Backpacking in Kanchanaburi, Thailand


  • Floating guesthouse
  • J.E.A.T.H War Museum
  • Tiger Temple
  • Bridge over the River Kwai

I had heard so much about Kanchanaburi mainly in conjunction with the renowned Tiger Temple where you could get up close and personal with these vicious jungle beasts, yet I was informed that these tigers had been raised since they were cubs by the local monks and as a result they were used to a human touch and presence.

I was smack bang in the middle of the city and I needed to get out to Kanchanaburi from Bangkok for as cheap as possible so I decided to catch a taxi to the Southern Bus Terminal where I passed a huge procession of protesters that was caused by the People’s Alliance for Democracy (PAD). They were protesting for the removal of the Thai Prime Minister for whatever crazy reasons. What ever the reasons it made for some good and interesting viewing as we passed at a snails pace which was obviously caused by the protests.

Finally made it to the Southern Bus Terminal where I paid 112BHT for the bus ticket and within about 25 minutes was on a local bus headed for Kanchanaburi. The trip for most part was along a large open stretched highway so it was quite a smooth trip which took almost 3 hours. 112BHT for a 3 hour trip not a bad deal from where I come from.

I arrived at a pretty dirty and dusty bus terminal and realised that it was twilight and quickly turning to night. I had no idea where I was going to stay so I consulted my Lonely Planet guide and read that there were a number of restaurants and guesthouses down by the river side – that being the famous River Kwai. I grabbed a local guy who was standing around next to his 3-wheel cyclo and asked him to take me down near the river so that I could scout out a place to stay for the night. I loaded up my large and heavy backpack and jumped on board but the cyclo rider seemed to be struggling with the weight of both of us and my backpack. After approximately 100 meters down the road and with the driver really working up a sweat I looked down and noticed that the cyclo was struggling along with 2 flat tires. The poor rider couldn’t go on as much as he wanted to since he obvious wanted to obtain his fare.

I felt sorry for him so I hopped off grabbed my backpack and even gave him the 20BHT he requested for the fare before we set off, he was so thankful and apologetic at the same time. Not to worry I jumped into a petrol powered tuk tuk and got down to the river front where I found a little guesthouse on the water floating on river rafters, it was called ‘Nina’s Guesthouse’.

I had dinner at the guesthouse, watched a movie on my cheap portable DVD and crashed to bed with the soothing sound of the River Kwai just outside my rooms window.

I slept for about 11 hours and pretty much lazed about until around midday however had I have known the rush later on I would have got my ass moving a lot quicker a lot earlier.

Once I got going I strolled down the road from the guesthouse and came across to the J.E.A.T.H. War Museum (J.E.A.T.H. stands for Japanese English, Australian, Thailand and Holland). This was interesting and gave me a real insight into the tough conditions our diggers went through during World War II.

I left the J.E.A.T.H. War Museum and caught a bus to Tiger Temple – the bus actually dropped me off on the main road and I had to walk for about 2 kilometers down a dirt road in the middle of nowhere until I finally reached the main entrance and compound to Tiger Temple. It was an extremely hot and humid walk. I got to the grounds and entered after forking out approximately 300 BHT. I made my way up to Tiger Canyon where I paid 1000 BHT to get the “Special Photo” with the tigers. This was worth every single BHT as the photos were amazing.

Words cannot justify how it was to get up close and personal to these beautiful killers of the jungle. So for convenience of the reader I have attached some of the pictures below.

I then wandered on from the tiger canyon and got some pictures with some baby tiger cubs that were pretty cute.

I saw some other larger and more aggressive tigers that were either on their own island or locked away from public for obvious reasons and I saw some water buffalos taking a nice cool dip in the lake.

I began to get anxious about the time as it was 3:30pm and I had to be back in BKK for check in at the airport by 7:30pm. I quickly made my way to the front entrance and it kind of dawned on me that I really had no plan of how the hell I was going to get back to Bangkok from Kanchanaburi. However, I ended up asking around and sharing a mini van to Kho San Road and then got a taxi from there to the airport.

On the trip back to Bangkok in the mini van we stopped off at the “Bridge over the River Kwai” which was pretty dam cool.

I was a stressful mess on the way back to the airport in Bangkok as I thought I was a sure thing for missing my domestic flight to Chang Rai. I ended up making the check in with only 5 minutes to spare – might I say that was a close call even for my liking.

My time venturing out of Bangkok to Kanchanaburi was only brief but to be quite honest you only need a day or two to check out most of the sights that are worth seeing around the town. I would definitely recommend a trip out to Kanchanaburi if only just to visit Tiger Temple however I am aware that Tiger Temple is becoming more and more popular, so my suggestion is to get out to Kanchanaburi and Tiger Temple before it becomes too touristy and undoubtedly tacky.

Take the trip and enjoy the experience!!

Josh Boorman


Backpacking Addictz

Twitter: @backpackaddictz

Backpacking Addictz is a website set up by backpackers for the use of backpackers. On this site you will find a lot of very valuable information surrounding different destinations around the world and tips and advice on budget travel and backpacking. You will also find an enthusiastic and insightful backpacking blog which is regularly updated with new posts and article.

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Joshua Boorman

Joshua Boorman

Founder & Editor in Chief at Backpacking Addictz
Come with me on a journey with me to various destinations throughout the world. We discuss all things Backpacking, Lifestyle Design & Online Business to help you achieve new found freedom and create a life of meaningful fulfillment.
Joshua Boorman
About The Author

Joshua Boorman

Come with me on a journey with me to various destinations throughout the world. We discuss all things Backpacking, Lifestyle Design & Online Business to help you achieve new found freedom and create a life of meaningful fulfillment.


  • dewi

    March 9, 2010

    I like travelling and i will be try to visit the place that u have visited thanks a lot for your info

  • admin


    March 9, 2010

    Im glad my article was informative to you, please keep me updated of your travels as I would love to hear of them.


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