Click on the name of the festival to check all the activities featured in the event.
Note: Event dates and programme details may be subject to change. To ensure you have the most updated information, please reconfirm details prior to travel.
How to get there
Ordinary buses daily leave Bangkok's Southern Bus Terminal every 15 minute from 4 am to 8 pm. The trip takes about 3.5 hours with the fare of 41 Baht. More information, please call 0-2434-5557-8.
Air-conditioned buses daily leave the same station every 20 minute from 5 am to 10.30 pm. The trip takes about 2 hours with the fare of 79 Baht and 62 Baht depending on the type of the bus. More information, call at 0-2435-5012.
Leave Bangkok on Petchkasem Road, the Highway No. 4. Keep going past Nakhon Pathom, Ban Pong in Ratchaburi, Tha Maka and Tha Muang all the way to Karnchanaburi. The trip takes about 2 hours with the overall distance of 129 km.
Ordinary diesel trains leave Bangkok's Thonburi Railway Station (Bangkok Noi Station) two times a day: 7.45 am and 1.45 pm. The final destination is Karnchanaburi's Namtok (waterfall) Railway Station. The fare is 39 baht. For more information, call 0-2411-3102.
On weekends and holidays, the Railway Authority of Thailand offers 14 railway itineraries from Bangkok to Karnchanaburi. For more details, call 1690, 0-2223-7010 and 0-2223-7020.
Traveling within Karnchanaburi
At Karnchanaburi's main bus terminal of Saenchuto Road, many local buses, locally called Songtaew, travel to attractions within town and around the province. Tricycles, bicycles, motorcycles, taxis and orange Songtaews are also alternatives of in-town transportation. For those who wish to drive out of town, they can rent cars at guesthouses and travel agents around town.
Since Karnchanaburi houses many pleasant riverside attractions, hills and waterfalls, travelers can find a wide range of top-end to budget resorts and hotels along rivers and within valleys. However, anyone wishing to stay at the Natural Park, Wildlife and Plant Conservation Department can reserve the room in advance by contacting its office on Phaholyothin Road, Chatuchak, at the tel. no. 0-2579-7223, 0-2579-5734 and 0-2561-4292-4 ext. 724, 725, or visit www.dpn.go.th. Reservation at other places is a must during the high season and festivals.
Karnchanaburi, which literally means ‘City of Gold', is located 129km west of Bangkok with the area of 19,473 square km. It is one of Thailand's western border provinces next to Myanmar (Burma) and has two main tributaries, the Khwae Yai River and the Khwae Noi River. Its topography consists of mountains, cliffs, caves, forests, waterfalls and high plains featuring many wildlife sanctuaries and national parks of the central region.
Historically, Karnchanaburi was founded by King Rama I of the Chakgri Dynasty in order to be the first defense against the Burmese attack through the Three Pagodas Pass located right on the Thailand-Burmese frontier. Later on during the World War II, the province was occupied by the Japanese who brutally compelled western prisoners of war (POWs) to construct the notorious Death Railway Bridge crossing over the Khwae Yai River. Other war-related dishonorable sites, cemeteries of the POWs, museums displaying relics and remains of the WWII are situated in town and around the province.
Another historical aspect of the province is a discovery of Neolithic remains in a village with an archaeological evidence suggesting some habitations way back to 10,000 years ago. Also, as implied in the name, the province is the source of some precious stones especially blue sapphires.
Getting around Karnchanaburi
Death Railway Bridge
The infamous-now-turned-famous Death Railway Bridge has gradually become the landmark for the town. Besides getting here to see and imagine of the brutality over the POWs during the WWII, taking a long walk along this black iron bridge for the bird's-eye-view over the Khwae Yai River is refreshing and relaxing. Recommended to be visited early in the morning or late afternoon when the sun is mild, or else bring along your caps, hats and sunglasses. Visit during the annual light and sound show in December also gives another stunning impression. Note that the railway on the bridge is still in use nowadays.
