Its rise and shine on another beautiful humid day in Bangkok, Thailand. Today is river cruising day and I am excited! – Alex not so much.
What I am looking forward to is a long tail boat ride down the famous Chao Phraya River and its surrounding canals (aka Khlongs).
Tonight Alex will be excited because he and I will be (back) on the water for a Dinner Boat Cruise along the Chao Phraya River…and you may not even need to wear a life jacket for the dinner cruise Alex!
So to begin my day, I head down to the boat pontoon which is thankfully just down the side street from our Centre Point Silom location.
At the pontoon I ask about booking a boat ride. Well, in fact I say “Long Tail?” questioningly to a guy who looks like he might know something about long tail boat rides. I follow it up with “Canal?”… just to make my situation completely clear. “Yes, yes” is the reply. And just like that I am all sorted for my long tail boat trip. I hand over my hard earned THB$500 (AUD$20) and await his further instruction (or pointing in his case).
The long tail boat ride I have so meticulously researched and chosen to suit my needs is (I think) a 1 hour return boat ride along the Chao Phraya River and its tributary canals (Khlongs).
My boat ride (ie potential death defying experience) will be shared with other random customers meaning I (potentially) won’t die alone.
As I board the long tail boat it becomes clear… another Bangkok boat and another crappy life vest.
My life vest has 3 “straps”. Unfortunately, the top strap is two bits of rope attached to where the top strap should be. Umm… the only solution I can figure with such short notice is to tie the two straps in a bow.
The second strap appears to function properly… phew.
The third strap consists of a strap but sadly no buckle which can be quite important in the functioning of said “strap”. Ok…2 out of 3 aint bad right? Wish me luck.
Seven human lives (6 passengers and 1 boat “captain”) are dependent on the strength of the timbers of our long tail boat today. But what they hey… so long as the boat looks pretty with its red and blue ribbon splayed the length of the boat and its colourful roof.
Anyway, we head off up the choppy Chao Phraya River with our little boat likely to break up into a million splinters of wood at any moment. Thump… thump… bang… bang… goes our boat as my bottom pounds up and down on the wooden plank that is my seat.
The thing I love about my boat journey is its simplicity. There are no apparent rules or regulations, no compulsory this or that, no heirs and graces, just a simple timber boat with a simple outboard motor and one carefree driver (captain).
We make a stop at the Grand Palace pontoon to drop off 2 customers. And then there were 4. I am left at the back of the long tail boat with 3 American pastors from the mid-west (so they told me) up front.
It’s a bit hard to work out our exact itinerary but I am thinking we will now head for the calmness of the canals.
As it turns out I am right (surprised Alex – or disappointed you missed another of my “right” moments?).
We approach a loch which we need to navigate through in order to access the canal beyond. Well done Captain. With the loch navigated we now proceed along the back waters of the canal.
It is fascinating the look into the backyards of the Thai’s who live along the river. It is amazing that some of the structures are still standing, and even more amazing that some of these are inhabited but this is the reality of Bangkok life.
With the Khlongs covered, we enter back onto the Chao Phraya River through another loch. We return to our original pontoon docking point and safety of dry land.
It takes me a minute to get my land legs before I head off to meet up with Alex at Pantip Plaza, electronic gadget nerd central.
For previous Thailand series post see Centre Point Hotel Silom, Bangkok Thailand
For next Thailand series see Pantip Plaza, Bangkok Thailand