 12, 2017 at 2:06 am

      Thank you! I’m lucky to be traveling with a great photographer. He definitely catches some of the best moments.

  • Reply
    kevinpulsecreative
    November 10, 2017 at 12:08 pm

    Wow those falls look like the perfect place for a swim! I don’t know if I could drag myself away. But I just might for the Caves of Kanchanaburi. I’m such a sucker for caves.

    • Reply
      Paige Wunder
      November 11, 2017 at 12:34 am

      They really are the perfect place to swim. Especially on those hot Thai afternoons! I’m a sucker for caves too!

  • Reply
    Kavita Favelle | Kavey Eats
    November 11, 2017 at 3:30 am

    Loving posts about Thailand right now, really getting me excited ahead of our trip next month. We are excited to explore national parks for the forest and waterfalls like the one you have shown in Erawan and Huay Mae Khamin, we are looking forward to visiting the many varied temples… I hope we can make our way to teh Giant Rain Tree, what a fascinating shape and size it is!

    • Reply
      Paige Wunder
      November 12, 2017 at 2:06 am

      I’m so excited I’m able to help you get excited! I hope you guys make it to Kanchanaburi too! Do you have a rough itinerary yet?

  • Reply
    Fiona Maclean
    November 11, 2017 at 10:56 am

    I love the look of the Caves of Kanchanaburi – stunning. I haven’t been to Thailand but I’d definitely like to visit Erawan Falls and Huay Mae Khamin – more than anything though I would visit for the temples – Wat Tham Sua and Wat Tham Khao Noi sound like a great start

    • Reply
      Paige Wunder
      November 21, 2017 at 4:36 am

      They’re definitely a great start and just a couple of the amazing temples to explore in the area. We may be squeezing in another trip here in December because we love it so very much!

  • Reply
    Susan R
    November 11, 2017 at 12:51 pm

    I hadn’t heard of this place but I’m impressed by how much there is to see in the region! The dragon mouth at Wat Ban Tham is really amazing and I’d love to visit the temple caves. The waterfalls look very tempting too

    • Reply
      Paige Wunder
      November 12, 2017 at 2:07 am

      It’s such an incredible region. Even though I was here for two weeks at a zoo two years ago, I missed almost all of this. It’s such an awesome place. I love the dragon mouth as well.

  • Reply
    Sam Sparrow
    November 12, 2017 at 12:48 am

    I read so much about Thailand and I still have never visited which feels like a shame. you’ve convinced me that Kanchanaburi would be a great place to start. Especially for those waterfalls at Erawan, I’m a sucker for a good waterfall! 713 steps at Wat Ban Tham though – I’d have to get fitter before attempting that!

    • Reply
      Paige Wunder
      November 18, 2017 at 7:45 am

      It’s definitely an amazing place. If you fly into Bangkok when you make it to Thailand don’t miss out on visiting this. The 713 steps are brutal, but there are plenty of places to stop and take a breathe break. 😉

  • Reply
    Hannah
    November 12, 2017 at 4:15 am

    Wow, Kanchanaburi is so diverse and interesting. I didn’t realise that the Bridge over the River Kwai was in this region. It’s a shame the museum isn’t more cohesive, as this can really help visitors see the bigger picture and bring history to life – even if the history was awful. I’ve not been to Thailand, but I will pin this as we hope to visit in the next few years 🙂

    • Reply
      Paige Wunder
      November 18, 2017 at 7:46 am

      When you make it to Thailand, be sure to visit Kanchanaburi. It really is a shame. It definitely gives you an idea of how life was for the prisoners, but then it just weirdly morphs into completely unrelated topics. It feels very weird.

  • Reply
    Indrani
    November 12, 2017 at 8:09 am

    Stunning images! Kanchanburi seems to a mix of sights and sites to enjoy.
    713 steps to cave temple!!! That is quite a climb. The cave too is fascinating.

    • Reply
      Paige Wunder
      November 18, 2017 at 10:53 pm

      It really is a wonderful area! It was quite a climb to the top, but amazing to take in the views and walk through the Cave Temples along the way.

  • Reply
    Arienne
    November 12, 2017 at 10:06 am

    I travelled through Thailand for about a month in 2011 but never made it to Kanchanaburi. Looks like I’ll need to book a return trip with all these incredible things to see and do! Waterfalls and National Parks are some of my favourite things to do, plus the temples are always a fascinating experience.

    • Reply
      Paige Wunder
      November 18, 2017 at 10:56 pm

      I love the natural sites as well, and they’re my husband’s favorites, so we always get a nice mix of destinations in our adventures. If you come back to Thailand, you’ll have to go to Kanchanaburi. We loved it so much we’re almost considering popping back over for a few days before flying to Bali.

