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Mid-Voyage Land Adventure: River Kwai & World War II Memorials

Tour description

Kanchanaburi evokes visions of scenic and serene beauty but mainly is known for its connection to World War II and the infamous River Kwai Bridge and the 'Death Railway'. Visits to the World War II cemetery and museum, as well as a ride on the 'Death Railway' bring to mind the fate of Allied POWs who laboured here under the most inhuman conditions. Spend the night at the Dheva Mantra Resort & Spa nestled on the banks of the Kwai River and experience a kaleidoscope of local colour during a visit to the Floating Market.        

01MIDBKK-J River Kwai & World War II Memorials

Departure: March 4, 2013

Duration: 1.5 Days / 1 Night

Re-join ship: Bangkok March 5, 2013

Reserve by: December 20, 2012  Extended to December 31, 2012

This Mid-Voyage Land Adventure requires advance booking through Silversea Reservations by December 20, 2012. Requests received after this date are on a space available basis only. Payment in full is due within 120 days prior to sailing. This programme is non-refundable if cancelled within 90 days of sailing.

A visit to Kanchanaburi offers both scenic and serene natural beauty. But for many travellers the main draw is its link to the Second World War and the world famous River Kwai Bridge memorised in numerous books and films. The two-day programme includes the area's premier attractions, mainly the War Cemetery, the JEATH Museum, a ride on the 'Death Railway', and the Muang Sing Historical Park. An overnight stay at the Dheva Mantra Resort & Spa evokes the atmosphere of a bygone Colonial era.

The second day presents a lighter note with a stop at one of the colourful floating markets and a short boat ride through the teeming canals. Your Kanchanaburi outing concludes with a Thai lunch at Rose Garden Riverside followed by the return to the ship in Bangkok.

DAY ONE - Monday, March 4, 2013 - Bangkok/Kanchanaburi/River Kwai  

Depart from Klong Toey pier and travel for approximately two hours to the town of Kanchanaburi, gateway to the famous River Kwai. Set in a landscape of limestone hills, the town is most famous for its World War II role as POW camp and as base for the construction of the Thailand-Burma Railway. The 257-mile (415-km) railway, ordered by the Japanese to be built during World War II was to facilitate their forces in the Burma Campaign. Other World War II memorials include a museum and war cemeteries.

Arriving into Kanchanaburi, your first stop is at the Don Rak War Cemetery. Here, almost 7,000 POWs, who perished during the construction of the River Kwai Bridge and the 'Death Railway', found their final resting place. Today, the cemetery is lovingly maintained by local volunteers and the graves are decorated with colourful flowers.

Next, stop at the Thai-Burmese Railway Centre across from the cemetery. This attractive facility contains a small railway museum, souvenir shop, cafeteria and restrooms.  

Leaving the Railway Centre, continue on your drive to Kanchanaburi's major landmark, the Bridge on the River Kwai, Brought in parts from Java by the Japanese army, the bridge was reassembled by Allied prisoner of war labour under Japanese supervision. During 1945, the bridge was the target of frequent Allied bombing raids but was rebuilt after the war. Still in use today, the curved, black iron spans are the original sections and visitors can take a walk on the bridge, high above the River Kwai. Following a photo stop, there is time to browse the shops at the adjacent shopping complex offering local products and jewellery items.

Re-join your coach and head to the five-star Dheva Mantra Resort for lunch and check-in. Surrounded by lush tropical gardens and overlooking the Kwai River, the hotel offers deluxe accommodations that evoke the beauty of a bygone colonial era.

After lunch, drive to Muang Sing Historical Park and visit some of the major monuments within the ancient walled city of Muang Sing dating from the 13th and 14th centuries. The architectural style of the temple ruins indicates the relationship between Muang Sing and the ancient Khmer Kingdom. Covered for centuries by dense vegetation, the park was officially opened in 1987 as a cultural heritage site. Its large expanse allows driving between various monuments.  

Leaving Muang Sing Historical Park, proceed next to the Wang Pho train station. Board a car, with a 'Special Section' reserved for tourists, for a 30-minute ride along a small segment of the Burma-Thailand railway, commonly known as the 'Death Railway'. With open windows, the old train cars rumble noisily though the countryside, passing small villages, farm land, attractive resorts and parts of the Kwai River. The ride may not be the most comfortable, but it offers fun and an interesting scenario while provoking thoughts about its painful history. Guests will be presented with a 'Certificate of Remembrance' that provides an outline about the significance of the 'Death Railway' and the River Kwai Bridge as a Memorial of World War II.  

