4 Days RV River Kwai | Downstream

4 Days RV River Kwai | Downstream

A colonial-tinted river cruise in one of the country’s most enthralling destinations

WHY THIS TOUR?

The epitome of river cruising in Thailand has almost been personified by the RV River Kwai. With its permanent base in the verdant green Kanchanaburi province, this traditionally built sailing example of how river cruises once dominated former Burma is the first inland vessel in the Kingdom and has set the standard of colonial sailing inside a more modern jacket.

An era of what once was seen as the sole means of transportation, owned and managed by the renowned Irrawaddy Flotilla, has been not only brought back to live yet also invigorates new ways to enjoy Kanchanaburi from the River Kwai. Offering on-shore explorations and seeing one of Thailand’s most prolific provinces from its deck, it is three nights colonial sailing galore with a high dose of relaxation.

TRAIL ITINERARY

Day 1 | 4 Days RV River Kwai | Downstream

Day 1

Bangkok – Ban Hin Dad                                                                                                   [L, D]

Guests will be warmly welcomed at their Bangkok accommodation by our representative before heading in western direction towards Kanchanaburi. Before reaching one of Thailand’s most well-known provinces, guests will admire Nakorn Pathom’s sizeable landmark. Called the Phra Pathom Chedi, it is South-East Asia’s tallest Buddhist monument with a 127-metre high stupa at the heart of this immense religious construction. Dating back to the 1850’s, the orange-tiled Chedi attracts Buddhist pilgrims from all over the world and is the centre of an annual (November) ten-day fair of merit making and traditional Thai entertainment.

The rugged landscape on both sides of the River Kwai is a paradise for adventure; caves such as the Khao Noi Cave Temple, located on the west bank of the Kwae Noi river, have led the way in seeing the inside of the province’s mountainous outlines with many of them having solidified their shape, location and intertwined myths with Buddhism. One of the two Chinese temples in the Kanchanaburi province, the Khao Noi Cave Temple is the better known one. Built in 1881, the murals and many smiling Buddha images are the main drawing power for local devotees and visitors who are keen to learn more about the Chinese influences in Thailand. We end the morning at the Wat Tham Suea, better known as the Tiger Cave Temple, one of Kanchanaburi’s most respected and outstanding examples of experiencing Buddhism. Home of the largest Buddha statue in the province (18 metres), its towering construction can be seen from afar and climbing the 157 stairs to the top for magnificent views over the agricultural region is seen as one of the main reasons for visiting this temple.

From here, we make our way into the Saiyoke district for a Thai lunch at a local restaurant.

After lunch, we follow the contours of the Kwae Noi River westbound to an important monument related to Kanchanaburi’s dominant role in the creation of the DEATH Railway. Constructed during the Second World War and now abandoned, the Hellfire Pass is located in the thick forest near km. 66 of Saiyoke – Thong Pha Phum Road. A long passage made through the stone mountain by the Allied prisoners of war indicated the extreme difficulty in constructing the Death Railway. The enclosed impressive museum will fill in the parts and/or give a much more extensive explanation, which is not shown inside the JEATH Museum.

A long day ends with embarking the RV River Kwai where you will be guided through the lay-out of this 10-cabin counting river cruise vessel before settling on deck for dinner. The captain and his crew assure that expectations are exceeded until disembarking back on the last day before heading back to Bangkok. Not to miss any of the stunning scenery of Kanchanaburi, the night will be spent moored at a serene spot along the Kwae Noi.

Accommodation is booked on board the RV River Kwai.

Day 2 | 4 Days RV River Kwai | Downstream

Day 2

Ban Hin Dad – Saiyoke                                                                                                     [B, L, D]

With the rising of the sun, welcoming another day in Kanchanaburi, guests will enjoy breakfast on board the RV River Kwai. There will be ample time to try out some of the chef’s favourite dishes, and what’s in season, as the captain navigates the river cruise ship downstream.

Its direct connection with Myanmar has made Kanchanaburi a melting pot of cultures and minorities. Protecting their heritage and teaching them their ways, a quick insight in a local boarding school along the Kwae Noi marks the beginning of the second day of river-based exploration. This particular school is constructed and maintained under the patronage of H.R.H. Princess Sirindhorn and provides a basic education for refugee children.

