River Kwai Jungle Rafts – Epic Floating Hotel near Bangkok

Wondering What’s All The Hype About The River Kwai Jungle Rafts in Kanchanaburi?

You’re in the right place because while living in Thailand we decided to make a 3-day trip from Bangkok to Kanchanaburi. After getting to know Kanchanaburi’s WWII history and watching the train slowly cross over the legendary Bridge over the River Kwai, we decided to spend the following days (and nights) at the River Kwai Floating Rafts.

We had no idea what to expect when staying at a floating bungalow in the river Kwai, and it turned out to be an epic experience!

River Kwai Jungle Rafts is lit up at night with dimly lit lanterns creating a really unique and calming atmosphere
The romantic atmosphere during dinner at the River Kwai Jungle Rafts

While there are other Kanchanaburi floating raft hotels to choose from, this article is a review that covers everything you need to know about the River Kwai Jungle Rafts. It’s the first floating hotel of its kind and was originally opened back in 1976. Its simplicity, lack of basic amenities, isolation and a focus on going completely off the grid in an Eco-retreat is what continues to attract thousands of visitors each year.

However, before you book your weekend (or during the week) escape, at the River Kwai Floating Rafts, there are a few things you should know. Because, while the whole Eco-Simplistic thing may sound enticing, it isn’t for everyone.

Limited time?

If time is an issue you may want to consider a 2-day Kanchanaburi tour. You’ll get to visit the main highlights and spend the night in the River Kwai Jungle Rafts. It’s the easiest option and requires no planning. Just book it and enjoy! Book 2 Day Kanchanaburi Tour

Read on to find out more. And if this accommodation doesn’t quite fit your travel style we have an alternative recommendation.

But if you’re still not quite sure if you should stay in a floating hotel or not and want a place closer to Kanchanaburi’s main highlights, then you should consider reading our article for the best places to stay in Kanchanaburi. And if you don’t have the time to spend any nights in Kanchanaburi, then there’s always our guide for the best Kanchanaburi day trips.

The train passing over the river kwai
That’s the train passing over the ‘new’ River Kwai Bridge – if you’re a history buff we recommend a visit to the War Museum in Kanchanaburi

About River Kwai Floating Hotels

Dotted along the River Kwai, a series of Thailand Hotels have become synonymous with a new type of accommodation experience and offer the opportunity to go completely off the grid, cut off and unwind.

These unique hotels that sit on the banks of the river Kwai, float on the river’s murky waters. They’re big structures with various room options, common areas and a restaurant. The Float House which is the higher-end option even offers private villas floating on the river.

The Float House. A luxury floating hotel option in Kanchanaburi
This is The Float House Private Floating Villas, we passed it on our way to River Kwai Jungle Rafts

It’s an incredible place that is completely isolated in the Sai Yok National Park. Karst cliffs covered in thick tropical jungle and home to numerous monkeys and birds and the gentle flow of the river offers a sense of calmness.

While these floating hotels in Kanchanaburi attract many visitors who just want a break, there are also daily activities to take part in. One of the most popular activities is jumping in the river and letting the current drag you downstream until finally catch on the ladder at the other end of the floating hotel.

River Kwai Jungle Rafts. Jacqueline about to jump into river
Jacqueline gave a go at floating down the River Kwai – James was still thinking whether he should join – he did eventually
Kayaks paddling down the river Kwai along the floating hotels
A kayak we met on our way to River Kwai Jungle Rafts while on the taxi boat

But some tours go to Hell Fire Pass and Mallika, an ancient village which is close by. Kayaking and zip-lining are another option.

While there are other floating hotels in Kanchanaburi to choose from, we narrowed down our list to just 2. We debated between the Float House (which is quite expensive and often sold out) and The River Kwai Jungle Rafts. In the end, we decided to go for the River Kwai Jungle Rafts. Not only is it the original Floatel to have opened, but it also delivers a unique experience thanks to its lack of basic amenities.

An infographic for river Kwai floating hotels

River Kwai Jungle Rafts – Overview

The River Kwai Jungle Rafts are located in a remote area outside of Kanchanaburi. And the only way to get there is by boat.

River Kwai Jungle Rafts online booking. A long tail boat cruising through the river Kwai
Phutakien Pier – this is where you take the boat to the floating hotels

Also, before you confirm a reservation know that the River Kwai Jungle Rafts has no electricity. While there is no electricity in the rooms and throughout most of the property, there are charging points in the common area and even a stable WIFI connection also in the common area.

