Located on the banks of the River Kwai, and made famous by the war movie ‘Bridge over the River Kwai’, Kanchanaburi is a popular tourist destination. It’s located just 107 km from Bangkok as the crow flies, but without an airport, there are no opportunities for humans to fly there.
However, land routes are only marginally longer at around 125 km, and it’s well worth taking those extra few kilometers. The journey takes you out of the hustle and bustle of Bangkok, and through tranquil forests, past somber river banks, and across sprawling plains.
If that sounds like the trip for you, read on to see the 4 most popular ways to travel from Bangkok to Kanchanaburi.
|Bangkok to Kanchanaburi by train
|Bangkok to Kanchanaburi by minibus/minivan
|Bangkok to Kanchanaburi by tour Bus
|Bangkok to Kanchanaburi by taxi
Bangkok to Kanchanaburi by train
Time – 3 hours
Price – tickets start at $2-3
Comfort – 4/5
Since the notorious ‘Death Railway’, and the famous ‘Bridge over the River Kwai’ are the major tourist attractions in Kanchanaburi, it’s only natural that many visitors choose to travel by train. There are 2 trains each day, a morning service departing at 07:50, and an afternoon service department at 13:55. It’s worth bearing in mind that the train departs from Bangkok’s Thonburi Station (sometimes referred to as Bangkok Noi Station), rather than the central station.
Tickets can be bought on the day without a reservation, and cost just $3 one way – just be sure to turn up early to grab a window seat. While the trains are fairly basic, with 3rd class seating only, the journey is comfortable, with spacious seating. There’s no buffet car, although vendors walk the aisles selling freshly sliced pomelo, soft drinks, beer, and other packaged food.
The scenery is stunning as you leave the outskirts of Bangkok, and many feel that the train is the best way to travel to Kanchanaburi.
A tourist train runs on weekends and public holidays, traveling the full length of the ‘Death Railway’. It crosses over the famous bridge, before continuing on Nam Tok Sai Yok Noi, where it waits for almost 3 hours. During this time, you can visit the famous Nam Tok Sai Yok Noi Waterfall. Tickets for this service must be bought in advance from the station, and cost around $4 for a 3rd class ticket, or $7-8 for a 2nd class ticket with air conditioning. The train departs at 06:30am, and passengers can either travel the entire route or jump off at Kanchanaburi.
Bangkok to Kanchanaburi by minibus/minivan
Time – 3 hours
Price – tickets cost $3-$7
Comfort – 4/5
There are several travel companies offering services from Bangkok to Kanchanaburi via minibus or minivan. While many of these depart from Bangkok’s Old Southern Terminal (Sai Tai Kao), Monsiri Travel vans depart from Mochit New Van Terminal. With 5 services each day, and air-conditioned, 14-seat vans, Monsiri is one of the most affordable and regular services. Tickets for this service cost around $5 each way.
Other providers are a little more expensive, though some companies will offer hotel pick-up services, saving you the trouble of finding the bus station. Indeed, staff at many hotels and hostels in Bangkok will be able to help you arrange your travel to Kanchanaburi. Alternatively, head to 12Go.asia to browse the various operators and compare prices before booking your tickets in advance.
Regardless of which company you travel with, most minibuses and minivans are fairly modern, featuring air conditioning, and comfortable seating. However, now and then, you might find yourself in an older vehicle, which may result in a bumpier, nosier journey. Most services will stop half-way for a fuel stop, providing an opportunity to stretch your legs, use the bathroom, or grab something to eat.
Bangkok to Kanchanaburi by Tour Bus
Time – around 3 hours and 20 minutes
Price – tickets start at $8 if you buy in advance
Comfort – 4/5
Khao San Tara Travel is the main provider of tour bus travel between Bangkok and Kanchanaburi. They offer an air-conditioned, double-decker express bus that runs twice daily. This tour bus service typically takes slightly longer than the mini-bus services, and is marginally more expensive. E-Tickets can be bought in advance online at 12Go, and cost $8.
