Getting there & away
Kanchanaburi’s bus station is at the southern end of town, near the TAT office on Th Saengchuto. The following destinations are served: Bangkok’s Southern bus terminal (100B, three hours, every 20 minutes between 4am and 8pm); Bangkok’s Northern and Northeastern bus terminal (2nd/1st class 100/122B, three hours, every hour between 6.30am and 5pm); Nakhon Pathom (70B, two hours, every 15 minutes between 4am and 7pm); Sangkhlaburi (ordinary/air-con 110/200B, five hours, every hour); and Suphanburi (42B, 1½ hours, every 20 minutes), where you can connect to Ayuthaya.
You can bypass Bangkok if you’re heading south by going to Ratchaburi (47B, two hours, frequent) and picking up a Hua Hin- or Phetchaburi-bound bus. If you’re heading north to Chiang Mai or around, your best bet is to backtrack to Bangkok’s Northern and Northeastern terminal in time to pick up a Chiang Mai–bound bus.
Kanchanaburi’s train station is 2km northwest of the bus station and is within walking distance to the guesthouse area. Kanchanaburi is on the Bangkok Noi–Nam Tok rail line, which includes a portion of the historic Death Railway built by WWII POWs during the Japanese occupation of Thailand. Although the modern usage of the line used to be a low-key commuter route, SRT has decided to promote it as a historic line and hike the rates for foreigners to 100B between any station, regardless of distance. If you’re travelling from Bangkok Noi station (located in Thonburi, across the river from Bangkok), this flat fare represents reasonable value, considering the scenery and subtracting the discomfort of an ordinary (non-airconditioned) cabin.
The most historic part of the journey begins north of Kanchanaburi as the train crosses the Death Railway Bridge and terminates at Nam Tok station. For some the flat rate of 100B will seem negligible; others will feel slightly stung considering a bus costs half the amount and we won’t even bother telling you what Thais pay.
Ordinary trains leave Thonburi’s Bangkok Noi station at 7.45am and 1.30pm for Kanchanaburi. Trains return to Bangkok Noi from Kanchanaburi at 7.15am, 2.45pm and 5.40pm. The journey takes about four hours.
Trains along the historic portion of the rail line leave Kanchanaburi heading north to Nam Tok at 5.50am, 10.20am and 4.20pm. Return trains depart from Nam Tok at 5.20am, 12.50pm and 3.15pm. The trip takes about two hours. The Nam Tok train station is within walking distance to Sai Yok Noi waterfall and beside the highway; if you miss the return train, you can always flag down one of the frequent Sangkhlaburi-Kanchanaburi buses.
The SRT operates a special tourist train (0 3451 1285) on weekends and holidays that leaves Kanchanaburi around 10.30am for Nam Tok (300B).