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KANCHANABURI TOUR

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According to most historians, the ancient town of Kanchanaburi was located near Ban Lat Ya, a small village situated approximately 16 kilometers north of the present town. The site was repeatedly recorded in Thai history as an invasion route which the Burmese used to enter Thai Kingdoms.

Kanchanaburi, which has mostly mountainous terrain, covers an area of approximately 19,473 square kilometers and is the third largest province in Thailand after Chiang Mai and Nakhon Ratchasima. Situated approximately 129 kilometres west of Bangkok, Kanchanaburi shares a border with Myanmar to the west, Tak and Uthai Thani Provinces to the north, Suphan Buri and Nakhon Pathom Provinces to the east, and Ratchaburi Province to the south.

In north and west Kanchanaburi, the terrain is comprised mainly of mountains and high plains, with the Thanon Thongchai Range acting as a natural border between Thailand and Myanmar. The range is the source of Kanchanaburi’s two most important rivers Maenam Khwae Noi and Maenam Khwae Yai, which form the famous Maenam Mae Klong. As a result, several of Thailand’s largest Namtok (waterfalls) and most extensive wildlife sanctuaries are found in this area.

The magnificent landscape and charming beauty of Kanchanaburi have resulted in major tourist attractions including several well-known waterfalls, caves which were once inhabited by Neolithic man, pristine national parks, tranquil rivers, virgin forests, and reservoir. Together, they offer an intriguing experience for first-time or repeat visitors. Whether its fishing, rafting, canoeing, mountain biking, bird-watching, star-gazing, golfing, elephant and jungle trekking, or even living in bamboo rafts, Kanchanaburi takes pride in offering them all.

The city of Kanchanaburi is located at the point where two tributaries, the Khwae Noi and Khwae Yai meet and form the Maenam Mae Klong. This is the location of the notorious Death Railway and the Bridge on the River Khwae one of the worlds famous World War II sites which have been immortalized in print and film.

In economic terms, Kanchanaburi has been doing well on a national scale, with over 10 per cent growth annually. Important industries include sugar, agricultural products and jewelry. Tourism is also a main source of income for the locals as the provinces high tourism potential has made Kanchanaburi number one among the west provinces in having the highest number of visitors each year.

Residents of Kanchanaburi are engaged in agricultural activities. Most of the locals are of Thai ancestry with notable Mon and Karen minorities. Rural dwellers enjoy living simply and respecting nature. Moreover folk music and dances dating back at least 500 years are still performed today.

Distances from Amphoe Muang (Town) to Neighboring Districts :

Tha Muang 12 kms.
Phanom Thuan 24 kms.
Tha Maka 30 kms.
Dan Makham Tia 30 kms.
Sai Yok 50 kms.
Thong Pha Phum 145 kms.
Sangkhla Buri 230 kms.
Si Sawat 102 kms.
Bo Phloi 40 kms.
Nong Prue 75 kms.
Huai Krachao 60 kms.
Lao Khwan 97 kms.

Kanchanaburi Attractions

Kanchanaburi Art, Culture & Heritage

Kanchanaburi City GateAn interesting site to see in the remains of Kanchanaburi town is the Gate which was built in 1831 during the reign of King Rama III. It is located on Lak Mueang Road near the meeting point of the Khwae Yai and Khwae Noi Rivers.

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Pilok MineLocated in Tambon Pilok some 70 km. to the west of Amphoe Thong Pha Phum along Highway 3272. There used to be tin and wolfram mines on the Tanao Si Range which forms a natural boundary between Thailand and Myanmar. On the way, visitors can stop at “Pilok Hill”, about 32 km. from Thong Pha Phum where fruiting and decorative plants of the temperate zone are grown. There are numerous picturesque waterfalls nearby which are accessible by foot such as Namtok Chokkadin and Namtok Chet Mit. Visitors need to be careful because most of the routes are steep and winding. For further details, please contact the One hundred and thirty fifth Military Border Patrol Company at Tel. 0 3459 9118.

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Animal Shelterlocated at Ban Phu Pradu, Tambon Nong Bua, some 20 km. from Kanchanaburi. It is accessible by Highway 3229 with a turn for 3 km. between Km. 16 – 17. The animal shelter covers a total area of 38 rai and was relocated from Thung Si Kan and houses mostly dogs, as well as cats, cows, buffaloes, goats and sheep. Dogs are available for adoption. Open daily during 8.00 a.m. – 5.00 p.m. for more information, please call Tel. 08 1914 3444, 08 1763 3467.

