Even though I’ve been based in Thailand since 2009, I’ve spent most of my time in Bangkok.
So when I had the opportunity to join a short media trip sponsored by Khiri Travels, I decided to jump at the chance for a few days traveling around Kanchanaburi while staying at the River Kwai Jungle Rafts.
The River Kwai is a very famous river in Thailand, made especially famous during WWII during the brutal history of the Thailand-Burma railroad where thousands of prisoners of war perished during the construction.
After getting out of the van, we boarded a long tail speed boat that delivered us upstream to the floatel (a hotel that floats). The speed boat sliced through the chocolatey water with lush green cliffs on either side making the ride extremely scenic.
Fifteen minutes on the boat and we pulled up to the River Kwai Jungle Rafts, a peaceful retreat within the River Kwai (video) surrounded by nothing but flowing water and beautiful forest.
The wood and thatch rooms weren’t fancy, but they were extremely adequate, clean, and fully self sufficient with an en-suite bathroom. Since there was no electricity, light was provided by kerosene lanterns.
Dinner was served family style including a number of different Thai dishes.
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Unfortunately all the food was mild in flavor, catering particularly to foreign visitors, and not so much to local Thai food connoisseurs (I understand that they have to please a wide range of customers), but still good and fresh.
That being said, the atmosphere next to the river and dinner lit by lanterns was fantastic.
Each evening after dinner there’s an optional Mon music and dance performance that costs an additional 150 Thai Baht. It was a nice evening activity filled with energetic dancing and lively music.
The jungle rafts are an ideal place to relax and do just about nothing.
So after the dance performance I ended up immediately going to bed at 9 pm to take advantage of a long sleep while being serenaded by the rushing River Kwai and the occasional melody of frogs.
Breakfast was served from 7 am, and as you probably know, I always wake up to be the first person at breakfast. Coffee or tea, fried eggs, a slice of ham, a few potatoes, toast, and some extremely sweet pineapple made for a decent start to the day.
Just after breakfast at 7:30 am a couple of elephants and their trainers came to the front of the resort to bathe and feed them. The elephants were fed the watermelon and pineapple rind that I had just finished eating.
Throughout the day, the resort also offers elephant riding.
Nothing refreshes like a quick dip in the river. I really enjoyed going all the way upstream, jumping off the farthest raft, and then floating down the length of the resort. The water was perfect.
Since the rafts are built almost completely of wood and thatch, and illuminated by kerosene lanterns, fire is a real possibility. Luckily, the resort had clear directions on what to do in case of a fire… but I would personally probably skip all the way down to #6, and jump straight in the river!
Here’s a video about my stay at the River Kwai Jungle Rafts:
(if you can’t see the video, watch it on YouTube here)
A few things to take note of… there’s no hot water, no air condition, no fans. Don’t expect luxurious conditions, rooms are basic yet clean, and the beds are comfortable with mosquito nets provided. It’s a quiet peaceful place to stay – but other than relaxing there’s not a whole lot else to do.
Overall, lazying the day away in a hammock overlooking the River Kwai with a good book, or just contemplating new ideas is a fantastic way to spend the day at River Kwai Jungle Rafts.
NOTE: My stay at the River Kwai Jungle Rafts was sponsored, but this entire article is my own personal thoughts and opinions about my stay. If you book a stay using this link on Agoda, you’ll not only find some great deals, but I’ll get a small affiliate commission.