Next, we guide you to a natural phenomenon that actually was discovered by accident. Cited for its health benefits in one of Thailand’s most naturally-rich provinces near Bangkok, Kanchanaburi’s Hin Dad Hot Springs brings the healing power to its visitors in a well-developed area at Thong Pha Phum. Discovered by the Japanese during WW II, the hot springs has turned into an official health tourism destination in Thailand. Continue to the three-tiered waterfall of Pha Tad, located deep in the green heart of the Kanchanaburi province. It may not be an ideal spot for bathing and swimming but certainly adds value to any visit. Around 140 kilometres outside Kanchanaburi town, the wild running, cascading water is surrounded by reasonably pristine jungle and forests.

Following in our trails and welcoming guests again at the end of the morning, your floating overnight address awaits at a main embarkation point at Kaeng Pa Lorm. Optional touring options are available before lunch as the team yet with views of this magnitude, guests often opt to sit back, relax and let nature presents itself.

After having lunch at a local restaurant near the Saiyoke waterfalls, we continue by long-tail boat to a Kanchanaburi institution. The River Kwai Jungle Rafts is an ideal destination for everyone who seeks not only a magical place to getaway to but also a legend to be experienced. Only reachable by boat, all 110 rooms are floating on large bamboo rafts. Instead of using electricity, the management (read the Mon Hill tribe) conserve the natural ambience by using lamps for lighting rooms and the raft. Inclusions such as touring the nearby Mon village, enjoying the spectacular scenery will be bestowed and ending the afternoon with a 40-minute bamboo raft over the Kwae Noi are added bonuses before making our way back to the RV River Kwai for a Thai-style dinner.

Accommodation is booked on board the RV River Kwai.

Day 3 | 4 Days RV River Kwai | Downstream

Day 3

Saiyoke – Ban Khao                                                                                                          [B, L, D]

Matching the quality and service standards of any well-known river cruises in the region, having breakfast served in the semi open-air with the shores of the Kwae Noi a stone’s throw away is simply a joy to behold. To add up the ante, it is all done as the captain gently moves its trustworthy vessel further downriver. It is time to further enhance your relaxation techniques as we slowly make our way further downstream and admire Mother Nature’s creations.

With lunch served on board while following the aquatic path downstream with unparalleled views of the Kanchanaburi province, the next port of call is the Wang Po bridge where a visit to yet another, easy accessible cavern system marks the start of the afternoon. Kanchanaburi’s Krasae Cave once formed a natural shelter for those working on the infamous DEATH Railway. Nowadays, the cave is a permanent religious along the railroad tracks nearby Tham Krasae railway station to pay respected to the gilded sitting Buddha statue. Little of this resting place for prisoners-of-war and the camps surrounding the Krasae Cave are left.

No visit to Kanchanaburi is complete without riding over the infamous DEATH Railway. Starting from the Wang Po Bridge – one of the most photographed parts of the track where the steep mountain slopes on one side and views over the Kwai Noi on the other side separate the train –, it is here where the train decreases speed to almost crawl mode to navigate safely to the other side. The close to 20-minute train ride (3rd class) partially brings back an era of experiencing the atrocities of war.

We disembark at Tha Kilen for a short drive to Prasart Muang Singh. Officially called Prasat Muang Singh Historical Park, this ancient site is situated 43 kilometres out of Kanchanaburi on the bank of the Kwai Noi River and is believed to be the westernmost outpost of the Angkor-centred Khmer empire. Remains of a once-thriving city that was inhabited between the 12th and 14th centuries at the height of imperial glory are partially preserved and protected under national legislative laws.

It is time to unwind for the remainder of the day on board the RV River Kwai as you slowly descend further down the Kwae Noi River towards our final disembarkation point near Ban Kao for the night over. New experiences, meeting new people and exploring the deeper side of Kanchanaburi is celebrated with a farewell dinner on board. It is the time to share stories with your fellow river cruisers.

Accommodation is booked on board the RV River Kwai.

Day 4 | 4 Days RV River Kwai | Downstream

Day 4

Ban Khao – Bangkok                                                                                                         [B, L]

The final morning of this river cruise spectacle starts with a freshly prepared breakfast. The last part of this cruising adventure through the Kanchanaburi province commences with a downstream, slow-paced sail to a local mooring pier before driving further to the Wat Tham Khaopoon. This temple is a cavern-based temple, comprising of various religious statues spread across nine different rooms. Each of the naturally-formed caves are well-lit and easy accessible, making it one of the easier cave temples to visit. The temple was constructed in the late 19th century and has both Buddhist and Hindu religious shrines and altars.

