Erawan National Park
Thailand has over 100 national parks, and the most visited of them all is Erawan. 65 km. or an hour and a half drive northwest of Kanchanaburi. Flocks of visitors come to see the seven-tiered waterfall that gives the 550-square-kilometre park its name.
The top level of the falls is thought lo resemble a three-headed elephant, called “Erawan” in Thai, thai is ridden by Indra in Hindu mythology. With milky turquoise waters tumbling over various cascades, the falls are wonderfully photogenic and thought by many to be Thailand’s most beautiful. Several of the pools below the falls arc idea for bathing in, especially level two, and they are much less crowded on weekdays. About 10 km, beyond the park headquarters is Than Phrathat, a large cave adorned with beautiful stalactites.
Srinagarindra National Park
Located just north of Erawan National Park, this park covers over 1,500 square kilometres. Since it is more difficult to get to than Erawan, it is less frequently visited, but nonetheless has some very special attractions, including Namtok Huai Mae Khamin, which also has seven levels and is a close contender to Namtok Erawan for sheer beauty.
As at Erawan, the water is generally a lovely pale green, but here it runs over a caramel coloured rockface, and there is a superb viewing spot directly in front. The easiest way to get to the falls is by a two-hour boat journey across the Srinagarindra Dam, a unique landscape of gesturing treetops rising from mirror-like waters.
Located 40 km north of Kanchanaburi, the small village of Bo Phloi has a Jewellery Handicraft Centre, where blue sapphires mined locally are fashioned into beautiful rings and pendants.
Kanchanaburi Safari Park
Just near Bo Phloi village, this safari park has a diverse collection of large African and Asian mammals, such as lions, tigers, bears, giraffes and Zebras. It is open from 9.00 a.m.- 6.00 p.m.
Chaloem Rattanakosin National Park
This tiny national park, situated just under 100 km, north of Kanchanaburi, covers just 59 square kilometres, but has two large caves and several waterfalls connected by a trail that begins at the visitor centre. Accommodation is available.
Another relaxing way to enjoy Kanchanaburi’s surroundings is to take a raft trip, which typically includes several of the nearby attractions, a leisurely lunch, and an overnight stay on the raft. For those with less time to spare, long-tail boats can be hired to visit a variety of riverside places.
Sai Yok National Park
The caves, waterfalls and teak forests of this 500 square-kilometer park, situated just over 100 km, northwest of Kanchanaburi, make it a popular destination, and it also has comfortable accommodation in rafts on the river. One of the park’s most impressive sights is Namtok Sai Yok Yai, which pours dramatically into the Kwai Noi River. The falls can be viewed from a nearby suspension bridge, or you can get right underneath them for a vigorous shower.
A little further upstream is Tham Daowadueng which is full of stalactites. Both the falls and cave are best approached by boat, which can be rented at the park. Though you are unlikely to catch sight of one, the park is home to the world’s smallest mammal- the hog-nosed bat. which weighs less than two grammes.
Prasat Mueang Sing Historical Park
Built around the end of the 12th century, this place was once the westernmost outpost of the Khmer Empire, strategically located on the banks of Kwai Noi River 43 km. west of Kanchanaburi. The shrine complex at the heart of the site has been restored to give an idea of the structure’s original size, and a few remnants of the original stucco omamentation can still be seen.
Surrounded by limestone hills, on the bank of the Kwae Noi, is the ancient city of Muang Sing, located in Tambon Sing of Amphoe Sai Yok. It is about 45 kilometers from Kanchanaburi, and 175 kilometers from Bangkok. The ancient city of Muang Sing is almost square-shaped, surrounded by moats, ramparts and laterite city walls. The laterite wall around the city is 880 meters long, with gates on all four sides.
The city area is about 1.03 square kilometers. The south wide of the wall winds along the Kwae Noi river; there is an embankment of earth on each of the other inner sides of the wall; the outer sides are enclosed with seven moats and ramparts. These moats and ramparts were probably constructed for the water control system, as well as for fortification. There are also six ponds in the ancient city, which were possibly used for religious and irrigation purposes.
Muang Sing : Its Historical Background
Muang Sing and Prasat Muang Sing. An ancient city and its monuments, can be dated to the13th and 14th centuries. The Bayon style in Khmer art, evidenced by the city layout and architectures, indicates the relationship between Muang Sing and the ancient Khmer Kingdom during the reign of King Jaya Varman VII (1177-1237 A.D.).
According to a stone inscription by Prince Vira Kumara in glorification of his father, King Jaya Varman VII, twenty-three cities were mentioned as places where the king enshrined images of Phra Jaya Buddha Mahanath. One of the cities, “Srichaiya Singhapura”, is believed by some academics to be the present day Muang Sing Khmer Sanctuary.
Other cities of the same period which were mentioned in the stone inscription were found, including Lavopura or Lop Buri, Suwanpura or the ancient city at Thang Phra mound in amphoe Samchuk of Suphanburi, Srisamphuk Pattana or the ancient city at Kosinarai in Amphoe Ban Pong of Ratchaburi, and Si Chai Watcharapura or Wat Kamphaeng Laeng in Phetchaburi.
The name “Muang Sing” was not mentioned in the official list of provincial cities of the Ayuthaya period, It was first known in the Rattanakosin or Bangkok, period during the reign of King Rama I, who founded Muang Sing as a front-line city for Muang Kanchanaburi, King Rama IV later conferred the title of Phra Saming Sing Burin to the ruler of Muang Sing. The reformation of provincial administration during the reign of King Rama V reduced Muang Sing to the statue of Tambon Sing.
