If you love nature and history, you’ll love visiting Kanchanaburi, a western province border of Myanmar, just 3 hours’ drive by car from Bangkok and conveniently accessible by train.
The blend of history during WWII, abundance of incredible nature and rich culture make Kanchanaburi an ideal travel destination – whether you decide to take a day trip, or spend a week or a month.
Kanchanaburi has plenty things to do that you’ll wish to stay even longer!
From visiting Malikka Village, an ancient town where you shop with ancient currency and experience how locals used to live – to staying at out-of-this-world floating river resorts… You’ll fall in love with Kanchanaburi just like we did.
6 fun weekend and day trips from Bangkok – including Khao Yai, Ayutthaya, Hua Hin, Kanchanaburi and more
Here are 22 truly incredible activities in Kanchanaburi that will make your vacation the epitome of unforgettable.
PS: To fully enjoy your Kanchanaburi trip, we recommend getting a private car charter. We personally used Klook’s Private Car Charter and it was not only convenient, but super comfortable too!
1. Ride a cable car to a stunning temple with breathtaking views – Wat Tham Sua
This temple sits on a hill top, and you can take a short cable car ride to visit it – or climb 157 steps to reach the top.
Photo Via Brandibollig
First off, pay homage to a striking giant golden seated Buddha image resting in an open dome. Feel free to drop coins in a tray on a conveyor belt that carries them to the center bowl – a Thai tradition of making merit for good luck and fortune.
Photo Via EAK8_HM
Next, go to “Ket Kaew” pagoda, an 8-story polygonal structure that holds Buddhist relics, and climb up to the top – sorry no cable car this time – for a feast for your eyes. The view is totally worth the climb!
Photo Via Chanansy
Panoramic views of rural Kanchanaburi with rice paddies, the mountain range, and river stretching far beyond the horizon are unbelievably picturesque.
Photo Via Tom_Santi
Photo Via K-Woramate,-Artyr1artyr
Without a doubt, you’ll find peace and tranquility up here.
Tip: Appropriate attire is required for women to visit this temple. No shorts allowed. But no worries, sarongs are available for rent at the entrance to temple.
2. Have a digital detox at this floating water retreat – The Float House River Kwai
Undoubtedly one of the most luxurious on our list, your river adventure starts with a 7 minute longtail boat trip – as you transfer from the private Phutakien Pier to your luxury villa – much more fun than a boring taxi!
The floating air-conditioned villas are large, with beautiful teakwood furniture and traditional thatched roofs.
Photo by TripCanvas
Your private balcony complete with deck chairs and a porch swing, bobs gently on the river, the perfect place to relax.
Photo Via Hung_tzu_ting,-Joobjubilee
Photo by TripCanvas
For those who’d love a swim in the river, there’s a float on a rope for safety (and fun) too.
Photo by TripCanvas
The hotel is based on ‘Contemporary Boutique Folk Style’ – and when you see the relaxing swing benches complete with straw roofs, and colourful soft furnishings you will totally understand.
Photo by TripCanvas
Enjoy a sumptuous dinner at the riverside restaurant, watching the sun set across the surrounding jungle.
Photo by TripCanvas
Why not take a trip out and go for a hike to check out the local scenery? Simply head to the restaurant and cross the small bridge there to get to the starting point. From here, you’ll be able to head to the cavernous Lawa Cave, Mon Village, Wat Mon and more!
The Float House River Kwai Resort has a strong sustainability and environmental ethos, making sure they fit in with the beautiful jungle surroundings – making you feel even closer to nature.
Be at one with the river and let your worries float away at the gorgeous Float House River Kwai Resort.
PS: It’s an extraordinary sensation every time a longtail boat passes by. Your villa and balcony will bob along to the moving current of the river!
3. Walk the walk of death and take in WWII history – Death Railway @ Tham Krasae Overlook
The name “Death Railway” was formed as a reminder of the many deaths of the allied POWs and slaves who constructed the Thai-Burma Railway during WWII.
Photo Via My_road.de
Despite its horrendous history, this section of the Death Railway at Tham Krasae Station is very scenic. The rail track was built on high wooden structures, curving and bending along the cliff of the mountain on one side, and the peaceful River Kwai on the other side.
Photo Via Olivia_Chang
Photo Via Neung_hipstathailand
The best (or horrifying, for some) part is that you will be able to walk along the track.
But we have to warn you – it’s pretty high from the ground and there’s a train. Yes, a train runs through this track several times a day. So if you see a train coming, make sure to run really fast.
Photo Via Erikrudolfs
Don’t forget to grab a drink or meal at one of the restaurants overlook the river!
