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Cruising the Canals Rolling on the River in Bangkok

Mar, 19 || Comments Off on Cruising the Canals Rolling on the River in Bangkok | Tags:

Cruising the Canals Rolling on the River in Bangkok

Bangkok used to be known as the “Venice of the far East” for all the watery arteries connecting to the main vein – the River of Kings. Taking a long-tail boat tour of a few of these canals on the Thon Buri side of the river, like Bangkok Noi (little) and Bangkok Yai (Big) with breaks at the Temple of Dawn and the Royal Barges Museum is a great way to immerse yourself in Thai and Siamese history. And buzzing down the waterways in a long-tail boat, past canal-side houses and floating petrol stations, inspires a real buzz of excitement you won’t find anywhere else.

Another historic voyage is along the canal of Khlong Om to the island of Ko Kret, home to a thriving community of Mon artisans, who sell the fruits of their labours, like sandstone sculptures, for very reasonable prices. To get there, take the river taxi to the last station, Nonthaburi, and charter your own long-tail boat from the pier.

Cruising the Canals Rolling on the River in Bangkok

Cruising the Canals Rolling on the River in Bangkok

Nineteenth-century Bangkok was laced with canals, giving the capital the designation “Venice of the East”. As Bangkok turned into a bustling metropolis, Thonburi’s surviving canals and the Chao Phraya River provide memorable vignettes of the traditional waterborne way-of-life that once was. No wonder then that most travellers visit the district by boat. Many of the tours and floating markets feel pretty set-up though, but in mornings you might still encounter an authentic floating vendor, paddling from house to house trying to sell some just-prepared food.

The most convenient option is to take a fixed-price trip, which is a package deal that usually includes a visit to Wat Arun, the Royal Barge Museum and a floating market. Such a tour can be booked through a travel agency, but it’s easier to go to the pier yourself. There are two tour companies, one operating from Tha Chang pier in Rattanakosin, the other operating from Si Phraya pier in Silom (near River City shopping centre).

Mitchaophraya Travel Service, (Tha Chang Pier), Tel: +66 2 225-6179. Operating from Tha Chang pier, there offers plenty of tours on offer. All of them include Wat Arun, the Royal Barge National Museum and a floating market. At weekdays it will pass by the “Thonburi Floating Market”, which is set-up for tourists and not worth it. Better take the tour at weekends, when it goes by the Taling Chan Floating Market .

Pandan Tour Company, 780/488 Charoen Krung Rd, Bang Kho Laem, Tel: +66 8 7109-8873

08:00-18:00 daily. This company offers whole-day tours, which are slightly different whether you’re taking them on weekdays or weekends. The weekday tour starts at the Wat Sai Morning Market and then takes you to an orchid nursery, a lotus pond and the Forest Temple and the Mouth of the Canal Temple(you will see a good contrast!) and the “Artists’ House” which is the house of traditional Thai puppets. The weekend tour takes you to the Artists House first and then brings you to the Lat Mayom Weekend Floating Market.

The Boat Tour Centre, (Si Phraya Pier). Operating from Si Phraya pier. The one-hour tour is a quick tour of the Chao Phraya River. At the two-hour tour, you will either visit the Wat Sai Floating Market or go up north to Wat Arun and the Royal Barge National Museum.

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