Kanchanaburi, Thailand & The River Kwai

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We’ve been in Kanchanaburi, Thailand, sitting here on the River Kwai for a week now. What have we been doing? A Kanchanaburi blog from this sleepy riverside town in Thailand.

Kanchanaburi the river kwai
Our view of the River Kwai from our raft room.

Well, nothing, really. Sleeping on a raft, eating, reading, using computers and just watching the world go by. We did managed a little bit of school work, a very little bit. I’m a very relaxed homeschooler, almost unschooler. It’s amazing how easy it is to do nothing here. We don’t want to leave.

Slow Travel in Kanchanaburi

River Kwai Raft Hotel
Slow travel with children, plenty of time for story telling.

We’re perfectly happy with our lot. I ask the children what they want to do every day, they ask if we can just have a lazy day doing nothing again. That’s fine by me kids!

Their nothing is mostly play, of course, they made some lovely friends for a few days and ran around playing tag on the rafts. They had “kids’ dinner” one night, the five children sat together in the restaurant, ordered their own meals and had a blast. The three mums kept an eye on them from the raft below, beer in hand. It’s a lovely safe environment here, the worst that could happen is they could fall in the river. They can swim.

River Kwai fishing
River Kwai fisherman, we see him drying his catch in the sun later.

I suppose we’re just doing what we’d normally do back home in Port Douglas, with the work, cooking and cleaning taken out. The most taxing thing I’ve done this week is cut toenails and buy soap.

We’ve continued our battle with tonsillitis this week, Boo (6) had a spot of tummy bother, too, so we had a good excuse to stay put. We’re all good now.

There Is Plenty to do Around Kanchanaburi

Night Market in Kanchanaburi
Squid on a stick from Kanchanaburi night market

Up on the main road there are a million little tour shops selling day trips to waterfalls, parks, elephant bathing attractions and World War II sites. We haven’t been on any, mostly because they are too expensive, but also because we’re lazy. They are all out of town, it doesn’t feel worth getting the local bus and I’ve never driven a motor scooter, so I don’t feel safe hiring one and driving with the kids (but I’m going to learn!).

The Bridge on the River Kwai
Walking over The Bridge on The River Kwai.

We went to see the famous Bridge on The River Kwai, that was just five minutes up the road by motorbike taxi and was the reason we came, it was amazing to actually be there.

The Jeath War Museum, almost next door, was incredible, too.

We took a taxi in the opposite direction to see the old buildings and the original town wall, that was OK, and we’ve been to the night market a few times.

Kanchanaburi Trabsport
Motorbike taxi!

There are loads of bars on the main road, some more seedy than others. We even saw a pole dancer as we were walking home last night.

You can buy anything you need. You can get a massage for $5 or a pedicure for $4, but tourist trinket shops are thin on the ground, nothing like Bangkok.

That’s it, all we’ve done. If you come here with plenty of cash you can easily keep yourself busy, but we figure we’ll see plenty more waterfalls and elephants, there’s no rush to see them here.

River Kwai Cruise
A Karaoke raft goes by now and again. Love a bit of Gangnam style!

The River Kwai is the star, I could sit here, feel the breeze and watch the wildlife, boats, fishermen and lotus bud pickers for a very long time.

Where to go After Kanchanaburi?

Our visas are almost up so we need to leave Thailand ( 30 day on arrival visa), we could do a visa run from here into Burma, but that would only give us another 15 days.

We’re getting the train (you can also take the bus) to Bangkok from Kanchanaburi and then hopping on an overnight sleeper train up to Laos, where we will continue to do nothing, aka slow travel. That’s the plan, anyway.

If you'd like to hire a car during your stay, use this car rental comparison tool to find the best deal!

We also suggest you take a look at this company to get a quote for all kinds of the more tricky adventure or extended travel insurance.

Try Stayz / VRBO for an alternative way to find rentals on homes/apartments/condos in any country!

About the author
Alyson Long
Alyson Long is a British medical scientist who jumped ship to chase dreams. A former Chief Biomedical Scientist at London's West Middlesex Hospital she started in website creation and travel writing in 2011. Alyson is a full-time blogger and travel writer, a published author, and owns several websites. World Travel Family is the biggest. A lifetime of wanderlust and over 6 years of full-time travel, plus a separate 12 month gap year, has given Alyson and the family some travel expert smarts to share with you on this world travel site. Today Alyson still travels extensively to update this site and continue her mission to visit every country, but she's often at home on her farm in Australia.

7 thoughts on “Kanchanaburi, Thailand & The River Kwai”

  1. Thanks so much for this post. It encouraged us to check out Kanchanaburi and we loved it. We also avoided the war stuff and saw some really great temples and rode bikes in the countryside. We are travelling in SE Asia for 8 months with 8 and 10 year olds. Will be following, especially the cheap accomodation. Any in Phnom Phen that you liked? Thanks again, Alison

  2. hi there
    I have been following your blog for while and absolutely love it, we are off to SE Asia next June/July so jotting down all your tips and ideas, just after some info what is the hotel/GH your staying in, in Kanchanaburi just looking for recommendations, we are travelling mum dad and 7 year old boy. thanks and keep up the blog we love it
    Bev and Eyre family from sunny England

    • Hi Bev, we were at Sugar Cane guest house in Kanchanabury. It’s very basic, no frills, but was a lovely spot , especialy for the kids to run around and have a bit of freedom.

  3. You were go, go, go until the Chef arrived. Now, even your writing is relaxed. =) I live reading your blogs. The motorbike taxi is the coolest thing, ever! Hey – I’m intrigued by the squid. How was that cooked? Chewy or crispy? 🙂

  4. I am loving the pics….as I live vicariously through you and your family.


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