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Beyond Bangkok: Visit to Kanchanaburi

By January 22, 2014 , , , ,

A few weeks ago, I made a trip to Kanchanaburi, a town that is about a 3 hour drive outside of Bangkok. Most Bangkokians are probably familiar with Kanchanaburi as it offers a change of pace from the busy city life along with cooler weather in the winters. I myself have visited Kanchanaburi several times while growing up. Most tourists, however,  may not have heard of this place and for those who have, it usually doesn't factor high on the tourist map. Kanchanaburi is best known for the Bridge over the River Kwai. This black iron bridge was built during World War II by the Japanese, linking Thailand with Burma. There was even a famous movie (The Bridge on the River Kwai) made during the 1950s.
Bridge over the River Kwai
Train heading down towards us on the bridge
Street hawkers selling colorful sarongs by the bridge
Fruit stand by the bridge

In recent years, Kanchanaburi has also become increasingly known for the "Tiger Temple" or Wat Pha Luang Ta Bua. It is essentially a Buddhist temple that also serves as a sanctuary for wild animals, including several tigers. It started off when local villagers rescued a tiger cub from poachers and handed it over to the monks at the temple. Over time, more tigers were rescued and given to the monks to be cared for, leading to a sizable number of tigers residing at the temple. What is amazing is that these tigers are completely human-friendly! Visitors can come to the Tiger Temple and have their pictures taken with the tigers who sit meekly on the lap! There has been a fair bit of controversy around these animals - whether they should be raised outsider their natural surroundings? Whether they are being drugged so that tourists can pose for pictures with them? I got my picture taken with one, and I have to admit that I felt quite uncomfortable. Was the tiger on my lap drugged, or was he simply trained to be quiet and tame around humans? I can't say for sure but it was certainly fear-inducing and awe-inspiring to look directly into the eyes of such a magnificent beast. 

A tiger gazing out
Water buffalos can also be found roaming inside the Tiger Temple
Obligatory photo with water buffalos in the backdrop
The tiger and I
We stayed at the Dheva Mantra Resort & Spa in Kanchanaburi, which was a beautiful 5-star hotel along the River Kwai. The place was reminiscent of a bygone era with buildings in the colonial style. The rooms were expansive and tastefully done as well. Definitely recommend a stay there if you're visiting!

An inviting pool overlooking the River Kwai 
A bar cart awaiting imbibers in the lobby
Relaxing by the pool
So, is a trip to Kanchanaburi a yay or a nay? I'd say it's worth a visit once you've visited all the other major tourist destinations in Thailand. Kanchanaburi makes for a relaxing getaway with just the right amount of sights to keep you entertained!

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  1. A trip to Kanchanaburi is definitely a YAY. I didnt even know abt this place..the pics have come out so well. I wud have loved to see Baby Krishnav too.:) Hope he's doing fine.

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  2. Thanks Aditi! Yes, there are pics of baby Krishnav at the Tiger Temple - I didn't let him near the tigers but took pics with them in the far background! Haha! :)

  3. I dare say Loki helped you get over the fear of a big cat a bit... the tiger looks like a large Loki... so cute!


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