A REVIEW OF THE KANCHANABURI ADVENTURE AND NATURE EXPLORATION


River KwaiThe allure of Thailand as a tourist destination is as diverse as its travel destinations that range from fantastic city sights to azure blue seas and the fascination of history past. Deciding on what to do or see in Thailand is quite a decision as it is no different from a child being in a candy store. History buffs or those who are into nature, eco-tourism or adventure tours will find the Kanchanaburi Adventure and Nature Exploration by Thaitourismguide to be one of the most fascinating tour packages available for just out of city adventures.

The province of Kanchanaburi is just a very short drive out of Bangkok City and the tour provides full transfers ( if transfers are included during your booking from Bangkok to Kanchanaburi and back to Bangkok) so just be ready to leave early in the morning for this adventure packed tour. We recommend that it be an early to rise and shine day as the pick-up time is at 8.00am in the morning from your hotel so that just gives you enough time to grab a quick breakfast before meeting up with your tour group to head out to Kanchanaburi.  A point to note – make sure you bring your own set of towels, change of clothing and sun tan lotion as well as a hat. You will be trekking and swimming at the waterfall in the National Park along with several other little adventures.

The itinerary presented to us indicated that we would be trekking in the national park, swimming at the waterfall, riding on elephants, bamboo rafting and a train ride on the famed “Death Railway” so we were quite eager and excited to get started on this full day tour.

First location on the agenda after an hour drive would be the Erawan National Park which is famous for its cascading Erawan waterfalls and rapids that makes it a beautiful place for a swim. When you reach the entrance of the National Park, it would require a nature trek on the way up to the waterfall. Here you will get to experience first-hand what a tropical jungle is like with all the mostly flora but not many fauna if the group is too noisy! It is an easy trek for about a half hour or so and the best scenery of the tropical rainforest is all around you. Huge trees of all shapes and sizes, many of which are believed by the locals to harbour the spirits of the forest and therefore they are greatly respected and revered.  Before long you will hear the sound of the waterfall long before you see it as it tumbles over boulders and high drop-offs. This waterfall, known as the Erawan Waterfall is one of the top 10 waterfalls in Thailand and a very famously photographed site. After the trek you would welcome a nice cool dip in its emerald waters and crystal clear pools. Best time to go would be during the dry seasons when there is less rain if you are expecting clear waters in the catch pools. Best times to visit would be September to March, so do bear this in mind. You will get to spend about an hour to enjoy the cooling dip in these refreshing pools and enjoy the cascading power of the waterfall over the rock formations. Do remember to bring your swim wear and a camera for memories of this beautiful place as a remembrance of your trip here!

By theerawanwaterfall end of your swim and frolics in the pools of the Erawan Waterfall you would be famished and longing for a bite to eat. There is plenty of mineral water supply throughout the trip and a nice lunch is provided consisting of local Thai dishes and light dessert of fruits to accompany the meal. After lunch it is off to the elephant camp for an elephant adventure trek. Here you get a chance to get to know your elephant and its mahout, how to care for the elephant, feed it and go on a half hour trek in the coconut plantation and fringes of the tropical rain forest. Throughout the trek you will be seated on a “hide” which is a small two seater sedan chair with a harness attached to the elephant. Enjoy your view from a great vantage point on the back of the elephant as it plods its way along the trail and appreciate the gentleness of this amazing pachyderm.

After the ride and saying goodbye to these wonderful creatures is another trek to the fast flowing river with its multitude of rapids for an exciting bamboo rafting adventure. Some of the rapids are fairly gentle but others are a little faster paced. Before getting on board the bamboo rafts, you will be given a short tutorial on how to wear your safety gear which is an impact helmet and life jacket. Then you will be instructed on what to do while you are on board the raft and safety measures as well as what to do should you fall overboard. It is a fairly safe activity and the raft is supervised and sailed by an experienced guide and instructor. The bamboo raft itself is constructed of sturdy bamboo poles interlocked and twined with high grade ropes to form a sturdy platform for you to sit on.  As you traverse the river starting at a slow pace and as it slowly picks up speed, you will get to enjoy the sights along the river banks but by the time it reaches the more fast paced rapids you will have a thrill ride of your life as you bounce and hang on to the raft while it tumbles and swerves in the class 1 and 2 rapids. It is about a 20 to 30 minute ride down to the small drop off point where at the end of the ride you will be feeling shaky legged but exhilarated. Please be advised that it if you are carrying camera equipment it or hand phones it is best to have it secured in waterproof pouches and attached to your bodice so it does not get lost, damaged or wet in the ride as your equipment is your sole responsibility. When you reach the small dock you can change your clothing before getting on board your transport to be ferried to the train station for the last leg of your tour.

By this time it would be around 3.30pm as you make your way to the Wang Poh train station where you will get on board a train that plies part of the old Death Railway route along the River Kwai. This route is the famed and notorious Death Railway route which was constructed during World War Two by the allied prisoners of war such as the British, Australians, American, Polish and other Asian communities who were conscripted by the Japanese to work under harsh and deplorable condition. The railway runs from Malaya all the way to Burma which was the route to keep the Japanese troops supplied with armament, food and troops during their conquest of Asia Pacific colonies during the war. Many prisoners of war died during the construction of this railway, hence giving it the name of the Death Railway and aptly depicted in the Movie Bridge on the Kwai.

A ride on the train will bring you to parts of the original route constructed by the prisoners of war which runs along the mountain side parallel to the river Kwai and crossing over on the infamous River Kwai Bridge. Here you will understand and experience part of the construction efforts by the prisoners, the difficulty it was to construct in such harsh terrains and the number of lives sacrificed in the construction. It will be a nostalgic ride for those who had lost relatives or knew of friends of old missing during their time interred at this place. For those who are too young to know about this place except from movies and history books, it is a good point to keep your eyes and mind open to how these tracks were constructed and what it must have taken from the high toll of lives lost working under tortured and deplorable conditions which all eventually culminated to the prisoners final resting places in the war memorials around the town of Kanchanaburi.

riverkwai2It will be a one hour ride from Wang Poh station to Tha Kilaen station where your van will be waiting for the one hour plus ride back to your hotel or to Kanchanaburi town depending on your transfer arrangements. It is advisable to make full transfer arrangement from your hotel to Kanchanaburi and back as you will be quite exhausted by the time the trip ends. Your tour package of the Kanchanaburi nature and adventure tour included all entrance and train tickets cost as mentioned in the tour package, a lunch meal, ample drinking water, cool towels, coffee or tea and snacks. Also provided is a knowledgeable English speaking guide who will be well informed on the highlights and history as well as points of interest for the tour. Travel insurance of up to 1,000,000 THB per head is also provided as an assurance of safety and integrity for the tour. All-in-all, this is a memorable tour for adventure and eco-tourism in Thailand where you also get to experience adventure and eco-tourism in Thailand within one package and for a full day activity.

To fully enjoy this tour package make sure you bring along a change of clothing, swim wear, flip flops rather than shoes, waterproof pouches for your camera and phones, a hat to keep out the sun and sun tan lotion. The rest is just to enjoy yourself and have a great time while taking back wonderful memories of a trip to Kanchanburi in the Kingdom of Thailand!

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