As an inbound tour operator (among other things), we have the good fortune to be able to regularly cast an eye on some of the more popular and exciting tourist destinations across Asia. As a company focused on going off-the-beaten-path, we don't always take the time to talk about some of the great products that might nonetheless be on the normal tourism path.
Kanchanaburi: Why We Still Recommend This Mainstream Destination
Say what you will, not every client wants to trek through the jungle in a mostly forgotten corner of the country. First and foremost, Kanchanaburi is an important historical destination that has captured our collective imagination since the 1957 classic Bridge on the River Kwai. On that score, the Hintok River Camp lies right at Hellfire Pass, the pass through with the Death Railway was built by the Japanese to connect Thailand and Myanmar by rail during World War 2.
Above and beyond the historical value, the province's eponymous capital is located just two hours by car from Bangkok, Thailand's capital. Hintok River Camp is just one more hour away, making it easy to make a leisurely start, stop in Kanchanaburi town for lunch and arrive around check-in time.
In a country that is as blessed as Thailand in terms of natural resources, it's hard to claim that Kanchanaburi is unique. But the Sai Yok district that we favor displays a really nice blend of almost temperate forest, jungle, young mountains and of course the flowing River Kwai. It's a hard-to-beat natural setting that almost anyone will agree is a non-beach paradise well worth anywhere from a two-day jaunt to a week-long exploration.
Forget Luxury and Glamping: There's Real Magic at Hintok
A tented camp is certainly more common than it was several years ago, but it's still an exciting option for the right customer. But here's the thing, for all the talk of "luxury" and "glamping" what sets Hintok River Camp apart is the magical feeling that guests will feel when they're sitting around a bonfire under paper lanterns hung from the trees as the property dog or cat snore away nearby. It is, in a word, friendly. And that's not something we've found happens at every property we visit.
The other "magic" is what is clearly a serious and always underappreciated commitment to housekeeping, renovation and general maintenance. This is something we notice at all of Serenata Group's properties in Kanchanaburi, some of which are over 30 years old! As an inbound tour operator, this gives us great peace of mind as it is probably the best indicator that the "trains run on time" and can trust that our partner will take great care of our clients.
Last but not least, I personally think the natural spring-fed pool that sits just above the floating pier is another magical element that's hard to replicate. It's large enough to accommodate several people but small enough to promote reaching out to your next-door neighbor and meet new people. It's not every place that achieves a feeling of comfort that puts guests in the mood to socialize, but Hintok River camp accomplishes this feat.
So if you're looking for something magical without missing out on the creature comforts of a large tent with air-conditioning and comfortable beds, look not further!