Thailand is one of the most beautiful and culturally diverse countries in South-East Asia. The River Kwai, just a few hours from Bangkok, is rich with magnificent scenery, flora and bird life. It is the most picturesque of rivers, the scene and mood constantly changing. See map.
There are two river Kwais: the Kwai Noi, which we explore, and the Kwai Yai. Both rivers flow down from great lakes in the mountainous Burma border region. The two Kwais join in a confluence at the attractive town Kanchanaburi. They then form the Mae Khlong River that flows into the Gulf of Thailand at the bustling, colourful fishing port of Samut Songkhram. See pictures of the journey along the River Kwai.
Going upstream, our river journey begins at the town of Kanchanaburi, 124 KM west of Bangkok, famous for its main attraction, the Bridge on the River Kwai.
Above the lake one crosses the confluence at Kanchanaburi, famed for the Bridge immortalised in Alec Guiness's film. Despite its associations with the Death Railway, Kanchanaburi is now a typical Thai town, lively and cheerful, with many flower gardens. This area is a centre of pilgrimage for war veterans from all the countries involved in the Death Railway, including Japan. A must visit includes the newly opened Thailand-Burma Railway Center next to the Main Cemetary.
River Kwai Noi
Entering the Kwai Noi itself the scenery changes dramatically as the jungle closes in and the mountains rise about. The further up we go the narrower the river becomes, with dramatic gorges, deep pools and soaring rapids. Waterfalls cascade down into the river from crags above. Orchids and other flora trail from overhangs. The river journey becomes sensational.
Daowadung is as far as we can penetrate safely and from here we can continue by expedition vehicle to visit the lake above and the surrounding national park area. In this area the predominant ethnic group are the Mons, whose people may be found in both Burma and Thailand. We arrange for a Mon dance troupe to perform in the evening.
Though seemingly a remote, lost paradise, there are a number of sporting attractions to the Kwai valley. For example there are several well designed golf resorts so it will be possible to arrange a 'golf cruise' playing each day on a separate course. The river is a popular rafting and kayaking destination and well known amongst fishermen and photographers. The RV River Kwai can be chartered for such special interest groups.