Kanchanaburi is the third largest province in Thailand. It is located 130km west of Bangkok and covers an area of approximately 19,483 km². Topographically, it is covered with timber and evergreen forests. The district covers the source valleys of the rivers Kwae Yai and Kwae Noi (“River Kwai”), which merge at the city Kanchanaburi and form the Mae Klong River there. Several National Parks are located in the forests of the mountain area of the province – the Erawan, Sai Yok, Khao Laem, Khaoen Sri Nakarin and Chaloem Rattanakosin National Parks are located in the province. The Thungyai Naresuan Wildlife Sanctuary in this province is also listed in the UNESCO world heritage list.
Archaeology found in Kanchanaburi dates back to the 4th century which proves of trade with surrounding countries even in that time. Very little is also historically known about the actual Khmer influence in Kanchanaburi but there is evidence of their occupation with Prasat Muang Singh – one of the country’s most well-known Khmer sites.
Not much was historically recorded about Kanchanaburi province before the reign of King Rama I, but some historians believe that the province played much strategical importance during the Ayutthaya period. In 1982 the Fine Arts Department found many human and elephant skeletons and swords in Phanom Thuan District. Thus, this site might even have been the location of the famous battle of King Naresuan against the Burmese crown-prince, most commonly assigned to the Don Chedi district in Suphanburi province nearby.
With the rise of the Chakri Dynasty and General Chakri (who would later become King Rama I) Kanchanaburi certainly played a distinctive strategical point as defense against the invading Burmese.
For foreigners however, it is only Kanchanaburi’s recent history which really stands out with the name ‘The Death Railway’. During the Japanese occupation of Thailand in 1942 POWs both allies and Asian laborers were ordered by the Japanese to build a Thailand-Burma railway. Eventually, an unprecedented more than 100,000 POWs (16,000 allies and 90,000 local Asian laborers) died from horrific working conditions.
While staying with us, you might want to check out some of the historical sites and nature in the area. There are a few methods to enjoy the different attractions in the area as follows:
a. via a shared tour – this is the most economical way and covers main essential places in a day. However this can also be very tiring and may not give you the opportunity to spend more time at places you wish to.
b. via a private transport – while it may be the most expensive way (though if you have a group of 4 or more, it may not be so), it is also the most flexible as the time is yours to dictate
c. via public transport – this is definitely the cheapest method and gives you the flexibility as well. The only drawback is that this will not allow you to see more than 1 place (especially if you have only one day with us)