Ban Rai

Local Weaving Exhibition and Demonstration Centre (Phaichit Weaving Group) is located behind Wat Ban Rai, next to Ban Na Fai Bueng Ta Pho School. Turn into the alley beside the school and go on for 700 metres. It is a group of people weaving cotton cloth with dyes from nature. They also teach others who are interested in weaving. The patterns of the cloth are ancient ones such as Lai Kho Luang, and Lai Kho Kham Duean. There are shops to sell Pha Sin, bedspread, tablecloth, cloth for tailoring and Mon Khit pillow. In this area, there is also a museum of ancient cloth which is more than a hundred years old

Ban I Mat – I Sai Hill Tribe Cultural Centre is located at Mu 4, Tambon Kaen Makrut, under the responsibility of the Hill Tribe Development and Contribution Centre, Uthai Thani, existing in a part of Huai Kha Khaeng Wildlife Sanctuary. Most hill tribes are Karen, living peacefully and simply while they still practice their old traditions strictly. The examples of major interesting events are the festival to pay respect to the pagoda where there is a show of sword dancing, and the ceremony to pay respect to the Pho tree.

When the festivals are held, all relatives will return home. Those two events will be held every year in April. The date of the ceremony depends on the readiness of the people in the community; for example, when they finish harvesting. The most important thing is that this village does strictly not allow people to get involved in gambling or drinking alcohol.

Visitors can stay overnight at the Karen village, Chao Wat Yang Daeng Village, or shelters in the cultural centre which houses the Hill Tribe Museum. Please call Tel. 0 5651 2026 from 8.30 a.m. – 4.30 p.m. It also sells hand-made products, local woven cloth in natural color, bamboo basketry, and seasonal agricultural goods, such as dried chili.

To get there, from Amphoe Ban Rai, drive along Highway 3011, Ban Rai – Phu Bon route for about 20 km. to the end of the asphalted road. Take a laterite road for another 1 km.

Tham Kret Dao is 1 km. far from Ban I Mat – I Sai Hill Tribe Cultural Centre. It is possible to see the walking route leading to this cave. From its entrance, there is a bamboo ladder leading downward to the cave. It is a massive cave with large stones which can glitter when the light shines on them. The ceiling is full of bats. Villagers bring those bats droppings to make a fertilizer for plants in their fields. It is necessary to bring a torch.

Namtok Tat Dao is a little further from the entrance of Tham Kret Dao. The 9-tiered waterfall flows over rocks and is surrounded by fertile forest.

Botanical Garden is about 5 km. from the cultural centre. It has a natural fresh and comfortable atmosphere. It takes about an hour to walk around. In the garden, there are useful local plants and various species of plants; such as Sadao Pa whose fruits and leaves can be made into an organic repellent, Ton Sabu whose fruits can be used in bathing, washing hair and clothes, Rang Chuet which has a medical property to sober up. Some plants are poisonous such as hair of Chang Rong which can make peopleûs skin painfully itch when touching. Ya Nong – upas trees – has a poisonous sap which hunters in the past applied to the end of their darts that used for hunting.

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Siamotif Boutique Hotel

Siamotif Boutique Hotel is very much part of the local community in Thonburi.

Luxury accommodation in Bangkok - Traditional Thai wooden house

Set on the Bangkok Noi Canal it is an old wooden house offering uniquely-designed accommodation that is well off the beaten track.

Luxury accommodation on a canal in Bangkok

The hustle and bustle of Bangkok is left behind as you wander through the Ban Bu crafters community or browse for something to eat from the vendor stalls at the food market. And the Emerald Buddha Temple is just across the Chao Phraya river when you are ready to mix it with the crowds and sightseers.

Traditional Thai hospitality Bangkok - Luxury accommodation in a wooden house on a canal

Huai Kha Khamin

Together with the Thung Yai Naesuan, the Huai Kha Khamin Wildlife Sanctuary covers an area of over 600,000 hectares and has been declared a World Heritage site.

Huay Kha Khaeng Wildlife Sanctuaries Thailand South East Asia

Access is limited to a few hides and walking trails around the administrative centre. Although there are accommodation facilities these are only available for research and study purposes rather than casual visitors.

Wildlife conservation Thung Yai Naresuan Thailand South East Asia

More than half of the total population of the Indochinese tiger survives in Thailands Western Forest Complex, with Huai Kha Khaeng as its core habitat. This a story of Huai Kha Khaeng, a story about Seub Nakhasathienva the superintendent whose work and death at the sanctuary was largely responsible for it being declared a World Heritage site.

Huai Kha Khaeng Wildlife Sanctuary Thailand South East Asia

A struggle and commitment best expressed by the solitude and simplicity of a bench near his cottage that overlooks a bend of the river at the Sanctuaries Headquarters. A testament to the memory of a man who dedicated his life to preserving something he believed in passionately.

Tham Than Lod

The Chaloem Rattanakosin National Park is one of those special places where you kick off your shoes and simply relax.

