Chao Phraya River Cruise: Bangkok, Thailand.
Bangkok by the river.
One of the most beautiful way to explore Bangkok is by hiring a long-tail boat and meander gently through the city’s great water highway- the Chao Phraya river.
The Long-tail boat is Bangkok’s answer to the Gondola of Venice.
But what to expect?
If small boats are not for you, there’s also the option to take the tourist ferry. These commuter boats however, attract too many…well…tourists…reducing the experience to a crowded, noisy, and overall unsatisfactory tourist trap experience.
The long-tail gives you more of a relaxed and unique cultural experience. The engine is a bit noisy, but after a while, you’ll learn to forget about it as you journey on.
Be warned that some drivers are speed junkies. Or maybe that was just the normal speed that they usually cruise. However, because of high speed, water splashes may get you and your electronic gadgets wet, as the boat plows through the waves. At one stage, I politely requested my driver to sloww…dowwnn.
I’m supposed to be cruising, not drag racing.
It was compulsory to wear those awful-looking, orange-coloured, life-jackets. I protested lightly in the beginning, but of course safety must came first.
So I wore them, unwillingly, after I got my “fasshuunn” photos in the end.
It’s common to spot monitor lizards resting on rocks, or slabs of concrete along the river banks. These leathery animals can grow BIG. Giving some people a good fright (especially unknowing tourists) thinking they’re seeing crocodiles. Fortunately, they are shy, but will naturally attack when provoked. People do get hurt by doing brainless acts such as chasing, or petting these wild creatures.
Aside from Mall hopping (Bangkok has one of the best-quality shopping experiences I’ve done in Asia), cruising Chao Phraya was a great way to cool-off, and feel the cool afternoon breeze on my face, after having endured a sweltering and humid day in Bangkok.
Pros and Cons.
Despite on-going water pollution (a serious problem that other city rivers in the world, like the Thames in London, or the Seine in Paris, are facing), the Chao Phraya has retained its indomitable beauty and charm.
I was spellbound.
I didn’t get distracted by any foul odour or unsightly trash floating along the river. It probably also helped that I wasn’t actively smelling or looking for any rubbish anyway.
Beauty is everywhere, and found easily if one decides to seek for it.
Below is a bit of a rant.
I really don’t understand why some people seem fixated, even stressing and ranting about negative aspects like, “how smelly, or dirty the city is”, when there are so many fascinating colours, people’s unique culture, and remarkable architectures to see and admire all around!
I, for one, couldn’t help but admire even the shanty houses, which to my imagination looked more like art installations. There were so many colourful houses on stilts, with whimsical and distinct Thai ornamentation.
I found myself obsessively taking pictures, hoping to capture every detail of the unique views in every direction.
Easiest way to get there:
I find taking the BTS line as the most convenient way to travel from Bangkok city central to the Chao Phraya River. Take the green line train that heads towards Sathorn/Saphan Taksin, the station where you need to alight. Walk 3 minutes from the station and you will easily find the Central Pier. Look for the official ticketing people to choose your method of river transport. However, be wary of hawkers that actively sells “special price tours/tickets”.
Fashion/Style Notes: Hat from MUJI stores, Monkeys Necklace from PMQ (Hong Kong), Watch from Karl Lagerfeld, T-shirt from Fox PIxel by Paul B., (Bangkok), Pants from Bangkok menswear brand Boy Plain; Double-ankle strap Sandals from Prada S/S 2017; There were so many exciting local fashion brands that I stumble upon in the shopping malls of Bangkok. I love the playful designs and superior craftsmanship of Thai designers.
x War Julian x