On the River in Bangkok

Bangkok and Bangkrachao

Yesterday I was telling you about my visit to Bangkrachao in Samut Prakan. This is an area that, despite being so close to Bangkok, hasn’t been developed at all. Look at the satellite picture above. The northern side of the river is Bangkok. This is the busy port area of Klong Toey. On the southern side is nothing but palm trees and banana plants. You can clearly see the lake in the middle of Sri Nakhon Khuankun Park (bottom middle of picture). Steve and his wife Jit live just north of the park. From here we walked along a narrow path to the river. After about ten minutes of waking we came out at a private jetty. Steve told me that you ring the bell here and someone would dash out of a nearby house and jump into a boat. Normal cross-river passenger ferries would cost you only a few baht but this one costs 10 baht. Not bad when you consider that sometimes you are the only passenger.

Boat on the Chao Phraya River

Jit suggested that we hire the boat for a while and just explore up and down the river. I jumped at the chance. I love exploring rivers. She then proceeded to negotiate a price of 200 baht to go down the river about 3–4 kms and back again. The boatman agreed and we jumped into his long-tailed boat (the propeller is at the end of a long shaft). The first picture above shows you the view looking across to the high-raised buildings in Bangkok. The buildings the opposite direction were very different in comparison.

Floating house

Here is one of the first examples. The little girl and her dog live on this floating house which goes up and down with the tide. Well, I hope it does as she will soon be flooded out at the next high tide!

House on stilts

This house on stilts is more typical. Notice the sala-like jetty where they can get into boats or just lie down in the shade. At dusk members of the household would go down the steps to take a bath and wash their hair. On the left is a lean-to for their boat. You can see that they have electricity because of the electrical pole in the water. Looks like they also get television. On some houses I saw red post boxes. I wonder if the postman approaches from the river or land. I suspect by the river is easier.

Ship on the river

I took several hundred pictures on this boat trip. Too many to show here. I will finish with this last picture showing the wake being produced by a big container ship. Ironically the name of the ship is “Smooth Sea”. Luckily this ship was on the other side of the river as it could have given us a pretty rough ride.

I wish to thank Steve and Jit for showing me around their area. It was a wonderful day out.

4 responses to “On the River in Bangkok

  1. Hello Richard,
    Thanks for this story and the photos. They’ve helped recall special memories of when my parents took me to visit their relatives in this area during the late 70s. The non-accessability of these places by road (you could only enter by one of those once so common noisy, long-tailed boats) was totally enchanting. I’m glad most of it is still relatively unchanged and hope it remains so. Another place we visited that gave this same kind of feeling, (I’m hoping one day you may be able to visit and post pictures for me), is Cha Choeng Sao. There was this village of my teacher’s, where we had to go by train, then take a boat, and walk across muddy, watered rice fields.

  2. I have already written a blog about that called A Trip to Chachoengsao.

    I have been there twice now and will probably go again to research some more blogs.

  3. I would rather live in that floating house on the river, than the high rise on the other side of the river.

  4. That floating house must have been a good point to write the moving history of bangkok!