Vol: 37 January - February 2016
The provincial town of Kanchanaburi is an ideal base from which to explore central Thailand, and it’s also become an excellent venue for team-building events and retreats, as it is home to many natural and historic attractions. The main town is busy with tourists - local and foreign alike - especially those interested in finding out more about the WWII memorials and museums. The infamous “Bridge Over the River Kwai” is one of the main attractions in Kanchanaburi, and the roads in the guesthouse area of town are named after countries that were involved in the conflict. But there are also natural attractions in Kanchanaburi, including several well-known waterfalls, caves that were once inhabited by Neolithic man, pristine national parks, tranquil rivers, virgin forests, and several large reservoirs. These attractions offer amazing experiences and the rafting, canoeing, mountain biking, golfing, elephant and jungle trekking, offer wonderful team building opportunities.

In north and west Kanchanaburi, the terrain is comprised mainly of mountains and high plains, with the Thanon Thongchai range acting as a natural border between Thailand and Myanmar. The range is the source of the region’s two most important rivers; the Maenam Khwae Noi (Little Kwai River) and Maenam Khwae Yai (Big Kwai River). During the Second World War, Japanese forces used Allied prisoners of war (POWs) and conscripted Southeast Asian labourers to build a rail route to Myanmar. The harrowing story was told in Pierre Boulle’s book The Bridge Over the River Kwai and the famous 1957 movie of the same name is based on the book. The rail line came to be known as the ‘Death Railway’, and these days the bridge, the Allied War Cemetery and the war museum bring in a flood of visitors. But the climate of Kanchanaburi is also a major attraction, as it is cooler due to the area’s high altitude. In addition, the forests and rivers are a welcome respite from the heat and congestion of nearby Bangkok.

Other nearby attractions include The Three Pagodas Pass, in the Tenasserim Hills on the border between Thailand and Myanmar, which is home to numerous hill tribes, and the Phra Pathom Chedi, located in Nakhon Pathom province, which is one of the tallest pagodas in the world. If you are driving to Kanchanaburi - either to or from Bangkok - you pass through Nakhon Pathom province, and are within easy reach of this magnificent historical attraction.

Located just a two hour drive from Bangkok, Kanchanaburi is accessible by road or rail, the latter of which includes sightseeing day trips that run on weekends and public holidays. From Bangkok drivers can travel along Highway No.4 (Phetkasem) via Nakhon Chaisi, Nakhon Pathom, Ban Pong, Tha Maka, and Tha Muang before reaching Kanchanaburi. The roads leading to Kanchanaburi are well-paved, and provide a comfortable driving experience.


Felix River Kwai Resort

One of the most famous addresses in Kanchanaburi, the Felix River Kwai Resort offers guests equal parts luxury and elegance, and has played playing host to many high profile VIP events from around the world. It’s an oasis for both business and pleasure travellers, with 255 rooms and suites, each boasting a private balcony. This Five-star resort was established in 1991, and sits on 127 rai (20 hecatres) of pristine riverfront land adjacent to the infamous Bridge on the River Kwai. It’s also just 10 minutes away from downtown Kanchanaburi, so the location is ideal for corporate, incentive, and government clientele, as well as local and international visitors who enjoy the low-rise architecture and lush, beautiful gardens.

In addition to the gardens there are also two large swimming pools, two tennis courts, sauna, The Ficus SPA center, a snooker lounge, fitness center, 2 km of jogging track, bicycles, canoes for rental, Felix Station 9 (obstacles courses for team building) and an elegant river raft cruise. For MICE events, The Pailin Convention Center is a premier and prestigious venue for events of all levels and sizes. The non-pillar convention center can accommodate up to 1,000 delegates, theatre seating style, with a long and spacious adjoining pre function area. There are smaller meetings room designed to accommodate various settings for meeting, seminar and workshop. With a total of 14 meeting rooms (including the Pailin Convention Center) the resort can cater to a variety of banqueting of various capacities.

Dheva Mantra Resort

The Dheva Mantra offers lavish accommodations that reverently recreate the beauty of a bygone Colonial era. Beautifully furnished, with detailed wood carvings, rich Thai silk decorations, hand woven carpets and polished teak floors, the hotels 114 guest rooms and suites range from the 52 sq.m Superior Room, all the way up to the 232 sq.m Presidential Suite. The spacious private outdoor balconies offer superb views of the resort's lush tropical garden, and the river beyond, while the eco-friendly rooms themselves feature spacious layouts, decorated in pleasant shades of green and peach. Rooms also include flat-screen TVs, free Wi-Fi, and luxurious bathrooms that have separate bath and shower areas.

In addition, the property features a landscaped pool, a fitness centre, and five dining options, while soothing Thai massages and beauty treatments are on offer at the spa and salon. The resort is located just 6 km from Kanchanaburi’s town centre, close to the historic River Kwai Bridge. For corporate and business travellers, the versatile and elegant Grand Meeting room and function rooms - including the Monthathip Ballroom, which can hold 300 persons - are perfect for any MICE related events and occasions.

Pavilion Rim Kwai Resort

Enjoy nature and history at the Pavilion Rim Kwai Resort, located in the beautiful River Kwai Valley. The resort lies right on river and is in close proximity to the famous Bridge on the River Kwai. The resort offers 194 rooms, all nestled amongst the property’s lush landscaped gardens. Each room is elegantly decorated and appointed with all modern facilities. Choose from the 50 sq.m Superior Room, the 65 sq.m Executive Suite, or the two-bedroom Pavilion Bungalow, which measures 98 sq.m and offers the ultimate in privacy. In addition each room offers a private balcony with breathtaking views of the mountains and the river. The resort itself is comprised of two wings, which in turn share two large free-form swimming pools, complete with islands and a cascading waterfall. Other amenities include a fitness room, a snooker room, a pub and karaoke lounge, and a choice of two restaurants - each with tantalizing cuisine and magnificent views. For MICE travellers there are several meeting rooms to choose from, including the 484 sq.m Srisawat Room, the 384 sq.m Erawan Room, and the 221 sq.m Ladya Room.