Almost every Bangkok visitors goes for a boat ride on the Chao Phraya river once. But there is another “river taxi” that most tourists never get to see, let alone ride. This is the only remaining “real” river taxi.
Long time ago, Bangkok wasn’t what it is today. There were no busy, congested roads. It wasn’t a city of concrete. Instead, it was a city where almost all transportation took place on small rivers and “khlongs” – which are essentially small canals.
There is not much left of that nowadays of course. Except for this boat line that connects the old city center with Bangkok’s modern and busy districts.
A ride up and down the khlong takes about an hour if you go from one end to the other, and you pass many interesting parts of Bangkok that you won’t ever find in a tour guide book.
The history from the Khlongs
The region surrounding Bangkok has usually been a swamp and also the Chao Praya RIV types the greatest waterway here. Within the 16th century there had been already channels dug within the Chao Praya RIV to give shipping much better access to and from the former money Ayutthaya. The big meanders that the riv program produced on its method to the Gulf of Thailand had been cut off by canals. The majority of waterways had been produced following Bangkok became the new money. Probably the most southern from the canals had to be stuffed in once more simply because at high tide the metropolis flooded with seawater.
Nearly all national (and with some fluctuation, international) trade was carried out on the h2o. Furthermore, moats had been produced for the defence from the metropolis within the 18th century, following the instance from the set-up at Ayutthaya and within the 19th century, for purely military purposes, a couple of longer canals had been excavated by Chinese workers, traversing from east to west within the region west from the metropolis. Using the passing from the centuries irrigation from the surrounding farmlands and also the expansion of trade mobility had been prime factors for making new waterways as the metropolis developed and grew. Bangkok employed Dutch h2o engineering specialists (finish from the 18th, beginning from the 19th century) to reclaim the swamp locations. Following the Second Globe War, canal constructing within the swamp locations was intensified.
The ancient khlong environment
These days not all khlongs are in use. Some of them have been stuffed in to enhance land transportation. Nonetheless, parts of Bangkok have retained the outdated waterway environment supplying the chance for a relaxing outing. You could, for instance, take the Khlong Bangkok Noi h2o taxi and journey the outdated riv arm and see the original canal communities. The h2o taxi leaves from Tha (pier) Maharat, subsequent to Silpakort University. Every journey expenses about 20 Bhat and also the further you go into the khlong the much more stunning the surroundings: wooden teak houses with gold-leafed Temples and colourful orchids cultivated in tiny gardens. This taxi service is supplied by the so-called ‘longtail boats’. These are brightly coloured, narrow boats, about 8m lengthy, and equipped with massive motors (occasionally Japanese truck engines) using the propeller on the lengthy shaft to ensure that the boat can navigate shallow waters. You are able to of program, charter a longtail boat. These price about 400-500 Bhat an hour at Tha Si Phraya. Make certain you agree the cost prior to setting off.
Practical riv transport
In the event you truly should journey throughout the rush hour, it is a great concept to take an express boat more than the Chao Praya RIV to obtain someplace. It is a bit hectic, but a great deal much less muggy than attempting to journey more than land.
You are able to have a fantastic meal in Bangkok on the dinner cruise within the evening. A couple of are named within the Lonely Planet book and it could be helpful to create a reservation. We did a truly good cruise on the typical wooden ‘rice barge’ with gentle Thai music, fine service and plenty of great food. This was not the least expensive (approx 1250 Bhat per individual) however it was completely worth it.
Another great way to see the city is by bike. Try a Bangkok cycling tour along the banks of the khlongs.
River Kwai trips
The famous River Kwai is really a highlight of any trip to Thailand. From Bangkok, you can take a trip to the River Kwai, stopping first at the famous floating markets in Bangkok and even travelling on the Death Railway built by POWs. You can even sleep in floating huts on the River Kwai during some River Kwai tours.
You can build your own Thailand adventure with khlong tours, trekking, and island hopping with Thailand Travel Plan.
Khao Yai jungle trails. Island hopping to hidden paradise. Sleep in the Thai countryside and floating huts along the River Kwai. We’ll help you build your very own Thailand adventure: http://www.thailandtravelplan.co.uk
Photocredit: Gabriel Perez