We were concerned about feeling too hot at night due to the lack of air conditioning or a fan. But at night it was quite chilly.

Hammocks outside the rooms at river Kwai jungle rafts
Those hammocks!… Jacqueline started her bedtime sleep here, every night

Getting there

Your reservation will include a boat ride that will take you from Phutakien Pier to the River Kwai Jungle Resort. You should be at the Pier before 6:00 pm because if you take a boat after 6:00 pm a ฿1000 fee is charged.

Also, keep in mind that Phutakien Pier is not in Kanchanaburi town or anywhere close to the Bridge Over River Kwai or any other attractions.

Phutakien Pier is about 70 km outside of the main town of Kanchanaburi. So transport to get there is up to you and not included in the reservation price.

If you’re in Bangkok and first want to know how to reach Kanchanaburi, you may want to read our Bangkok to Kanchanaburi transport guide.


To travel from Kanchanaburi town to Phutakien Pier, you can book a taxi for approximately ฿1200. Or try your luck with a GRAB car. We found a driver that accepted the ride which only cost ฿650. However, the driver suggested canceling the GRAB fare to avoid paying high commissions and paying the same fare. We accepted and instead of the original price, we paid him ฿800 in cash. However, Grab drivers won’t usually accept this ride or if they do they demand a much higher price.

If you’re searching for a taxi you can call this number +66 64 191 7474 or go to Ok Bike Rental in the main tourist area of Kanchanaburi. This is where we rented our scooter when we were in Kanchanaburi. The owner is a lovely lady and can also organize a taxi for you.


Another option that will take you to Phutakien Pier is to take a local bus from Kanchanaburi bus station. The bus fare is just ฿60. However, the bus will drop you off on the main road. From there you’ll have another 2km walk down some steep roads to reach the pier.

Own Transport

Another option is to rent a scooter or a car and drive yourself to Phutakien Pier. There is ample parking space and we saw that many locals came with their cars and some tourists came by scooter.

Note: on the day of your departure from River Kwai Jungle Rafts make sure to organize your transport back to wherever you’re going. We didn’t organize anything and just assumed there would be minivans or some form of transport at Phutakien Pier. However, there was no transport. Thankfully a local tourist with a car drove us up the hill and dropped us off near a bus stop and we only waited for about 30 minutes for a bus to pass by.

How Many Days To Spend In A Floatel?

The ideal duration to spend at River Kwai Jungle Rafts depends on your preferences and the activities you want to engage in.

Typically, many visitors find that spending 2 to 3 days allows them to fully enjoy the unique experience offered by the floating hotel. This timeframe allows for relaxation, exploration of the surrounding area, and participation in any available activities or excursions. However, the exact duration may vary based on your interests and travel itinerary.

In our case, we spent 2 nights. We got the train from Bangkok to Kanchanaburi and visited the highlights (the Bridge over River Kwai, the War Museum and the War Cemetery). Then found a GRAB to take us to Phatukien Pier and arrived around 6:00 pm. Just in time for the magical moment when the lanterns are turned.

This worked out just fine for us because then we had the next day to visit the nearby Mon Village, jump in the river and relax in this beautiful setting. If we were planning on doing any daily activities we would probably stay 3 or even 4 days.


River Kwai Jungle Rafts

The River Kwai Jungle Rafts stood out as the best option for us for a few reasons.

It’s located in a remote part of the Sai Yok National Park. It’s so remote and isolated that the only way to get there is via a 20-minute boat ride from Phutakien Pier.

But what sparked our interest was the lack of basic amenities.

In contrast with all the other floating hotels, here there is no electricity. That means rooms have no lighting or hot water. But the biggest concern is there is no air conditioning or fans. And obviously, there is no WIFI either.

While the lack of electricity is what enticed us, because at night the entire floatel is dimly lit up with burning lanterns and creates a surreal feeling, it was also a bit concerning. No WIFI and no hot water, we can sort of handle that, but the thought of trying to sleep in the middle of a humid jungle, was a bit concerning!!

Although during the day it got quite hot, and we would cool off by jumping into the river, at night it was enjoyable. And temperatures continued to drop during the night.



If the lack of amenities and basic rooms isn’t what you’re looking for, check out The Float House. Here you’ll have more comfort with your own private floating villa with air conditioning, flat screen T.V and minibar. Make sure to book in advance because the floating villas are often sold out

Check Availability

River Kwai Jungle Rafts Rooms

The room options are double bed with or without an extra single bed, or 2 single beds. It’s a basic setup with wooden floors, woven walls, a thatched roof, and a net over the bed.