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Kanchanaburi Cultural CentreThe centre is located in the Rajabhat Institute of Kanchanaburi, 14 kilometers out of town on the route to Sai Yok. Within the centre is a collection of displays on human lifestyles from the past until the present. Open daily from 8.30 a.m. to 4.30 p.m.

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Art Gallery and War MuseumLocated not far away from the Bridge on the River Khwae is a private museum which features the World Wide II story and art objects such as war weapons, army uniforms, photographs, jewelry, etc. The museum is open daily from 7.00 a.m. to 6.30 p.m. Admission fee is 40 baht/person. For further information contact Tel. 0 3451 2596

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The JEATH War MuseumThe name JEATH is derived from countries which engaged in the WWII death railway construction from 1942 to 1945, which included Japan, England, America, Australia, Thailand and Holland. Located in the area of Wat Chai Chumphon, the museum is a reconstruction of the POWs thatched detention hut with cramped, elevated bamboo bunks. On the wall of the huts, photographs and illustrations of the POWs living conditions are on display. POWs who survived from the camp have donated items to enhance the museums atmosphere and authenticity. The museum opens daily from 8.30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Admission fee is 30 baht.

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Thailand – Burma Railway CentreIt is located near the Kanchanaburi War Cemetery (Don Rak), it puts on an exhibition of history of the Thailand – Burma railway from the invasion of the Imperial Japanese Army, planning and construction of the railway, its geography, living condition in POW camps, medical aspects, summary of deaths, operation, bombing and end of the railway, as well as aftermath of the war. Open daily during 9.00 a.m. – 5.00 p.m. Admission is Bt80 for adults and Bt40 for children under 14. For further details, please call Tel. 0 3451 0067, 0 3451 2721

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Ban Kao National MuseumBan Kao National Museum  A small Tambon (sub-district) located on the bank of the Kwai Noi River approximately 35 kilometers from the city is a site where some ancient Stone Age tools were found. In addition, a Neolithic burial site was discovered by the Dutch Allied POW, Dr. Van Hickderen who was forced to build the Death Railway. The consequences of findings revealed that tambon Ban Kao was once a dwelling of prehistoric men. Some critical discoveries included skeletons of prehistoric men, tools made from gravel stone and axes. The Ban Kao Museum houses skeletal remains, pots, axe heads, jewelry made from animal bones, and other artifacts dating from that period. The museum is open from Wednesday through Friday with the exception of public holidays from 9 a.m. to 4.30 p.m. Admission is 30 baht. Call 0 3465 4058 for more information.

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Hell Fire Pass Memorial MuseumThis is a part of the Death Railway that was constructed during the Second World War using POW labor to cut through the mountain. The site is located in a thick forest near Km. 66 of the Sai Yok-Thong Pha Phum Road (Highway No. 323). Along a 4-kilometer walking trail made by the Allied prisoners visitors can envision the difficulties faced in constructing the Death Railway using simple tools. The pass is approximately 500 meters long and 26 meters deep. In 1943 Australian POWs employing hand drills, picks and shovels, baskets and dynamite completed it within six weeks.There is also a museum displaying contemporary photographs, maps, models, illustrations, etc. from the period. Open daily from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Admission is free. Call 08 1814 7564, 08 1754 2098, 0 3453 1347, Fax. 0 3453 1347, for further information.

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Prasat Mueang Sing Historical ParkMuang Singh town was built between 857 and 1157 when the Khmer Kingdom was still prosperous. It was later abandoned until the reign of King Rama I when Muang Singh was rebuilt as a Kanchanaburi border town.The only archeological site with a religious structure built in the middle of the city is the Khmer Prasat Mueang Sing (Tower of the City of Lions) where the heavy influence of the late Lop Buri arts is clearly visible. The ancient site is located on a steep bank of Khwae Noi River where the waterway narrows and becomes fast flowing. The city walls, which were made of rectangular laterite, are approximately 800 meters in width, 1,500 meters in length and 5 meters in height. The compound is believed to have been the westernmost outpost of the Angkor-centered Khmer empire. Remains dating back some 2,000 years have been discovered, and artifacts, including temple carvings, religious statuary and pottery shards indicate that the city must have been inhabited from approximately the 12th to 14th centuries.The historical park is open daily from 8 a.m.- 4.30 p.m. Admission fee is 100 baht. Call 0 3452 8456-7 for additional information.Visitors can take a train from Kanchanaburi to Tha Kilen Railway Station and continue on foot or by local transport to Prasat Muang Sing, which is just 1.5 kilometers away. Trains depart from Kanchanaburi Railway Station every day at 6.11 a.m. (arriving at Tha Kilen at 7.28 a.m.), 11 p.m. (arriving at 11.59 a.m.) and 4.37 p.m. (arriving at 5.42 p.m.). To return to Kanchanaburi, trains depart from Tha Kilen Station at 6.22 a.m., 1.51 p.m. and 4.31 p.m.

