about 128 km west of Bangkok, Kanchanaburi (Kan or Kan'buri)
is the country's third largest province after Chiang Mai and
Nakhon Ratchasima with an area of 19,483 sq km. The province
borders Myanmar, Tak and Uthai Thani to the north, Myanmar
to the west, Suphanburi to the east and Ratchaburi and Nakhon
Pathom to the south.
province, which roughly lies along the valley of the Mae Klong
River, is heavily forested (54.8% of total area) with Thailand's
largest wildlife sanctuaries lying to the north. Unusual tooth-like
limestone hills leading up to the border areas give the province
an exotic look. Many of the country's most beautiful waterfalls
and best-known cave formations can be found in Kanchanaburi.
Dams have been built at the upper reaches of both the Khwae
Noi and Khwae Yai Rivers, creating large man-made lakes.
town of Kanchanaburi, established during the reign of King
Rama I, is located at the confluence of the Khwae Noi and
Khwae Yai Rivers, which merge to form the Mae Klong River
in the south of the province. It was built to act as a first
line of defence against Burmese invaders from the west. The
town is the site of the famous railway bridge of World War
II infamy that inspired the film "Bridge on the River Kwai"
starring Alec Guinness. Although much of the province remains
wild with some of the finest bamboo forests in Southeast Asia,
vast tracts of land around the provincial seat are given over
to sugar cane plantations.
has three seasons - cool, hot and rainy - as with other provinces
in the central region. However, temperatures in Kanchanaburi
can soar up to 40° C in the hot season, often several
degrees hotter than Bangkok. The mean temperature for 1997
was 28.6° C. During the evenings, temperatures are considerably
more pleasant and may be cool in mountainous areas. Annual
rainfall in Kanchanaburi is also lower than most other provinces
(670.0 mm in 1997).
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