As earlier mentioned, we were unable to catch a direct bus to Siem Reap until January 28th, giving us two days to kill before we renewed our visas. Since we were at a bus station already, we just opened our guidebooks and started looking into places, concluding with the decision to check out Kanchanaburi.We stayed for just over 24hrs, arriving mid afternoon and leaving around noon the next day, and due to the slow pace of the town, this was enough time for us to do all that we wanted.
The pub street/walking street- though dead during the week, spare the occasional middle aged tourist- is unlike the WWII historical sites that see a steady stream of tourists, beginning with the Death Railway.
Set off by an iconic bridge spanning the River Kwai, the Burma railway was constructed during WWII and cost over 100,000 lives in its rushed construction. Because of this, you can also find a massive (and admittedly crowded) graveyard in the middle of town, as well as a large memorial stone, surrounded by Japanese cherry blossoms.
Often when we’ve been going to these communities, we’ve walked to our accomodations because they’re usually not further than 3km and explaining the address/showing the driver often isn’t enough if our hotel isn’t well known.
A good tactic we’ve adopted is finding a land mark, a hospital or a shrine, near our place and taking transportation there. Having a map (hardcopy) is also incredibly helpful for showing where you need to go when the language barrier towers. Hard copy maps are everywhere, often found in train stations or other outlets of travel.
All in all, Kanchanaburi is worth seeing, but we were fine with 24hrs. Many of the other tourist draws (treks, water sports) can be done in better places (treks: northern Thailand). AKA, here (and everywhere else we’ve been) we didn’t get crazy excited and sign up for generic things like snorkeling, diving, trekking just because they were an option; we have been trying to do the events that are region specific, which just logically has led to better, more authentic excursions.
We headed back to Bangkok, stayed one night at a very trendy hostel near Mo Chit northern bus terminal (Adventure Hostel, highly recommend)
All the best,