Two trains a day leave Bangkok Station in Thonburi, just across the river from Khao San Road area. Both are 3rd class, morning one departs at 7.45, taking 3 hrs, afternoon one departs 13.55 and is 30 minutes quicker. I suggest you take the morning one but allow plenty ime to get the passenger boat across the river or you will find yourself waiting at the station for 6 hrs if you miss it. The fare is 100 baht which is good enough to get of at the main station, where many of the budget guest houses by the river can be reached in a short walk.
Travelling to Kanchanaburi can be achieved in a few ways . one option is to take a train from The main "Hualampong" Central Railway station in Bangkok ..The trains are regular take about 60 minutes or more and are reasonably inexpensive. Another option is the one that I took and I organised with the Hotel for a "hire taxi "for the day which was a great option as my driver was a really friendly man who spoke good English and just waited as we visited quite a few sites over the course of the day..depending on your bargaining skills you can reach a good price.but make sure that this is agreed to before even setting out.!!
Typically if you take a private song teow, it will cost you in the range of 1,200 baht to 1,800 baht. This depends on whether you want to go only to one place or multiple places. For example, you could hire the song teow for the whole day and they will take you to Erawan and then to Hellfire Pass.
Please take note that the museum in Hellfire Pass closes at 4pm. Travelling time from Erawan to Hellfire Pass is about an hour. And travelling time from Xanadu to Erawan is about 1 to 1.5 hr. Erawan also closes at 4pm.
Alternatively you can take a local bus from the Kanchanaburi bus station to Erawan. The travel journey is about 1.5 hour and the first bus leaves at 8am. There is a bus every 50 min but recently the bus for 9.30am is stopped. The last bus from Erawan back is 4pm.
Visit Kanchanaburi by train is a good idea. The view along the railway are really nice, approximately 3 hour from Bangkok to Nam Tok the last station in Kanchanaburi. Normally trains leave from Bangkok Noi Station every day at 7.35 a.m. and 1.45 p.m. On the weekend, there is special train leave from Hualamphong Central Railway Station at 6.30 a.m. on Saturdays, Sundays and public holidays.
BKS public buses (line 81) leave from Bangkok's Southern Bus Terminal (Sai Tai Taling Chan). In Kanchanaburi, there are two separate but nearby bus terminals, with 1st class buses departing from an office off Thanon Saengchuto, and 2nd class buses from the larger terminal one block east.
1st class buses should leave Bangkok every 15 minutes from 05:00 to 22:30, take about 2 hours, and cost 106 baht, including a bottle of water.
I hired a bike for an afternoon in order to get around the sites as they are quite spread out. I hired it from a place along the road that goes to the Bridge over the River Kwai from the Allied War Cemetery. It cost 30B for the afternoon and I think they charge 50B for the whole day.
Trains leave Bangkok's Thonburi Train Station at 07:45 and arrive at Kanchanaburi at 10:25, also at 13:55 and arriving at 16:20. You may be interested in buying a ticket all the way to the River Kwai Bridge, since these two trains are the only ones which cross the bridge each day. Return trains leave at 07:20 and 14:44 from the main railway station; from the River Kwai Bridge they leave 6 minutes earlier.
We got up early on Saturday to get to Bangkok Noi Thonburi station.When we arrived at the old station we found out that it had moved to the busy market area up the road.My friends got to the station first so they bought the tickets.Thonburi to Kanchanaburi Departure time 7:45 am Arrival time 10:20 am and only 3rd class ticket 25 baht. Wow so cheap and very hard wooden seat !
There was alot of confusion at the station about which train we were ment to get on.Even Thais didn't seem to know ,so there were a few westerners looking confused.
We finally got things sorted but really there was no rush because the train left 45 minutes late.What do you expect for 25 baht? A mellow ride but If you are in a hurry don't catch the train.It's' very' slooooow.....
The best way to get to Kanchanaburi is by train. It is a wonderful old train heading daily from Thonburi (western district in Bangkok) to Kanchanaburi. It is important to note that this is not Hualamphong, it is the Thonburi station. It is only 3rd class seats (~25 Baht), old wooden benches, but the number of occupants is usually light. So you get to lean out the window and catch some fresh air, as there is no air conditioning. The ride is about 3 hours, so it's best to hit the morning train (7:45am). And when you get to Kanachanaburi you are not far from the city center, a short walk or tuktuk ride.
You can reach Kanchanaburi easily by bus from the Southern Bus Terminal in Bangkok. There are frequent buses that can get you there. Avoid the ordinary bus as they make lots and lots of stops along the way. I learned it the hard way and the bus got very crowded, and I had to change to another bus at one point. There was no room on the 2nd bus and I had to stand for the last part of the journey. It took me 3 hours to get there. Guidebook said that it should take 2 hours.
We attempted to catch bus nos 30 from Phra Ahtit to take us to the Southern bus terminal (Lonely Planet said that is the bus),only to discover that the one that we were on did'nt go there. So we flagged a taxi and went to the bus terminal. Taxi cost 55B.
Bus from the southern bus terminal costs 83B a person and it took us 2 1/2 hours to get to Kanchanaburi.
We have taken a minibus from Bangkok before and that took over 3 1/2 hours. They will try and charge you 200B each for that.
We decided to explore a bit more. After advice from an expat that we know here, we hired a 125cc moped from the bike place to the right of the Jungle bar. It cost us 200B for 24 hours. The moped was reliable.
Jungle Bar is further down to the right, on the opposite side of the road to the Jolly Frog. Mae Nam Kwae Road.
We decided to get the minibus this time from Bangkok to here. We knew that it cost 150B each coming the other way as we had done it before. We popped into a travel agent on Soi Rambuttri and were shocked to be quoted 250B each. We started to walk out, when we were asked what price we were looking for? We said 150B as that is how much is charged coming the other way. The travel agent was very surprised that we knew the price. After a quick call we were offered 170B each.
The minibus was 30 minutes late picking us up. We were driven around the corner and transferred to another bus. To our surprise we were dropped off at the Jolly frog as requested.
CORRECTION- Minibus from Jolly Frog 120B not 150B as stated.
We have a word of warning from an expat here about hiring motorbikes, mopeds. We have been warned not to hire bikes from the bike place to the left of the entrance to the Jolly Frog. You will get a bad bike which is likely to break down. Only when you break down and complain, you may get a better bike. You have been warned.
Rather than get the train (which is not recommended unless very brave), we opted for the air con bus. The journey should only take 2 hours. 3 and a half hours later we arrived (the bus driver has a side line business going on). Most of the time he drove okay, but at one point he was driving like a maniac (the passengers shouted at him to slow down). If you want to feel the benefit of the 'air-con' (faint breeze) sit by the window. Anyone sitting in the aisle will not feel any air coming their way. Costs 84B per person, so it is cheap. Also more leg room compared to Indian and Nepali buses. You catch the bus from Southern Bus Terminal, leaves every 15 minutes.