Death Railway Route
This railway was constructed by the POWs during the WWII. Part of the railway crosses over the Khwae Yai River on the Death Railway Bridge. The route starts from Nong Pladuk Railway Station at Ban Pong District, Ratchaburi. It goes all the way up to Karnchanaburi, passing Ban Kao Neolithic Museum, Prasat Meuang Singh Historical Park. Part of the railways runs along the cliff near Kra Sae Cave, overlooking an awesome view of the river Kwae. The destination is at Nam Tok Station at Ban Ta Sao where a waterfall is just 5 minutes walk away. Interested travelers can alight on this train at Karnchanburi Railway Station. The overall distance is 77 km.
Located just south of the bridge, WWII Museum, also called Art Gallery & War Museum, exhibits artifacts from the war including weapons, POWs' relics and photographs and sketches of the war. In the art gallery section, what is on display includes ancient stamps and postcards, precious gems and accessories. The museum is open daily from 8 am to 6 pm. Admission fee is 30 baht.
Allied War Cemetery
There are two cemeteries of Allied POWs whose bodies were buried here in Thailand for decades. The first one, Karnchanaburi Allied War Cemetery or Don Rak Cemetery, is located north of the town on Saengchuto Road. The second and smaller one, Chong Kai Allied War Cemetery, is on the west of the town, on the west bank of the Khwae Noi River.
The atmosphere at the cemeteries is green, shady and peaceful. Strolling along the rows of tombs while pondering over the final words on gravestones can restore the meaningful contemplation to the mind of the visitors.
JEATH War Museum
Located at the south of the town, on the east side of the Mae Klong River next to Chaichumphon Temple, JEATH War Museum is arranged in thatch houses in the way Allied POs used to inhabit. Also on the exhibition at this museum are photographs taken during the war, drawings, weapons, equipment, and bomb remains scattering around the compound. ‘JEATH' is the acronym of countries associated to the WWII: Japan, English, America/ Australia, Thailand and Holland.
Ban Kao Neolithic Museum
Ban Kao Neolithic Museum is located at Ban Kao (old town) village, 35 km north Karnchanaburi's town. It was discovered during the construction of the Death Railway along the Khwae Noi River by a Dutch POW. The following exploration indicated that it is the first Neolithic village found in Thailand. Artifacts on display include pottery, utensils and human skeletons. The museum can be reached by train. Just take off at Ban Kao Station. It is open daily from 9 am to 4 pm. Admission fee is 30 baht.
Prasat Meuang Singh Historical Park
Just 8 km north from Ban Kao Neolithic Museum, Prasat Meuang Singh Historical Park houses the constructions built in style of late Lopburi Era, approximately between the 16th and 18th centuries. The laterite shrines, built on the square area of 200 rais, are also surrounded by laterite walls and moats. It is open daily from 9 am to 4.30 pm. Admission fee is 30 baht.
There are seven national parks within the area of the province: Khao Laem National Park, Sai Yok National Park, Chalerm Rattanakosin National Park, Thong Phaphum National Park, Lam Klong Ngu National Park, Erawan National Park and Si Nakharin Reservoir National Park. Most of them lie in the upper north and the east of the province. The parks are home to scenic waterfalls, rivers, springs, caves and cliffs. Outdoor activities range from camping, trekking, exploring, rafting, swimming, fishing to rock climbing. The nearest to the town and the most visited one is Erawan National Park which houses the scenic Erawan Waterfalls. In some wildlife sanctuaries, night safari is the most interesting activity to do.
Sai Yok National Park
Lying about 100 km northwest of the town, Sai Yok National Park boasts many top destinations including Sai Yok Waterfall, Sai Yok Noi (Khao Pang) Waterfall, Daowadueng Cave and Lawa Cave. Within the area of the park, it is possible for trekkers to see Kittikhun bats or Crasoomyeteris thonglongya, Thailand's smallest bat that can be only found here.
Si Nakharin Reservoir National Park
Located near Si Nakharin Reservoir, 106 km northeast of the town, the park has some interesting sites: Huay Khamin Waterfall, Pha Tad Water, Tham Phra Cave, Neramit Cave and the Nam Jone River.