Kanchanaburi and The Kwai Bridge - Thailand.

Kanchanaburi in Western Thailand.

The River Kwai Yai, Kanchanaburi, Thailand. The town of Kanchanaburi is around 120kms from Bangkok and is best known for it's bridge which crosses the Khwae Yai - The River Kwai. The Bridge together with the Death Railway, war cemeteries and museums draws numerous visitors - particularly around ANZAC Day which is on the 25th April and for Remembrance Day which is on the 11th November). Another "interesting" event which occurs in the town is when the exceedingly noisy carnival arrives for the week (end of November into December) - a large area near to the Bridge is packed with stalls and so on and at the bridge itself a sound and light display occurs each evening - there are lots of fireworks and an old steam engine chugs across the bridge whilst being "bombed". The River Kwai Bridge Railway Station is just a short distance away from the Kwai Bridge - trains run three times a day each way travelling along the Death Railway as far as Nam Tok.
The town is quite spread out and most of the accommodation, bars and restaurants are along the Thanon Maenam Kwai which is a 2km long road south of the Bridge.
market stalls, Kanchanaburi, Thailand. Bridge over The Kwai, Kanchanaburi, Thailand. The main and busiest area is around the Khwae Bridge. Unfortunately there is no riverside walkway although there are floating restaurants and boat-hire. The immediate area around the bridge has many shops selling tacky looking jewelry and gifts - perhaps not particularly in keeping with the history of the bridge. During the early part of the evening things get fairly busy as visitors and locals arrive for a wander around - food stalls and so on appear and it is all quite colourful. As far as exchanging money is concerned there are ATMs and also three small foreign exchange kiosks adjacent to the Bridge - however these seem to have erratic opening times. There are a couple of banks situated in the centre of the town some 5km's away from the Bridge - if you wish to use these banks remember to take identification with you such as your passport.
North British Loco 804, Kanchanaburi, Thailand. Railway Engine 75 at the WWII museum near the bridge, Kanchanaburi, Thailand. Steam Engine 719 next to Kanchanaburi Bridge Railway Station in Thailand. Lorry chassis driven railway engine, Kanchanaburi, Thailand.
Near to the Bridge there is also a WW11 museum which is open daily and has an entrance fee and also by the railway station there are several old Thai Railway Steam Engines on display which are in quite good condition.

How to get to Kanchanaburi in Thailand.

Because the town is somewhat stuck out on it's own to the west of Bangkok it is somewhere you sort of specifically plan to go too i.e. not simply included on for instance a Chiang Mai to Bangkok type of tour. Buses do go frequently between Bangkok to Kanchanaburi - bus 81 takes about 2 hours and costs around 100 Baht - this leaves from Bangkok's Southern Bus Terminal. A nicer and more flexible - though obviously more expensive option is to hire a car in for instance Bangkok and simply drive there yourself. Petrol is quite cheap in Thailand, car hire is possible for around 20 to 25 UK Sterling a day and generally apart from Bangkok itself the roads are fairly quiet. The roads out to Kanchanburi are well surfaced and straight so driving is quite a pleasure in fact -note that in Thailand driving is on the left.. Another advantage of having a car available is to get out and about from Kanchanaburi to the water falls, National Parks and various parts of the Death Railway also on the way if coming from Bankok you can stop off for an hour and visit the 120 metre high Phra Pathom Chedi at Nakhonpathom if going via Route 4.
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