I arrived in Kanchanaburi on board the most scenic train ride in Thailand that is from Bangkok to Nam Tok. After admiring the Thai landscapes for hours, I finally left the train in Kanchanaburi and still had a lot of time that same day to stroll around.
Being on board the train as you cross the River Kwai bridge offers a different experience than being on land and watching the charismatic train pass by. So I wanted to have both experiences so nothing was left undone while in Kanchanaburi. There are two trains daily leaving Bangkok and turning back, but I think that there are more connections on this railway…
River Kwai bridge
I set off to the River Kwai bridge to see the bridge itself and what’s around, not much earlier than sunset time, and I was able to see a train crossing the famous bridge. I can’t be precise about what time the train crossed the River Kwai bridge, but was not before 5 pm. I was actually not expecting to see it… but it was a great thing that I saw it because I didn’t have to go back the next day to have this experience.
There were many people there taking pictures and enjoying the scenery. The place is very quiet and chilled with some riverside restaurants and a temple that stands out with a big buddha statue.
As the train passes by very slowly, people were taking pictures from the bridge. Yes, you can actually stand on the bridge as the train cross it because there are some areas where people can stay to watch the train passing a few centimeters away.
But if the River Kwai bridge and Erawan waterfalls might be the major attractions in Kanchanaburi, they are not all that the place has to offer. Kanchanaburi is actually a very beautiful place surrounded by mountains and some beautiful temples that offer privileged views of the surroundings.
Tiger cave temple or Wat Tham Suea
The most beautiful and amazing temple in Kanchanaburi that is definitely worth a visit is Wat Tham Suea also known as Tiger Cave Temple. This is a big complex filled with different temples and different architectural buildings that blew my mind. I was not expecting the place to have so many things to see. The area is not that big, but the place is filled with buildings to admire.
Wat Tham Suea stands up on a hill that offers 360º views of Kanchanaburi. You can see mountains, the river, and green rice fields, a delight to my eyes. Stunning! There is one particular tower that offers majestic views of a giant Buddha statue that shines in the distance. So powerful. The views up in this tower are the best you will have in Kanchanaburi.
From Wat Tham Suea I could also see another temple in the distance that was standing up on a hill too. We thought that it would offer great views too, so that’s where we headed next.
Heavenly Dragon cave and Wat Ban Tham
This was the other temple we decided to visit while in Kanchanaburi. It has a cool dragon design embracing the staircase that looked pretty dope, and that’s why our choice. But, after the dragon, you can climb up many stairs that will lead to a very high point that we could see from Wat Tham Suea. A golden stupa at the very top offers great views from the river in front. It was quite a climb and I can’t number the stairs but I couldn’t see any higher point to be reached when I was on the top. Took a lot of stairs to get there but it was worth it.
We only visited these 2 temples because we only had the morning to do so. We rented a motorbike at our hostel and set off by ourselves to see these temples. There are more temples in this area, and caves too as this is a limestone cliff area. I’m not sure what else is there to be seen, but I think we saw the best Kanchanaburi has to offer. The street to get to these temples was actually pretty nice with a river view on one side and mountain cliffs on the other one. There were huge Chinese cemeteries in this area! The tombs looked imponent and the cemetery was looking good, as bad as this may sound. The cemetery was a beautiful sight!
We were departing on the afternoon train to Bangkok, that’s why we didn’t have more time to explore around. In total, I spent 2 nights in Kanchanaburi. I think it was enough, but if you spend 1 more it might not be a bad idea.