You will get a better view of the train coming toward the station. Remember to check out the market at Tham Krasae station for souvenirs before you leave too!
Photo Via Iamkesara_k
4. Dress in the old Siam attire and chill – Malika R E 124 Village
Malika R E 124 is the newest, exciting attraction in Kanchanaburi that you definitely have to visit.
Photo Via Poiipoyp
It’s a fun activity that gives you the opportunity to ‘live’ in Thailand during 1903 – when it was called Siam and was considered the Golden Age of Thailand!
Photo Via Thongnuakao_pptv,-Peryolita
Malika R E 124 goes above and beyond to provide the full “Living Heritage” experience. Staff dress and talk as if they were authentically living back in that time – and you will see how they prepare, cook food, work, and live their lives over 100 years ago.
The food and dessert is pretty delicious too!
Photo Via Peryolita,-Chabanoi,-Aur_momo
If you want to play the part of living history, rent a traditional period Thai costume for a day to walk around the village, and exchange money to old coins in order to buy things inside.
Photo Via Tong124,-Pondtl
There are plenty of beautiful corners and charming people for you to take photos of in the village.
Photo Via Poiipoyp
PS: We recommend getting a colorful parasol to help shield yourself from the sun – it makes a great photo prop too!
5. Spend a night on the face of the cliff – Khao Phu Mai Daeng Mountain
We’re not kidding. You read it right. At Khao Phu Mai Daeng Mountain, you will be sleeping on a stretcher hanging off the face of the cliff – secured by ropes 180 meter above the ground below.
A professional rock-climbing team offers a trip of a lifetime, known as Big Wall Rock Trip.
Start off by propelling from the top of a 200 meter cliff, down 20 meters below to where the setup – by professionals – is located.
You will quite literally hang out here in the afternoon, have dinner and spend the night, before propelling down the next morning after breakfast back to the ground below.
If you can get over the fear, the view up here is pretty amazing, and this will be the most thrilling night you might ever have.
PS: Recommended for people with a level of high fitness only!
6. Discover the mysterious hidden temple – Sunken Temple at Sangklaburi
Once a village, now it’s a lake. The old Sangkla Buri village was flooded in order to construct a dam. When the water is at the highest, the only thing you will see is the top of the bell tower peeking out from the surface.
Photo Via Shipmunk
But if you come during dry season from March to May, the whole temple will reveal itself on a small island in the middle of the lake. You can see the remains of the old village are just a couple of monasteries.
There are left with nothing but exterior walls, fallen stupa, and stone Buddha head. You can then walk on the temple ground, and imagine that all where you are will be under the water again.
Photo Via Pixthailand
Don’t beat yourself up if you happen to visit Sangkla Buri during wet season. Hire a boat from Wooden Mon Bridge in the morning when the lake is covered by the morning mist to visit the flooded site.
Photo Via Norris_heong
It’ll add a mystery of a sunken temple, sleeping, hidden away underneath in the deep green waters of the lake. And some tour offers kayaking and scuba diving.
Photo Via Mintnierocky
7. Travel back in time and witness the ingenuity of Khmer architects – Muang Singh Historical Park
You don’t need to go to Cambodia to witness the fallen civilisation of Khmer empire.
Photo Via Arthur_shooting
Less than an hour’s drive from Kanchanaburi’s city center, Mueng Singh (or Lion City) Historical Park was once the last outpost of Angkor back in the 12th century.
Photo Via Starwallll
After you enter the park, there are several buildings and small ruins throughout the park. But the most significant building is the main shrine, Prasat Mueng Singh – at the center of the site built in Bayon style.
Photo Via Arthur_shooting,-NammiiDiary
Inside, you will find an 8-armed statue of Lokeshvara – and witness the ingenuity of Khmer architects who used massive blocks of sandstone to build such an impressive structure that still stands today.
The ground and perimeters of the park are well maintained with trees and flowers. Perfect for leisurely roaming around and just enjoying a little time travel back to the 12th century!
8. Take a boat to this jungle spa and pamper yourself! – Rock Valley Hot Spring and Fish Spa
Hidden in the lush jungle by the bank of River Kwai, Rocky Valley Hot Spring and Fish Spa is your relaxation destination like no other.
First of all, you take a long tail boat ride to the spa.
Then you must try their facial treatment. You can try the natural mud face and body mask – either the black mud or yellow mud (Burmese Tanaka Powder). (Or both because why not!)
Photo Via Tetaep
After the facial, make your way to 15 different hot springs and soak your stresses away.
