A fascinating journey
Thailand is a destination that for many British travellers needs little introduction. After all, for quite some time now, Brits have been fascinated by this Southeast Asian nation and travel there by the bucketload (in 2016, Thailand welcomed the record-breaking figure of one million UK arrivals) with many lured by its dreamlike beaches and vibrant culture. And after seeing this vibrant selection of photographs you’ll have little doubt as to why this is the number one tourist destinations for Brits. Beyond being a backpackers’ dream, there’s more to Thailand than meets the eye and a full tour is the best way to discover it like my colleague Petya recently did on her journey along western Thailand. Keep scrolling to see the many wondrous sights and experiences she came across.
London to Bangkok and back - flying with Eva Air
Petya made the journey to Thailand and back onboard Eva Air and told me that hers was a very relaxing and thoroughly pleasant flying experience. On the outbound leg she flew on Royal Laurel Business, which means she enjoyed perks like lounge access at the airport where they chilled, had a few drinks and took a few bites before getting onboard.
She revealed that her Business Class seat was very comfortable and could be transformed into a bed for a night time doze off. She enjoyed the meals served, the buffet with hot and cold food and the bar with free-flowing alcoholic and soft drinks. The service, according to Petya, was friendly and the food onboard simply amazing with a lot of choice and an ample selection of bites with frequently replenished food items. The flight from London to Bangkok took 11 hours and 30 minutes but the great service and the food made the difference!
Sampran Riverside hotel in Nakhon Pathom
About an hour and half from Bangkok airport you reach Sampran Riverside hotel in Nakhon Pathom. This family friendly hotel has a nice resort area with many activities – you can learn how to paint hand towels with different patterns from the colour of boiled coconut shell or how to make plates from banana leaves. During Morning alms (Tak Bart) you can also offer some food, water and candles to the Buddhist monk and learn about the culture and religion.
Sampran Riverside is proud to be an Eco hotel – they waste 0% of the food and everything is produced in their organic farm which leads us to the next section.
A Visit to the Organic Farm, Nakhon Pathom
Once you cross the river on the boat to the other side you will be surprised with a lovely little organic farm village. You participate in cooking classes where you have to pick your own ingredients – lemon grass, basil, lotus flower (you can taste the seeds which have mild almond taste) and you also get the chance to collect fresh duck eggs. The food is then cooked outside in an open area in the middle of the farm.
Maneewong House in Kanchanaburi
Maneewong House is located by the River Kwai in a non-touristic area. You are warmly welcomed by very lovely family in their own home. They show you how they make traditional Thai sweets - you can see the whole process, how long it takes and what effort they put in the production. Petya mentioned after she was shocked to find out that they sell the sweets for very little (£2-£3). Petya also mentioned she really enjoyed this experience and that she would recommend it to anyone, as it is a good way to get close to local people and learn how they live.
Somnuk Elephant Camp The Banana Orchard
The Banana Orchard in Kanchanaburi is a trekking camp changed into an elephant friendly park - Somnuk Elephant Camp. Upon arrival you are welcomed by the team leader, Dr. Chomcheun Siripunkaw, a former Mahidol University lecturer, now an elephant researcher and a conservation activist. You have a chance to observe and interact with the elephants, learn more about what they eat and watch them bathe in the River Kwai.
The Bridge on the River Kwai
This steel bridge is one of important historical landmarks and memorials in Thailand. It is almost a symbol of Kanchanaburi province and is a recommended place in the travel guide. The history of the bridge is well known, as it was part of the railway lines in World War II and had seen its share of conflict and bloodshed. The famous 1957 film The Bridge on the River Kwai centres around one of the line's main engineering feats, the bridge across the Kwae Yai river just north of Kanchanaburi. Although the film was shot in Sri Lanka, the Bridge on the River Kwai really exists, and still carries regular local passenger trains from Bangkok as far as Nam Tok. For anyone interested in 20th century history, a visit to Kanchanaburi and the infamous Death Railway is a must.