Updated: Jul 4
Picture this - you're in the Thai countryside, surrounded by lush greenery and immersed in the jungle. Your bamboo room floats above the river allowing you to fall asleep listening to the sound of the water. There's no electricity or wifi or distractions other than the birds chirping. Pure relaxation.
If you're planning a trip to Thailand, make sure to save a few extra days for Kanchanaburi. The experience of sleeping on a Jungle River Raft alone makes it worth it, but the city of Kanchanaburi also offers other unique and authentic experiences.
Related Post: Kanchanaburi City Guide
Below, I'm going to give you all the details on this Eco-hotel including the pros and cons (yes, there are some cons) as well as how to get there!
What Is a "Floatel"
A Floatel is quite literally a floating hotel. The "River Kwai Jungle Rafts" is moored along the river to stay in place. The Thai have used the practice of building on or near water for centuries due to the natural cooling system that the river provides.
This Floatel is completely Eco-Friendly which means there is no electricity or wifi. This means no hot water, no lights, no cell service,
How to Get to River Kwai Jungle Raft
The River Kwai is located in Kanchanburi. This is about 3 hours from Bangkok. Guests can either drive from Bangkok or take the train. Detailed instructions on how to get to the river are listed on their website here.
Upon arrival at the Phutakien Pier (Resotel pier), you'll need to get into a complimentary boat that will take you to the floatel on a 7 minute ride.
Check in is from 1PM to 6PM daily. Try to get there early to take advantage of the daylight and get the full experience.
Check out is from 8AMto 12PM daily.
Your Room on the River Kwai Jungle Raft
The raft is constructed with woven bamboo and teak wood - both of which reflect the Mon living style. Each room has an en-suite private bathroom, balcony, and personal hammock.
The bed has a mosquito net over it which is great - don't forget you're in the jungle and there are bugs (lots of bugs). Truthfully, I was worried I wouldn't be able to sleep because it would be too hot, but the sheets they give you are fairly thin and the river water cools down the temperature, especially at night.
They'll also give you a handheld fan and a Kerosene lamp at night.
The en-suite bathroom has a western toilet (using a septic tank), a sink, and a shower head. The water is cold due to the fact there is no electricity on the floats. However, this is a positive feature since the weather in Thailand can get so hot and muggy.
Meals at the River Kwai Jungle Raft
So you've taken the boat to the rafts, checked in, and explored. Now you're hungry... but also stranded? Fear not - they have a full service restaurant that offers Breakfast (7-9am), Lunch (11am-1pm), and Dinner (7-8:30pm) each day. The food is from the nearby village so it is incredibly fresh and tasty. Dinner is served family style and has a wide variety of choices. The setting is so relaxing as you eat under the stars surrounded by candles.
Honestly, I'm kind of picky (pescatarian diet) and I truly loved the meals served.
There is also a Jungle Bar (11am-11pm) that serves cocktails, wine, and beer!
Activities at the River Kwai Jungle Raft
It is easy to sit back and relax while on the River raft. All of your worries and "real world" responsibilities float away while you're here. But! If you're not interested in sitting around and relaxing, they offer tons of activities!
River Jump (complimentary):
Walk to the edge of the floatel and jump into the river (with a complimentary & required life jacket) and let the river float you down to the end of the floatel. This is by far one of the best activities and is so fun to do over and over again. Just be mindful of the current and be sure to swim to the stairs at the end so you don't continue to float down the river aimlessly.
Sight Seeing Boat Ride (1,200 baht):
Explore the jungle even more with a scenic boat ride tour through the jungle.
We didn't opt to do this since you ride a boat to/from the floatel.
Canoe (1,000 baht):
This 40 minute canoe ride allows you to explore on your own.
Mon Dance Show (tips encouraged):
The local Mon community staffs the river float and puts on a evening show every night. This is a unique experience that you can only see in this region of Thailand.
Explore the Mon Village (complimentary):
Take a guided trek through the Mon village that is directly behind the river rafts. See how the locals live (also without any electricity or power). It is a unique experience.
Elephant Feeding (complimentary):
The Mon villagers have a few elephants that are part of their community! When I was there, we were able to feed Wendy, the elephant, during breakfast! She really loved eating pineapple!
Thai Massage (1,000+ baht):
There is no better place to fully relax than on a jungle raft with a massage.
We opted not to get a massage because there were so many other things to do on the rafts and it was more expensive here on the raft than a massage on the mainland.
Make memories with a once in a lifetime experience sleeping on a floating raft in Thailand
Learn about the Mon culture and local villagers
Relax with no distractions and experience the true Thai jungle
Unobstructed views of the stars since there are no lights here
You can't charge your phone. Nowadays, I use my phone for pictures and with no electricity, you cannot recharge your phone overnight. I brought a portable charger but my phone still died towards the end of the stay.
If you forgot something, you can't just run to the convenient store. We brought a few snacks with us just in case we got hungry since going out to a nearby restaurant or grocery store wasn't an option.
Mosquitos... come prepared with bug spray, bug repellent bracelets, and anything else you need to keep the bugs away.
You only get (1) towel per person. We used ours after jumping in the river... which meant we didn't have clean towels for showering.
Looking to book a trip soon? Check out my favorite resources below:
Skyscanner: Find the best flight deals for your trip!
Travelocity: Search for great deals on hotels, rental cars, fights, and more!
Contiki: Travel the world with 18-35 year olds!
CityPASS: Buy a CityPASS to save money on popular attractions!