My husband and I had a lovely time in Kanchanaburi, the only regret is it was too short!
Hope to share through a trip report, I forgotten quite a few details as we went last month and I did not make any note. Apology for the lack of details.
We took flight into Bangkok and reached at midnight. The immigration queue in DMK airport was horrendous, queued for 2 hours before we made our way to taxi stand for the ride to our hostel of the night - @Hualamphong.
We chose to stay there because we wanted to taxi tourist train to Kanchanaburi. The stay was alright, the room and bathroom were clean although the lift was quite slow and ancient but definitely doable with taking staircase if you do not have huge luggages.
Unfortunately we went to Hua Lamphong station at 5.30am (by crossing the road and turn left to the station, approx. 3 mins walk) and was told ticket for tourist train was sold out. I tried to ask many agencies, few hostels including @hualamphong hostel and Thai train department for purchase of the tickets but was told it cannot be done.
We had plan B - we took cab to Bangkok Noi (Thonburi) station for train ride to Kanchanaburi. We were there by 6am and purchase the earliest train ticket to Kanchanaburi 100Baht for one ticket at 7.55am.
With time on hand, we went to explore markets right beside the train station. Had fun seeing the local market and we also had our pork porridge and two sweet Thai tea breakfast in the market.
Went back to the station and realized the station was full of people - local and tourists alike.
We boarded 2nd train car with wooden seats, it was very atmospheric although if you like to have comfortable seat, you may want the 1st train car with blue cushion seats.
From Thonburi to Nam Tok direction, the Wampo viaduct view is on left hand side. For us, we took the right hand side to enjoy sceneries to Nam Tok and when we return from Nam Tok to Kanchanaburi, we changed seat to the other side for Wampo viaduct view.
It was interesting 5 hours ride to Nam Tok, at certain points, the train was extremely crowded that people have to stand up. When we reached Nam Tok, there was 15mins stopover, my husband went down to purchase ticket back to Kanchanaburi at same price 100Baht.
The train ride was absolutely gorgeous. There were plenty food and drink offered in the train. The sellers would board at one station, walked around and alighted at next station. I dont have experience with tourist train but I think this local train is excellent and it just fit in well into our itinerary.
At 3pm, we finally reached Kanchanaburi and took Songtheaw to our guesthouse Good Times Resort. It was about 5-10mins ride away and costed 80Baht for two people. Excellent resort with beautiful garden and by the river. Room was spacious and spotless clean. Good WiFi too. Our room was 1.5K Baht.
We reached in no time, got ourselves checked in and rented motorbike from them. I think it was 300Baht for 24 hours but I can't quite remember now. They took one passport and gave us two OK helmet. We took the excellent local map from the staff and went out to find very late lunch.
Jolly frog was highly recommended but the Thai food disappointed us. Perhaps we were there at bad time. After disappointing late lunch, we went to the war cemetery. It was well maintained and it was a humbling experience. Didn't stay for long because we were aiming for sunset at River Kwai Bridge.
At this point, we were also looking for petrol because our motorbike has only one bar of petrol but could not find one. Turned out, when we came out from the small road where Good Times resort locates, all we need to do was drive straight to main road and Caltex is just on the left hand side. But anyway, it was good enough for us to drive to River Kwai bridge where we enjoyed a beautiful sunset with local kids serenading with guitars.
Shopped around for awhile and decided to hit the road to Saturday Walking Street. Found the place near downtown, it was good fun although there was not much to buy or eat compared to BKK or CM night markets. Opposite the walking street, there was a small open air food market where many stalls sold seafood and noodles. Cheap and good.
Few hundred meters from here, we finally found the petrol station and filled up full tank 150Baht which lasted us till we returned the bike.
Back to the resort, we had a shower and went out to find massage. We turned right from Good Times resort and kept walking till we found a place with good masseurs - it has pink signboard and Korean characters. Massage was 300 Baht per hour for oil massage.
After the massage, it was close to 11pm but decided to make full use of our one night there, we walked to an Australian bar with live band music. Had few Chang and called it a night.
The next morning, we woke up early and had breakfast inclusive in the room, set up was gorgeous by the river. We checked out and left hotel at 8.30am. We were aiming for Hell Fire pass that day. It was easy ride, it was on one highway with signboards everywhere - 80 KM from where we were. It took us 2 hours with few photo stops along the way. The ride there was quite cold in the morning, a thin jacket would be advisable.
The Hell Fire pass museum was well set up, the audio guide well worth the money because it gave you so much information to understand and to feel what the prisoners of war and romusha had experienced and went through.
We took the walk up to the Kwae Noi viewpoint. Hintok cutting to compressor cutting was closed by the military at the moment. Walk the staircase route back to the museum, not recommended if you are unstable on foot.
Excellent museum and walk, a must visit if you are in the area. I wish I had more time but it was time to go. We spent about 2 hours here.
We continued our ride to Sai Yok waterfall, the ride back felt much faster, we got there by 1pm plus and had our lunch in local eatery opposite waterfall. There was this biggest shop right at the end selling noodles and grilled meat. They were really delicious!
After lunch, went to check up the waterfall but it was dried in this season. It was still a good stopover although we did not climb up to the cave because we were running out of time.
Soon we made our way to Tham Krasak and Wampo Viaduct. To get there, you would need to ride down a small road about 2KM, it was windy road but not many vehicles in that road. It was manageable if you have ridden before.
Tham Krasak was gorgeous but nothing beats the view out of Tham Krasak - the Wampo viaduct. We obviously had to walk on the railway to experience it but I got jelly knees when I was mid way looking down to the river so I had to turn around. We went to the restaurant by the railway which gave great view of the viaduct, I had another Chang and my husband unfortunately was designated driver so cant drink. We were lucky that the train passed through and gave us great photo opportunity. It was about 4pm when the train passed.
I did some shopping in the area, bought gorgeous dress at 200 Baht. We rode back to our guesthouse at 4.15pm and reached about 5.30pm. Had our dinner in guesthouse's restaurant, the food was just so delicious and divine! The view was gorgeous with sunset on the other side of river.
At 6.30pm, we took our pre arranged taxi (2500Baht) to DMK airport. We reached before 9pm. We had plenty of time because our flight was scheduled at midnight. Perhaps we were lucky with the infamous BKK traffic. Well better be there early than late. We just spent our time lounging about in the airport.
Had great time - definitely will be back to explore more. There is temples, Giant tree, Erawan falls and museums to be visited!
Any question, please ask, I will do my best to answer.