Tham Than Lod National Park Kanchanaburi

The main attraction that draws visitors, besides the locals with whom it is popular, is a hike from the Tham Than Lod Noi or small cave and a steep climb to the Tham Than Lod Yai cave. Where Yai is big and its not really a cave. More of an arch. What used to be a cave a long long time ago.

It’s stunning. It’s also exhausting. Especially if you have kids in tow.

Rock slide Chaloem Rattanakosin National Park

Which is when the water and rock slide makes a lot more sense.

They will spend hours clambering up and down, then up those rocks again. While Mum and Dad relax over a prepacked lunch.

There is a restaurant area at the Visitor Centre. But its a bit hit and miss as they only open when its busy and are usually closed during the week. Early on there was also a small restaurant at the gate which used to serve the most delicious som than thai, larb and Thai omlette.

Accommodation at Tham Than Lod Kanchanaburi

There is a camp site with ablution and cooking facilities and I think you can hire tents. But we always used to book Parks chalet. They are reasonably priced and comfortable.

Huay Mae Khamin

One look at the car park at Erawan, told me all I needed to know. So we headed for Huay Mae Khamin in the Khuean Srinagarindra National Park.

Huay Mae Khamin waterfalls Kanchanaburi Thailand

Despite being popular with locals it is relatively quiet during the week. Weekends and holidays are busy and best avoided. There is plenty of accommodation ranging from camping, to houses which cater for groups as well as chalets.

Accommodation at Huay Mae Khamin Kancghanaburi

The chalets are comfortable and well appointed

Chalets at Huay Mae Khamin waterfall Kanchanaburi

Offering brilliant views of the Srinagarindra dam lake.

Special places to visit Kanchanaburi Thailand

Another of those special places to visit in Thailand

Unspoilt, unseen

Not Quite.

It should be avoided on holidays. It is popular with locals. But Thong Pha Phum National Park in Kanchanaburi is one of the last unspoilt areas in Thailand.

Off the beaten track Thong Pha Phum Kanchanaburi

Generally overlooked by the commercially driven tour companies it offers a world of caves, waterfalls, tin mines, and vast tracts of jungle stretching into Burma.

Thong Pha Phum national park Kanchanaburi

Together with neighboring Thung Yai Naresuan, Hua Kha Khaeng, Mae Wong, and Umphang wildlife sanctuary’s, this area makes up one of the most important conservation areas in South East Asia.

Accommodation at Thong Pha Phum

There is a big camp site as well as chalets which are well worn. But still comfortable.There is also an option to book a tree house.

I-Thong Village Pilok Thong Pha Phum Kanchanaburi

The road continues up, onto Pilok which used to be a thriving Tin and Tungstan mining area. Ban I-Thong on the Burmese border is a sleepy village with some interesting coffee shops which becomes bedlam when it is invaded by tourists over holiday periods.

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Boat Noodles

There is a restaurant between Kanchanaburi and U Thong that I have passed many times without ever stopping. And every time, I promised myself we would try it out, the very next time.

So we did.

Boat noodles U Thong Suphanburi

But it wasn’t the the duck restaurant I was expecting. Nor were the boat noodles a substitute. A bit too sweet. However, that is the Thailand I have got used used to and their pork crackling alone,  was worth the stop.

Restaurants in Suphanburi

The tables are set out under mango trees making it a pleasant and agreeable meal.

The entrance is easy to miss as it is off a bend on a fast moving stretch of road. The restaurant is also tucked away out of sight about 25k’s from U Thong on the Kanchanaburi rd.

Exploring the backroads

A lake surrounded by mountains. Peace, tranquility and healthy living at Phuu Fa Nam Organic Farm.

Tucked away on the back roads is an organic farmstay in Suphanburi. A working farm supplying organic produce to markets in Bangkok.

Organic farmstays Thailand

 

Unspoilt Thailand

With over 20 illion visitors a year and very little regulation, “unspoilt” is becoming more and more difficult.

THe main problem is quite logical – if a beach is REALLY beautiful then there will be virtually no restrictions on what a wealthy develpoper can get away with……the inevitably result is that ALL the top grade coastal attractions are overrun or destroyed.

THat leaves the sort of places that as yet have not attracted enough people to warrant the attentions of the greedy developers whose only criteria is quick and easy profit.

To this end you are better looking at in land areas, national parks etc.
I agree that Kanchanaburi Province and the Western Forest complex offers a great opportunity to see bits of unspoiled rural Thailand before it finally disappears.
Also towns mentioned like Prachuap Kiri khan have not yet been overrun by foreign tourists as their beaches – although quite respectable – are not 5 star and therefore the target of untrammelled development.

The further away from the main holiday centres you go, the more likely you are to fid towns that have not been ruined by rampant tourism.
The coastlines between Hua Hin and Suratthani still have quaint places as do the coastlines between Phuket and Ranong, Phuket and Malaysia (mostly) and Sattahip and Trat.
these 3 coastlines are relatively unfrequented by foreign tourist hoards (as yet) and although they may not be the “best “beaches in Thailand you may find the lack of crowds and reasonably priced local food etc. more than enough compensation.

[BTW – all these places are popular with Thai vacationers – on public holidays and week-ends]

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