There are four monuments inside the city wall of Muang Sing. The principle monument (Monument No.1) is almost in the middle of the city, just a bit to the southeast, facing the eastern gate. The Monument No. 2 is near the northwest corner of Monument No.1 Monument No. 3 and the Monument No. 4 are about 200 meters southwest of Monument No.1
Monument No. 1
This monument is a building complex comprising wall, gates, gallery, and several buildings. It was built of laterite blocks decorated with stucco reliefs, and plastered. A main building (Prasat) is a single tower-like ruin standing at the center. The radiating Bodhisattava Avalokitesavara statue was presumably installed in this building. This building is encompassed by a laterite gallery, the southern side of which was never completed. There are four gateways (Gopura), one of each side of the gallery wall. Monument No.1 was laid out in the form of a mandala, a mystical diagram of the universe. Mount Meru, at the center of the world, is symbolized by the Prasat in the middle of the sanctuary complex, while the continents and oceans are represented by ponds, ditches and dikes.
In the northern gallery, the wall is carved in low relief, depicting a four-handed person believed to be the Bodhisattava Avalokitesavara.
In Front of the Prasart, there is a small rectangular building on the southeast corner inside the gallery boundary which faces to the west or the Prasart. It is thought to be a library where Buddhist texts were kept.
This building is also a building complex, situated to the northwest of ancient Monument No.1 facing east. Like the first group, this complex is constructed of laterite, supported with wood, and covered by lime plaster. It consists of three tower style structures lying in a north-south direction on the same foundation. There are only two gateways on the east and west.
The southern gallery walls are blank, but the interior wall of the north was open, as indicated by a row of wooden post holes. Bases of statues were reputedly found inside this gallery. Parts of sandstone sculpture found were images of Bodhisattava Avalokitesavara and Prajnaparamita, both in the Bayon style of Khmer art, made by local craftsmen. Other antiquities found include four bronze figures of Naga, used as decorations for palanquins.
These ancient ruins are parts of a building of small scale, made of brick and laterite. The base consists of three levels; the first level is flat and square and is made of laterite, the middle level is of ornamental moulding in brick, and the upper level is made of laterite.
Situated to the west of the ancient Monument No.3, this ancient monument is now a ruin with only its base remaining, it is a rectangular building, divided into four sections. The floor inside the building is made of compressed sand gravel with traces of laterite blocks. Fragments of plinths for sacred statues and incomplete religious sculptures were also found archaeological evidences.
The Watchtower Fort:
on Lard Krating hill in the historical park, constructed by imitating Phra Kal Fort in Bangkok. It can be mounted to watch the geography for a clearer picture and understanding of what the lecture is all about.
The Historical Park’s Signboard: a meaningful commemoration of Thailand’s victory over Burma with 4 Thai Flag posts, which represent the 4 troops, standing on 9 tree stumps, which represent the nine troops of Burmese army.
How to go : Take the Highway No. 3199 from the City of Kanchanaburi heading to Sri Sawasdi District. Around the KM. 24, there is a sign showing the way to the historical park, turn left and further for about 600 meters on road under the Rural Development Acceleration Project. The historical park has a vast parking lot, shops selling drinking water and soft drinks, and toilets to serve the tourists.
Prasat Mueang Sing Historical Park:
Facilities : A parking lot, souvenir shops, restroom and a food shop, which is opened only in the morning, are available here.
• A rented bike: 20 baht/an hour
• Two park’s guesthouses: 300 baht/house/ a night/ ten people
• A rented tent is also provided.
Muang Sing Historical Park is opened everyday between 08:00 a.m. – 04:00 p.m.
Admission fee : 10 baht/each Thai folk
: 40 baht each foreigner
For more information, please call Muang Sing Historical Park
How to get there :
By Car : Drive along the Highway no. 323 from the town area, and then go straight on the junction at the 15th km, some 7 km away.
By bus : Take a bus from the town, Kanchanaburi-Sangkhlaburi, the fee is 30 baht. Then continue with a motorbike at Than Kilen Junction to the park, the fee is 40 baht.
By train : Catch a train, Bangkok Noi-Kanchanaburi-Namtok, to Muang Sing Historical Park. It departs 3 times a day, 05:56 a.m. – 01:45 p.m.
For more information please call (66)3451-1285.
Rail Journey to the Waterfall
One of the best ways to see the countryside around town is to take the two hour journey by train from Kanchanaburi to the waterfall which operatcs three times a day. The train stops regularly at attractive village stations, and the views from the left side are particularly impressive as the route passes through steep gorges and round sheer cliff faces.
The most popular attraction is Namtok Sai Yok Noi. located a few kilometres north of town, but boat operators also offer trips up and down the river before the train returns.
This small town which lies 224 km. northwest of Kanchanaburi and near to the Myanmar border is home to an ethnic mix of Thais. Mons and Karens. It sits at the north end of the Vajiralongkom or Khao Laem Dam, a huge expanse of water that stretches over 70 km. south. Due to its remoteness it receives few visitors, but those who make it here can enjoy relaxing boat trips around the dam. organised by the few resorts and guest house in town.
State Railway of Thailand also provide Traveling Service to attraction area in Kanchanaburi on weekend and holiday. Please go to Kanchanaburi page for more information.