The Chao Phraya River

The start of the new year has not been Bangkok’s finest. We have been swarmed with heavy pollution, coating our city in a thick, grey smog with barely any sunlight to be found. The great outdoors has not been so great in this part of the world and we long for crispy, clean air. But this city still has it’s magic… IMG_8822

Amid all the haze and craze, we managed to snap some pretty stunning photographs of the Chao Phraya River at the weekend. Dotted with high rises, temples, palaces and homes, this river can hold it’s own. Well done, Canon, for some fantastic shots. Let this be a note to self that there is beauty within and some cleaner air is on it’s way soon… please!

We get onto the river at Saphan Taxin pier. This time we got off at the Grand Palace, before getting back on at Ta Tien market. It was lovely to walk along the outskirts of the Palace with a Magnum ice cream and it helped us cool off in the lunchtime heat. Here are some photographs of things along the way, the Magnum well and truly devoured with just a wrapper in the handbag for show.

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There are hundreds of little walkways that lead down to the river on this side of town. You just have to go and explore, dodging the cars, people and food carts along the way.

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At the edge of the river there are local homes. We spotted one lady hanging out her washing, the cotton catching reflection rays from the Wat Arun temple opposite. We wonder how long some of these homes will survive. Most of them are tilting to one side, or have been badly destroyed by the tropical weather conditions. Yet these families seem happy, and live life simply.

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Though you cannot see in this picture, there was a monitor lizard on a banks of the river, staring at us from afar. I knew someone’s beady eyes were watching us. Now I know who.

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The river is never a dull place. There are tens of boats whizzing up and down, from the nippy orange flag boats for both tourists and locals alike to the ‘proper’ blue tourist boat and the river cruise beasts.

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We took these photographs from the new Supanniga cruise, which comes from the success of the Supanniga chain of restaurants. As regulars at their restaurant near our old digs on Soi 11, we were keen to try out their quirky double-deck boat in vintage cream hues.

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A birthday treat from my mother-in-law, it really was a wonderful spot to observe life on the river and celebrate turning another year older in this part of the world.

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Click here to check out this super restaurant in Bangkok: Supanniga Eating Room

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The top deck was, quite clearly, down right good fun. This is down to the orange flag and long tail boats racing past us at speed, conjuring up almighty river waves. A loud “weeeee” could be heard, as the cream cruiser swayed from side to side. This immediately got the attention of all staff. They were especially attentive, embarrassingly in this case.

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The river is a good friend of ours and we have sussed out most transportation, with family and all. The tourist boat costs 50 baht for a one-way journey- a steal at £1.20, we think. It describes the landmarks along the way, like the Grand Palace and the Wat Arun, and is rather relaxing. You can also get to the infamous Khao San road via the river. Our families really enjoyed their river sight-seeing, especially on the top deck of the tourist boat catching the rays, as well as down on ground deck, watching the world go by from the sidelines.

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Wat Arun
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The Grand Palace

The boat that is far from relaxing is that wave-making machine, AKA the orange flag boat. You barely have time to get on and off, and the health and safety is probably non-existent. It is every man for himself, but we still took my Dad on and fifteen baht was swiped from his wallet of bahts and ‘tenners’ (£10).

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The orange boat serves its purpose; to get people from A to B. It does the job, and does it fast. Just watch out for the dirty droplets of water splashing to and ‘fro and keep your month closed. We learnt the tasty way… There’s usually an attendant at the back of the boat blowing their whistle at every given moment. The whistle sounds like a screechy bird, which is delightful.

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You can also get private tours up the river and onto the Klong, and most hotels run their own shuttle boats for free. If staying at a hotel on the river, the shuttle boat is a must for feeling like you have got a bit of the celebrity treatment.

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As the sun sets on the high-rises, the river glows with a deep orange. The murky water seems to transform into something more sophisticated and the riff-raff river becomes a romantic affair. We love the river day and night, and have listed some cool places to at the end of this blog… So I guess a ‘congratulations’ are in order, Chao Phraya, and kob-khun-kha.

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Places to stay:Anantara Riverside – The Sweet Suite Life

Places to drink:Viva and Aviv  

Places to eat:

The Never Ending Summer

Hilton Sunday Brunch 

Supanniga Eating Room (River)

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