Upon disembarkation at the Tha Kilen train station, your vehicle awaits to return you to the Dheva Mantra Resort. A set-menu Thai dinner will be served at either the open-air Rice Barge or the hotel's air-conditioned restaurant, subject to weather conditions.

Overnight accommodation is at the Dheva Mantra Resort & Spa - Kanchanaburi.

DAY TWO - Tuesday, March 5, 2013 - JEATH Museum/Floating Market/Rose Garden/Bangkok  

After breakfast and check-out, depart the hotel and head to the nearby JEATH War Museum. JEATH stands for Japan, England, America, Australia, Thailand and Holland, the nationalities of the Prisoners of War who were forced to build the infamous railway and River Kwai Bridge. The museum, located within the grounds of the Chai Chumphon temple, features an exact copy of the original bamboo huts that housed the POWs. Displays of graphic images, photographs and accounts written by former POWs serve as tribute to the terrible conditions under which men were forced to build the railway.  

Leaving JEATH War Museum, commence the return journey toward Bangkok. After about 1.5 hours, arrive at the Damnernsaduak Floating Market. The cheery atmosphere of the market helps lighten the sombre experience of World War II memorials. It is arguably the most popular and most photographed of the numerous floating markets in the area. Hundreds of small boats crowd the canal, with vendors selling agricultural products and food. Enjoy a boat ride  

along the canals and take in the colourful surroundings - a photographer's delight.

Following your visit, proceed with your drive to Rose Garden Riverside for lunch. Set in a 70-acre landscaped park, Rose Garden is regarded by local residents and visitors as an 'Escape from Bangkok'. The property contains a wide range of attractions designed to showcase Thai culture. Relax in one of the on-site restaurants and enjoy a set-menu Thai lunch.  

After lunch, continue on the remaining drive of 1.5 hours to Bangkok and the Klong Toey pier, where the ship awaits your return.  

Please note: This Mid-Voyage Land Adventure requires a moderate amount of walking, much of which is over uneven ground, particularly at Muang Sing Historical Park. There are many steps to climb. This Land Adventure is not suitable for guests with limited mobility or those who utilise a wheelchair. There are three fairly high steps to board and disembark the train and the old train cars make for a bumpy, noisy ride, with open windows and no air conditioning. The train ride has to be considered for its historic value and interesting scenery rather than comfort. The sequence of visits and timings on Day 1 is subject to the train schedule. This Land Adventure involves touring outdoors and guests may be exposed to warm, humid and/or wet weather and insects; please pack accordingly. Lightweight clothing, comfortable shoes, a hat and sun protection are recommended and a small overnight bag only is suggested as porterage may not be available. Remember to bring your camera.

Programme Includes:

·        One-night stay at the Dheva Mantra Resort & Spa - Kanchanaburi or similar

·        One breakfast, two lunches and one dinner (lunch and dinner include choice of two beverages - soft drinks, mineral water, beer or wine)

·        Ride on the 'Death Railway' including a 'Certificate of Remembrance'

·        All sightseeing and transfers as per itinerary.

Not Included:

Any meals and drinks not specified above, tips to drivers and tour guides, laundry, telephone calls, cancellation insurance, and other personal items.

All Land Adventures require a minimum number of participants in order to operate as described.  If this minimum number is not met, Silversea reserves the right to offer the programme at a different rate based on private arrangements, or to cancel the specific departure.  Silversea's published cruise cancellation policy will remain in effect.  All Land Adventure fares are subject to change and are not guaranteed until payment is received in full by Silversea.   All Land Adventures are non-transferable and non-refundable for any reason, within 90 days of sailing and are recommended to guests 18 years or age and older.  This description is a general overview of this programme.  Our local operator reserves the right to substitute other sites if local situations, including holidays and weather, require.  The programme described in this brochure is provided by independent contractors. Silversea acts solely as ticketing agent. Silversea shall have no obligation or liability of any kind to guests for the business practices, acts or omissions in connection with or arising out of arrangements with independent contractors, including but not limited to airline carriers, ground-tour operators, and hotels since they are neither agents for nor employees of Silversea Cruises. Silversea's liability does not extend beyond the vessel.