Spotlight Bangkok : Sunset Cruise on the Chao Phraya River

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The first Spotlight Bangkok post featured some of the finest food Bangkok has to offer so we are going to get a bit more adventurous with this post.

OK, let’s do some word association.  I will give you a word and I want you to say the first thing that comes to your mind.  The word is, “Bangkok”.

Reader:  “Khao San Road, ladyboys, Soi Cowboy, Chang beer, and buckets.”

Come on now.  Thailand’s not just about the party (though it offers plenty of opportunities for one).

Reader: “Temples?”

Ding! Ding! Ding!  I knew you would say it eventually.  Temples.  Bangkok has an abundance of them and there is no better spot to go temple hunting than along the Chao Phraya River.  Wat Pho, Wat Arun (seen to the right), and Wat Rakangkositaram Woramahavihan among many other BuddhistIMG_20150417_183829325_HDR places of worship can be seen during the journey along the Chao Phraya River.

The best way to go about this is to hire a longtail boat to take you to one of the temples.  This can be done at any of the numerous piers along the Chao Phraya but one of the more accessible locations is the Sathorn Express Boat Pier just underneath the Saphan Taksin BTS stop.  At this particular pier there are numerous Thais who speak English and will gladly assist you in hiring a boat to take you to your desired location.  For our trip we decided to head to Wat Arun.  Now, I am not big on seeing temples but this was one of the top things to see on my list.  If I remember correctly the price was roughly 100-200 baht per person.  This is quite expensive in reality because these are the same boats that transport Thai nationals along the river but such is the dual-pricing system in Thailand.  White skin just screams “money” to some.

If you want to visit the Sunset Temple (Wat Arun) at sunset then I would suggest trying to get a boat by 5 PM.  The reason for this early time is because of a pleasant surprise.  Unbeknownst to our group the DCIM100GOPROboat decided to take us on a tour through the canals that are less frequented by foreigners.  The ride takes a bit longer than anticipated so, like I said, schedule accordingly.  Along the canals are homes that run the gamut from wooden shacks one storm away from falling into the river to some of the more luxurious homes in Bangkok.  You may also come across what is essentially a floating 7-11.  The guy pictured below travels along the river with a row boat full of goodies such as water, chips, and beer.  Perfect for those trying to pregame before their temple visit.

*Note: I do not endorse pregaming before a temple visit.

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Going at sunset also allows for truly picturesque views of the neighborhoods.  The light reflects off of the water perfectly while casting shadows that provide an otherworldly feeling.  Do yourself a favor and take a sunset cruise along the Chao Phraya River for a moment of travel that you will never forget.


The Chao Phraya River has a multitude of experiences for you to seek out but at the top of my list was this unexpected boat ride.  Do you have a favorite adventure in Bangkok?  Let me and the readers know in the comments below.

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Tar Heel Voyager

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