Kanchanaburi is home to the famous River Kwai and was an area of notable importance during the Second World War when many soldiers of the allied forces were imprisoned and died at the hands of the Japanese invaders. It is now one of the most popular tourist destinations in Thailand . Kanchanaburi receives many foreign visitors yearly that not only come to appreciate the area's great natural beauty but also to pay their respects to family and fellow countrymen that were caught up in Kanchanaburi's brutal wartime history.
Situated approximately 129 kilometres west of Bangkok , Kanchanaburi is the third largest province in Thailand after Nakhon Ratchasima and Chiang Mai, covering an area of approximately 19,473 square kilometres of mostly mountainous terrain. According to Thai historical records Kanchanaburi was repeatedly used as an invasion route by the Burmese to enter Thai Kingdoms.
The charming beauty and magnificent landscape of Kanchanaburi have resulted in a wealth of major tourist attractions including pristine national parks, tranquil rivers, caves which were once inhabited by Neolithic man, virgin forests, a reservoir and several popular waterfalls. Combined they offer an exciting experience and range of activities for visitors to Kanchanaburi such as mountain biking, canoeing, rafting, bird-watching, fishing, elephant and jungle trekking and golfing can also be enjoyed here at one of Kanchanaburi's many excellent golf courses.
In north and west Kanchanaburi the land is mainly mountainous and high plains with a natural border between Myanmar ( Burma ) and Thailand in the form of the Thanon Thongchai. This mountain range is the source of Kanchanaburi's two main rivers the Mae Nam Khwae Noi (Little River Kwai) and the Mae Nam Khwae Yai (Big River Kwai). As a result the most extensive wildlife sanctuaries and several of Thailand 's largest waterfalls are located in this area.
Kanchanaburi city is located where the two tributaries meet, the Little River Kwai and the Big River Kwai meet and form the River Mae Klong. Its here where you find two of the main Kanchanaburi attractions the Death Railway and famous River Kwai Bridge which was later immortalized in the famous Alec Guinness film 'The Bridge over the River Kwai in 1957, though the film was actually shot in Ceylon, Sri Lanka.
Tourism is a main source of income for Kanchanaburi which receives the highest amount of visitors among Thailand 's western provinces. Its famous history and close proximity to Bangkok has made is a popular tourist destination with many taking day trips from the Thai capital, either with a two hour bus journey or travelling there by train which takes a slower three hours but allows you to easier appreciate Thailand's beautiful countryside. Other sources of industry in Kanchanaburi include sugar, agricultural products and jewellery. Most of the local people in Kanchanaburi are of Thai ancestry with notable Karen and Mon minorities and traditional folk music and dances that date back at least 500 years are still practiced today.