What an amazing day! Our guide, Ya, and our driver picked us up at our hotel promptly at 6:30. We rode in a comfortable air-conditioned van. We were fortunate that it was just the three of us! (Pro-tip: We went on a Monday, and Ya shared with us that it’s least crowded during the weekdays because people from Bangkok flock to Kanchanaburi Province to hike to the Erawan Falls and raft on the River Khwae (River Kwai) on weekends). It’s a fairly long ride, about 100 miles / 2.5 hours plus about 20 minutes for a brief stop on the way to the infamous Bridge on the River Kwai. Then it’s another hour to Erawan National Park (Erawan = elephant) to hike to the different levels of the waterfalls. The trail is well maintained, but it is a bit of a workout going up and down. Swimming in the falls at level 2 and level 5 was really cool, figuratively and literally. You are required to wear a life jacket to swim in any of the waterfall pools, and you must rent them for 20 Bhat each (this is an out-of pocket extra). Lunch (included) was at a little restaurant featuring traditional Thai foods. The elephant reserve was awesome. We cut and mixed fruit and rice balls, fed the elephants, and bathed them in the River Kwai. The staff provides blue cotton shorts and tops (included) to wear while bathing the elephants. A tip of 200 Bhat (about $5.60) is suggested for each of the elephant handlers. The final stop was the Buddha Cave on the River Kwai near the location of the former POW camp where Australian POWs and local civilians were forced to build the railway bridge along the precarious cliffs. The final journey back to Bangkok took another roughly 3 hours due to evening traffic, and we arrived back at our hotel at promptly 7:00 pm. Ya was such an informative and friendly guide and we had a great time. A tip of 1000 Bhat (approximately $28) per party is a much appreciated, but not required tip for your guide and another 500 Bhat for the driver (our driver was very much surprised and deeply appreciative). Highly recommended excursion!!!