Kanchanaburi is a stunning rural area just 2 hours from Bangkok with plenty of things to see and do when planning a day trip. Kanchanaburi is famous for its historical sights but there is so much more to the beautiful countryside to be discovered. A day trip to Kanchanaburi from Bangkok is perfect for seeing some unique temples and stunning waterfalls. Here is a guide to our personal 1 day itinerary that we decided to do when visiting Kanchanaburi.
How to Get to Kanchanaburi
There are a few different ways you can get from Bangkok to Kanchanaburi. The easiest and most convenient option would be to book a day tour with a travel agent in the city. A day trip to Kanchanaburi is also a great option to see some of the other beautiful tourist attractions outside of Bangkok. Additionally, you can just book a minivan to take you to Kanchanaburi. The drive there will take roughly 2.5 hours from Bangkok. If you’re like us and would prefer to do things independently at your own pace, there are some other options available. You can either take the train or a bus, although we would recommend getting the train.
Bangkok to Kanchanaburi by Train
The trains from Bangkok to Kanchanaburi leave twice a day from Thonburi Station. The Bangkok to Kanchanaburi Train only costs 100 baht ($5 AUD) so it’s super affordable. There’s no need to pre purchase tickets online. You can just buy your ticket when you arrive at the train station. The train leaves Thonburi Station at 07:50 and 13:55. They are quite clean and you’ll be able to enjoy the peaceful views from an open window.
The train will take you through the scenic Thai countryside, passing plenty of rice fields and fruit farms. Once you arrive at Kanchanaburi you can hire a motorcycle for the day to explore the region. The return train to Bangkok leaves the main Kanchanaburi station at 07:20 and 14:50.
Bangkok to Kanchanaburi by Bus
Buses from Bangkok to Kanchanaburi depart from the southern bus terminal (Sai Tai Mai) as well as the Mochit bus terminal. They depart just about every 30 minutes from the southern bus terminal and hourly from the Mochit bus terminal. The buses have air-con and will take roughly 3 hours to reach Kanchanaburi. Bus tickets will also cost you 150 baht ($7 AUD) per person. You can purchase your tickets at the booths that are at the station or you can purchase them online. If you decide to purchase them online, we would recommend using 12Go. 12Go is a very popular and reliable way to get around Thailand and is our go to site when booking tickets online.
↠ Book: 12Go Buses to Kanchanaburi.
Day Trip To Kanchanaburi – 1 Day Itinerary
Wat Tham Sua
Wat Tham Sua was the first stop on our day trip to Kanchanaburi from Bangkok and it was certainly our favourite. The temple is a lesser known attraction to tourists and you’ll mainly only find locals around and maybe a few other small tour groups. It’s a stunning temple that features a massive golden Buddha. Wat Tham Sua is located on top of a little mountain amongst the lush green rice fields with picture perfect views of the scenery.
Entrance to the temple is free. If you’re not interested in walking up the stairs, there is a rather dodgy looking cable car you can take up for 20 baht. Once at the top, you’ll notice the stunning gold architecture and the massive Buddha sitting inside a shell. The details of the temple are stunning and the views of the surrounding fields are even better.
It’s best to visit Wat Tham Sua at the end of the rainy season. This is when the views will be at their best, being lush and vibrant green. We visited in October and the views were perfect. Additionally, be sure to cover up when visiting this temple. This means dressing appropriately and covering up both knees and shoulders.
This temple definitely needs to be on your Kanchanaburi itinerary. For more information, be sure to read our full Wat Tham Sua blog post here
Meena Cafe is a beautiful spot in Kanchanaburi to grab a quick refreshment before continuing your day trip. It’s a stunning cafe located just outside Wat Tham Sua amongst the rice fields. Food and drinks at Meena Cafe are super affordable. You can find a variety of drinks available from coffee to sodas and delicious smoothies. All the drink prices range from 50 Baht ($2 AUD) for coffee to 80 Baht ($4 AUD) for smoothies. You’ll also find an amazing selection of cakes ranging from 70 Baht to 85 Baht.
The best part about this place is the variety of seating options. You can relax under bamboo huts, hammocks, big lounge chairs, as well as regular seats for a quick stop. The views at Meena Cafe are unbeatable and you can even walk out onto the rice fields using the bamboo bridge. It’s a great place to grab some fun and unique photos all while enjoying some tasty refreshments. This place is one of the most beautiful cafes in Kanchanaburi and is a local secret so we definitely recommend checking this one out!
