Kanchanaburi is a city in Thailand located where the rivers Kwai Noi and Kwai Yai meet. Just a couple of hours away from the bustling capital of Bangkok, this area is known for its natural attractions and waterfalls, making it an ideal destination for those who prefer nature and adventure getaways compared to party beaches and shopping.
After a scenic ride through the countrywide on the historic “Bridge Over River Kwai” train during our Thailand Through Her Eyes Tour with the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT), our hotel here for two nights was River Kwai Village Hotel, the first and only luxurious jungle resort in Thailand.
River Kwai Village Hotel is located in the upper part of the River Kwai Valley, approximately 70 kilometers from the world renowned “Bridge on the River Kwai.” The whole area is located at the edge of an unspoiled mountain range, so the weather here is much cooler than the other provinces of central Thailand.
Getting here by public transportation may be challenging, but the hotel is easily accessed by daily air-conditioned coach vans, which can pick up guests from hotels in Bangkok. One-day and overnight package tours are operated daily.
River Kwai Jungle Resort offers four different styles of luxury living, with a total of 191 rooms. I was booked in one of the spacious and airy suites of the River Wing, a 3-story building located on the banks of the river. The room was well-equipped with all the amenities you’d expect in a high class hotel and came with two Queen-sized beds put together to make a giant bed. A small balcony and cushioned bay window offered a beautiful view of the river and villas below.
Other types of rooms include the Raftel, the villas situated on floating rafts by the riverbanks; The Royal Wing, which is luxuriously decorated in Thai style with the panoramic view of the river; and the Mountain Wing, five one-story cabins located on the mountainside.
JUNGLE WATER PARK
While the lush natural surroundings attracts adventure travelers, it’s the other amenities that make the place ideal for family vacations, kid-friendly travel and group trips with friends. River Kwai Village Hotel has its own Jungle Water Park located in the valley and river bank. A swimming pool is located in the center of the hotel, surrounded by natural waterfalls.
To preserve the jungle atmosphere, River Kwai Village Hotel designed everything to preserve the natural beauty of the valley. The modern comfort facilities is integrated fully with the natural landscape.
The hotel’s in-house jungle-themed restaurant offers a variety of dishes ranging from authentic Thai cuisines to European cuisine. A wide selection of light snacks and cool beverages can be enjoyed by guests who choose to relax in the hotel. Guests can just savor the refreshing scenery, while sipping a cocktail or ice-cold Singha beer by the poolside, or cruise down a raft on the river. The breakfast buffet selection was pretty wide and all the meals served were delicious and beautifully presented.
At night, we were treated to a rare cultural dance show featuring performers from the neighboring Mon tribal village. This authentic and original dance, which can be seen in villages in Myanmar, is passed down through generations.
Though you’ll probably want to take most of your meals in the in-house restaurant for convenience, there are other restaurants and resorts along the river, including River Kwai Resotel, another jungle-style restaurant and bar located at the resort’s clubhouse overlooking the river. Guests can order their favorite Thai dishes including Pad Thai, Tom Yum and Som Tam, as well as International cuisine.
GETAWAY TO ADVENTURE
The hotel’s prime location makes it a good base for exploring the rest of the historical sites in the rest of Kanchanaburi in Thailand. From here, you can visit historical points of interest, World War II sites, and natural attractions like Sai Yok Waterfall. While staying here, we spent one morning exploring the traditional Mon Village and went cruising down the river on a boat.
ROCK VALLEY HOT SPRING & SPA
River Kwai Village Hotel is also a great base for those looking to just relax and rejuvenate. One tourist draw is the natural mineral hot springs known as “Rock Valley Hot Spring” about 5 kms from the Hotel.
During our last full day, we all enjoyed soaking in the hot springs of varying temperatures. The resort contains a Dr. Fish spa and 15 herbal pools scented with everything from coffee to eucalyptus tea. We also tried out some of their pampering treatments like full body mud spas and mud spa facials.
Another draw for adventurous travelers who’ll be staying at River Kwai Village Jungle Resort is the Xtreme Centric Park, which offers activities like zorbing, flying fox, skycycling, and Euro Bungy to name a few.
I really wanted to try the DTV Shredder, a new type of off-road vehicle which looks like a cross between an ATV and a Segway. The compact Dual Tracked Vehicle Shredder is like a combination tank, skateboard and motocross bike, transforming the outdoors into your personal playground. Too bad we didn’t get to try it during our visit.
NOTE: This trip was made possible by the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT).
ADDRESS & CONTACT INFO:
River Kwai Village Hotel is located in 74/12 Moo 4, Thao Sao, Sai Yok Kanchanaburi, Thailand. For more information, visit www.riverkwaivillagehotel.com