Kanchanaburi is just a two-hour drive west from Bangkok with a well-maintained, wide highway going most of the way. This means that many people visit Kanchanaburi as a day trip from the capital without every staying the night, but those that want to explore the area will find plenty to entertain them for a few days.
There are also direct transport links from the ancient city of Ayutthaya, an UNESCO World Heritage Site, for those that do not fancy backtracking. First class buses to Kanchanaburi depart from Bangkok’s southern Sai Tai Mai Bus Terminal—cross the Chao Praya River in Thon Buri—every 15 minutes through the day. The journey takes two hours and vehicles are air conditioned.
Less frequent buses also depart for Kanchanaburi from Mo Chit Bus Terminal, slightly north of Bangkok. Local travel agents within guesthouses or on the Khao San Road offer private minibuses to Kanchanaburi which are quicker and include hotel pick-up, reducing costs and hassle.
Although tourists flock to the area to ride the infamous Death Railway, getting to Kanchanaburi by train is a less popular option than the quicker and more practical buses. However, rail romantics can make the journey from Bangkok’s Noi Station, in Thon Buri to the west of the Chao Praya River, at 07:45 and 13:45 with the trip taking around three hours. The return journey leaves Kanchanaburi at 07:25 and 14:48. Trains are third class is so it’s not too comfy.
Tourists usually catch a train from Krae Sai Cutting, around 30kms west of Kanchanaburi, over the original trusses and all the way back to Kanchanaburi in order to cross the famous bridge. This excursion is often included in tours of the area so enquire first with your travel agent.