Kanchanaburi is becoming more and more popular amongst tourists visiting Thailand and is a lot more relaxed than other popular hot-spots in the country. It combines beautiful scenery, national parks, and stunning waterfalls with the famous “bridge over the River Kwai”, constructed by POWs during WWII under terrible conditions, during which time many people died. It is also famous for the elephant sanctuary and tiger temple and is certainly worth a day or two of your time, it will undoubtedly be a welcome break from the chaotic and frenetic pace of life in Bangkok.

What modes of transportation are available?

  • Bus – Not so convenient, but can be very cheap.
  • Van – If you are traveling by group and you want a convenient transport.
  • Taxi – Very convenient, but can be very expensive.
  • Train – If you want the cheapest option, take the train.

Traveling by bus

Kanchanaburi is 123km west of Bangkok, and as such, is around 2-3 hours away for most travelers. To get there by bus, you will need to go to Bangkok’s southern bus terminal, first class buses go every 15 minutes between 05:00 and 22:30 and cost around 120 baht (about USD 3.79), including a bottle of water. Be warned, however, that few people at the bus station can speak English, and many signs and directions are in Thai language only. The bus stations in Bangkok can be very bustling indeed so ensure that you take care of your belongings.

Rent a van for large groups (5-13 people)

For backpackers staying in the Khao San road area, most guest-houses will be able to arrange a trip for you for around 250 baht (about USD 7.89) per person, you will be collected from your guest-house and taken via minivan, which is a lot more hassle-free; several companies are offering this service. Don’t be afraid to haggle if they are asking more than 250 baht per person.

Travel by taxi for smaller groups (2-5 people)

A taxi may be more convenient for a small group, and these can also be arranged by your guest-house staff, prices will vary a lot but usually are between 1200-2000 baht one-way (about USD 37-63), try to find a driver who is willing to use the meter. The benefit of using a taxi is that you can request that the driver stops if you need a toilet break or something to eat – there are a few Thai-style rest stops on the way which sell cheap Thai food and snacks.

Traveling by train

Alternatively, if you’re feeling a bit adventurous, you could travel to Kanchanaburi via train – Thailand’s trains are very old, slow and rickety. You will need to go to the Thonburi train station in Bangkok, which can be a bit awkward to find, so it’s best to take a taxi there, and again, make sure he uses the meter! There are two trains per day, 07:50 and 13:55, the price is approximately 100 baht (about USD 3.16) each way per person, and the journey takes roughly 3 hours.

When traveling via public transport in Thailand, always use common sense and keep any valuables with you at all times, and be aware that the departure times will be approximate, but just do what the locals do; go with the flow and relax!