Kwai is pronounced with a soft “a,” as in “glad.” The word Kwai pronounced like “why” means “buffalo” in Thai.
Known mostly to Westerners as the setting for the movie “Bridge over the River Kwai,” the lovely and tranquil Kwai is in fact two rivers, the Kwai Yai and the Kwai Noi, the merge at Kanchanaburi, site of the actual bridge. From its source in the Tenasserim Hills, it flows for nearly 240 miles through Thailand, nurturing one of the most beautiful and culturally diverse countries in Southeast Asia.
Rich with spectacular scenery, wildlife, and birds, the Kwai is a naturalist’s dream. Cruising through the jungle, past dramatic gorges and cascading waterfalls, under trailing orchids and chattering birds, you’ll feel like one of the great explorers of old. You’ll even venture into the jungle to meet tribes-people who will consider you the strange and exotic creature!
Limited cruise lines offer Kwai river cruises as part of a Thailand tour, and all charter the local river cruisers, that were built in the romantic colonial style but featuring modern comforts and amenities. The River Kwai is definitely the road less traveled and a very unique addition to any Southeast Asia journey.