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Khlong Tour > Kanchanaburi

Cruising in Kanchanaburi

khwae riverkhwae river

1. Cruising the Khwae River,
Retracing the Death Railway

The cruise on the Khwae River starts from the Bridge over the River Khwae, lying across the Khwae Yai River, an impressive view from the vantage point in a boat, with slow train moving at sunrise and in the sunset in a picture postcard setting. The cruise proceeds along the Khwae Yai River, passing the lively town area, busy on the waterfront with barges and rafts restaurants and lodgings on rafts line both banks, with tourist rafts moving in the river, most known as discotheque rafts, brightly decorated and filled with revelers dancing to music. Small boats hawking food and drink draw to their sides, doing brisk business. The cruise then turns into the Khwae Noi River where it runs into the Khwae Yai River, making up the “Two Coloured River”. The Khwae Noi is peaceful, sparsely settled. Occasionally, one spots some villagers on their tiny boats fishing, some angling on the banks, while some keeping their fish stock in confines created in front of their houses in the river. A stop is made to afford visitors a chance to visit Wat Khao Pun Cave and the War Cemetery at Chong Kai, before retracing the two – coloured river into the Mae Klong River. Another war museum is at Wat Chai Chumphon Chana Songkhram or Wat Tai. The cruise takes the same route back to the Bridge over the River Khwae.

curising the khwae rivercurising the khwae river

Bridge Over the River Khwae

Built during the Second World War in 1942, as part of the strategic railway line from Thailand to Burma (Myanmar), employing a large number of prisoners of war and conscripted local workers. The bridge was completed and pat to use in 1943. It suffered heavy aerial bombardment by the Allied forces in 1944 and was severely damaged. It presently serves as the tourist train route and the focal point of the light and sound presentation at the annual River Khwae Bridge Week. Tourists can also go up the bridge and walk on the deck along the railway, from where an overview of the area can be obtained.

curising the khwae river
curising the khwae river

Art Gallery and War Museum

Located about 100 metres south of the Bridge over the River Khwae, it is open everyday during 7.00 am. - 6.00 pm., featuring displays of objects and utensils from the Second World War, skeletons of fallen forced labour, maps showing the original bridge line. Also on display are ancient weapons and prehistoric tools discovered in the area.


War Memorial

Built during the war in February 1944 by the Japanese soldiers as a shrine dedicated to the numerous war captives and conscripted labourers who died during the construction of the Thailand-Burma Railway. Japanese residents in Thailand gather here in March every year for a memorial service.

Kanchanaburi War Cemetery (Don Rak)

Generally called by the people as Farang - Westerners' Cemetery, the site is well landscaped, as a large cemetery on an area of 17 rai or 6.08 acres, containing 6,982 remains of prisoners of war of various nationalities who died during the construction of the Bridge. On each grave, a bronze plate with the inscribed name, age and country of origin is placed. Every year, memorial services are held for nations represented.
curising the khwae river
curising the khwae river

Two-Coloured River

The confluence of the Khwae Yai and Khwae Noi Rivers, making up the Mae Klong River, The convergence is at Pak Phraek Sub-district, Amphoe Moeang, Kanchanaburi Province. Its peculiarity lies in the contrasting two currents made up by the Khwae Noi in muddy reddish colour, flowing through the jungle, and the clear sky-blue Khwae Yai, flowing from the Erawan Waterfall, with the rolling bill, and majestic mountains as the backdrop.

Axis and Prisoners of War Museum (Wat Tai Museum)

Located in Wat Chai Chumphon Chana Songkhram or Wat Tai. On display are old pictures taken during the construction of the death railway, sketches and paintings by former prisoners of war, articles from newspapers and magazines, as well as weaponry and equipment from the Second World War. From here, tourists can take a walk along the river.

War Cemetery at Chong Kai

The cemetery contains the remains of 1,750 prisoners of war, most of them British. The beautifully-landscaped site is well-shaded and peaceful.

Wat Khao Pun Cave

Located in the Khao Pun (Limestone Hill) Cave on the Khwae Noi River, it houses a large reclining Buddha, visited by King Chulalongkorn, Rama V, on his boat trip to the Sai Yok Waterfall. On the riverfront, one finds a huge sitting figure of the Buddha's chief disciple known as Sangkajayana on a large mold.
khwae noi riverkhwae noi river

2. Cruising the Resplendent
Khwae Noi River

The Khwae Noi River runs wild as it passes the Sai Yok National Park, cutting through limestone mountain chains, with wondrous sights on both banks throughout the entire length of the river. At some points, one encounters steep cliffs differently carved, isles and islets in other places, and occasional sand beaches, perfect for rafting, canoeing and kayaking. The long-tailed boat takes one upriver against the current to a small waterfall cascading into a tributary of the Khwae Noi River, which, in turn, takes its water from the Sai Yok Yai Waterfall. In the dry season, white sandy beaches can be spotted next to the bank. The boat then turns back and cruises along the river, passing numerous rafts, some as accommodation, some touring rafts. When passing the Sai Yok Yai and Sai Yok Lek Waterfalls, the boat stalls to afford visitors up-close views and coolness from the cascades. Most visitors take to the hanging bridge to cross to the other side for a view of the cascading fall into the river.

curising the khwae noi rivercurising the khwae noi river

Sai Yok National Park

A part of the rich western forest stand, the park is on an area of about 958 square kilometres, in Sai Yok and Thong Pha Phum Districts. The park comprises limestone hills, covered by mixed deciduous and dry evergreen forests. Within the national park, there are trails for nature and Second World War study. Visitors can also walk to the Sai Yok Waterfall, and to observe the entire area on the hanging bridge.

curising the khwae noi river
curising the khwae noi river

Sai Yok Yai Waterfall

A major waterfall which originates from the dense jungle within the Sai Yok National Park. The torrent forges through the forest to the large expanse of rock over a steep cliff, where it plunges into the Khwae Noi River in a gigantic curtain of water. The height of the waterfall varies with the level of the river which is shallow in the dry season.


