Kanchanaburi province

From left to right, top to bottom : Kanchanaburi City Gate, Erawan National Park, Kanchanaburi Road, Burma Railway, Kanchanaburi War Cemetery
Flag of Kanchanaburi
Official seal of Kanchanaburi
Mueang Kan
"แคว้นโบราณ ด่านเจดีย์ มณีเมืองกาญจน์ สะพานข้ามแม่น้ำแคว แหล่งแร่น้ำตก" ("Ancient region, Chedi checkpoint, Manee Mueang Kan, Bridge on the River Kwai and Mineral waterfalls")
Map of Thailand highlighting Kanchanaburi province
Map of Thailand highlighting Kanchanaburi province
 • GovernorThanaporn Prommahit
 • Total19,483 km2 (7,522 sq mi)
 • RankRanked 3rd
 • Total893,151
 • RankRanked 26th
 • Density46/km2 (120/sq mi)
  • RankRanked 74th
Time zoneUTC+7 (ICT)
Postal code
Calling code034
ISO 3166 codeTH-71
Vehicle registrationกาญจนบุรี

Kanchanaburi (Thai: กาญจนบุรี, pronounced [kāːn.t͡ɕā.ná(ʔ).bū.rīː]) is the largest of the western provinces (changwat) of Thailand. The neighboring provinces are (clockwise, from the north) Tak, Uthai Thani, Suphan Buri, Nakhon Pathom, and Ratchaburi. In the west it borders Kayin State, Mon State, and the Tanintharyi Region of Myanmar.

Tourists are attracted by the history of its ancient civilization and the World War II Bridge over the River Kwai, originally spelt "Khwae" but officially changed to Kwai to accommodate the expectations of tourists.


5th tier at Erawan 7-tier waterfall in Erawan National Park

The province is in the west of Thailand, 129 km from Bangkok, and covers a total area of approximately 19,483 km2 (7,522 sq mi). It is the country's third largest province, after Nakhon Ratchasima and Chiang Mai. Topographically, it is covered with timber and evergreen forests. The total forest area is 12,002 km2 (4,634 sq mi) or 61.9 percent of provincial area.[3] The district covers the source valleys of the rivers Kwae Yai and Kwae Noi ("River Kwai"), which merge at Kanchanaburi city to form the Mae Klong River.

Bong Ti is a transnational border crossing point, which is expected to gain in importance if the planned Dawei deepwater port project goes ahead, along with a highway and a railway line between Bangkok and the port.[4]

National parks

There area seven national parks in the mountainous areas of the Tenasserim Hills, along with two other national parks, make up region 3 (Ban Pong) of Thailand's protected areas.

Wildlife sanctuaries

There are two wildlife sanctuaries, along with one other wildlife sanctuary, make up region 3 (Ban Pong) of Thailand's protected areas.


Archaeological remains found in Kanchanaburi date back to the 4th century, with evidence of trade with surrounding regions at that time. Very little is known about the historical Khmer influence in Kanchanaburi, but Prasat Muang Sing, one of the country's most well-known Khmer sites, provides evidence of their occupation.

Bridge over the River Kwai by Leo Rawlings, a POW who was involved in the line's construction (sketch dated to 1943)

Not much was historically recorded about Kanchanaburi Province before the reign of King Rama I, but some historians believe that the province was of strategic importance during the Ayutthaya period, since it was on the invasion route from Burma.[7] In 1982, many human and elephant skeletons and swords were found in Phanom Thuan District, leading to speculation that this site might even have been the site of the famous battle of King Naresuan against the Burmese crown prince, most commonly assigned to the Don Chedi District in nearby Suphanburi Province.

Bridge over the River Kwai, Kwai River

Most foreigners are mainly aware of Kanchanaburi's recent history with the Burma Railway. During the Japanese occupation of Thailand in 1942, both allied POWs and Asian labourers were ordered by the Japanese to build a Thailand-Burma railway. Eventually, more than 100,000 people (16,000 allied POWs and 90,000 local Asian labourers) died from horrific working conditions.[8]


The seal of the province shows the three stupas on Bantadthong Mountain. They give the name to the mountain pass to Myanmar, called "Three Pagodas Pass".[9]

The provincial flower is the night-flowering jasmine (Nyctanthes arbortristis). The provincial tree is the Moulmein lancewood (Homalium tomentosum). The provincial aquatic animal is the Jullien's golden carp (Probarbus jullieni).

