Best known in the West for being home to the Bridge on the River Kwai, the picturesque town of Kanchanaburi sits on the border with Myanmar. During World War II, Allied prisoners and slave laborers from across Southeast Asia were forced to build a bridge across the mighty river; toiling in inhuman conditions, thousands died - commemorated by an extensive cemetery and the JEATH Museum.

Today, Kanchanaburi is pleasant and comfortable, located near a series of waterfalls and scenic national parks, and home to a number of diverse ethnic minorities. Notable sights include a train ride over the deadly Burma Railway, the source of much suffering during World War II and outdoor adventures along the Mekong and the area outside Kanchanaburi.


A handpicked selection of experiences endorsed by our experts. If you can’t see what you’re looking for, let us know, as our extensive network of local contacts can open many doors.

JEATH Museum

Visit the JEATH War Museum with a curator. JEATH stands for Japan, England, America, Australia, Thailand and Holland, representing the nationalities of the prisoners of war (POWs) who were forced to work on the Death Railway. This impressive memorial and tribute was established to show actual items that were connected with the construction of the Death Railway by POWs between 1942-1943.

Mon Village

Visit a Mon village and spend time in a school teaching English, exchanging details with the students about your lives (with the help of your expert guide as translator). As this school exists outside the Thai schooling system, it is usually open even when the normal school year is over.

Outdoor Adventures

Outdoor activities abound in Kanchanaburi’s fertile, rugged landscape. Options for the adventurous traveler include rafting on the River Kwai, a tributary of the mighty Mekong; kayaking; elephant trekking; and hiking to the seven-tiered Erawan Waterfall and the Tharn Pratat cave, with its dramatic stalactites and stalagmites.

Train Ride

Board a local train that will take you over the bridge and other parts of the “Death Railway,” one of the Burma Railway’s more direct sobriquets.

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