What sets Rock Valley Hot Springs apart is the infused hot pool. You can enjoy yourself in tea and coffee-infused heated pools. Use the coffee ground to scrub your body, or try the flower-infused pool where the water turns violet and red. (All have different benefits!)
Photo Via Pichapat
The fun is at Fish Spa where you dip your feet into a pool of little fish that will help remove dead skin cells from your feet – warning, not suitable for those with ticklish tendencies!
Lastly, do not forget to enjoy the beautiful surroundings of nature!
Photo Via Prangthip_bp
9. Have a close encounter with an alien – Alien Rock @ Lam Klong Ngu National Park
Don’t worry, there’s nothing to be scared of!
This ‘alien’ is an alien rock created entirely by the hand of nature – a limestone stalagmite transformed into something that looks like a creature from the movie “Alien”. Hence, its nickname “Alien Rock”.
Getting here is for a true adventurer only. Be ready to trek through the forest, crawl into a cave, climb up on a rock, jump off the rock into water, and float along the cave canal.
Photo Via Chanin.sin
You won’t just see the Alien Rock, Klong Ngu National Park has many limestone cave systems to explore.
Photo Via Palmography
Tham Sao Hin is one of the many caves where you’ll find Thailand’s tallest limestone column within, measuring 62.5 metres in height!
Photo Via Moomor,-Palmography
Visiting caves in Lam Khlong Ngu National Park requires a local guide and the necessary equipment for cave exploration, and physical fitness!
Photo Via Guitarphotohometumtim
If you love a good adventure and the wonder of nature, you will find it all at Lam Klong Ngu National Park.
10. No camp like a Boho camp! – 3199 Mountain Camp
Want to camp in style?
You will need to go glamping at 3199 Mountain Camp where you’ll get to sleep under the stars in tents decorated in Bohemian style.
Photo Via Nananiyom
Photo Via Ratchanokmay,-Milksmita,-Aehei_mam
No need to worry about cooking your own food. A stay here comes with your very own BBQ set, as well as drinks and breakfast!
Photo Via Mayphannapa,-Jaezyyy
Make sure to pack your favourite Boho outfits to take plenty of photos. They even have props like an Indian headdress available! You can easily get hundreds of cool photos for Instagram here.
And if you’re tired of taking photos, you’ll be able to find quiet nooks around the property – where you’ll be able to enjoy a good book with an aromatic cup of coffee from their coffee shop.
At night, enjoy your BBQ party and cocktails with live folk music before heading off to sleep under the stars!
Photo Via Ammy-the-bottom-blues
Staying at 3199 Mountain Camp will make you get close to nature without giving up the convenience of a luxury resort.
11. Watch the romantic sunset and explore Mon culture – Wooden Mon Bridge
Immerse yourself in a different world at Mon village, one of the remaining early Thai Tribes, in Sangkla Buri, the district of Kanchanaburi.
Photo Via Jaylimsirichai,-Fasndee
The most recognized landmark of Sangkla Buri is “Wooden Bong Bridge”, this 850 meter bridge is the longest wooden bridge in Thailand and second longest wooden bridge in the world. The bridge stretches across Songkalia river connecting two worlds together.
Photo Via Fasndee
Meet Mon people dressing in traditional colorful clothing walking across the bridge. You might see some balancing many layers of tin on their head as they walk. Or you might catch Mon children jumping off the bridge plunging to the river below to escape from the heat.
Photo Via Wi2000,-Bbambear
After exploring Mon village, stay for an incredible view of sunset
Photo Via Sabaiatkan
If you stay overnight, make sure you wake up before 6 am to witness the morning food offering to the monks at the village.
12. Step into history or an Oscar-winning film – Bridge Over the River Kwai
Walk on the bridge that inspired 1957 Oscar winning movie “The Bridge Over River Kwai” and reflect on the tragic history of WWII. Bridge Over the River Kwai is a major and most recognised landmark in Kanchanaburi.
Photo Via Pear_cn
Built by prisoners of war, this black iron bridge holds significant history as this is where approximately 16,000 prisoners had lost their lives during construction.
Photo Via Cs_mink
When you walk across the bridge, even though the sight of river and lush green is stunning, but you can’t help but feel the sadness that still lingers in such a sacred place.
Photo Via Rachellamay,-Kasia.durlej
Of course, when you’re at the bridge, don’t forget to duck into the cafes, restaurants and souvenier stalls around it! (You can still walk over the bridge even though trains cross it every day!)
If you visit Kanchanaburi in late November, make sure not to miss the week-long festival on River Kwai Bridge commemorating the Allied attack in 1945. A show of spectacular light and sound is the highlight of the festival every year.