Despite their simplicity, the rooms are practical and fit well with the ‘off the grid/Eco’ and natural surroundings. And most importantly the mattresses are comfortable. The main drawback is the limited natural lighting inside the room caused by a large thatched tent outside, which restricts sunlight from entering through the window.

The lack of air conditioning or a fan to circulate the air means the rooms still feel stuffy for some time after the sun has gone down and the day starts to cool. On our first day, we went straight to our room after dinner. The room was still quite hot so we had to open the front window and back door to allow some fresh air to flow through. Like this, it didn’t take long for the room to cool off.

River Kwai Jungle Rafts – Food

You can choose either half board or full board for your room. We went for half board, which means we got breakfast and dinner. If you go for full board, you also get lunch.

We usually don’t go for all-inclusive, but here it’s the only choice since it’s in a remote location.

The food surprised us because it was good. It was a mix of buffet food and freshly cooked dishes.

For breakfast, there were three buffet dishes with rice, noodles, grilled sweet potatoes, and pumpkin, along with freshly toasted bread and croissants. Plus, they served a dish with fried eggs, sausages (a bit sweet), ham, tomatoes, potatoes and a bowl of fruit.

During breakfast, an elephant pays a visit, and the staff provides pieces of fruit to feed it. Although I’m not completely certain about the ethics of this situation, I was informed that the elephant is a rescue, and local villagers are assisting in its care.

Dinner had rice with various Asian side dishes—meat, fish, pork, chicken, and veggies. It was all tasty, and you could order more if you wanted.

But, even though the food was good, it was pretty much the same on both nights. Breakfast was the same, and dinner had slight variations. So, if you stay more than two days, the food might get a bit boring if you like variety.


Things To Do – Activities

While many visitors come here to spend just a day of relaxation, there are quite a few things to stay occupied for a few days.

Jumping in the river from one end of the floatel and enjoying the scenery as the currents transport you to the other end is fun. It’s easily one of the most fun things to do here. Another option is to visit the nearby Mon Village. It’s an old village that still follows ancient traditions. To get there you just need to cross over a bamboo bridge and onto dry land and the village is about 5 minutes walk up some stairs and along a path.

But if you plan to spend a few days here, I highly suggest booking 1 or 2 of the organized tours and activities offered by the hotel. There are kayaking and zip-lining activities. And there are several organized tours including the famous Erawan Falls and Mallika Village tours.


What To Pack

The River Kwai Jungle Rafts Hotel is in a remote and isolated area. It’s just there, floating on the Kwai River nestled in the thick jungle. That means there are no shops, pharmacies and 7-Elevens nearby. Therefore it is best to plan and pack a few things.

While the onsite restaurant has a few options for snacks, there isn’t much on offer. So if you usually like to nibble on something throughout the day, consider packing a bag of goodies to get you by. Also, a small bottle of local beer from the restaurant costs ฿100. If you want to save some money, consider buying a few cans from 7-11 and then ask for some ice. You may be charged for the ice but it will still work out cheaper.

You’ll only get 1 towel each with your room reservation. So if you plan swimming it would be best to bring another towel with you.

Consider bringing a small first aid kit. Or some basic medicine such as Panadol. I would imagine that on site there would be a first aid kit. But when it comes to medicine, the options are quite different from what we are used to especially if you’re allergic to some type of medicine, it is best to have your own. I always have my type of painkillers since I’m allergic to Nsaids and if I take anything containing certain ingredients my face gets all swollen up. And in Thailand, it’s hard to tell what are the ingredients in local medicines since I don’t understand all the squiggly lines 😀


OR VIEW THE FLOAT HOUSE (luxury option)

How We Efficiently Plan Our Trips.

Planning a holiday can be overwhelming, especially for those hands-on in the process. Thankfully, technology has simplified the task, making it easier to organize trips to destinations like Thailand. Here are the resources we swear by:

BOOKING.COM: Our go-to for booking accommodation. It’s user-friendly, offers the best prices*, and boasts the largest selection of online properties.

GET YOUR GUIDE: Our go-to resource for planning activities is Get Your Guide. Here we find loads of interesting activities for the destinations we’re visiting. And it’s really easy. Just enter the name of the destination in the search bar and a list of activities with prices and review score comes up.

It’s almost like shopping for something on Amazon and the prices are also really competitive and most tours also offer free cancellation up to 24 hours in advance!!

HEY, just so you know…

Leave a Comment