today I would like to tell you about the boat tour I took on Bangkoks famous river the Chao Praya. Everybody, who is ever been to Bangkok should know this majestic river, dividing the city into two parts. Therefore everybody should have crossed the river at least once.
I began that day with a little “window”-shopping (Pun intended) at Chatuchak. Since I finished early (I am not that big of a shopping kind of guy) I decided to go on a boat tour to see Bangkok from the river perspective. Therefore I started doing the impossible. Getting a cab at Chatuchak that is willing to drive further than a kilometer. Many, many cabs either did not know a place to grab a boat at (Who would’ve thought of that?!) or wanted to have around THB 800 (~20€) for the ride. So it took a lot of patience and the willingness to pay extra for the highway to get to the next pier.
Obviously I have not been brought to the next pier, but somewhere downtown, where even the driver got lost and started asking me for the direction to the pier. After cornering streets and asking a bunch of people the cab-driver finally got me to the pier. When I got out of the cab I directly recognized my location and that I (again) payed way too much for the ride, as it could’ve been done in about a 1/3 of the time and price. I was let out at the Grand Palace….
Nevertheless, I did not let that affect my upcoming boat tour. So I put my smile back on and headed towards the pier. Before I entered the pier, I noticed the many food stands placed in front of the pier. When I got further in, the food stands vanished and merchandise shops appeared. I passed them and got to the area where boat tickets are being sold.
As I read on the internet, there were many boat owners trying to talk one into much less interesting and insanely more expensive private boat tours. So I passed all of their offers and did what the internet told me to. Not only did I read not to take the private boat owners tours, but also that one should pass on guided boat tours from locals. Apparently, they aren’t well guided (very bad or no English) and are quite short with only few places to see and photograph. So I did what I was advised to do. I waited for the regular boat that drives up and down the river all day long, letting people out at the several piers. When I finally embarked (there is no such thing as a schedule) I paid around THB 15 (~0.5€) for a ride up to the final destination.
The boat had plenty of room and opened side, which made it easy to take pictures, but also very easy to get wet once the boat took on some speed. Anyhow, the ride was exciting and joyous. I rode with the boat until I had to get out at the final destination, even though I almost did not make it. The thing with this commercial boats is that they give an estimated 15 seconds at a pier for the people to get off. Regardless whether or not everybody got off, it will go on to the next speed. Even though the last couple of lines had a strong sarcastic note, this is not a joke. If you are on such a boat, plan your exit properly beforehand. Otherwise, you will not get off.
Now having exited at the final destination, I explored the area. It took me about one corner until I saw a giant festival. I tried to understand what the people were doing, and I might have figured it out. Actually I think it was just 2 teams building pyramids and competing at athletic sculptures. I watched for a while, until it was time to meet with some friends.
Therefore I got back to the pier and got on a boat. The amazing thing is that these boats even stop at the major locations. So it indeed is a really fast, convenient and cheap way to get around. Thus, I got out at Khao San road, where the people were already waiting.