Have you heard about the hidden town of Kanchanaburi? It's one of those off-the-beaten-path destinations that not many tourists visit, but that's exactly why it should be on your Thailand itinerary!

Located in the jungle, right on the River Kwai, about 130km outside of Bangkok, Kanchanaburi is the perfect escape when staying in Bangkok's hustle and bustle gets a bit overwhelming.

Whether you're diving into its deep and dark history or exploring the nearby national parks, Kanchanaburi offers a truly unique experience without the big tourist crowds.

Now, I know it might not be one of the big tourist hubs, so there's not a lot of information out there about where to stay in Kanchanaburi. But don't worry, I'm here to share my favorite areas and hotels of this hidden gem city.

Best areas to stay in Kanchanaburi

Depending on whether you're here to explore the national parks or the charming town of Kanchanaburi and its history, there are a few awesome areas to consider for your stay.

For first-timers, Phueksakan Village is probably the best spot. It's right in the Kanchanaburi city center and has everything you need, from upscale hotels to lovely restaurants and supermarkets.

If you're craving a break from big city life, I suggest staying by the Kwai River, just outside of the city. Here, you'll find some of the best spa resorts in town that let you relax and unwind in the middle of nature.

Of course, there's also an option for budget travelers and backpackers. Thip Narong is centrally located and home to many hostels and budget accommodations.

For families looking for a little distance from the city center but still within reach of everything, Klang Muen Kan is the ideal area. It offers spacious and affordable homestays within walking distance.

Lastly, the highlight of Kanchanaburi is Sai Yok, located right between Sai Yok National Park and Erawan National Park. Here, you'll find super unique and luxurious eco-lodges, perfect for hiking and exploring. Enjoy your stay!

1. Where to stay in Kanchanaburi for the first time: Phueksakan (close to the historic bridge over the River Kwai)

Where to stay in Kanchanaburi - Phueksakan

Phueksakan area is a great place to stay, especially for your first time here. It's centrally located, not too busy or loud, and just a few minutes walk from busier shopping areas.

In this area, you'll find a variety of accommodation options, ranging from upscale hotels and resorts to budget stays. So, no matter what your budget is, it's always a good choice to stay here during your first visit.

Phueksakan is also home to some of Kanchanaburi's most popular tourist attractions that you absolutely have to check out while you're here, like the famous River Kwai Bridge and the JEATH War Museum.

Best area for:

  • First-timers

  • Sightseeing

  • Central location

Things to do in Phueksakan

There are two major tourist attractions in this area, specifically in Kanchanaburi. One is the famous River Kwai Bridge (Death Railway Bridge), which has a fascinating but dark past. Built by Dutch, American, and British prisoners during World War II to support Japanese troops in Burma/Myanmar, it now serves as a popular tourist spot where visitors can stroll along the bridge and purchase souvenirs from nearby markets.

The other attraction is the JEATH War Museum, which delves deeper into the area's dark history. Here, you can learn about the nearby prisoner camp from former prisoners and their family members, who narrate their experiences.

Best hotels to stay in Phueksakan

($$$) U Inchantree Kanchanaburi

Right by the River Kwai lies one of the best hotels in the city center, the U Inchantree Kanchanaburi Hotel. Featuring luxurious interiors, a huge outdoor pool, and massage services, this riverfront hotel is perfect for those looking for an upscale stay near the city center. The U Inchantree Kanchanaburi Hotel is my personal favorite in the City Center!

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($$) Mittapan Hotel

One of my favorite mid-range hotels in this area is Mittapan Hotel. Located just a few minutes walk from the River Kwai Bridge, you can enjoy comfortable rooms with air conditioning and free Wi-Fi access.

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($$) The RiverKwai Bridge Resort

Small, cozy, and located right on the River Kwai, The River Kwai Bridge Resort is a great choice if you're looking for budget accommodation with easy access to the city center. It offers spacious rooms surrounded by gardens, perfect for couples or those who want a peaceful stay in Kanchanaburi.

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($) Makan Resort

One of the best budget hotels and great value for money is the Makan Resort. This cozy yet modern resort is situated just a short distance from the river, and it even offers bike and scooter rentals for easy exploration of other parts of the city.

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2. Where to stay in Kanchanaburi for luxury & relaxation: Along Kwai Riverside

Where to stay in Kanchanaburi - Along Kwai Riverside

The Riverside area just outside of the Kanchanaburi Center is absolutely perfect if you're craving a proper vacation and want to simply unwind for a few delightful days.

You'll find that most of the resorts and hotels here are conveniently located right on the River Kwai, offering some of the best facilities in the entire region. When you stay here for a couple of nights, you really don't want to leave. I was amazed by the oasis-like resorts!

If pampering yourself with spa treatments and relaxing by the swimming pool doesn't quite excite you enough, then let me share the big highlight of the area with you: the Elephants World. It was an experience I definitely wouldn't have wanted to miss out on.