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Kanchanaburi War Cemetery (Don Rak)Kanchanaburi War Cemetery (Don Rak), located on Saeng Chu To Road (Highway 323) before reaching the provincial town. The immaculately maintained cemetery contains the remains of 6,982 Allied POWs who perished during the construction of the ‘Death Railway’. Its tranquility reminds the visitors of the war and its after-effects. It is open daily from 8.30 a.m.-6 p.m. For more information, call Tel. 0 3451 1500.

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Bridge over the River KwaiThe Bridge on the River Khwae (the Death Railway Bridge)
Thanks to several films and books, the Bridge on the River Khwae has become notoriously famous and attracted both Thais and foreigners to the site. If an ordinary black iron bridge can tell a story, you can be sure it’s a dramatic one.The bridge spans across Maenam Khwae Yai which is a branch of Maenam Mae Klong. During the Japanese occupation of Thailand in World War II, the Japanese Imperial Army brought the iron bridge from Java. It was then resembled by Allied Prisoners of War (POW) under Japanese supervision. The bridge was part of a strategic railway route to Myanmar in which the Japanese aimed to secure supplies with which to conquer other western Asian countries. It was 415 kilometers long (about 303 kilometers in Thailand and about 112 kilometers in Burma) and passed through the Three Pagoda Pass in Sangkhlaburi District, the northern most part of Kanchanaburi province.Construction started on September 16, 1942 at Nong Pladuk, and was completed on 25 December 1943. It is estimated that over 16,000 POWs from England, Australia, Holland and America died while building the bridge which was a target of bombing raids in 1945. In addition to this, approximate 90,000 laborers from Thailand, Myanmar, Malaysia and Indonesia died during its construction.Rebuilt after WWII, the bridge is still in use today with the curved portions of the bridge being that of the original. An attraction of note is the annual light and sound event at the bridge to commemorate the Allied attack in 1945.The railway currently ends at Ban Tha Sao or Namtok Station, a distance of some 77 km. from Kanchanaburi Station. A special train running from Bangkok to Namtok Station is available on weekends and national holidays. For further details, please contact the State Railway of Thailand, Tel. 0  1690, 0 2220 4334

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The Nine-Army Battle Historical ParkEstablished by the Royal Thai Army, the park is located at tambon Chong Sadao, approximately 40 kilometers from town on Highway No. 3199. It was built to commemorate the great battle under the command of King Rama I to defend the kingdom against the invasion by King Bodawpaya of Burma in 1795. Thais know this event under the name of the Nine-Army Battle. The park is a center for historical research and conservative tourism that also provides information on the great battle. A sand table displaying battlefields and diagrams depicting the battle strategy are on display. Open daily from 8.00 a.m. to 5.00 p.m. Call 0 3458 9233-5 ext. 51015 for more information.

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River Kwai BridgeThe Bridge on the River Khwae (the Death Railway Bridge)Thanks to several films and books, the Bridge on the River Khwae has become notoriously famous and attracted both Thais and foreigners to the site. If an ordinary black iron bridge can tell a story, you can be sure it’s a dramatic one.The bridge spans across Maenam Khwae Yai which is a branch of Maenam Mae Klong. During the Japanese occupation of Thailand in World War II, the Japanese Imperial Army brought the iron bridge from Java. It was then resembled by Allied Prisoners of War (POW) under Japanese supervision. The bridge was part of a strategic railway route to Myanmar in which the Japanese aimed to secure supplies with which to conquer other western Asian countries. It was 415 kilometers long (about 303 kilometers in Thailand and about 112 kilometers in Burma) and passed through the Three Pagoda Pass in Sangkhlaburi District, the northern most part of Kanchanaburi province.Construction started on September 16, 1942 at Nong Pladuk, and was completed on 25 December 1943. It is estimated that over 16,000 POWs from England, Australia, Holland and America died while building the bridge which was a target of bombing raids in 1945. In addition to this, approximate 90,000 laborers from Thailand, Myanmar, Malaysia and Indonesia died during its construction.Rebuilt after WWII, the bridge is still in use today with the curved portions of the bridge being that of the original. An attraction of note is the annual light and sound event at the bridge to commemorate the Allied attack in 1945.The railway currently ends at Ban Tha Sao or Namtok Station, a distance of some 77 km. from Kanchanaburi Station. A special train running from Bangkok to Namtok Station is available on weekends and national holidays. For further details, please contact the State Railway of Thailand, Tel. 0  1690, 0 2220 4334How to go thereBy TrainThe railway currently ends at Ban Tha Sao or Namtok Station, a distance of some 77 km. from Kanchanaburi Station. A special train running from Bangkok to Namtok Station is available on weekends and national holidays. For further details, please contact the State Railway of Thailand,