Sai Yok Lek Waterfall

A replica of the Sai Yok Yai, hut much smaller and of greater height, the single fall from a steep cliff into the Khwae River sparkles in the sun, a welcome feast to the eyes.


Hanging Bridge

A rope bridge across the Khwae Noi River, linking the Sai Yok Yai and the Sai Yok Lek Waterfalls, is meant for visitors to cross and get the full view or the fall plunging into the river.

sam prasopsam prasop

3. Cruising Along the Sam Prasop-Three-River Confluence
Visiting the Legendary Underwater Town of Sangkhla Buri

The route suits those who enjoy pristine nature, who can relax in the peaceful surroundings while taking in sights of various ethnic communities. From the pier at Sangkhla Buri District, one encounters Thai and Karen communities, with the Mon Village on the opposite bank, characterised by the thatched-roofed tiny houses stretching from the river bank to the foot of the hill, with the rolling Tanaosi Mountain Range in the background. Seen from afar are the distinctive spires of Wat Wang Wiwekaram, and Bodhagya Pagoda. In the cold season, the village and the river are shrouded in mist, in the embrace of the mountains. During the cruise, one passes raft-houses on both banks, with simple fish traps put out in strength. Passing the village, the boat heads upriver against the current to the peaceful Songkaria River, with lush forests on both banks. Turning back, passing Mon Bridge, one reaches the Bikhli River, with another Mon community located on its banks. The cruise then heads towards the “Sam Prasop” – the Three-River Confluence, where the Bikhli, the Ranti, and the Songkaria meet, forming the Khwae Noi River. Not far from here is the spectacular underwater city, a consequence of dam construction.

sam prasopsam prasop  

The Model Bodhagya Pagoda

The pagoda is almost 60 metres in height, and can be seen from the bank of Amphoe Sangkhla Buri. The pagoda has golden tiered umbrella on top. A holy relic from Sri Lanka is enshrined inside. There are stalls put up to the side of the pagoda, offering souvenirs, mostly goods from Myanmar, such as talc, soap, textile, carved wood and gems.
sam prasop
sam prasop

Wat Wang Wiwekaram or Wat Luang Pho Uttama

Luang Pho Uttama is venerated by the Thai, Mon, Karen and Burmese, who jointly built the temple for him in 1956. The present temple was newly built, replacing the original structure which was flooded by the construction of the Khao Laem Dam. The structure is in an adapted Thai style, with interior decoration in Mon art, designed by the venerated monk himself. The temple hall on the riverfront houses a marble Buddha image, known to the people as the White Buddha.

Mon Market

A tiny village market, where commodities, food items and local products are on offer. They include clothes, Mon calendar, fresh fish from the lake, and local vegetation.

Mon Wanga Village

or the "Mon Side" Village, lies across the river, and can be reached through a wooden bridge, A visit is recommended early in the morning, when one can observe the quaint Mon lifestyle in beautiful nature. At Talat Mon or Mon Market, men wearing checkered cloth, women in ankle - length sarongs, with yellow talc on their cheeks, bunches of flowers in hands, and food containers high on their heads, walking in line to the temple of the Venerable Luang Pho Uttama. The scene evokes the remote memories of a Mon community in the old days.

The Bikhli River

The 70-kilometre-long river originates from the eastern side of the area. It is a significant breeding ground of marine life. There are communities along the river, and a riverside road leading to the Thai-Myanmar border.

The Songkaria River

Songkaria in the Mon language, means "the other side". The river originates from the Songkaria brook in Myanmar, and the Rodi brook in Thung Yai Naresuan Forest. It is about 50 kilometres in length, with steep banks, islands and islets, and rich forests on both banks.
sam prasop
sam prasop

Mon Bridge

Uttamanuson Wooden Bridge, is a symbol of Amphoe Sangkhla Buri, about 900 meters in length. It is the longest wooden bridge in the country, constructed by the people in the community to link the Mon side to the Sangkhla Buri side. The strong current and wind made the bridge wavy hot intact. A walk over the wooden bridge takes one into close touch with the beautiful nature and lifestyle of the people in the Mon Village.

Underwater City

Located at the three-river confluence, where the Wat Wang Wiwekaram, a Mon village and the old Sangkhla Buri were situated prior to the construction of the Khao Laem Dam in 1984, which resulted in the flooding of the area. Residents salvaged the temple and houses to be relocated on a higher ground north of the reservoir. A large part of the submerged city remains intact, and can be spotted when the water level decreases. One can also take diving to view the underwater city, especially the elaborate decorations of Wat Bot.

Ranti River

The name is in Karen language, meaning "Head Water". It originates from Thung Yai Naresuan Forest Reserve. The river is about 60 kilometre in length. The river bed is undulated and smooth. The forest covers on both banks are rich, with settlements of the Laos and the Burmese found occasionally along the river.

Sam Prasop or Sam Sop

The confluence of the three rivers, Ranti, Bikhli, Songkaria, which nurture a large area to the north of Kanchanaburi, forming the Khwae Noi River, a significant artery of the province. The confluence is in the old Sangkhla Buri. After the construction of the Khao Laem Dam, with the water level in the reservoir higher than the original confluence, the point is not clearly seen as in the past.



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