Coming from Koh Yao Yai we took the ferry at Chong Lat Pier at 9.40am to Krabi for 200 Bath p.p. Arriving at Thalane Pier at 11 am we hitchhiked the 30 Kilometers to Nopparat Thara Ferry Pier (we hitchhiked, because 600 Bath for a taxi is way to expensive), from which we got picked up by Matcha tours at 3 pm. After changing busses two times we left Krabi at around 6 pm to Bangkok. The trip Krabi to Bangkok costed us 700 Bath and we got dropped at Khao San Road in Bangkok around 5.30 am.
From Bangkok's Khao San Road there are minivans just across the busstops which leave every hour to Kanchanaburi starting from 6.30 am. The minivan is 120 Bath p.p. and brings you in 2,5 hours to Kanchanaburi and drops you where you want.
In Kanchanaburi we rented a motorbike near the train station for 150 bath a day and drove to our lovely stay for the night, the Oriental Kwai Resort, just 15 km outside Kanchanaburi.
We stayed at the Oriental Kwai Resort and as soon as we entered the property, we felt relaxed. The owners are Dutch and created their own little piece of paradise in colonial style which they love to share with their guests. Their story of how they ended up here is really inspiring as well. The garden is lushfull and amazingly green, the pool is great and everything just feels right. The entire staff is extremely friendly and they think of everything. When it started to rain, they brought an umbrella to the bungalow. Swimming at the pool they came and asked if we wanted something to drink. They don’t leave anything up to chance. The bungalows itself are really open and light thanks to lots of windows, but they are still very private. We felt a bit sad having to leave this lovely place.
We highly recommend eating at Oriental Kwai Resort as well. Next to the great bungalows, they have a really good menu. The Phat Thai is one of the best we had and we are big fans of the Crispy Chicken Sweet and Sour (family recipe) and the Roti Tuna. They als have a really nice atmosphere and it felt like going out for diner without having the feeling we had to. And last but not least, the prices are pretty convenient to.
The main reason why we went to Kanchanaburi where the Erawan waterfalls. This was actually the reason why we didn’t fly from Phuket to Myanmar, but from Bangkok. We heard so many good stories about it (‘most beautiful thing I’ve seen during my Thailand trip’) and saw amazing photos, that we didn’t want to miss out on this. We got up really early, drove up there on our motorbike and were one of the first visitors. When getting to the first waterfall, we were disappointed. Was this the Erawan Waterfall everybody was talking about? We expected, because it was rain season, that the water would be falling down in abundance. Apparently it doesn’t work that way. We walked up till the 6th floor and stopped there because there was no water running at all. So we went back to the 4th floor, went for a swim there, got nibbled on by the fish and did the same at the first waterfall. It was a nice visit but such a waste of the 600 Bath entrance fee p.p. Note: we read everywhere that you do need to wear sneakers and that it is a tough hike up. We didn’t experience it like that at all. There are stairs and the bits without are still very easy to climb up.
Next to the Erawan Waterfalls, Kanchanaburi has some other interesting sites to visit. During WWII about 250.000 Asian workers and 60.000 Australian, British Dutch and American Prisoners Of War (POWs) were forced to work on the Death Railway. They had to work under appalling conditions and it is estimated that 20% of the POWs and 70.000 to 90.000 Asian workers died. A black page in the history of Kanchanaburi. One of the places that shows, and remembers, the work these prisoners and workers did, is the Hellfire Pass. You can see the railway going through a rock, which was cut out mostly by hand. You can also walk along the railway which will take about 3 hours return. We only went to see the museum and the Hellfire Pass itself, which was already really impressing.
Another place worth visiting and which is also part of the Death Railway is the Bridge over the River Kwai. And next to this bridge you can find the JEATH museum (Japan, England, America, Thailand, Holland) from the POWs. You can also step on the train at the Kanchanaburi trainstation and take a ride over these tracks which passes the Thamkrasea Bridge. You do have to book this in advance to make sure you can get on the train. In the centre of Kanchanaburi you will find the impressive Kanchanaburi Allied War Cemetery.
OTHER PLACES OF INTEREST
Luckily Kanchanaburi has a lot of ‘happy’ places to visit as well. If you’re not tired of temples, you can drive up to the Wat Ban Tha (temple with the dragon mouth), Wat Tham Suea (group of temples on a hill from where you have a great view)
Some other places that can be worth a visit as well are the Say Tok Noi Waterfall. This is on the way to the Hellfire Pass but was dry when we were there. And if you fancy something weird, go to Wat Tam Mangkornthorn. Here you can find next to the floating candles, the one and only Floating Nun. Up on arrival we saw the nun already eating her supermanderin and she pointed out the sign which says a floating show will cost 200 Bath. We thought about this for 2 seconds and found this way to expensive! So we thanked her with a friendly nod and smile and left the area. This was maybe not a smart idea because the moment we left hell brooke loose and we got soaking wet when driving back on our motorbike. And up to now we still are kind of curious what a ‘show’ looks like.
If you don’t have time to visit other Khmer Temple’s in Thailand or Cambodia the Prasat Mueng Singh is worth a visit. It won’t take more than 30 minutes to one hour to see the whole site.
And last but not least: the JJ night market. This is a good place to go to if you want to eat some local food such as skew dryers (closed on Wednesday). They also sell sushi, cake and other delicious things.