By OTHER

approximately 4 km to the north of the city on Highway 323, with a left turn for some 400 metres

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Chong Kai War CemeterySituated only 2 kilometers south of town on the bank of the Kwai Noi River, the cemetery occupies the site of the Chong Kai which once was the prisoner of war camp. Smaller in size, the cemetery attracts visitors to see its peaceful, well-designed landscape where 1,740 POWs rest in eternal peace.

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Ancient Town of KanchanaburiLocated in Tambon Lat Ya between Km. 2 – 3 on Highway 3199 off Highway 323. It used to be a border outpost confronting Burmese armies arriving through the Three Pagodas Pass since the Ayutthaya through Rattanakosin Periods (ca. 1548 – 1784). Mounds of the rectangular earthen wall measuring 167 x 355 sq.m. and four corner fortresses still remain to be seen. Ancient monuments within its vicinity include:Wat Pa Lelai, known locally as Wat Pha Ok and built in the Ayutthaya Period. The Mondop – a square building – once enshrined a seated Buddha image in the gesture of subduing Mara, which was drilled through the chest – ‘Pha Ok’ in Thai. An image of the Buddha receiving offerings from a monkey and an elephant known as ‘Palilayaka’ – Pa Lelai – was later constructed to replace the former one. Remains of architecture within the temple include Mondop, Wihan and round brick Chedi with clay mortar and cement coating.Wat Khun Phaen, from the side entrance of Wat Pa Lelai toward the training camp of the Faculty of Engineering, Chulalongkorn University, this is an abandoned temple built in the Ayutthaya Period. The complex included Phra Prang, which was the principal building of the temple, remains of which are still to be seen, Phra Ubosot, directional and satellite Chedis, and Wihan.Wat Mae Mai, built in the Ayutthaya Period and located some 300 metres to the east of Wat Khun Phaen. There are 2 groups of architectural remains. The remains in the north include a large round Chedi situated on a plinth and rectangular west-facing Wihan. The remains in the south include a medium-scale east-facing Wihan, satellite Chedis and rectangular boundary wall, with a so-called ‘Sa Lang Kraduk’ or ‘bone-washing’ pond in between.Ruins of Wat Nang Phim or Wat Kanchanaburi Kao are located nearby.

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Somdet Phra Naresuan Maharat MoumentThe site, which is located close to Don Chedi Archaeological site, was built using money donated by locals to honor the victory of King Naresuan the Great over the Crown Prince of Burma.

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Phong Tuk Archaeological SitePhong Tuk Archaeological Site It is believed that this site was the location of an ancient city of the Dvaravati Period with an influence of the Gupta School of Indian Art dating around the 6th -7th century A.D. From the Fine Arts Department’s discovery, they found lots of Dvaravati antiques at Phong Tuek in 1927 such as Roman bronze lamp, Buddhist terra-cotta plaques, Naraya or Visnu image carved from stone, and other Buddha images. Later in 1934, Dr. Wales, a representative of the Antique Studies Association from India, came to explore and excavate more at Phong Tuek and proved that a civilized ancient city used to be placed here around a thousand years ago. Nowadays, some pieces of the found artefacts are kept in Wat Dong Sak and others are kept at the National Museum in Bangkok.To get there, the site is about 37 km. south from Kanchanaburi. From Bangkok, take Highway 323 until you notice the direction sign on the left at Km. 92-93 leading the way to Boran Sathan Phong Tuek. After crossing Chantharubeksa Bridge, pass Wat Dong Sak on your left then go straight on until you get to the Phong Tuek police kiosk on the right. The Boran Sathan Phong Tuek is next to the police kiosk.

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