RS 101 - 2 Days / 1 Night Tour - River Kwai - Overnight at River Kwai Resotel (joint tour)
Daily departure from Bangkok, both as a private tour or joining ( SIC ) with other travellers.
Overnight at the River Kwai Resotel
Day 1. 06.00 - 07.00 AM - Pick up at your hotel by a minivan and transfer to the starting point of the tour. Departure from Bangkok around 7.00 AM. Accompanied by a English speaking guide. You will head out of Bangkok in the 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 take a coffee break and you have a possibility to stretch your legs. We continue 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 do 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, 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, a masterpiece of engineering and 50 years later, still in use. The tracks run along fields, and even some parts the rail road tracks are carved into the mountain sides, like a half a tunnel. On one side you only see the bare 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 hanging in the thin air. After a couple of hours our train-journey will come to an end, and we will disembark, our buss 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 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 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 Resotel.
The River Kwai Resotel
In this tropical rainforest and jungle setting approximately 200 km. west of Bangkok and only 18 km. East of the Burmese boarder you will find this charming Bungalow Hotel, on the shores of River Kwai Noi. The Hotel offers 40 Bungalows, white painted walls and strawroofs spread out in a fantastic tropical garden on the hillside above the riverbank. Each bungalow has a big room with a king sized bed or twin beds. Separate shower room and separate restroom. In the mainroom you will find colour TV. To enjoy wilderness and forget about citylife, there are no telephones or minibar in the room, but you are connected to the rest of the world from the main building, which is in a typical Thai styled wooden Teak-house, with a restaurant, bar, and a snookertable. This is also where all the meals are served, a combined restaurant and café, all in one room, with Thai rural antiquities displayed to create a wonderful atmosphere. This house has no walls "open" which lets the breeze flow through and keep it cool. It has a terrace overlooking the garden, pool, garden with the bungalows and the river. It is made like many Thai houses of teak wood. The garden pool has azure blue tails and is very inviting. Activities are offered by the Hotel, such as excursions along the river, visit to the Mon villages, elephant tours, canoeing & kayaking on the river and mountain biking. Group dinners may be arranged on the riverbank around a bonfire. A big cave not far from the hotel, absolute worth a visit. After a 20 minutes walk, you have some 60 steps to climb, but you will be rewarded as you enter this cave. The hotel has its own little pier, and 500 m down river you have a parking for cars and busses.
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, it is time for lunch, which is served on the terrace. A short rest after lunch, maybe a dip in the pool and we are ready for an afternoon stroll. Once again we board the long-tail boat an 10 minutes after we arrive at the Mon village. The Moners 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. Today we figure that we still have a group of about 600 000 Moners 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 and with a big smile on their faces.
Optional tour: Elephant Riding around the town, ½ hour or 1 hour. You can also feed the elephants, bananas available.
Afternoon at your own choice. Sitting by the pool 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 specialties and we would recommend the Thai bier called Singha bier, tasty and strong. After dinner you will be a guest at the Moners own show, this is a dance show performed by the locals. Their costumes are in beautiful silk and bright color. 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 pool for a fresh start of the day. But hot coffee is now served at the terrace in the main building. 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 we take a 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 the humidity is high. You can walk from one room to an other, and if you use your imagination, you can see things, animals, faces, a foot, flowers etc. - from 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 the 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 in 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 and you will arrive back in Bangkok in the late afternoon.
Tour Includes: Air conditioned car / coach with an English speaking guide, accommodation in shared twin room at River Kwai Resotel, all meals as indicated in the program ( 1 breakfasts, 3 lunches and 2 dinners ), Mon dance and Lawa Cave, entrance fees, train tickets, a joined roundtrip boat transfer.
RS 101 - 2 Days/1 Night Tour - River Kwai - Overnight at River Kwai Resotel (joint tour)