Best area for:

  • Relaxation

  • Resorts

  • Seclusion

Things to do in Riverside

Elephants World is the absolute highlight in the region, and for a good reason! When it comes to elephant sanctuaries in Thailand, it can be quite a challenge to decide which one is ethically acceptable to visit.

However, Elephants World might just be one of the best places to have a close-up animal encounter. The welfare of these amazing creatures is the number one priority here, and they are treated incredibly well. I highly recommend checking out this incredible place!

Best hotels to stay in Riverside

($$$) Royal River Kwai Resort and Spa

The Royal River Kwai Resort and Spa is my favorite luxury accommodation in the area. This serene riverfront hotel offers spectacular views of the area, lush gardens, a huge outdoor swimming pool, and plenty of spa treatments available for your enjoyment. The Royal River Kwai Resort is definitely one of the most luxurious stays in the area.

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($$) Princess River Kwai Hotel

When it comes to a mid-range stay, the Princess River Kwai Hotel is one of my top Kanchanaburi Hotels. Located right by the river and surrounded by beautiful nature, you'll be able to make the most of your visit here. The hotel also offers a swimming pool with a Jacuzzi and onsite restaurant for added convenience.

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($) Coco Coozy

Much more affordable but also located within green surroundings, Coco Coozy is one of the best budget accommodation options in this area. You'll enjoy comfy air-conditioned bungalows, as well as free Wi-Fi access and free parking.

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3. Where to stay in Kanchanaburi for budget travelers & backpackers: Thip Narong Village (Close to railway station)

Where to stay in Kanchanaburi - Thip Narong Village

Thip Narong Village is a centrally located, close to the famous bridge over the River Kwai and super affordable area. It's home to most restaurants, bars, and markets, and the Kanchanaburi railway station is located here as well, making it very convenient to get here from Bangkok. The Kanchanaburi bus station is only a few minutes drive also.

This area feels like a little countryside village in Thailand. You'll find loads of delicious street food, charming street-side restaurants, and amazingly affordable accommodation.

Even though it's not super touristy, the hostels in the area are top-notch and offer everything a backpacker wants and needs, from tours to bike rentals.

Best area for:

  • Backpackers

  • Budget Travelers

  • Foodies

  • Accessibility

Things to do in Thip Narong Village

If you're in the area, one of the most fascinating things to see and do is visit the Railway Museum (Thailand Burma Railway Centre). It's a very eye-opening experience.

Along with the JEATH War Museum, the Railway Museum sheds light on Thailand's past and the hardships endured by forced labor prisoners during World War II to build the railway. It may not be everyone's cup of tea as it can be a bit somber, but for those interested, it's a fantastic opportunity to learn about this important and sensitive subject.

On a completely different note, Thip Narong is a foodie's paradise! And let me tell you, one great restaurant here is On's Thai-Issan Vegan. They serve all the mouthwatering Thai classics from Pad Thai to Panang Curry and Mango sticky rice, and the best part is, that there are plenty of vegetarian and vegan options!

And for all street food fans and people on a budget, the JJ Kanchanaburi Nightmarket is located here too, which is always awesome for grabbing a cheap and delicious dinner!

Best hotels to stay in Thip Narong

($$$) Asleep Hostel

 Asleep Hostel is a great option for those looking for a bit of luxury on a budget. This stylish boutique hostel offers comfortable private and dormitory rooms with air conditioning and free Wi-Fi throughout.

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($$) Thyme Xeriscape Hostel

The Thyme Xeriscape Hostel is another great hostel located right in the city center. It is affordably priced compared to Asleep Hostel, yet still offers modern dorm rooms, a kitchen, and a lively atmosphere.

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($) Baanchaokoh Homestay

If you're looking for even cheaper accommodation, the Baanchaokoh Homestay is definitely worth checking out. This simple, family-run guesthouse features basic rooms with a fan and shared bathrooms. Moreover, the host is super friendly and will give you loads of tips on how to explore the region.

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($$$ Luxury option) Natee The Riverfront Hotel Kanchanaburi

Not your typical backpacker accommodation, but still amazingly affordable, is the luxurious Natee The Riverfront Hotel Kanchanaburi. You won't find a better-equipped hotel at this price. This super modern hotel is one of the best, complete with a swimming pool, a hot tub, and a fantastic breakfast buffet. If I ever want to treat myself a little then the Natee The Riverfront Hotel Kanchanaburi is my go-to spot!

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4. Where to stay in Kanchanaburi for families: Klang Mueng Kan Village

Where to stay in Kanchanaburi - Klang Mueng Kan Village

Just a little further away from the city center is Klan Mueng Kan, which is perfect for families or anyone seeking a quieter vibe while still being within walking distance of great restaurants, markets, and street food.

In Klang Mueng Kan you'll find some more affordable and kid-friendly hotels and homestays, so bringing along a bigger family is no problem at all.

The best part of the area is that Kanchanaburi Walking Street is right here as well, making it a mecca for street food fans. You can try anything from sweets to traditional Thai classics. Come and indulge in the deliciousness!

