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.
Map of Thailand highlighting Kanchanaburi Province
|• Total||19,483 km2 (7,522 sq mi)|
|Area rank||Ranked 3rd|
|• Rank||Ranked 26th|
|• Density||44/km2 (110/sq mi)|
|• Density rank||Ranked 74th|
|• HDI (2009)||0.733 (medium) (40th)|
|Time zone||UTC+7 (ICT)|
|ISO 3166 code||TH-71|
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.
The province is in the west of Thailand, 129 km from Bangkok, and covers a total area of approximately 19,483 km². It is the country's third largest province, after Nakhon Ratchasima and Chiang Mai. Topographically, it is covered with timber and evergreen forests. 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.
Several national parks are in the mountainous forest areas of the Tenasserim Hills of the province: the Erawan, Sai Yok, Khao Laem, Thong Pha Phum, Khuean Srinagarindra, and Chaloem Rattanakosin National Parks. The Thungyai Naresuan Wildlife Sanctuary is on the UNESCO world heritage list.
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.
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. 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.
Most foreigners are mainly aware of Kanchanaburi's recent history with the Death 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.
The provincial slogan is "A province of ancient community, three pagodas pass, precious stones, River Kwae Bridge, minerals and waterfall resources".
Kanchanaburi's main station is Kanchanaburi Railway Station.
Kanchanaburi Province is the site of Klity Creek, 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.
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.
- Table A1-1-1a. Prospective projects in Mekong sub-region
- Seals of The Provinces of Thailand
- "Rattanachart Mining Company". Archived from the original on November 13, 2011. Retrieved 21 Sep 2012.
- "Bo Phloi Sapphire". Retrieved 21 Sep 2012.
- "Sapphires from Thailand". Archived from the original on September 2, 2012. Retrieved 21 Sep 2012.
- Klity villagers fight never-ending battle
- "Thailand: Clean Up Klity Creek". Human Rights Watch. Retrieved 11 February 2016.