The provincial slogan is "A province of ancient community, three pagodas pass, precious stones, River Kwae Bridge, minerals and waterfall resources".

Administrative divisions

Map of 13 districts

Provincial government

Kanchanaburi is divided into 13 districts (amphoe). The districts are further divided into 98 subdistricts (tambon) and 887 villages (muban).

  1. Mueang Kanchanaburi
  2. Sai Yok
  3. Bo Phloi
  4. Si Sawat
  5. Tha Maka
  6. Tha Muang
  7. Thong Pha Phum
  1. Sangkhla Buri
  2. Phanom Thuan
  3. Lao Khwan
  4. Dan Makham Tia
  5. Nong Prue
  6. Huai Krachao

Local government

As of 26 November 2019 there are:[10] one Kanchanaburi Provincial Administration Organisation (ongkan borihan suan changwat) and 49 municipal (thesaban) areas in the province. Kanchanaburi and Tha Ruea Phra Thaen have town (thesaban mueang) status. Further 47 subdistrict municipalities (thesaban tambon). The non-municipal areas are administered by 72 Subdistrict Administrative Organisations - SAO (ongkan borihan suan tambon).[2]


Kanchanaburi's main station is Kanchanaburi Railway Station.



In 1918, alluvial sapphire deposits were discovered near Bo Ploi. It was a major source of sapphires in the 1980s and 1990s.[11][12][13]

Kanchanaburi province is the site of Klity Creek,[14] a waterway heavily polluted by the practices of the Lead Concentrate Company. The company was ordered by a Thai court to clean up its environmental damage in 2013. To date (2019) the court ordered clean-up has been halting and ineffectual.[15]


Most of the sights in Kanchanaburi itself are directly related to WWII. The museums are dusty and generally not worth it, except for the Thailand-Burma Railway Centre, which gives a good introduction of the Burma Railway and its history. There are also two war cemeteries, the most moving of which is the Kanchanaburi War Cemetery.

National parks

Erawan waterfall
Thong Pha Phum National Park
  • Thong Pha Phum National Park is a national park. The park has numerous waterfalls and caves. Chok Kradin waterfall descends 30 metres (100 ft) over a cliff. Another large waterfall is Khao Yai, with three levels. Other park waterfalls include Dip Yai, Bi Teng and Huai Meuang. Khao Noi cave houses Buddha images. Khao Khat viewpoint offers a panoramic view over the park.[19]
Thong Pha Phum National Park
  • Khao Laem National Park is a park of about 1,500 square kilometers in western Thailand, located in the northern area of the Tenasserim Hills, Kanchanaburi province. It is a part of the Western Forest Complex, a system of protected wilderness in the Dawna-Tenasserim Hills area of western Thailand. The park surrounds the Khao Laem Reservoir in Kanchanaburi province about 340 km northwest of Bangkok. It is cut through by Road 323. The vegetation consists of mixed deciduous, hill evergreen and dry evergreen forest. It is adjacent to the Thungyai Naresuan Wildlife Sanctuary, which is situated to the northeast of Khao Laem National Park. Large animals of the area include tigers, elephants, gaurs, sambar deer, barking deer and wild boars.[20]
  • Sai Yok National Park is a national park in Sai Yok District. The park, home to mountains, waterfalls and caves, is part of the Western Forest Complex protected area. The park's major attractions are its waterfalls, including Sai Yok Yai waterfall which flows into the Khwae Noi river. Sai Yok Yai Lek waterfall lies south of Sai Yok Yai along the Khwae Noi.[19] The park also contains numerous caves, the largest of which is Tham Lawa with a length of 500 metres (1,600 ft). This cave complex consists of five large caverns, each containing large stalactites and stalagmites.[21] Another cave system, Tham Daowadueng, is 100 metres (330 ft) long and was discovered in 1972. Tham Daowadung consists of eight chambers of stalactites and stalagmites.[19]

