If you are looking for the most unique accommodation that Thailand has to offer, then look no further because the Kwai River Jungle Rafts Resort is just that destination. Situated directly on the Kwai River the Kwai River Jungle Rafts Resort provides their guests with a jungle, river experience complete with mosquito netted beds and kerosene lamps!
Here is a link for directions to the floating hotel from Bangkok. Once you arrive at the pier, you will take a 20 minute longboat ride up the historic Kwai River. The stunning landscape and rocky gorges along the river will be a treat to the senses. I remember when I saw a small raft house about half way up the river I thought, “Oh no! Is this the place?” I was more than pleased when we continued on past and came to the floating hotel. Picturesque with bamboo thatched roofs, sunning decks across the front and smiling faces greeting us.
Once we were on the floating hotel we were given refreshments on the outdoor raft patio. This special spot is also where meals are served and is equipped with a unique bamboo bar, complete with real gecko’s! Included in a one night stay is a complementary dinner and breakfast. The food served consisted of tasty Thai dishes for dinner and breakfast was a typical American style breakfast with eggs, bacon and toast. Service was exceptional and the waiters were attentive and brought as many refills as desired.
The rooms do not have electricity. Instead lighting is provided by kerosene lamps which the floating hotel attendants come around and light as dusk approaches. Each room has mosquito netting over the bed and was quite comfortable. Keep in mind the walls are made from woven bamboo and so are not very sound proof! Every room has a private bathroom complete with shower and flushing toilet. I had to laugh because I thought the toilet flushed right into the river! But according to the website they have septic tanks. I am not sure if this is absolutely true; it sure looked to me as if they flushed right into the river!
Be mindful of your steps, there are cracks in the wood flooring! But this was neat because you could see the river flowing beneath you. Because these rooms are not super snug do not be surprised if you have visitors! We had a bat stop over for a bit as well as a cute small green frog in our bathroom sink. Some people might not approve of these guests, but you are sleeping in the jungle on a raft after all!
At the back of the room is your own private terrace and in the front is a covered porch that runs the length of the hotel. Covered with hanging bamboo baskets full of flowers and greenery, it is such a tropical lush setting to just relax and unwind. Each room has access to a sunning deck with a lounge chair and views of the river flowing past. There are also hammocks provided for a quick nap!
Activities offered at the resort include the river jump, elephant trekking, boat trips, river floats, cave exploring, canoeing, Traditional Mon Dance Show, Thai massage, hikes and mountain biking. My daughter and her friend were brave and participated in the River Jump. The resort provides life jackets and you just jump in the fast moving river and float down to the end of the resort where there is a ladder to climb out. There is no fee for this activity and you can repeat the jump over and over. We also watched the Traditional Mon Dance Show. This show cost about $5 per person. We enjoyed the dancers and were impressed with their beauty and skills. Check out the River Kwai Jungle Rafts Website for prices on the other activities available and the package pricing.
No experience is 100% positive when it comes to service or products. My negative comments about the resort are not horrible but still should be mentioned.
First, this resort caters to tour groups. During our stay there was a large group of tourists and the resort was booked to capacity. It was noisy at night and the tour group was somewhat rude, commenting loudly during the Dance Show. You will run into this situation many times traveling, so I have come to terms and just try to ignore unpleasant circumstances as best I can and go about my business of having a great vacation. Just keep in mind about these groups and ask when making reservations for accommodations if there will be tour groups on board.
Secondly, when we booked the package online it was thought that we purchased the longboat ride from the pier to the hotel in advance. Apparently this was not the case, so upon arrival we were told we owed an extra 600 baht per person. About $20 a piece and there were 6 of us in our group. It was one of those awkward situations that had to be dealt with and in the end we had to pay but it did not ruin our stay. Tip: Make sure you are purchasing a complete package, double check what is included in the package you are purchasing.
Bring sun block and mosquito repellent. The mosquitoes can be very annoying on the river; we did not suffer because we had plenty of Deet!
Ear plugs will be helpful if you have trouble sleeping with noise.
Motion sickness pills will be useful if you have trouble with motion sickness. I tend to get a little sick if on rough water, but I was fine on these rafts without medication. But you might just want to pack some to be safe.
Book online at their website: http://www.riverkwaijunglerafts.com