Kanchanaburi was everything I wanted it to be and more. Turns out escape from Bangkok was exactly what I needed.
The girl I had arranged to meet, Sophie, met a guy on the train also on his way there. He checked into the same hostel as us and together, along with our room-mate, as four like-minded people, we explored our beautiful surroundings.
The main “backpacker strip” of Kanchanaburi is a road called Th Mae Nam Khwae. Here you will find bars, restaurants and guesthouses. We stayed just off of this road in a hostel called No.25 Cafe and Hostel and I couldn’t recommend it more. 350THB will get you a comfy bunk in an air con dorm with hot showers and breakfast included.
Kanchanaburi has loads of great things to do but they are all ridiculously spread out. It’s like staying in Bristol to see something in London. Therefore, hiring a moped is necessary.
I was so freaked out about this the first time I did it but I loved it (of course, I didn’t drive, paralysing fear of roads and the inability to drive at home did not make me keen to jump into the driving seat on Thai roads).
We rode our mopeds to Erawan waterfall which is ridiculously beautiful. 7 levels of waterfall nestled in the deep jungle. It’s a real blue lagoon.
The Death Railway, Bridge over the River Kwai and Hell fire Pass are all moving relics left from world war II. Impressive in stature and with an emotional back story, these visits are not to be missed.
I implore you to go to Kanchanaburi. Go, hire a moped, drive through the tree covered mountains at sunset, visit the Hell fire Pass and learn about the men who lost their lives there. Go and swim in the Erawan falls (level 5, trust me), take a moped to the giant tree 12k outside of town and eat at On’s Thai Issan.
This place was so busy we had to eat on the roadside (which I loved). 100% vegetarian, authentic Thai goodness. And it was so cheap!
Get the hell out of Bangkok and take yourself to Kanchi. I haven’t felt so at ease since the last time I was travelling, in 2006.