JR 101 - 2 Days/1 Night Tour - River Kwai - Overnight at River Kwai Jungle Rafts (joint tour)
Daily departure from Bangkok, both as a private tour or joining (SIC) with other travellers.
Overnight at the River Kwai Jungle Rafts, the Floatel
The River Kwai Jungle Rafts has a little piece of paradise to offer you in the heart of the jungle, and a visit to this floatel moored along the historical river of Kanchanaburi is a unique opportunity to step out of your everyday world into the nature. There are beautiful waterfalls to bathe in, Bamboo forest, wild orchids to view on jungle jaunts and deep and fabled caves to visit. You can ride elephants through the jungle and visit native Mon villages or simply bask in the sun and dice off your veranda for a swim in the river.
At the River Kwai Jungle Rafts, as dusk turns into night and the river changes its mood, the cool evening reverberates the magical sounds of Mon music and their bizarre Balinese-like dancing. The River Kwai Jungle Rafts opened in 1976. Now it comprises of 2 wings with 40 rooms in each wing. No electricity provided and oil lamps are the only means of illumination at night. Rooms are basic with attached shower and proper toilet facilities - 2 restaurants rafts each seating 80 persons, 2 lounge & bar rafts, 2 theatre rafts for Mon folk dance. Attractions and recreational activities include swimming, fishing, canoeing and rafting on the river.
Day 1. Pick up at your hotel by a mini van, transfer to the "start of the tour" point. Accompanied by a English speaking guide. You will head out of Bangkok in a Northwest direction and soon you will be on the countryside, or what people in Bangkok would say "up country". This drive will take about three hours, and we are soon into farm country, passing small towns and you will see many beautiful decorated temples along this road. Farm country as coconut farming, sugarcane and various types of fruit farming. During this early morning we will have a coffee break in order for you to stretch your legs. We are this morning heading in the direction of Burma. Our first stop of interest this morning is in the little town of Kanchanaburi, and our attention is on the famous rail road bridge known as "the bridge over the river Kwai" from the film of David Lean. You will have time to walk across this historical bridge, even to day this bridge is used by trains to cross the river. There after we will make a stop at the War cemetery, a memorial over the many Australians, who died in this tragedy and are buried here, victims of starvation, slavery and tropical illnesses. The war museum of JEATH, describing Kanchanaburi’s horrors during the second world war, here you can get an idea of what life was during this period, and the suffering of the people, who made this famous railroad track across the pass into Burma possible. In the late morning we will then board the historical "Death railway train" and take a historical ride up the valley. This beautiful scenic ride, takes you through jungle, farmland where coconut trees become a familiar picture, simple farms run their farms the same way today as done in the past centuries, farmers working on their small fields, or in the shade of trees, taking a break from hard work. Sugarcanes, papaya trees. Small towns with its little school in the center of town, all this glides slowly by as the train takes you deeper into the jungle. The breeze flows through the train windows and gives you the natural "air-condition", while the train takes us over a wooden bridge, manmade, the train slows down now, to show its respect to the unfortunate humans, who worked this masterpiece of engineering, 50 years later, still in use. The track runs along fields, and even some parts the rail road tracks are carved into the mountain sides, like half a tunnel. On one side you see only rock, so close you can touch it, on the other side of the train, you have a beautiful view over the river, and when you look down, it is like you are hanging in thin air. After a couple of hours our train-journey will come to an end, and we will disembark, our bus will again pick us up and bring us to the shore of the river. Here we will board a long-tail boat, this typical form of Thai transportation. Now we are going to sail up river, the trip is short only 15 minutes, but if you take a good look along the river banks, you can get to see animals drinking or taking their late morning shower. The river runs like in a canyon, on both sides, hillsides are rising from the river, and the greenery is fantastic, you are in the jungle. The only sound you hear is passing by long-tail boats going up river or down river. You will see some floating homes, with small balconies where the laundry is hanging out to dry in the sunshine. A different kind of life, but so calming for us busy city people. In this neck of the woods you will find tribes, especially along the river Kwai, you will meet the Mon people. Later on during this trip we will get to know them better. We are soon arriving the pier of our hotel, The River Kwai Junglerafts (the Floatel). We leave the long-tail boat here and climb the few steps up to the hotel. After a long, but interesting morning, hunger is present and after check in and time for, your lunch is served. A short rest after lunch, maybe a dip in the river and we are ready for an afternoon stroll to a Mon village. The Mon tribe is one of the many different tribes, who lives in Thailand. Originally they came from Burma, then settled in various parts of Thailand, this about year 600 AC. To day we figure that we still have a group of about 600 000 Mons in Thailand. The Mon people have their own culture and language. The Mon village we are visiting, receives the major part of income through tourism. This has a certain effect on their lifestyle. But still this gives them an opportunity to remain in their villages and work with agriculture, handicraft as earlier. Entering their little charming village you probably will have many questions, and your guide is there to answer you. Their humble lifestyle, way of living and yet so smiling. Children are playing in the shade of their "roof covered main street", dogs and cats, an amazing picture. We will walk by the grammar school, a roof and a blackboard and a teacher teaching the children, all willing to learn. All with a big smile in their faces. Not far from about 10 minutes by foot, we will visit a cave, a temple for a Mon monk, where he lives his life devoted to Buddha. Optional tour, elephant riding around the town, ½ hour or 1 hour. Afternoon at your own choice. Sitting by the river relaxing, looking at the mountain across the river. This scenery can get your thoughts wondering of to China, you will see caves, trees and flowers. Beautiful rock formations in different brown/reddish shades. Take a walk, or a swim. It is up to you. Dinner is served, again on the terrace, Thai specialities and we recommend the Thai bier called Sing bier, tasty and strong. After dinner you will be a guest at the Mons own show, this is a dance show performed by the locals. Their costumes are made of beautiful and very colourful Thai silk. The music is more lively than the original Thai classical dance. You will see that children as well as adults are taking part in this proud display of their culture.
Day 2. American breakfast is served, some of you have probably been up early enough to enjoy the river for a fresh start of the day. But hot coffee is now served at the terrace. You will suddenly realize that the sound of cars, busses and herds of people have changed to the sound of birds, the breeze and quietness. A good start of the day. After breakfast, a small boat ride and we walk through the jungle to visit a cave not far from the hotel. To get there you have to climb the first sets of stairs, 92 of them and the second set of stairs with 120 steps. But the visit is worth the hike. This cave is a lava cave and as we arrive it will be lit, in this way you can walk around and enjoy the many beautiful sights. It is cooler inside, but humidity is high. You can walk from one room to another, and if you use your imagination, you can see things, animals, faces, a foot, flowers, etc. - this all in the different stone formations inside the cave. Some places it looks like big waterfalls coming out of the stone ceiling. Different coloured stones and the sound of dripping water. In this cave you will find two Buddha images, which are honoured by Thai people. The walk around in this cave comes to an end and we have to find our way out again and prepare for the climb down into the valley again. Well back to the hotel, you will be served lunch, and have some time for relaxation before checking out of the hotel. Again a short ride with the long-tail boat, down stream to the pier where the bus is waiting, now the trip goes back to Bangkok, through interesting towns and nice scenery. You will arrive Bangkok late afternoon.
Tour Includes: Air conditioned car / coach with an English speaking guide, accommodation in shared twin room River Kwai jungle Rafts, all meals as indicated in the program (1 breakfast, 3 lunches and 2 dinners), Mon dance and Lawa Cave, entrance fees, train tickets, a joined roundtrip boat transfer.
JR 101 - 2 Days/1 Night Tour - River Kwai - Overnight at River Kwai Jungle Rafts (joint tour)