For more information, be sure to read our full Meena Cafe blog post here.
Tham Kra Sae Bridge – Death Railway
Tham Kra Sae Bridge is another great spot to check out on your Kanchanaburi Day trip. The bridge is a historic railway and is also commonly known as Death Railway. The bridge was built by war prisoners of WWII. It received the name Death Railway due to the large amount of prisoners that died during the construction of the bridge. Now many people visit the bridge to learn about the history as well as view the incredible structure which is built into the side of a cliff, right next to the powerful Kwai Noi River.
Not only is the history of Tham Kra Sae Bridge very interesting, but it’s also amazing to see in person. You can actually walk across the bridge which is directly above the river. If you’re scared of heights or known to have bad balance, then we don’t suggest walking along the bridge. The bridge has no hand rails and also has lots of gaps and bumps for you to trip over.
We only walked a few meters over the bridge to the observation area. From here you can stand a safe distance away from the train as it passes right by you. It’s crazy to see such an old bridge still in use with full carriages of passengers all hanging out the window as they take photos.
For more information, be sure to read our full Tham Kra Sae Bridge post here.
If you have time on your day trip, you can squeeze in a visit to Erawan Falls. Erawan Falls is a great addition to your Kanchanaburi itinerary and is the perfect place to cool down. Although be sure to check the conditions as visiting in the wet season will not be as pleasant. We made the mistake of visiting during the rainy season and arrived to a stunning waterfall of brown water. If you visit in the right months, the pools of water should be a silky blue colour, making it the perfect place to cool down.
Erawan waterfall features 7 tiers of emerald green water. It’s quite a popular spot and is often very busy, especially on weekends. It may not be one of the biggest waterfalls but it makes up for it with its beautiful natural pools. All 7 of the levels are accessible by trails and steps. There are also plenty of picnic areas and benches where people can relax and enjoy the day.
Entrance is 300 Baht for foreigners ($15 AUD) or 100 Baht for locals. It also costs 20 Baht for a motorbike or 30 Baht for car.
Best Time to Visit Kanchanaburi
Kanchanaburi is a year round destination so it depends on what your looking to see. When planning your itinerary for Kanchanaburi, the best time to visit is November – March. This is when temperatures are cooler than the rest of the year and is when you’ll have the best weather. It’s perfect weather for sightseeing and visiting waterfalls.
March and June are monsoon seasons so it’s best to avoid these months. The wet season lasts from July through to the end of October. Visiting in the wet season isn’t all that bad and can sometimes be better depending on what you’re doing. Rice fields during these months will be a lot more green and vibrant. When it rains, it’ll typically only last for less than an hour and the sun will be back out. During September and October you’ll also find cheaper deals for accommodation and less tourists around as it’s considered the off-season.
Where to Stay
Kanchanaburi is a rural area in western Thailand, just outside of Bangkok. It’s a great place to stay if your looking to learn about the history or to see the beautiful Thai countryside. Many of the accommodation options are along the river with plenty of options for budget travellers as well as families.
Blue Sky Raft – Luxury: Blue Sky Raft is the most unique accommodation option around and if you have the budget, you definitely need to check it out. This hotel is actually located on the water and is made up of different villas. Each villa has their own patio and spa bath on the river. You’ll be able to wake up every morning to the view overlooking the river. If you’re looking for an unforgettable place to stay, then this is the hotel for you.
Away Kanchanaburi Dheva Mantra Resort – Midrange: Away Kanchanaburi is an ideal luxury getaway in a great location. This hotel is located right along the river with insane views and also has a pool and pool bar. The rooms are large, clean and surrounded by tropical greenery. It’s the ideal place to stay if you’re after a getaway in the countryside.
TOPAE Hostel – Budget: This hostel is in a prime location and is the perfect place to base yourself when visiting Kanchanaburi. It’s close to the train and bus station as well as night markets and plenty of good restaurants. The owners are also super kind and friendly. TOPAE Hostel is very clean with comfy beds and good wifi. A bonus is that they also provide breakfast in the morning which is perfect if you’re looking to save some money.
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