Eco hotel: RIVER KWAI JUNGLE RAFTS
10 Day Thai Trip
Story #2 of 4.
Now, after I’ve already described Part 1 of this incredible trip, it’s time for Part 2. The adventurous, earth-loving and fun part!!
As I mentioned on my last travel post, from Bangkok we traveled to Kanchanaburi with our driver, Phairot. It was almost a 3-hour drive up the mountains of Kanchanaburi to a little Pier that was located at the feet of the River Kwai Resort. There, we took a tiny boat to our final destination: River Kwai Jungle Rafts! An eco-friendly hotel made from bamboo and wood from dead trees, floating on River Kwai, surrounded by nature. A 10-minute boat ride later through the famous River Kwai, we arrived at the hotel. I have never seen anything like it! This eco-friendly hotel floats on the river. Literally! It was built entirely on floating rafts, which means the hotel moves to the rhythm of the water, especially every time a boat drives nearby and gives birth to waves. As soon as we got there, we were welcomed by the receptionist and Moon people- River Kwai Jungle Rafts is also a big believer in social responsibility. They built a school, accommodations, and a temple for locals (Moon Village) and work exclusively with them. Our room was small yet astonishing, with floors made of recycled wood leaving 2-inch spaces between each wood piece for all guests to see and hear the river flow beneath them. There is also no electricity at the hotel but it offers kerosene lamps at night. All to practice what they preach: ecology conservation. Even though there is no electricity, none is really needed. Our 28sq m. room had big windows and a tiny yet cozy balcony that let air and light in. Each room has also access to a bamboo pier, and each balcony has comfy hammocks you can enjoy the sunsets on. Another fun trait about this hotel is that it floats on a river stream, which means guests can use the life vests the hotel offers, walk to the beginning of the hotel, jump in the water and let the current take them all the way to the end of the hotel. We did this and it was so much fun!! You have to have caution though, because if you miss holding on to the last bamboo pier’s climbing latter, you might float until the nearest hotel or have to use all your strength to swim back against the current. That almost happened to us but it wasn’t scary at all. On the contrary, it was so entertaining, relaxing and adventurous that my friend and I couldn’t stop laughing while we gather strength to swim back and climb the piers’ latter while the river splashed against us. We felt like kids wanting to jump in the river over and over again. The food at the hotel was pretty good too! Simple but delicious. Thai food, of course. There are options for everyone: vegan, vegetarian and carnivores. Just make sure you let them know before hand, especially for vegans and vegetarians. The dinning area has a lovely view of the river, and surrounds a cocktail bar. A few steps to the left of it, is the Thai massage area. This was my favorite part of the hotel! No windows, no walls, just old recycled wood floors, bamboos ceilings and mattresses laying on the floor one next to the other. The prices were, as everything in Thailand, surprisingly cheap! My friend and I got the facial-Thai massage-reflexology 2-hour package for only 900BHT (between $25-$29, depending on the exchange rate) and it was AMAZING!!! So good and relaxing- pressing on different points of my body- that I fell asleep within the first 15 minutes and woke up an hour later totally renewed during River Kwai’s majestic sunset. Next to the Thai massage area is a tiny bungalow that serves coffee 24/7. Another favorite spot of mine! You can get fresh brewed coffee for around 20BHT (Not even $1).
Besides these, there are plenty of other activities you can enjoy like canoeing in the river, mountain climbing, Moon dance shows at night, or paying the Moon Village a visit. We did the last one. It was bittersweet. You will learn a lot from the kids and will have a great time playing with them but you will also see two elephants they use for elephant riding. They were chained to a tree and it tore my heart to pieces. PLEASE do NOT support the elephant riding activities. The industry and training behind them is beyond cruel, guys. Read this article and watch the short video and you’ll understand. If you want to see elephants, do it the right way: in the wild where they can roam free. My next blog post will be exactly about that! The two days I spent at an elephant sanctuary pampering, feeding and playing with rescued elephants. Stay tuned, babes! Xx
-Since there is no electricity, I recommend you take a portable charger. I bought the Insignia one at Best Buy that charges an iphone/camera up to 5 times (Thus, 5 days of charge). The hotel also has a portable charger but a lot of guests use it, so I recommend you take your own.
- Take lavender oil with you to Thailand and any other place that is humid and HOT! I got a heat rash all over my arms and elbows on my first day due to Thailand’s 100F temperature. It itched like crazy but a few drops of lavender oil, coconut oil and a puff of my Aromatherapy Air Diffuser (with turmeric) calmed the itchiness and made it disappear after 3 days. I always carry aromatherapy oils and diffusers in my bag. That is a must guys! Stress, allergies, sleep deprivation…whatever it is, aromatherapy can cure it all.
-Mobile connection is ok. Less than in Bangkok of course but good enough to make phone calls if you need to.
-Take a sweater for nighttime. It rains at night and temperatures drop significantly. At least during the time I was there.
-You can also travel to Kanchanaburi by train or bus from Bangkok. It will take you longer but the prices are cheaper than a taxi. A taxi from Bangkok to Kanchanaburi’s River Kwai Resort Pier (where you take boat to the eco hotel) is about 3000BHT ($88-$96). The driver we used is called Phairot Choochan and this is his #080-559-7846. Very professional, entertaining and the best tour guide ever!! Tell him I say hi if you hire him. You might have to show him a photo because his english is not great but, something you'll learn while in Thailand, you'll end up communicating just fine in signs and 2-word sentences!
Planet-loving brands I used during this trip:
-Burlap Backpack: RiceLoveBag that provides a bag of rice to people in need with each purchase.
-Shoes: Recycled plastic shoes by Melissa. They also reuse 99% of water, wasted and overstock from previous collections.
-Swimwear (Blue bikini and black top I’m wearing with the maxi skirt): made from natural and recycled fabrics by EcoPeace Swim.
-Maxi skirt: Fair-trade by FreePeople.
-Yoga outfit: made from natural materials such as bamboo and soy fiber by WildzbyJD.
-Elephant tee: made from organic cotton and plants a tree with each purchase by CloverCloth.
-White Crochet Shorts: empowers artisans in Indonesia and supports different charities by MettaLovingKindness
-Colorful Boho Backpack with Tassels: empowers artisans in India by GuadalupeDesign.
-Beauty Products: Handmade, organic, vegan and natural by BaiserBeauty.
-Sunblock: Ocean-friendly, eco-friendly, vegan and organic by RawElements.
-Protein bars: vegan, raw, organic by Shanti Bars.