Located about 125 kilometers due west of Bangkok is a delightful province known as Kanchanaburi that has lots of fantastic natural beauty and outdoor activities. It is probably best known for its famous national heritage sites like the WW2 train bridge (still in use today) over the River Kwai and the nearby WW2 war cemetery.

Photograph Copyright ©Marc Schultz 2016

Besides historical sites though, Kanchanaburi is also very much an area of waterways which surround the province from the adjoining Kwai River. Many people enjoy visiting the area just to take river trips on bamboo boat rafts to spend a relaxing time on the river.

Photograph Copyright ©Marc Schultz 2016

A bit further west from the central downtown area are a number of great waterfalls, 7 of them in total, which really show off Thailand’s amazing nature. The most well know in this part of the country is Erawan Falls, which is part of Erawan National Park.

Photograph Copyright ©Marc Schultz 2016

It is one of the most beautiful national parks in all of Thailand and the falls itself offers lots a hiking trail that wind its way upward to a peak that is about 12 levels above the lower part of the falls. There are also 2 smaller, well known waterfalls that are not too far from Erawan itself. They are named Sai Yok and Sai Yok Noi (Noi meaning the smaller of the two).

Photograph Copyright ©Marc Schultz 2016

Huay Kamin Falls is also worth noting as it is Kanchanaburi’s strongest flowing waterfall and perhaps the best of all for swimming because of its large natural pools where much of the flowing water collects.

Photograph Copyright ©Marc Schultz 2016

Often mistakenly overlooked by visitors to the area, and very much worth a visit, is the Prasat Muang Singh Historical Park, which is located about 40 kilometers from the Kanchanaburi city center itself. It houses the remains of two beautiful, 13th-14th century Khmer temple complexes. Muang Singh, meaning Lion City in Thai, was built from large stones using the Bayon-style of architecture and is one of the most well preserved collections of Khmer style ruins in all of Thailand.

Photograph Copyright ©Marc Schultz 2016

My favorite part of Kanchanaburi though (and where all the photos shown in this article were taken) is a district called Sangklaburi. It is about 200 kilometers further west from the center of Kanchanaburi, and is located along Thailand’s western border with Myanmar. To get there, the road to Sangklaburi goes over a series of winding curves, passes by a large damn that serves a reservoir, and then heads further west, passing a landmark known as ‘Three Pagodas Pass’.

Photograph Copyright ©Marc Schultz 2016

Eventually the roadway ends up at a small, quiet town with Thai indigenous culture dating back to the era of the Morn people, who were one of the first ethnic groups to settle in this region of SE Asia that later became Thailand. The center of Sangklaburi sits in a valley which has a river that runs through it and a long, picturesque wooden bridge that crosses over the river to join together the two main parts of Sangklaburi.

Photograph Copyright ©Marc Schultz 2016

Overall, Kanchanaburi is a great place for exploring nature, spending time relaxing on the river, and getting out into rural areas of the country and to learn more about the traditional lifestyle of Thai people.