eMagazine by TAT Los Angeles – December 2013 (Vol. 2 No.12)

Highlights of the Month – October 2013

Rivers and canals (khlong) are synonymous with Thai existence. An abundant source and sustainer of life, Thailand's riverine world is a network offlowing arteries that nurture and support local communities. These vital waterways not only provide our basic needs but also serve as important transportation routes, conveniently linking all corners of the kingdom.

An integral part of daily life, our flowing tributaries are used for leisure and commerce alike. They are the play-ground for frolicking children, peaceful reststops for the elderly perching on their waterfront pavilions, or enterprising and colorful floating markets that paddle along selling fresh produce from local farms.

Early encounters of such majestic riverine craft met Western diplomats when they first sailed into the ancient Thai capital of Ayutthaya. The impressive sight of a thriving city island encircled by canals alive with raft houses and waterborne communities, led foreigners to affectionately dub the kingdom "Venice of the East".

Wherever your port of call, you are sure to encounter historic riverside architecture and fabulous scenes of natural beauty that create unique cultural identities specific to each locale. Set sail with us on a voyage of fascinating discovery.

This route goes from Nontaburi Pier to Wat Ratchasingkhon Pier, which was over five centuries ago part of the main route from Ayutthaya to the Gulf of Thailand. The river winds its way eastward in a curve around Rattanakosin City, founded by KIng Rama I in 1782, presently know as Rattanakosin Insland, with the splendid Grand Palace and the Temple of the Emerald Buddha as the major landmarks. On the opposite side stand the royal palace of the Thon Buri Period and Wat Arun, the Temple of Dawn, an unmistakable landmark best know among foreign travelers.

Visit local markets selling fruits and flowers, ornamental and flowering plants, food items and commodities from dawn to dusk. Enjoy the varied architecture on both banks of the river, including royal residences, old mansions, and European trading houses, among modern highrises, signifying the unique blend of Bangkok's split personalities, as a modern cosmopolitan city and the center of traditional art and culture.

 

 

The river cruise starts at the boat landing of Wat Paramaiyakawat, with the Mon-style pagosa as the symbol. Notables are Western-style mural paintings in the temple halls and unique Mon crafts in the temple museum. The cruise then proceeds along the Om Kret River, which is the original Chao Phraya River, to the lush fruit orchards and toxin-free vegetable plots on the west of the island.

A visit to the Bang Bua Thong or Dessert Canal is next, with the observation of dessert making. At the Lat Kret (Kret shortcut) river, the densely packed community of Ban Mon Khwang can be seen, where all the houses face the north, turning one side to the river. In conclusion, the visit is made to the Mon earthenware museum, the potter's village, and workshops. For lunch, try authentic Mon specialties.

 

Download our Khlong Tour eBrochure for more ideas on  "Cruising the Majestic Waterways". This waterway guide includes:

  • Bangkok and Chao Phraya River
  • Bangkok - Nonthaburi
  • Ayutthaya
  • Nakhon Phatom
  • Samut Sakhon - Samut Songkhram
  • Kanchanaburi

For further information, visit our North America website or cal 1-800-Thailand.