Bangkok by Boat

One sees a place differently by water. I first discovered this sailing down the Nile. There are no vendors vying for your attention to make a sale. No mad drivers to mow you down mid-stride. No children tugging at your trousers or heartstrings. It’s a slower pace. A pace that allows you to absorb and appreciate your surroundings. A glimpse of daily life that you don’t necessarily see by street with its many distractions and commercial concentration.

I was surprised to discover that Bangkok had a canal (khlong) system branching from its main river, the Chao Phraya, revealing the backyards of Bangkok. Laundry, fishing, bathing, and meal preparation – they all happen riverside.

The canals were a major source of transportation until the late 19th century, but many canals have since been filled in and replaced by roads and other infrastructure. However, a ride in a long-boat shows that the waterways are still vital and vibrant.

The colours shout to you. The orange of a monk’s robe drying on a balcony.
The golds, oranges and reds of a buddhist temple. The rainbow of a line of laundry against the weathered wood houses of grey and brown.

From your long-boat you can stop at a riverside market, or a beer vendor may cruise up to you, or you can buy bread to feed the fish.

Getting on and off the long-boat is not for the faint of heart. Health and safety are not top of mind in this part of the world, but the acrobatics one must perform to ride the river certainly reduce the touristy factor and it’s all part of the experience – an experience that should be part of an itinerary to Bangkok.

A journey is like marriage. The certain way to be wrong is to think you control it. – John Steinbeck

4 Comments Add yours

  1. Dolcie Graham says:

    You are so right, seeing the sights from the water is quite different and experiencing the real heart of a country is the best way to visit.

  2. Lise Peck says:


    You take wonderful pics and yes you are so correct…..seeing from the water gives a new perspective……we were in Bangkok and on a long boat but just on the Praya.

    Continue to enjoy and many thanks for the chat and pics we are all so fortunate to “read”!

    Ian and Lise xxox

    1. Ashley says:

      I’m afraid I can’t take any credit here! This is my friend Terry’s blog – the fantastic photos and observations are all by him. He’s currently travelling on a round-the-world ticket and I’ve met up with him for Thailand and India. I highly recommend his earlier posts if you haven’t read them yet – it’s a great read with plenty more wonderful photos!

  3. Claire says:

    Hi terry and ashley. Terry I managed 10 photos for the entire Thailand trip!!! and they are not a patch on yours. Loved reading your take on the elephant ride – it was my favourite day that one, with the ride and then the hill tribe. Hope you’re still enjoying your travels. If you ever want to see a lovely (very small) island you are welcome to Guernsey – I finally completed on my new house last Thursday 🙂
    Good to meet you – Cheers Claire

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