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Sunday, 22-Feb-2009 16:15 Email | Share | Bookmark
Kanchanaburi / Part 1


Kanchanaburi (Thai: กาญจนบุรี) is a town (thesaban mueang) in the west of Thailand and the capital of Kanchanaburi province. In 2006 it had a population of 31,327. The town covers the complete tambon Ban Nuea and Ban Tai and parts of Pak Phraek and Tha Makham, all of Mueang Kanchanaburi district, and parts of the tambon Tha Lo of Tha Muang district.

Kanchanaburi is located where the Khwae Noi and Khwae Yai rivers converge into the Mae Klong river, where in 1942, under Japanese control, the famous Bridge on the River Kwai was built by prisoners of war (POWs). A memorial and two museums are also located here: the Thailand-Burma Railway Museum (opened in March 2003), and the JEATH War Museum dedicated to the bridge and the Death Railway. The city is also home to the Kanchanaburi War Cemetery. It is the easiest access point to the nearby Tiger Temple.

Kanchanaburi spans the northern banks of the river and is a popular spot for travelers, its location at the edge of a mountain range keeping it much cooler than the other provinces of central Thailand. The city has two major commercial districts: the downtown area consists of a grid of several streets with office buildings, shop fronts, and a shopping mall; and the riverfront area businesses are mostly located further west along River Kwai Road. Once a year a carnival comes to town and is set up in the area next to the bridge. At night there is a small pyrotechnics display that reenacts the Allied bombing of the bridge
Kanchanaburi was one of the stops on the first season of The Amazing Race.
It is the birthplace of the Buddhist monk Phrabhavanaviriyakhun.
5km SE of the city is a fascinating Buddhist temple Wat Tham Phu Wa which features a series of grotto shrines in a large limestone cave system. Each grotto features a statue of The Buddha at a different stage of his life.
3km on the road to Wat Tham Phu Wa is the Chong Kai allies cemetery; beautifully tended this was created by the Thai Government to honour the soldiers of several WW2 allied armies who died during the defence of SE Asia.

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