  • Reply
    anneklien
    November 13, 2017 at 4:39 am

    The Erawan Falls and the caves would be a perfect day out.. i love the outdoor and this places looks so stunning for hiking.

    • Reply
      Paige Wunder
      November 18, 2017 at 10:56 pm

      It definitely has some amazing hiking opportunities! We really enjoyed our time here!

  • Reply
    Lydia Smith
    November 13, 2017 at 11:42 am

    Kanchanaburi is making the top list for 2018 to visit list. Oh my my! I cantbinagine a place like this skips my mind. Looking at the magical looking caves, i must say it sparks something in me. And the mountain sunset view from the hostel is amazing! Thanks for this inspiration.

    • Reply
      Paige Wunder
      November 18, 2017 at 11:01 pm

      I’m glad to hear that! I truly highly recommend D Hostel if you make to Kanchanaburi. It’s such an amazing place to stay. Super comfortable, breakfast included (which you fix yourself) and it’s super easy to rent a bike from here to explore all the amazing places.

  • Reply
    Efthimis Kragaris
    November 13, 2017 at 12:21 pm

    Kanchanaburi seems wonderful! It is such a pity that you didn’t have the chance to visit the cascade waterfalls. I love this kind of waterfalls, they seem like a nature’s wonder. Big Buddhas are always fascinating but why always do you have to climb so many stairs in order to enjoy a Buddhist temple? It reminds me of one in Kuala Lumpur!

    • Reply
      Paige Wunder
      November 21, 2017 at 4:57 am

      It is a pity, but I am glad that we at least made it to Erawan – which were spectacular in their own way. Haha! If you’re thinking of the Hindu Batu Caves in KL, yes! They’re quite similar! Luckily, they’re not all like that. 😉

  • Reply
    100cobbledroads
    November 13, 2017 at 11:20 pm

    Such diversity of experiences in this one place itself. The giant rain tree, the fabulous architecture, the limpid waterfall pools, and the caves. To be honest, this is the first time I’m reading about Kanchanaburi. You inspired me to go.

  • Reply
    rahulk376
    November 14, 2017 at 9:02 am

    All the places look so nice to explore. I would definately want to visit the falls, do the trek and see that bridge. Another fact learned about the World War 2. I am very interested in digging out the history the Wars and reasons behind it. Watched some documentaries on them as well on television. And,how many time it took you to climb 713 stairs.

  • Reply
    Everything_Candid
    November 14, 2017 at 9:48 am

    I love natural set ups like Erawan National park. Loved the water fall image. The movie The Bridge On The River Kwai is indeed my favorite movie and your inclusion on this bridge in your post is one more reason to visit Thailand again and specially Kanchanaburi. Read your earlier post on Kanchanaburi and like that this post also have motivated us to be there which we missed in last trip Thailand.

  • Reply
    Elisa World in Paris
    November 14, 2017 at 3:59 pm

    I was in Kanchanaburi but I only saw the bridge over the river Kwai and the hellfire pass in the jungle. How is it possible that I did not see (or even heard about) the rest of the sights? Thanks for this Kanchanaburi pocket guide, after checking your tips and beautiful pictures I feel I have to visit it again. And I took good note of your hotel suggestion!

  • Reply
    Meg Jerrard
    November 14, 2017 at 5:19 pm

    I can see why Kanchanaburi has won you over! As a fellow nature lover, Erawan National Park looks spectacular, so it’s fab to know that getting there is so easy. I travel to cities sometimes and it’s so hard to get to the national parks. The temples are stunning too – I’ve not visited much of Asia yet so Buddhist temples will be very new to me – I agree that Wat Tham Sua is very beautiful. But wow, what an epic view of Knife Edge – would be super keen for that trek.

  • Reply
    Francesca Murray
    November 15, 2017 at 8:59 am

    Hostels seem to be the way to go in Thailand! The D Hostel must really be awesome if it was a strong enough reason for you to go back. I’d like to go check out those swimming holes! Pinning this post for sure

  • Reply
    Dario
    November 17, 2017 at 4:47 am

    I have never been in Thailand. But this top 10 list looks really amazing! I am more interested in the natural things! I would really like to explore the Giant Rain Tree looks just unique. We also have in my home country threes older then 100 years but they become taller they don’t expand like this beauty! I will wait for more information because i’m really curious about the Trek the Epic-Looking Knife Edge.

  • Reply
    Anto
    November 18, 2017 at 4:29 am

    I’d love to head back to Kanchanaburi one day. I’ve been there some 12 years ago and I’m curious if it had changed at all. The Erawan Falls were definitely the highlight of my stay!

  • Join the Conversation!

    %d bloggers like this: