1) is it enough to visit the main attractions within a day?
2)is it better to take a mini van from bkk or get a tour
It's possible to visit the Thai-Burma Railway Museum, the main War Cemetery and the Bridge in one day. Should you plan to visit other places you will need additional time.
You could get there by taking the morning train from Thonburi at 07.50 and returning later in the day by bus.
It is possible but it'd be a long day with approximately 6 hours travel. If you can schedule in a nights stop. If you take the train you'll arrive at the bridge, the main museum and cemetery are next to each other about 5 minutes motor cycle taxi away.
Definitely no need to book a tour.Edited: 09 August 2018, 12:43
It depends on what you consider as major attractions. If you wish to cover places like Hellfire Pass and Erawan in the same day, you will be better off with either a shared tour or hire a private car to take you around.
If you are referring to only places like the Bridge, Death Railway Museum (Thai Burma Railway Museum) and War Cemetry, you can walk or take a local tut tut to these places as they are all located near each other.
It would be best if you could manage at least 2 nights in Kanchanaburi. This way you can see most of the major attractions.
The worst thing you could possibly do is to pre book a 'rushed' one day tour.
Not sure if you can really consider it the "worst" thing to do especially if you do not have time on your hand. Obviously, travelling around on your own is great if you have plenty of time to spare. But if you have limited time and wish to see as much as possible, then a guided tour is actually great.
It is truly a matter of what you think you would like to see and how much time and budget you have. Given all the options, Hlmilk3, you have to decide yourself how you wish to experience Kanchanaburi.
Being bundled in/out of buses or minivans isn't my idea of fun.
When we visited Kanchanaburi, we spent 2 nights there and found it perfect. Trying it in one day would be my idea of madness / hell.
Got the early train from Thonburi (which was fun) in BKK and got a bus back.