Nature, culture and adventure combine on this unique tour that gives an authentic insight into local life. Spend an unforgettable night living with an ethnic Karen village located deep in the forest. Experience the wild and incredible scenery of mountains, valleys and rivers around Kanchanaburi – home to the infamous River Kwai; and Sangkhlaburi – a sleepy lakeside town on the border of Thailand and Burma.
Early morning, we’ll set off to Kanchanaburi province located 128 kilometers from Bangkok.
On arrival, our first stop will be at the Thailand–Burma Railway Centre to learn more about the role that the area and the famous River Kwai played during World War II. A visit to the serene and incredibly well-kept Don Rak War Cemetery is a moving experience. It is the final resting place of thousands of allied prisoners of war who died during the construction of the ‘Death Railway’.
After lunch in a local restaurant we’ll head out to Nong Khao agricultural village for a tour by E-Tan, a type of local farming tractor. We’ll see the village shrine and a fan-palm tree orchard. We can observe how the locals collect the palm products and try some tropical fruits. We can even watch a demonstration of how the farmers pay their respects to the Rice Goddess.
By bicycle we’ll pedal our way through the rice fields and farming area to enjoy the views of fan-palm trees, grazing cattle, fields of crops, and the rural way of life.
Back in the village the local villagers will teach us how to make sticky-rice crisps. After coffee and a local snack, we’ll visit the cloth weaving center that produces a famous loincloth widely used by Thais.
We’ll then drive to the hotel in Kanchanaburi for check-in, dinner and overnight.
After breakfast we’ll travel to the Hellfire Pass Memorial. Hellfire Pass is a railway cutting on the former Burma Railway where many lives were sacrificed. Here we can learn more about the sad history and how the POWs carved through the rocky mountain using just hand tools.
A four-kilometer walk will take us through this notorious pass along the edge of a limestone mountain and through a bamboo forest. We’ll discover dramatic hidden places, that most tourists don’t find. At the end of the walk, we can rest with drinks and snacks overlooking the scenic valley.
We’ll carry on Thong Paphoom, a district on a mountainous terrain near the Thailand-Burma border.
After lunch in a local restaurant, we’ll head to the 100-year-old Tha Khanun Temple, reached by a short uphill walk. At the hilltop we’ll be rewarded with views of the mountainous scenery.
Hidden in a fruit orchard in a local village, we’ll see the place where the two railway lines from Thailand and Burma were supposed to meet had they been completed.
It’s then time to depart for Sangkhlaburi, a small rural lakeside town on the border of Thailand and Burma. On the way, there’s an opportunity to shop for local products and souvenirs from Burma at the Three Pagoda Pass.
Dinner and overnight in Sangkhlaburi.
After breakfast, we’ll take a walk over the Wooden Bridge, the longest handmade wooden footbridge in Thailand, and visit a local village where ethnic Mon people live. At Wang Wiwekaram Temple, we can learn more about Mon culture through the art and architecture of the temple and its Buddha images.
We’ll then climb into a long-tailed boat for a leisurely cruise across the lake to enjoy the scenery and see the local fishing village. We’ll disembark to visit a sunken temple, the only structure that can still be seen after the old village was flooded.
After lunch, there’s time for relaxing, and even swimming, at a hidden waterfall.
Fully refreshed, we’ll carry on to an ethnic Karen village, located deep inside the forest – our home for the night. Here, the local people live a modest life, little changed for over 200 years. We can observe the activities of the village, maybe fish trapping or rice threshing depending on the season. For dinner we can try Thai food as well as the local Karen food. After eating, the Karen villagers will tell us about their history and relate stories that have been passed down through the generations. They’ll also teach us how to make a Thai dessert of rice balls in coconut milk called ‘bua loi’.
Overnight in the Karen village.
Wake up to the sound of the village coming to life, and take an early morning walk through the peaceful surroundings, before returning to the village for breakfast.
After saying our goodbyes to the villagers, we’ll trek back to our transport.
Lunch will be in a local restaurant by the Songalia River. Then it’s time to return to Kanchanaburi and transfer back to Bangkok.