Kanchanaburi is not the most well known place in Thailand and is often only visited by younger groups of people backpacking in Thailand or Southeast Asia with a holiday extending beyond the basic two weeks. Anyone looking for a specific adventure to partake in while visiting Thailand will have most likely come across Kanchanaburi and its ever-famous Tiger Temple.
Kanchanaburi is located only about an hour south of the booming Bangkok metropolis and sits along the edge of the River Kwai. Be mindful when traveling that Thai buses are not as spacious as you might be used to. Try to store all luggage in the hold below as there are no overhead compartments and extremely limited foot space at your seat. You will also want to be mindful of a high amount of petty theft. Try not to travel with extremely valuable items, but if you must do so, be sure to keep them with you at all times as stories often pop u about how people’s bags have been rustled through unexpectedly during the journey. Bus operators will not take responsibility for the items, some may in fact encourage he thefts, and they will not be returned to you no matter the threats. Another option is to take a mini-bus. A mini-bus is simply a van that you and 7 or 8 other people will fill to the brink. On the plus side, your companions will most likely be other western tourists making it a good opportunity to get to know some new travel partners. On the down side, mini-bus drivers often drive erratically and dangerously in order to get to the location as quickly as possible.
Once you arrive, desperate tuk-tuk and songtao drivers will try to hustle your business. Stay come and take e moment to think before being whisked away to a place you do not wish to go. When traveling off of the beaten path, it is especially important to carry a tour guide of some kind. Most Thailand tour guides will have a list of Kanchanaburi hotels for you to choose from.
Once you’ve settled in, be sure to check with your hotel or guesthouse about available day tours. There are a number of activities to enjoy, but by far the number one tourist attraction in the region is the Tiger Temple. The Tiger Temple is located at a Buddhist temple about a 40-minute drive from the city center. If you purchase a pre-arranged tour ticket, you will be picked up at your hotel or guesthouse and whisked away to the stunning Thai countryside.
The temple is quite conservative and abides by traditional values. Women at this temple should not talk to monks directly, but do so through another male. Women should also never touch a monk, nor should touch a Thai nun, though you will not find many of them wandering about at this location.
Once there, you will need to purchase a ticket which costs somewhere between 6 to 10 pounds. Unlike the tiger zoo in Chiang Mai, there are not a number of visiting options available. One ticket for one visit will get you inside for a few photographs with an adult tiger lying in front of a stone water dish. The temple is home to a number of tigers, which can be seen waiting the arrival of visitors chained at various locations in the yard. This is both impressive looking and a good way to speed up the process for tourists. The temple also has a small number of tiger cubs, though they are not available for the public to view. It should be mentioned, however, that anyone can submit an application to become a volunteer and help take care of the animals as well as spend time with the adorable cubs.
Lek Boonlert is an editor and content reviewer at DirectRooms and is responsible for all Kanchanaburi Hotels content.