Kanchanaburi Tourist Attractions
Kanchanaburi Province, west of Bangkok, has long been a favorite recreational area thanks to its pleasant scenery and its nearness to the capital.Excavations show that it was already settled in prehistoric times and that its rivers, flowing down from the mountains in the west, were part of an important trade route from Indo-China to Cambodia. It was through the Three Pagodas Pass close to the source of the Menam Kwae Noi that the Burmese armies were always launching their attacks, the last one taking place in 1767, when they fell upon Ayutthya and razed it to the ground. The town of Kanchanaburi, as provincial capital, was therefore strategically located as the point where the Siamese army could take on the enemy as the Kwae Yai, the River Kwai, joined with the Kwae Noi to become the Mae Klong, and then flow down through wild mountain gorges into a broad plain on the Gulf of Thailand.Kanchanaburi was probably already an attractive place to settle since it had the kind of fertile soil which could be cultivated to grow sugar cane, tobacco, cotton, maize and manioc, although most of the farming here is now given over to rice. The many nearby sapphire and spinel mines also contributed to its importance.The surrounding limestone hills, covered in rain forest and rising up to 1800 m (5908 ft), hold a great number of caverns and major waterfalls. The town itself, usually known just as "Kanburi", has little to offer apart from the usual lively street scenes, but is a good base for anyone seeking to get away from the hurly burly of Bangkok to relax in an idyllic setting.By car: Highway 4 from Bangkok or 338/4 to Nakhon Pathom, then 323 (130 km (81 mi.)).By rail: from Bangkok-Thonburi Station (also known as Bangkok Noi); also regular excursions by Thai Railways; information at Bangkok-Hualampong Station.By bus: regular service from Bangkok Southern Bus Terminal. Many Bangkok travel companies include day trips or excursions lasting several days in their program.The first systematic excavations were begun in the 1950s by Dr van Keekeren, one of the Dutch prisoners of war forced to work on the building of the bridge over the River Kwai, who had stayed on after the end of the Second World War. The initial finds of prehistoric stone tools were made in Bo Phloi and Sai Yok, to the north and west of Kanchanaburi respectively. The implements found in two caves at Sai Yok and on the wooded banks of the Kwae Noi date back to Paleolithic times. Other discoveries included a complete Bronze Age burial. This took the same form as is still customary in Kanchanaburi today, with the face turned towards the north, the legs at an angle, and the upper torso weighted down with a stone, clearly to keep the spirit of the deceased held fast in the tomb so that it could not trouble the living.
Bridge on the River Kwai
Hellfire Pass Memorial Museum
Hellfire Pass is a 500 m long portion of rock that was dug - by hand - by 1,000 Prisoners of War for the Death Railway. Over the 12 week period that that the prisoners worked on the digging, 700 of them died.The museum is a memorial to the fallen soldiers as well as pictures and tools that describe the events. There is also a trail that visitors can follow, the old railway track, into the jungle.
JEATH War Museum
JEATH War Museum was built in 1977 as an exact replica of the original POW camp. There are bunks, pictures and other authentic items on display as well as accounts written by former POW's, their relatives, and authors that interviewed many of the prisoners.
Map of Kanchanaburi Attractions