Rama VIII bridge
The Chao Phraya River streaks through Bangkok as its main arteries expands through the city of angels flowing from the city for some 35 kilometres before dumping itself in the Gulf of Thailand.
The River is the lifeline to the 14 million people who call Bangkok home, making it possible to commute to the various suburbs on either side of the bank of the river. People fill the local ferries that chug along the river and we also join them as we stay four days in Anatara Riverside resort exploring the city.
From our hotel room the Anantara Riverside
Others take water taxis which is the traditional long tail boats which you often see in the south of the country which are powered by an engine which blades skim across the surface of the water but makes it easier to dart through the tight khlongs (canals) Bangkok is also known as the Venice of the East. In places remaining khlongs are, though pungent, still picturesque. Old bridges survive, crooked houses still crowd the waters edge. For a few measly baht you can whiz past them, engulfed in noise and heat and fumes, rancid water flying toward you as the boat surges forwards (for speed and sheer exhilaration they put you through.
The landscape on either side of the banks makes for appealing viewing as new and old are built side by side, staggering skyscrapers, restaurants, could occupy the same block of land as rundown, ramshackled buildings, old high rise apartments which have people’s washing hangout the window or on the tiny balconies if they are even lucky to have them. It’s what makes the cities in Asia so interesting you see things that just wouldn’t exist in a country like Australia some things so simple that a person from Bangkok wouldn’t even think twice about it.
If you float further along the river you could travel all the way to Ayuthaya the former capital of Thailand, the city filled with temples or ruins but we chose not to do it this time as we will leave that for another trip but do take a ferry to at least the old town of Bangkok, which on either side of the river glistening gold temples peak out along the river. This is where Bangkok’s three main sightseeing places can be found. The temple of Dawn, Wat Arun, the Royal Palace and the world’s largest reclining Buddha, Wat Pho. At night they will all illuminate the night sky however Wat Arun is currently under restoration so it pales in comparison with its white porcelain surface.
Traffic cross bridges that connects the city but it’s from below as you sail under Rama VIII bridge that was named after the former king that you get up close to the 84 cables that are connected to a single pylon glowing in the night air.
The river transforms at day and night and like a good book you are never sure what stories will unfold each time you set upon a ferry but you know your eyes will scan the horizon, you will be content to gaze out to the water, the banks until you hear the name of the dock in which you have to disembark and wonder what is install for you in the next chapter when you board the ferry again.