Temples of KanchanaburiThailand
Three Must see Temples of Kanchanaburi, Thailand
Three Must See Kanchanaburi Temples
Kanchanaburi is a small town in Western Thailand that’s surrounded by beautiful natural landscapes. The area is mostly known for the horrors that took place here during World War 2 and were immortalised in the movie Bridge Over The River Kwai.
The popular places to visit in Kanchanaburi Thailand include the Death Railway, Allied War Cemetery and of course, the famous Bridge. Without a doubt you should include these Kanchanaburi sights in your itinerary. They are moving and educational and commemorate those who suffered most.
However, we recommend setting time aside to visit some stunning Kanchanaburi temples. Spread out around the town and surrounding area, you’ll find them sitting on river banks, perched on mountain tops and tucked away in caves. Each temple has its own unique appeal, and all are well worth a visit.
Thailand Temple Etiquette
It’s a good idea to have a basic understanding of Thailand temple etiquette before you go. So here are a few tips to get you started.
Rules For Visiting Kanchanaburi Temples :-
⦁ Dress modestly and cover your shoulders and knees. You shouldn’t wear anything tight, sexy or see-through either.
⦁ Take your shoes off before entering the temple.
⦁ Don’t be loud and boisterous. Behave quietly.
⦁ Don’t point your feet at Buddha’s image.
⦁ Be respectful of worshippers and stay out of their way.
That’s not too hard is it?
Okay then here are three must visit temples in Kanchanburi. Let’s find out more.
Wat Tham Sua
Like many places in Thailand, the Kanchanaburi Tiger Temple Wat Tham Sua has more than one name. Tigers once lived here in a small limestone cave, so it’s also known as the Tiger Cave Temple. And should not be confused with the dodgy Tiger Temple that had real tigers.
The cave now houses a small tiger spirit shrine, which seems insignificant when compared to the temple’s giant Buddha statue. Named Chin Prathanporn, the statue is 18 metres high and can be seen from some distance away. The image is covered in gold mosaic that sparkles in the sunshine and is protected from the elements by a huge semi-circular dome.
The temple complex is made up of a number of different shrines and buildings. The most impressive of which is the giant orange pagoda Ketkaew Prasat. Eight stories high, inside you’ll find holy relics and delightful tinkling bells hanging from railings.
Visiting the Tiger Cave Temple is one of the best things to do in Kanchanaburi; not just for the temple itself, but for the views of the surrounding area. They are almost worth a trip by themselves!
Wat Tham Sua is reached by climbing brightly painted stairs. And a cute funicular is available if you’d rather give them a miss.
Guan Im Sutham Temple
The Guan Im Sutham Temple is a stunning Chinese style Buddhist temple that sits on the banks of the Kwai River; right next to the Bridge. It covers many different Chinese and Buddhist themes and offers a unique and colourful take on various traditions such as the Chinese Zodiac.
The immaculately kept grounds are peppered with animal sculptures, dragons, gold coins and a huge Chinese Goddess of Mercy statue that’s visible as you cross the Bridge. There’s also beautifully decorated pagodas and a ginormous totem pole. Inside the main temple is a golden Buddha statue.
The complex is quite large and peaceful as few people seem to visit. Why they don’t is a bit of a mystery. But it’s well worth crossing the Bridge to see this modern temple that’s a little bit different in its own way.
Wat Ban Tham
Wat Ban Tham is also known as the Dragon Head Cave Temple. This is one of the more unusual tourist attractions in Kanchanaburi as visitors enter the temple through a giant dragon’s mouth. Once inside, a passage takes you to a series of stairs, caves and a mountain top chedi.
The mountain is 200 metres high and with over 900 steps to negotiate, it’s a tough climb. Visitors need to be mindful of the searing heat and humidity; carry plenty of water and allow for rest stops.
Located along the Mae Klong river Wat Ban Tham is an ancient cave temple filled with Buddha images, colourful ribbons, murals and fabulous stalactites. One of the caves features a shrine to the hermit Ruesi and another has a monk giving blessings to visitors.
This temple is popular with visitors, possibly because of the dragon, but as I’m not a fan of caves I much prefer the wide-open spaces of Wat Tham Sua and Guam Im Sutham Temple. Andrew on the other hand really liked it.
Many people visit Kanchanaburi on a day trip from Bangkok, but you really need at least a few days to explore this gorgeous area. Filled with magnificent landscapes and natural wonders, along with a rich history and of course amazing temples you won’t be disappointed with a trip to Kanchanaburi.
Just make time to see these temples!
Audrey is a coffee drinking adventurer who has spent the last 30 years travelling with her partner Andrew. In 2017 they set off together on a 13-month career break to wander the world. She loves nothing better than helping others to follow in their footsteps.
Together they are Gumnuts Abroad
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Temples of Kanchanaburi,
How to travel to Kanchanaburi from Bangkok
There are at least two trains a day from Bangkoks Thonburi Station to Kanchanaburi. During holidays and special occassions, there are additional trains laid on (some of these may leave from Hua Lampong, so check the times). The trip to Kanchanburi takes around three hours and costs 100 Baht.
Buses are the faster but less scenic option for getting to or from Kanchanaburi. You can take buses to Kanchanburi from either the Southern Bus Terminal or the big Northern Bus Terminal at Mor Chit. The travel time from the Southern Bus Terminal is about two hours, while from Mor Chit will take about 30 minutes longer.
All buses arrive and depart from the same bus terminal in the centre of Kanchanaburi town. The Bus fare is around 120 Baht.
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