Photo Via Traave
13. It’s so immense that you have to see it to believe it – Giant Rain Tree
No words can describe how massive this tree is.
This Rain Tree is over 100 years old, is 20 meters tall, and its shade can cover an area almost half the size of a football field.
Photo Via Scratcdaworld
Photo Via CityArt-Pat
The trunk is so big, you’ll need at least 10 people with the arms stretched out to make a circle around it – and its roots are bigger than a person!
When you are under this tree, you’ll feel cool and calm – and as you look up to see all the massive branches spread out in all direction – you will be in awe of this magnificent specimen of nature.
14. Conquer the thrill of walking on ‘knife mountain’ – White Elephant Summit @ Thong Pha Phum National Park
If you’re a hardcore hiker, you’ll want to add Khao Chang Phueak to your bucket list.
At 1,249 meters high, “Khao Chang Phueak” which means “White Elephant Mountain”, is the third highest mountain in Kanchanaburi, and is part of Thong Pha Phum National Park.
Photo Via Lookoam_hack
The trail is 8 km long and it’ll take you around 4 hours to reach the base camp where you can set up an overnight tent.
Photo Via Nantawit.aeh
To reach the summit, the park ranger will lead hikers to climb up at the same time for safety reasons.
The most thrilling aspect of hiking at Khao Chang Phueak, is walking in a single file through a narrow path on the mountain ridge. It’s so narrow, the hikers nicknamed it “Spine of the Knife Mountain”!
Photo Via Fthanyanop
Your heart will pound as you walk and try your darnedest not to fall off the cliff, and as you finally conquer the summit, you’ll enjoy crazy views of the mountain valley accented with cottony drifting clouds.
Photo Via Saphipae
Make sure to get up early to watch the sea of morning mist blanketing the mountain, it’s a sight not to miss!
PS: Advance registration for permit and overnight stay at the base camp are required.
15. Take a dip at spectacular – Erawan Waterfalls
Not just one spectacular fall, Erawan Waterfalls has 7 tiers of waterfalls with different shapes and beauty of its own.
Photo Via Livingnomads
The first two tiers are easy to get to. Once you’re at the 2nd tier, we guarantee you would already want to plunge into cool aqua pool.
This tier is nicknamed “Fish Palace”. You’ll see a school of huge fish in the water. They can be your swim mates. If you don’t want to get wet, grab some food for a picnic and enjoy the cool breeze and mist from the water and forest.
Photo Via Doyoutravel
The trail leading up to higher tiers is clearly marked, but less maintained and rockier as you go higher. But the bright side is lesser people the higher you go.
If you make it to the top tier at the 7th level, you can reward yourself by jumping into the cool and refreshing turquoise water set against big white boulders. If you look close enough, those boulders will look like Erawan, a mythical 3-headed white elephant in Hinduism. (It’s the namesake of these waterfalls!)
Photo Via Awekakimelancong
We recommend going early in the morning to avoid the crowd. Just visit one or two tiers, unless you’re up for all 7!
16. Who lives in a pineapple under the sea? – The Fruit Hotel
If you are a fan of Spongebob (who lives inside a pineapple under sea), staying at Bahn Pasawan Resort will make you go bananas! (Or pineapple… excuse the puns. X.X)
Photo Via Amaziful
This family-friendly and super whimsical resort has about 20 spacious guest houses crafted in shape of various fruits, vegetables, and plants.
Photo Via Diana_ivashchenko,_-Yoonnamii,-Wattu-AuonKlom
There are many ‘fruits’ to choose from –durian, rambutan, pineapple, dragon fruit, and many more! If you come in a large group, you can also hold a meeting in a meeting bus.
Photo Via Lannatv
This resort also functions as a nature conservatory and education center for adults and comes with a water park too! It’s super unique and a truly unusual place to have an unforgettable stay.
Photo Via Palmmych
17. Visit a different planet – Mini Grand Canyon @ Pong Yup, Ratchaburi
Witness a natural phenomenon where the land has sunken down due to erosion over time.
Photo Via Rider_wasan
What’s left is a 5 meter cliff that looks very much like a city wall with odd-looking earthen pillars.
Photo Via Ying_jaruwan
You can even walk around on the bottom of this cliff in its maze-like formation of pillars.
It truly might make you feel you were in different planet
Photo Via Sineonsu
PS: Pong Yup is in Ratchaburi – about 1.5 hour drive from Kanchanaburi
18. Get bewitched by this beautiful cascading waterfall – Chatkaew Falls @ Huay Mae Kamin
Some claim Chatkaew Falls is one of the most beautiful waterfalls in Thailand.
