It all started with a forward email I received on 8th May 2005. Those were the times when Facebook and Orkut were not around. In fact we never heard of the term Social Networking. Gmail was quite new in India and the best part of it was that Gmail allowed upto 10 MB of attachments. This started a new revolution of social sharing in those days – “Unseen Paradise” was in from of “Email Forwards.” It was one of those viral email forwards that swept me completely. Hence I made a note to of this place in my list of “Must go places before I die.”
I started looking out for this place almost 10 years after I received that email. The email said,“The Unseen Paradise on Kerala-Karnataka Border”. First of all I started looking out for places in Karnataka and Kerala. There was no trace of any such property or resort. After some Google image search and trying out different search keywords like floating resort, tropical floating hotel etc. I finally found this place on tripadvisor. I was so glad that this Paradise actually existed!
It is the Float House on River Kwai in Kanchanaburi, Thailand. This beautiful place is hidden inside the Sai Yok National Park on Kwai river.
Mesmerizing in its distinctive boutique style, The FloatHouse River Kwai is one of the best floating resort of the world. The FloatHouse River Kwai Resort is a fancy boutique hideaway that can be found in very few places in the world. Most noteworthy is that the only way to reach the resort is by boat as it actually floats on a flowing river surrounded by thick green jungle. This makes it a true Unseen Paradise
Each luxurious and spacious floating villa is totally private and rich in custom tailored-made teakwood furniture with thatched roofing. The design is delightfully impressive with exotic decorations including natural materials and ropes. The design concept for the resort is known as “Contemporary Boutique Folk Style,” for a smooth blend of local artistic traditions with the natural environment, yet different from anywhere else in its characteristic rope designs that convey an oriental air.
It takes a 2.5-hour drive from Bangkok to Kanchanaburi Town, from where you drive for about another 40 minutes towards Saiyok district where you will reach the RESOTEL Pier, next to Highway 323. The property can only be reached via the river. During the short ride (about 7 minutes) on a local long-tailed boat from the RESOTEL Pier to The FloatHouse River Kwai you will witness beautiful greenery surrounding the historic river. It seems like you are in the world of Narnia. If you are lucky then you can witness some wildlife on the way.
Photo Courtesy – The FloatHouse River Kwai Resort – Official Website
It will cost close to 5000 bhat for a local transfer from Suvarnabhumi Airport to the Pier by road. Cheaper alternative is by train, there are 2 train departures from Bangkok to Sai oak.
Morning Train – Departs from Thonburi station at 07:50, arrives at Kanchanaburi at 10:25, River Kwai Bridge at 10:42, and Nam Tok at 12:35.
Afternoon Train – Departs from 13:55, arrives at Kanchanaburi at 16:24, River Kwai Bridge at 16:33, and Nam Tok at 18:30.
Get off at Namtok Railway Station at the end of the route and rent a local mini truck to Resotel pier
For more details of trains refer to www.railway.co.th
When we reach the resotel we were really awestruck. The place was truly magical. Its actually a secret hideaway from the rest of the world, a place to completely switch off from mundane life.
River Kwai Jungle Rafts Resort offers a unique accommodation experience right on the flowing Kwai Noi River. All floating rooms are tucked into a floating bamboo lodge moored along the historical River Kwai Noi surrounded by lush green mountains and jungle. At the floatel, the historic River Kwai Noi flows underneath your bed. The walls are weaved from local bamboo decorated with wooden furniture reflecting Mon living style. Each is appointed with en-suite private bathroom, balcony and a hammock. Rest. Sleep. Experience.
Due to the ecology conservation concept, the entire floatel does NOT use electricity but rather utilizes traditional kerosene lamps at night maintaining a true eco hideaway in nature. That’s why I call it a true hideaway – No electricity – No Internet – No Bullshit.
These lights glowing the night bring the romantic atmosphere throughout the resort. This tropical outpost affords plenty of activities, from to riding a friendly elephant through a Mon traditional village and temples, to enjoying cultural Mon folk dances every evening, to water sports like popular ‘river jump’. Lifejackets are provided in each guest room. You can simply jump from one end of the floating hotel and float along down the river and climb up at other end.
There are no rules and plan for a leisure traveller, therefore the Resotel offer many options to someone who just wants to chill out and have fun. Do let me know if you have been to this place or if you are adding it to your “Must Visit Places List”!!
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