Notable people


  1. ^ Advancing Human Development through the ASEAN Community, Thailand Human Development Report 2014, table 0:Basic Data (PDF) (Report). United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Thailand. pp. 134–135. ISBN 978-974-680-368-7. Retrieved 17 January 2016, Data has been supplied by Land Development Department, Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives, at Wayback Machine.[dead link]
  2. ^ a b "รายงานสถิติจำนวนประชากรและบ้านประจำปี พ.ศ.2561" [Statistics, population and house statistics for the year 2018]. Registration Office Department of the Interior, Ministry of the Interior (in Thai). 31 December 2018. Archived from the original on 14 June 2019. Retrieved 20 June 2019.
  3. ^ "ตารางที่ 2 พี้นที่ป่าไม้ แยกรายจังหวัด พ.ศ.2562" [Table 2 Forest area Separate province year 2019]. Royal Forest Department (in Thai). 2019. Retrieved 6 April 2021, information, Forest statistics Year 2019{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: postscript (link)
  4. ^ "Table A1-1-1a. Prospective projects in Mekong sub-region" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2013-05-04. Retrieved 2012-12-28.
  5. ^ a b c d e f g "ข้อมูลพื้นที่อุทยานแห่งชาติ ที่ประกาศในราชกิจจานุบกษา 133 แห่ง" [National Park Area Information published in the 133 Government Gazettes]. Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation (in Thai). December 2020. Retrieved 1 November 2022.
  6. ^ a b "ตาราง 5 พื้นที่เขตรักษาพันธุ์สัตว์ป่า พ.ศ. 2562" [Table 5 Wildlife Sanctuary Areas in 2019] (PDF). Department of National Parks, Wildlife Sanctuaries and Plant Conservation (in Thai). 2019. Retrieved 1 November 2022.
  7. ^ Wisetsing, Kanit (2023-01-23). "ปากแพรก" [Pak Praek]. The Cloud (in Thai). Retrieved 2023-04-07.
  8. ^ "รำลึก ANZAC ที่ช่องเขาขาด ณ ทางรถไฟสายมรณะ" [Remembering ANZAC at Hellfire Pass at the Death Railway]. SBS (in Thai). 2021-04-23. Retrieved 2023-04-07.
  9. ^ Seals of the provinces of Thailand
  10. ^ "Number of local government organizations by province". dla.go.th. Department of Local Administration (DLA). 26 November 2019. Retrieved 10 December 2019. 2 Kanchanaburi: 1 PAO, 2 Town mun., 47 Subdistrict mun., 72 SAO.
  11. ^ "Rattanachart Mining Company". Archived from the original on November 13, 2011. Retrieved 21 Sep 2012.
  12. ^ "Bo Phloi Sapphire". Retrieved 21 Sep 2012.
  13. ^ "Sapphires from Thailand". Archived from the original on September 2, 2012. Retrieved 21 Sep 2012.
  14. ^ Klity villagers fight never-ending battle
  15. ^ "Thailand: Clean Up Klity Creek". Human Rights Watch. Retrieved 11 February 2016.
  16. ^ Elliot, Stephan; Cubitt, Gerald (2001). THE NATIONAL PARKS and other Wild Places of THAILAND. New Holland Publishers (UK) Ltd. pp. 32–35. ISBN 9781859748862.
  17. ^ Erawan National Park Archived December 8, 2006, at the Wayback Machine
  18. ^ Roadway Thailand Atlas, Groovy Map Co., Ltd. © 4/2010
  19. ^ a b c "National Parks in Thailand: Thong Pha Phum National Park" (PDF). Department of National Parks (Thailand). 2015. p. 204. Retrieved 26 June 2017.
  20. ^ Elliot, Stephan; Cubitt, Gerald (2001). THE NATIONAL PARKS and other Wild Places of THAILAND. New Holland Publishers (UK) Ltd. pp. 42–44. ISBN 9781859748862.
  21. ^ Williams, China; Beales, Mark; Bewer, Tim (February 2012). Lonely Planet Thailand (14th ed.). Lonely Planet Publications. pp. 184. ISBN 978-1-74179-714-5.

External links

  • Kanchanaburi travel guide from Wikivoyage
  • Tourist Authority of Thailand
  • Website of province (Thai only)
  • Kanchanaburi Rajabhat University Main University in Kanchanaburi
  • Erawan National Park, Kanchanaburi

14°0′15″N 99°32′57″E / 14.00417°N 99.54917°E / 14.00417; 99.54917

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