Saturday, 23 May 2009

Thailand Day Six. Good Time Tour. The River Kwai.

Our last day of the 2 night/ 3 day tour had come. It had been fantastic up to now.

(This photo is of the Raft Hotel.)
First thing was a ride in a long tail speed boat up the river to look at the Sai Yok Yai waterfall. This is very close to (and can be seen from ) the suspension bridge. It is also very close to the Namtok Railway station, ‘Hellfire pass’ and the ruins of the death railway.
A very odd site on the river were very large rafts being pulled by long tailed boats, packed with tourist being pulled up and down the river, it was 08.30 am, not very warm, but all on board were ready to swim?

After our boat ride, we were taken to the banks of the River Kwai Yai where we had our best lunch to date. Noi really pulled out all the stops! We were served a Soup, Pad Thai, Rice with about three other dishes. We had a garlic River fish. Then, Noi appeared with a terracotta pot with charcoal in the bottom half of it. It the pot was boiling water with Lime, Garlic, Lemongrass and other herbs in. At the side was a plate full of raw Squid, Chicken, Pork and Liver. It was a ‘fondue’! This was followed by fresh Pineapple.
Following this feast we were to paddle our canoes down the river, a three hour journey! I felt to full to do any thing!

The river current was once again strong, but you did still have to paddle. As we saw the famous bridge over the river Kwai approach. One of the tourist rafts was being pulled right towards us, in an attempt to move out of the path of the vessel one of our party pulled in between two Raft Restaurants moored on the banks..........DISASTER! The current, caused by the gaps in the floats on which the restaurants stand, sucked the canoes towards the large flotation devises at great speed, within moments the canoes had tipped up and HWMBO disappeared under the floating restaurant. My youngest daughter  managed to hang onto some pot plants at the side. The drama continued for some moments and I am sure that we spoiled a lovely relaxing lunch for diners with all the commotion! We got her out of the water, I then looked round for my partner, I saw him emerge by the bridge. Thank God he was all right.
We were very shaken by what had happened, and Noi got a long tail boat to rescue the canoes...he then wanted us to get in the finish the trip! Some of us were too distressed to do this, so we got a taxi back to the office, whilst in true British spirit the other two paddled on!

As I had inkling there would not be hot water during our tour, I had pre-booked the Felix River Kwai Resort before we set off on the tour. This was a treat at £30.00 per room per night B&B! It was a top end luxury resort. The Felix River Kwai markets its self as ‘an oasis for luxury and relaxation’. With its beautiful grounds and gardens, two swimming pools, nice rooms, the description is very accurate, and I enjoyed my deep, hot bath.Good Times Travel Services, who’s office is located on the main road towards the Bridge had provided us with a fabulous tour. It is possible to do this trip on your own, either by visiting all the places we did as day trips from Kancanaburi. Or, to hire a car and stay at the National Park Accommodation independently, you can book the Karan Village through the National Park. But, I an glad we did the tour with this company as thanks to our tour guide Noi and driver Chung, we ate many foods we would never have tried, canoed on the river (!) and did not have to worry about navigating our own way around. The cost of the tour was THB 6000.00 per person. (about £100.-+).