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Reviewed 24 November 2012

River Kwai Village Resort

Four years ago, I joined a coach load of tourists in Bangkok about to head-off north west, for a full day tour of Kanchanaburi, the River Kwai, the World War 11 cemetery, a trip on a train, a 15 minute race along the river in a 'long-tail' boat, all followed by a leisurely meal of Thai delicacies at the well-established River Kwai Village Resort, situated alongside the river bank.

The entire tour was a success, despite spending over four hours in the coach.

Last week, whilst again in Bangkok, I thought it a good idea to repeat the tour and compare it with what I had experienced last time.

The first major difference, was that the coach had been superseded by a modern Toyota people carrier, which meant threading a way through the city and its crowded road system was much easier and quicker.

I, along with six others, had booked through a local company named Jack Holiday Service. Both the guide and driver were first class, knowledgeable and pleasant.

The tour took the same format as before, giving us plenty of time to take-in the sights, click our camera shutters and cogitate in silence as we strolled between the immaculately kept rows of graves, noting just how many men that lay there were so young when their lives were brutally cut short.

With the 'tour' part over, we were driven to the Village Resort for what I had explained to my fellow passengers, would be a great lunch, served by smiling Thais, as we looked down at the fast flowing river.

Never will I allow myself to be proved so wrong again.

We were ushered along into what I realised was a greatly expanded restaurant area and then ran into a hoard of hungry and impatient folk, 90% of which hailed from what used to be the USSR. Gone were the small, round tables, where guests could chat quietly whilst eating – they had been replaced with long, trestle-like tables, where conversation was limited to the persons sitting alongside. The noise and babble was certainly not conducive to relaxed socialising.

Then there was the food! Yet again a dramatic change. No individual Thai dishes for one to sample at will, no beautifully decorated bowls, no freshly prepared ingredients, no pots of delicately flavoured tea, no service except for a few young men touting for guests to buy drinks (at an extra cost, of course).

Instead, the entire area had been turned into what one could best describe as...'an army canteen.'

Along a couple of tables, buffet-style metal trays held a very limited range of cooked and uncooked food. Carbohydrate was certainly in evidence...spaghetti – pasta – bolognese sauce – chips - rice – so-called 'fried chicken' and a few other unidentifiable dishes. Dessert offerings were limited to cubes of weak jelly-like 'wobblies' and some squares of cake.

Add to this, the fact of dozens of adults pushing, shoving and shouting in their efforts to secure a place at the front of the queue – plus many of their errant children demonstrating their ability to show-off to the staff...and I reckon readers can picture the scene accurately.
My fellow travellers were appalled at such uncalled for behaviour. That it was as bad as the food tasted, said it all!

Visit the River Kwai and it environs by all means, but do insist that you dine at a venue which is at least traditional and serves authentic Thai dishes.

Room tip: Be prepared for the Rising Damp
Date of stay: November 2012
  • Trip type: Travelled solo
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2  Thank Cumbrian25
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed 27 August 2012

OK the hotel is right on the banks of the River and it rains alot! so the damp smell in the room and the damp bed linen i can understand.The wiring in the room is a bit worrying and our wardrode door was hanging off lol.I have traveled a lot and stayed in many hotels but this hotel has to be the worst for the food,disgusting,cold,i'm a good eater and not much puts me off but this was the pits!!!! I left everything,would rather go hungry than eat that trip.Funny thing is the Russians seemed to love it,they filled their plates like there was no tomorrow ha! the manager noticed we wasn't eating and asked us if he could cook us something fresh,so he knew it wasn't to British standard,but we declined and made a hasty retreat to the bar.Which we had a good night at,plenty of dancing from all nationalities,very funny!!
The Hotel is what it is and it in the perfect place,just needs upgrading.TAKE SOME SANDWICHES!!!! LOL

Room tip: Don't go
Date of stay: August 2012
  • Trip type: Travelled as a couple
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6  Thank NottinghamAlan
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed 24 August 2012

Was booked into River Kwai Village Hotel as part of Bridge on the River Kwai and Hellfire pass tour, cannot fault the tour , the guides etc all very good. The hotel its self is a bit dated but was ok to spend a night.

As for the restaurant and the food, Nightmare!!!!!!
More like a school canteen, the food buffet style and was bland and cold and to be honest shocking.

Date of stay: August 2012
  • Trip type: Travelled as a couple
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2  Thank briff
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed 22 July 2012

I have stayed at this great resort twice now (over ten years). yeah - parts of the resort are a little old and dated - but this is Thailand in general. You are out in the Thai countryside, on the river away fromm all the hustle and bustle - what more can you expect. We stayed in the floating raft rooms each time - great choice to be away from the large Russian bus tour groups which always seem to be at this resort - but they are all up on the mainland part of the resort - so you dont really see them much anyway.. My tip for this resort - def. book a raft room, take an hour or so for a swim in their pool/s. enjoy a cocktail or three and a cool beer with your legs dangling in the River Kwai in the afternoon. A trip up to the nearby lawa cave is interesting, All in all - this place has a real magical quality about it - would loved to have had a few nights here. We'll def be back - we love this place.

Room tip: Go for the Floating raft rooms.
Date of stay: April 2012
  • Trip type: Travelled with friends
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2  Thank Todd M
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed 18 July 2012

We booked a two night, three day tour leaving Bangkok for the River Kwai area. We are a family of four - parents and two sons in their early twenties. We all enjoyed the activities that were organised for us during the day but have to say that we hated the accommodation. The rooms were old, not that clean and the shower recess had more mould than tiles. The facilities were a disgrace - not maintained and very uninviting. The food was inedible. We did not even know what some things were and even though we had been travelling around Vietnam/Cambodia/Thailand for three weeks this was the first time we felt we would get sick from the food. The Hotel caters mainly for Russians!!!! To top it all off when we went to leave they said that we had not paid for some drinks - which we had paid for at the time of having them. We ended up having to pay again. This left a very sour final taste in our mouth.

Room tip: Do not stay here!!!!!!!!!!!!! If you do make sure you get a receipt for anything you pay for.
Date of stay: April 2012
  • Trip type: Travelled with family
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4  Thank FooteParty
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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