Your three-day tour of western Thailand includes round-trip hotel transport from Bangkok by air-conditioned minivan and transfers between locations – including magnificent rides by long-tailed boat, bamboo raft, elephant and railway.
Enjoy two nights of private accommodation in 4-star jungle hotel resorts, including seven meals, and relax amid the beauty of the natural landscape along the River Kwai!
Day 1: Bangkok – River Kwai (L, D)
Your guide will pick you up from your downtown hotel in the early morning, driving 80 miles (128 km) west of Bangkok to Kanchanaburi Province by minivan. First, head to the interactive museum and research center of the Thailand-Burma Railway Centre, which preserves the history of this famous 260-mile (415-km) stretch of Death Railway, built during WWII by Asian laborers and allied prisoners of war.
Head inside the air-conditioned museum by way of a replica wooden bridge to view exhibits in eight main galleries. Pass through a mockup railway boxcar used to transport prisoners, and look over panels that portray their capture as you learn how the Japanese planned the infamous route.
You’ll spend about a half hour at the museum before your guide transports you to the Allied War Cemetery. At the memorial, learn about the 6,000 allied POWs who perished along the railway line and were buried here after the war. Then, visit the world-famous bridge over the River Kwai – a section of the Death Railway.
Around noon, take a long-tailed boat on the River Kwai to check in at the River Kwai Jungle Rafts, a floating hotel nestled in the midst of the tropical jungle and the historic River Kwai. Dine on a delicious Thai lunch as you enjoy the view of river and the jungle. After a bit of time to rest, take an exciting boat ride downstream to Resotel Pier. Upon disembarkation, continue by road to reach the Hellfire Pass Memorial.
Follow your guide on a tour through the Hellfire Pass Memorial Museum to learn about the history of the Thai-Burma Death Railway and the moving stories of the prisoners who were forced to work on this bridge. Follow the steps of these prisoners as you continue on along this moderate walking trail of Hellfire Pass (also called Konyu Cutting) and reach the Kwai Noi Valley lookout, which will give you a beautiful and peaceful view of the Kwai Noi Valley.
Return to the River Kwai Jungle Rafts to enjoy dinner around 7pm, followed by a 45-minute traditional dance performance by members of the nearby Mon hill tribe.
Overnight: River Kwai Jungle Rafts in River Kwai
Day 2: River Kwai (B, L, D)
Enjoy an American breakfast and spend your morning at leisure – bird watching, swimming, strolling or enjoying a Thai massage (own expense). After lunch, your guide will accompany you on a walk up the hill to visit the Mon tribal village.
Here, learn about the traditional way of life of the Mon people – an ethnic minority originating from Myanmar (Burma) – as you explore the cozy souvenir stalls of the Mon market, visit the Mon temple serving the religious and spiritual needs of the Mon people and see a Mon preschool. Then, take an exciting 45-minute ride through the bamboo forest on the back of an elephant!
Around 2:30, check out of your accommodation and be taken to River Kwai Resotel aboard a bamboo raft – an approximate 45-minute ride. Enjoy more free time at your river resort until dinner around 7pm.
Overnight: River Kwai Resotel in River Kwai
Day 3: River Kwai – Bangkok (B, L)
After eating an American breakfast around 7am, enjoy several hours at leisure before checking out of your hotel at 11am. You’ll have lunch at a local restaurant before taking a historical ride on the Death Railway Train. During the 45-minute train ride, your guide will provide commentary and point out landmarks like the original wooden viaduct you’ll pass along the way.
Your journey ends with transport by minivan back to your Bangkok hotel, leaving at 2:30pm and arriving around 6pm.