Thailand Culture & Koh Samui Holiday
Unearth this culture rich itinerary that visits both Thailand's most historic destinations and its luxury island paradise, Koh Samui.
Roughly two hours north-west of Bangkok lies Kanchanaburi, a bustling town stretching to the tranquil banks of the famous River Kwai.
The third largest province in Thailand, Kanchanaburi is surrounded by spectacular national parks filled with enchanting waterfalls, leafy jungle trails and ancient caves.
The town also has a dark wartime history. During World War 11, the Japanese army used Allied prisoners of war (POWs) and Asian labourers to build the 415km long Burma Railway. It was used as a supply route from Bangkok to Yangon.
The atrocities committed during this period were loosely documented in Pierre Boulle's famous book and the subsequent 1957 film, The Bridge Over the River Kwai.
Today this history is paid tribute to with memorials and war cemeteries and is excellently documented through a number of museums.
You can visit the infamous Bridge Over the River Kwai, now a reconstruction of the original bridge which was repeatedly bombed. Take a walk over the bridge and watch out for trains passing through.
Visit the Hellfire Pass Memorial where thousands of soldiers died in the brutal construction of this section of the railway. Pay tribute to the soldiers who died as POWs at the Allied Force War Cemetery. Learn more about this sobering history at the JEATH War Museum.
You can also board a specially-restored train along the Death Railway, stopping at a section of the railway and the Thailand-Burma Railway Centre, an excellent account of this horrifying period.
After a day exploring Kanchanaburi's historical sites, venture to the surrounding national parks for a magical experience in nature.
Erawan National Park is an incredible place where you can swim under stunning waterfalls, walk along jungle trails, kayak on glimmering lakes and explore ancient caves lined with mystical rock paintings.
We can arrange a private tour so you can swim under the most gorgeous waterfalls without the crowds. You'll visit Erawan Waterfall, a spellbinding, seven-tiered waterfall, cascading through the lush jungle.
At the end of the day, take a peaceful longtail boat ride along the beautiful River Kwai to a floating resort. You'll stay in a luxury floating villa surrounded by breathtaking clifftops smothered in jungle.
Kanchanaburi is a truly unique destination, full of unforgettable experiences.
Kanchanaburi is a year-round destination, however the best time to visit is between November and February when the climate is dry and temperatures are cooler. This is also the busiest time of the year for tourists. The hottest months run from March to June, with average day time temperatures reaching 35 degrees celsius. July to October sees the heaviest rainfall, so bring a raincoat if you're travelling during these months.
The town celebrates the River Kwai Bridge Festival in late November and early December. This is a fantastic event with cultural performances and big fairs where you can sample local foods. The main event is the Sound & Light Show which tells the history of the Death Railway and the Bridge Over the River Kwai.
A stop in Kanchanaburi is a wonderful highlight on many of our suggested luxury Thailand holidays. With its close proximity to Bangkok, Kanchanaburi is the perfect destination for the start or end of your holiday. All stops include a visit to the historical sites of the Bridge Over the River Kwai, Death Railway and the surrounding museums and memorials. Our itineraries also include a stop at Erawan National Park to swim in the spectacular waterfalls and roam through the lush jungles. For those wanting to linger a little longer, the Thailand Explorer itinerary features three nights on a floating villa. Any of our tailor made luxury Thailand itineraries can be customised to include more time in this spectacular destination.
Kanchanaburi offers some of Thailand's most unique and immersive accommodation experiences. Sleep on the famous River Kwai in a luxury floating villa at The FloatHouse River Kwai. Each floating villa comes with a private pier and deck so you can relax and absorb the peaceful atmosphere of the surrounding jungle. U Inchantree Kanchanaburi is a romantic boutique hotel with luxury rooms set on the banks of the gorgeous River Kwai.