At around a 2-3 hour drive from Bangkok, Kanchanaburi, Thailand’s third largest province offers a tranquil retreat away from the urban sprawl of the city. So if you’re looking for a relaxing getaway with the family, Kanchanaburi is well worth the drive.
Kanchanaburi has a number of famous WWII sites which serve as sobering reminders of the horrors of the war in the setting of the death railway. The province also has many historic museums, Khmer temples, and lush hilly terrains with nature-filled national parks and plenty of natural wonders to explore. Kids can swim in a waterfall, explore caves in the jungle and kyak on the key waterways of the Kwai Yai and Kwai Noi. Kanchanaburi offers the chance to enjoy a family trip combining easy-going sightseeing with rugged outdoor adventures Family activities in Kanchanaburi all worth considering.
There are many hotels both in the vicinity of the River Kwai bridge and on the banks of the river itself further up-stream, here are our pick of those that offer both great value and family friendly options from recommendations within our Bkk Kids community.
U Ichantree Kanchanaburi
The chic U Ichantree boutique hotel occupies a stunning location beside the Kwai Yai River where the infamous bridge over the river Kwai serves as backdrop for their beautiful gardens. The overall design of the resort is a rustic river lodg set around a courtyard, dominated by an ancient “Inchantree” from which the resort derives its name.
As well as a beautiful infinity pool overlooking the river, the hotel has an excellent restaurant with people who travel in from the city just for the sunset views and menu. The River Kwai Bridge and quaint old historic station is also just a 5-minute stroll away and the hotel also offers free bicycle hire if you fancy a family bike trip around town. They are also happy to organise kayaking or even the odd jet ski experience if booked in advance.
The Felix River Kwai is situated on the banks of the Kwai Yai River with views of Kanchanaburi’s infamous bridge, (directly opposite the U Ichantree hotel.) The Felix offers a truly tranquil location for a family break. The hotel boasts two swimming pools, tennis courts, and bicycles and canoes available for rental, while its manicured grounds are great for pushing a stroller around if you’re traveling with babies or toddlers. As for dining options, alongside a generous buffet breakfast, the hotel has a Cantonese restaurant and an all-day dining brasserie that serves both Thai and international dishes. Whilst one of the older hotels along the river due to the size of the gardens complete with hanging swing pods, this makes a great choice for families with younger kids.
Oriental Kwai Resort
The Oriental Kwai Reso has just 12 Thai-style cottages set amid a teak forest and tropical grounds, this tucked-away retreat offers a special experience for a family getaway. A relaxing pool area is surrounded by lush gardens that the kids will love exploring. Rooms are immaculately furnished and larger Family Rooms include spacious separate rooms for children. Kanchanaburi downtown is also just a 15-minute drive away while sights such as Hellfire Pass are also nearby. With a picture-perfect spot on the banks of the River Kwai, Oriental Kwai Resort ranks as one of Kanchanaburi’s top family-friendly accommodations.
Xanadu 2008 is set among quiet grounds on the banks of the river, this rustic family-run hotel offers a peaceful setting to unwind in comfort, and it’s also an ideal base to explore the beautiful surrounding scenery of Kanchanaburi. A collection of 10 cute cottages provide simple but clean and spacious accommodation, while the hotel’s charming and knowledgeable host goes out of his way to offer advice on local trips and attractions. His wife also cooks up delicious Thai food.
Away Dheva Mantra Resort & Spa
Dheva Mantra Resort is definitely for those happy to splash out a little, the lavish Dheva Mantra Resort offers a level of elegance that stands out among the accommodation options in Kanchanaburi. The colonial-style property is surrounded by stunning tropical gardens and rooms are tastefully appointed and spacious – ideal if you’re bringing a big group. The hotel’s large pool set among lush palm trees will undoubtedly prove a big hit with the kids, and there’s also a children’s playground that’s ideal for little ones.
Float House River Kwai
Just one of the 3 hotels that Serenata group have in Kanchanaburi all set an hour outside of Kanchanaburi city, 2 of which are literally floating on the banks of the river Kwai.
Here you sleep while floating on the river in a beautifully designed and eco friendly set of thatched bamboo villas. Each villa is tethered to the next and are decorated to harmonize with gorgeous natural surroundings. The resort is made of teakwood and bamboo and features beautiful locally made wooden furniture and offers a broad range of services and facilities. The floating lobby and restaurant are in the middle of floating villas for easy access for all guests. The Float House sits on a particularly clean and serene section of the river Kwai – one of the world’s most historical rivers – and offer fun activities for the whole family. Ideally suited to older kids, as there is no pool, you jump in the river and float downstream to their jetty! Their sister hotels Restotel offer pool facilities for smaller kids within an easy walk or bicycle ride and Jungle Rafts offer bamboo rafting or lazy sightseeing opportunities along the river.
Developed with the eco-conscious traveler in mind, The FloatHouse River Kwai Resort is built entirely from local materials and staffed mainly by the local community of ‘Mon’ — an ethnic minority who have migrated across the border from Myanmar. The destination hence is rich in nature, history and culture. There are plenty of things to do at Float House from kayaking, rafting, mountain bike rides, orchards visit, long tail boat ride and swimming in the river and waterfalls, as well as the many caves to explore.
Editors note: To stay at any of the floating resorts, children should be adequate swimmers and supervised at all times due to the strong flowing river currents.
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