Travelers must check in at the Khao San Tara Travel check in desk, located on Samsen 2 Alley. There are plenty of choices for accommodation within a 5-minute walk, making it easy to find if you’re staying in the area. Passengers are then taken to the main bus station via minivan, where they will switch to the larger and more comfortable tour-bus.
The air-conditioned tour bus will offer higher levels of comfort than many other methods of travel, though those with longer legs may find it a little cramped. However, for the most part, a tour bus will be more spacious than minibus/minivan options.
Bangkok to Kanchanaburi by taxi
Time – 2.5 hours
Price – $96-$150
Comfort – 5/5
For the ultimate in convenience and comfort, you might consider traveling from Bangkok to Kanchanaburi by taxi. While this is obviously the most expensive choice, there are several taxi companies that offer these long-distance fares.
Many companies will pick you up directly from your hotel, and drop you off anywhere you want in Kanchanaburi. While most taxi companies estimate up to 3 and a half hours for the journey, you can typically reach your destination far quicker. You can typically book a taxi through your hotel desk, or online via 12Go.
This is perhaps the best choice if you’re traveling with a small group who can split the cost, or wish to carry expensive equipment with you, such as photography gear. Another bonus is that you are able to stop for a break, or take in other points of interest along the way. In this case, be sure to let your driver know that you wish to make other stops in advance.
Regardless of how you choose to travel from Bangkok to Kanchanaburi, we hope you enjoy the ride!
Bangkok to Kanchanaburi FAQ
Generally, the cheapest way to travel to Kanchanaburi from Bangkok is by train. Tickets typically cost 100 baht, which is around $3.20. However, some minivan services also offer services with prices as low as $3. It’s worth browsing 12Go.asia to find the lowest prices.
The fastest way to get from Bangkok to Kanchanaburi is typically by road rather than railway. While many online services estimate journey times of up to 3 and a half hours for minivans and taxis, they can arrive far quicker. If the roads are clear minivans can take as little as 2 and a half hours, while taxis may make it there in just over 2 hours. To save time, it’s worth booking a service that can pick you up directly from your accommodation. See all your options at 12Go.asia.
There are many ways to travel to Kanchanaburi from Bangkok. Arguably, the most popular method is by train, due to the fact that many tourists visit to see the ‘Death Railway’ and the ‘Bridge over the River Kwai’. However, you can also travel by bus, minivan, or taxi. You can check all of your options and compare prices at 12Go.asia. If you wish to drive yourself, route 323 is the most direct road.
To travel to Kanchanaburi from Bangkok by train, you will need to head to Bangkok’s Thonburi Station (also known as Bangkok Noi Station). You don’t need to book tickets in advance, and they can be bought at the station for around $3-4. There are 2 trains each day, departing at 07:50am and 13:55. If you need to travel at a different time of day, you can check out other options at 12Go.asia.
The train from Bangkok to Kanchanaburi costs 100 baht, which is around $3.20. The train offers 3rd class seating only, though this is spacious and comfortable. You don’t need to buy tickets in advance, and can buy them directly from Bangkok’s Thonburi Station, where the train departs. Alternatively, there’s a weekend and public holiday tourist service. Tickets cost around $4 for 3rd class, or $7.50 for 2nd class. Tickets for this weekend service must be bought in advance.
Traveling from Bangkok to Kanchanaburi by taxi is one of the most flexible and comfortable ways to travel, but also one of the most expensive. Fares generally start at around $96, but may rise to $150 depending on where you’re departing from, and where you’d like to be dropped off, as well as any stops you’d like to make along the way. There are several taxi companies that offer this service, and you can compare their prices and facilities at 12Go.asia.
Kanchanaburi is well worth a visit, especially for those with an interest in modern history. The town is most well-known for the ‘Death Railway’ and the ‘Bridge Over The River Kwai’, made famous by the book and movie of the same name. The town is also home to a great many fascinating World War 2 themed museums. A visit to Kanchanaburi from Bangkok is also a great opportunity to get out of the city and take in some of the stunning countryside.
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