Photo Via The.ones_.memories
Imagine an opening enveloped by big tree trunks and giant roots, with water flowing from ledge to ledge – all cascading down to merge into a huge torrent of water gushing down to the pool below.
You will be mesmerised by the ethereal beauty of this waterfall.
Photo Via Pop-Eye-Nisalak
Chatkaew Falls is the 4th of 7th tier in Huay Mae Kamin waterfalls located in Srinakarin National Park. Fortunately, it’s on the same level as the car park so there’s no need to hike up to this paradise!
Photo Via Kanktp
It’s very popular among Thais, but never too crowded.
If you want to chill and relax more, set up a tent and take your time to enjoy hiking to all the levels of the waterfalls – and watch the sunrise over the Srinakarin Dam nearby.
Photo Via Pkrit.M
19. Admire stunning gothic architecture – Nativity of Our Lady Cathedral @ Samut Songkhram
No need to go to Europe to see a beautiful church. People say Nativity of Our Lady Cathedral is the most beautiful Catholic church in Thailand.
Photo Via Nardonis8,-Gvycxnh
You will have to see it for yourself.
Decorated with colorful stained glass windows imported from France, the church was built in 1870 in French gothic style.
The interiors are even more amazing – don’t forget to look up and check out the beautiful ceiling! The church is on the river bank, it’s perfect place to quiet down and do a little spiritual reflection.
Photo Via Pantip
20. This forgotten village was recently discovered – Pilok Garden Hills @ Pilok Mine
If you’d like a quiet night in a rustic place, you will love spending time at Pilok. This quiet village is located deep in the mountain at the Thailand-Myanmar border.
Photo Via The-Sandy
During WWII, the town was booming with tin mining but when the mines were closed, the village was also forgotten – until recently discovered by travelers, especially the ones who seek off-the-beaten-path destinations.
Photo Via Ppjspwt,-Thiti_tum
You will find a raw charm at Pilok. Everything is still left untouched.
Photo Via Lls.shihtzu
Have a romantic stay at one of the homestays in the area, and enjoy the cool temperature and peaceful view of the mountain.
Photo Via Porty-journey,-Arayaaa
Tip: Before you leave, write a note or a wish on a wooden tag and tie it to the bridge rail!
21. Get tasty street food – Historic Pak Prak Road
This historic short stretch of Pak Prak Road is lined up with rows of Chino Portuguese style buildings built during WWII – you can still see the beauty of the architecture through the deterioration of over 170 years.
Photo Via We_are_nachano
To revitalise the area, Pak Prak community embraced its past and turned itself into a Heritage Walking Street – where you can visit old shops and hear the stories from people who live here.
Photo Via Mosslom94,-Tipmano
When you need a coffee break, check out Sitthisang coffee shop. You surely won’t miss the bright mustard coloured building that’s been converted to a cool and homey coffee shop!
Photo Via Thirapong_th.safety,-icenapat_Sw,-Dream_river
When night falls, the street really comes alive. It transforms into a walking street with hundreds of street vendors, artists selling their art, and street food stalls. It’s fun and romantic all at the same time.
The merchants here even get into a character as they sell vintage food and dessert which you’ll very rarely see elsewhere nowadays.
The community preserves its history and turns into a hip and chic destination full of memories waiting to be told – and visited!
22. A history of candle-making with a shooting range and more! – Ban Tian Hom
Located 1 and a half hour from Kanchanaburi, Ban Tian Hom is a quirky place for a quick weekend vacation. (In Thai, “Ban” means Home, “Tian” means Candle, and “Hom” means Aroma!) Mr. Ratchanikorn Chimma, the owner is 43 years old, and started making candles for his friends 20 years ago.
Photo Via Verybangkok
This led to creating whimsical candles of different designs and they ended up being sold in places like Chatuchak Market and Khao San Road.
It started off as a candle shop, and has now expanded into a marvellous weekend destination with a shooting range and adventure tours available!
There’s interesting history and culture behind Ban Tian Hom with rare old collectibles such as toys, lamps, and other vintage accoutrement.
Photo Via 4Goompa,-Lookchan_j
Make it a whimsical weekend adventure – why not!
Whether you are a nature lover, adventure seeker, a romantic couple, or fun family – Kanchanaburi has something for everyone to enjoy.
We are shocked ourselves, and are very much in love with this spectacularly underrated destination!
Let us know what you’d most like to do here in the comments below!
Thanks to Klook for making this trip possible!