We end the morning with visits to Kanchanaburi landmarks of historical importance. Internationally famous, thanks to several motion pictures and books, the black iron, curved bridge was brought from Java by the Japanese Army and reassembled by Allied Prisoners-of-War labourers as part of the “Death Railway” linking Thailand with Myanmar. Still in use today, the bridge was the target of frequent Allied bombing raids during 1945, and was rebuilt after the war ended. Next, the Thailand – Burma Railway Centre is an interactive museum with information and research facility dedicated to presenting the history of the Thailand-Burma Railway. The Museum has eight main galleries which tell the story of the Thailand-Burma Railway in a respectful, factual and non-partisan way by using state-of the art display techniques. To complete this morning, we pay our respects to the fallen at the main allied prisoner cemetery, situated right across from Kanchanaburi’s Thailand-Burma Railway Centre. The Don Rak War Cemetery is the main cemetery in Thailand as the final resting place for more than 7000 prisoners of war. Soldiers from various nations are buried here after being part of the construction of the DEATH Railway track, running from Myanmar into Thailand.

We re-join with the RV River Kwai crew at Saphan Mai for the last meal on board as the vessels sails its final metres of this 4-day journey to the Nong Ya dock. It is here where guests will check out of their cabins; say their goodbyes to all, before heading back to Bangkok. Guests are expected to arrive Bangkok’s metropolitan district at around 6pm for their final drive to their booked accommodation or to one of Bangkok’s international airports.

THINGS YOU SHOULD KNOW

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INCLUSIONS

  • Tours and transfers with licenced English-speaking guiding services / assistance. Other languages are on request and are subject to availability
  • Accommodation in sharing twin cabin (no double cabins on board) as outlined in the itinerary on board the RV River Kwai
  • Transportation for tour and transfers by air-conditioned vehicle, unless otherwise stated
  • All entrance fees for visits as mentioned in the description
  • All applicable taxes and service charges
  • All meals as indicated in the program (food only)

EXCLUSIONS

  • Personal expenses such as meals, drinks, tips and gratuities, shopping, portage fees and optional tours, unless otherwise stated
  • Hotel accommodation in the destination of commencement
  • Any domestic / international airline tickets, airport taxes, visa fees, specific camera / video fees, additional transportation cost from and to the general pick-up / drop-off regions (such as airports, out-of-town resorts, ports, harbours and accommodation in surrounding towns)
  • Any accommodation expenses of a personal nature. This includes (compulsory festive) meals and drinks, mini-bar consumption, laundry, room service, any telephone or other communication cost not mentioned in the program
  • International travel and medical insurance coverage for customers

GOOD TO KNOW

  • We will do all possible to comply with any dietary requirements during this tour; it may not always be possible to confirm your wishes in advance based on the choice of local restaurant.
  • We reserve the right to make necessary changes to the tour in case of unfavourable weather conditions or situations where we are forced to make alterations to guarantee the safety of our guests.
  • Guests traveling over and during local holidays may experience longer waiting times than normal, may see certain sites being closed down, and this program may be subject to supplementary charges.
  • Natural elements of any kind have a destructive effect on electronic equipment. It the customer’s own responsibility to ensure that any camera, mobile telephone or other device is properly wrapped and protected against these elements. We cannot be held responsible in any way for negligence and/or not following suggestions for any damage related to this.
  • We reserve the right to make necessary changes to the tour in case of unfavourable weather conditions or situations where we are forced to make alterations to guarantee the safety of our guests.
  • Tours and excursions often include obstacles of various kinds that may not make this excursion suitable for wheelchair users or guests with limited mobility.
  • The protection of the country’s flora, fauna and its historical and cultural treasures is of immense importance for us. We will not pursue any activities that are not in line with our animal, wildlife and environment protection principles.
  • Please ensure that you bring sunglasses, a hat /cap and sunblock with a high SPF factor when traveling with us. Even when it is cloudy, the sun still has an immense power.
  • All mentioned times, durations and stops are based on approximations and may change due to unforeseen circumstances, weather and traffic conditions beyond our control.

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