Come face to face with the rugged side of Thailand as we discover an ancient community; navigate the River Kwai; and explore national parks home to virgin rainforest, sacred caves and dramatic limestone cliffs.
In the morning, we’ll set off to Kanchanaburi province located 128 kilometers from Bangkok.
On arrival, our first stop will be at the serene and incredibly well-kept war cemetery – the final resting place of thousands of allied prisoners of war who died during the construction of the ‘Death Railway’. We’ll then board a train for a ride along this notorious railway to see the famous River Kwai Bridge and pass over the original wooden viaduct constructed by allied POWs.
In the afternoon we’ll visit the Hellfire Pass Museum. 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.
Check into the hotel in Kanchanaburi and overnight.
After breakfast and check-out, we’ll visit the Pak Phraek Community, the most ancient community in Kanchanaburi. Their community includes more than 20 heritage buildings from the early 20th-century that combine elements of Chinese, European and Thai architectural styles. These buildings are very unique and are full of history and stories. Many of the residents living in these buildings interacted with both the Japanese military and the POWs during the war. One of the most famous residents was Boonpong Sirivejabhand, who risked his life by forwarding secret messages from prisoners of war to their governments.
We’ll then board a long-tail boat for an exhilarating ride along the River Kwai to see the view point and Khao Poon Temple.
From here, our journey will carry on to Hua Hin. Overnight in Hua Hin.
After breakfast and check-out, we’ll make our way to the historic Hua Hin Railway Station – one of the most elegant and oldest stations in Thailand. It was built in the reign of King Rama VI in a mixture of Thai and Victorian styles with carved wooden pillars. Its most striking feature is the charming Royal Waiting Room which was used to receive the King when he visited Hua Hin.
We’ll then continue further south to Sam Roi Yot National Park which means ‘Three Hundred Mountain Peaks’ due to its many limestone peaks covered in lush greenery. We’ll take a boat to a beach at the base of one of the mountains, and then hike up to the magnificent Cave of Praya Nakhon. Inside this revered cave is an exquisite Thai-style pavilion, built by the beloved King Rama V. It is located beneath an opening in the roof of the cave, through which the sunlight streams through.
We’ll also visit Kui Buri National Park which covers 969 km² and is home to mountains, evergreen forests and a myriad of wildlife.
Late afternoon we’ll arrive and check-in to the hotel.
Overnight in Prachup Kririkan.
After breakfast, we’ll check out and set off by road to Surat Thani.
During the road trip, we’ll pass through the narrowest part of Thailand, where the country is just 12 kilometers in width. On one side is the sweeping Gulf of Thailand and on the other is the border of Myanmar in the low, blue Tenasserim Hills – a 1,700-kilometer chain of granite peaks older than the Himalayas.
On arrival in the late afternoon, check in to the hotel. Overnight in Surat Thani.
In the morning, we’ll take a boat into Khao Sok National Park, a nature reserve containing dense virgin jungle, towering limestone karst formations and a beautiful lake. Many believe this lowland jungle to date back 160 million years, making it one of the world’s oldest evergreen rainforests. We’ll board a boat to explore Rajjaprabha Dam with its impressive limestone cliff landscape. While there, we will also visit 500 Rai Cave.
In the late afternoon we’ll arrive at the hotel. Overnight in Khao Sok.
Lace up your comfortable walking shoes for a soft trek through Khao Sok National Park. Keep your camera at the ready for sightings of birds, wildlife and unusual plants.
The late afternoon is free at leisure.
Overnight in Khao Sok.
There’s more free time today before we check out and make our way back to the airport or the hotel in Phuket or Krabi.