Best area for:

  • Families

  • Quiet Location

Things to do in Klang Mueng Kan

I absolutely love the two-night markets in the area. They're both definitely worth checking out. You've got the Kanchanaburi Walking Street close to the river, and a little further away from the River Kwai, you'll find the Kanchanaburi Night Market (only in Thai on Google Maps, this is the location here), which is also a great spot to shop for dinner, drinks, or souvenirs.

Best hotels to stay in Klang Mueng Kan

($$$) P.Y. Guest House

If you're searching for a cozy place to stay where the whole family can have a great time, P.Y. Guest Houses is definitely one of my top picks in the area! This lovely guest house offers air-conditioned rooms, bike rental, and a super friendly host.

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($$) Hop Inn Kanchanaburi

One of the best hotels for families that don't want to break the bank is definitely the Hop Inn Kanchanaburi. This modern hotel offers comfortable private rooms with air conditioning and a large breakfast buffet in the mornings.

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($) Canaan Guesthouse

Even more affordable is the Canaan Guesthouse. It's a charming little guest house centrally located and close to the bus terminal and it offers air-conditioned family rooms, making it perfect for you and the kids.

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5. Where to stay in Kanchanaburi for National Parks: Sai Yok

Where to stay in Kanchanaburi - Sai Yok

One of the biggest highlights and must-visit places are the national parks around Kanchanaburi. You've got Sai Yok National Park and Erawan National Park, and right between them is Sai Yok Town, the ideal location to stay for hiking and exploring.

The area is really quiet, and there isn't exactly a town here, but there are plenty of floating hotels. Yes, floating hotels! They are luxurious resort-type accommodations floating on the banks of the river, and they are something truly special.

So even if you decide to spend most of your time in the Kanchanaburi city center, I highly recommend coming up here for at least a night or two because it's an amazing experience.

Best area for:

  • Seclusion

  • Honeymoon

  • Couples Getaway

  • Hiking

Things to do in Sai Yok

The national parks have plenty of waterfalls and hiking trails, making it a blast to spend the whole day exploring Thailand's nature. You can go on your own or book day tours for a more stress-free experience.

Apart from the incredible national parks, another must-see while you're here is the Hellfire Path Interpretive Center. It's a part of the area's dark history, where the hellfire path was cut into the rock for the railway. Around 1,000 prisoners were involved in this challenging task, but unfortunately, many of them lost their lives during the work.

You'll have an amazing and exciting experience with Tree Top Adventure, located right next to the Hellfire Center. They offer thrilling zip lines through the lush jungle and across the river. It's definitely a super fun experience for the young and old.

Best hotels to stay in Sai Yok

($$$) River Kwai Jungle Rafts

River Kwai Jungle Rafts offers a unique and luxurious stay with private floating bungalows. This is one of the most popular and highest-rated accommodations in the area, as it provides an unforgettable experience. You can even take part in the jungle raft's many activities such as bamboo rafting or elephant trekking!

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($$) Hintok River Camp

If you're looking for something a bit more affordable, the Hintok River Camp features basic yet comfortable floating villas. It's perfect for those who want to stay close to nature and be away from the hustle and bustle of the city.

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($) Home Phutoey River Kwai Hotspring & Nature Resort

If you're looking for the most affordable option in the area, Home Phutoey River Kwai Hotspring & Nature Resort is definitely worth considering. This simple and cozy resort offers basic rooms with air conditioning as well as access to a hot springs pool—perfect for couples or families!

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Where to stay in Kanchanaburi – Frequently Asked Questions

✔️ Is Kanchanaburi worth it?

Absolutely! Kanchanaburi has so much to offer. Whether you're looking for beautiful nature, amazing street food, historical sites, or just a great place to relax in a resort, I recommend coming for at least a couple of days.

🏞️ What is there to do in Kanchanaburi?

There is a ton of things to do in Kanchanaburi. You can go visit the Death Railway and explore the historical sites, or take part in nature activities such as rafting, hiking, and visiting an elephant sanctuary.

🚂 How to get to Kanchanaburi?

I personally think that taking the historic train route from Bangkok is the best way to go! Not only will you get to enjoy breathtaking views of the surroundings during the 2.5-hour train ride, but it's also a fantastic experience. Of course, taking a taxi or a private shuttle is also an excellent option, although they might be a bit more expensive compared to the train.

📆 How many days should I spend in Kanchanaburi?

I would recommend at least 3 days, as it will give you time to explore the city and visit some national parks on a day trip nearby. However, if you're planning to do more activities such as rafting and trekking, then I suggest spending 5-7 days so that you can take your time

Where to stay in Kanchanaburi – Final Words

Kanchanaburi is absolutely amazing with its rich culture, history, and nature. That's why it has quickly become a favorite spot in Thailand! Especially when you've already explored the Thai islands and Bangkok is too noisy for you, Kanchanaburi offers a great escape to learn about the country and enjoy nature in the best possible ways.

I really hope that my guide, with my favorite areas and hotels, will make it easier for you to choose where to stay in Kanchanaburi.

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