West of Bangkok
West of Bangkok is an extensive rural area in Central Thailand. It is popular for its floating markets, rural way of life, natural scenery and the infamous Burma Death Railway.
- Kanchanaburi — the famous Bridge over the River Kwai, World War II museums, national parks and waterfalls
- Nakhon Pathom — home to the tallest stupa in the world
- Ratchaburi — off the tourist trail, boasts some museums and natural scenery
- Samut Sakhon — known for its fresh seafood and fruit
- Samut Songkhram — also known as Mae Klong and boasts the Mae Klong Market
- Sangkhlaburi — last town before Three Pagodas Pass
- Amphawa — very popular floating market among the locals
- Damnoen Saduak — floating market on steroids, picture perfect but feels increasingly set-up for tourists
- Erawan National Park — the beautiful seven-tiered Erawan Falls
- Three Pagodas Pass — the famous pass between Thailand and Myanmar
Every morning the tourist coaches from Bangkok make a beeline for the floating markets. Damnoen Saduak is widely visited by foreigners, while Amphawa is a weekend attraction flooded by Thais. Kanchanaburi is another highlight, particularly for the Bridge over the River Kwai and the associated World War II museums. Nakhon Pathom is known for the Phra Pathom Chedi, the world's tallest stupa. Some of the bookable tours from Bangkok manage to include all these attractions in a single day itinerary.
This is a sparsely populated region with endless fields of rice paddies, shrimp farms and fruit orchards. A scenic way to see the countryside is by taking the Mae Khlong Railway, a slow and rustic train from Bangkok to Samut Songkhram that rides at a snail's pace. A boat transfer at the fishing village of Samut Sakhon is included. Going further west, the terrain becomes mountainous. Kanchanaburi functions as a hub for the natural scenery here, and from there you could visit Erawan National Park or the Sai Yok Noi Falls.