A voyage through time
Bangkoks history is so closely connected to the waterways. It used to have so many canals that it was often called The Venice of The East. Rattanakosin Island came into existence when King Rama I had the Bang Lamphu Klong constructed to fortify Bangkok.
Cruising along the klongs as the canals are called in Thai, takes you on a journey of contrast back to earlier eras and up to modern Bangkok.
The most popular klong trips start on the Bangkok side of the Chao Phraya River and cross over to the Thonburi side to venture up Bangkok Noi and Bangkok Yai canals. These journeys take you to fascinating places such as The Royal Barge Museum and the colonial-style Thonburi Railway Station.
On the way you will see a different side of life as you pass the homes of the klong-dwellers. Each home seems to have its own boat, be it a small canoe or a hang yao the long-tailed boats powered by car or truck engines and a propeller on a long shaft that acts as both propulsion and steerage.
The contrast continues as you pass into idyllic rural pockets where villagers grow fruit, vegetables and orchids which are sent to markets on the long-tailed boats. Youll see children on there way to or from school and saffron robed monks travelling to their klong-side temples. You may even come across Thai women in boats selling boat noodles, drinks, snacks and fruit.
Most organized canal tours take you to a floating market at Taling Chan in Thonburi that operates from 8.30 a.m. until noon. It is usually crowded with other tourists.
How to get there : Tour boats depart from the pier beside the Oriental Hotel, at River City and Tha Chang Wang Luang Pier.