Barge-ing in on Bangkok: The River Ride Experience

Chao Phraya station. All photos by @yourcitypromdi
Well.... okay. I didn't actually go on my Chao Phraya river ride in Bangkok via barge. I went via boat, but "barge-ing" sounded better to me. Anyway, before I can digress any farther, here goes:

My travel buddy April and I only had a limited time to see the sights of Bangkok so we just prioritized the Wat Pho and the Grand Palace, which were walking distance from each other. Now, to get to those two, we had to take the BTS Silom Line to Sathon Taksin station (or Station No. 6). From there, we went down to the Sathorn Pier, which is right beneath the train station.

From the pier, we took a one-way TB40 ticket for the Chao Phraya tourist boat to Tha Chang (Pier No. 13). We didn't know it at the time, but there's a special line for this boat and we get to have someone explain to us what we were seeing on the riverside.

And wow. There was a lot to see from the boat. Looking back now, I should have expected it--this was the river from whose banks Bangkok grew from. This was where the life of a lot of Thais centered a few hundred years back. It's like Manila's Pasig River, I kept on thinking the whole ride.

There were hotels and amazing examples of modern architecture set off against the day's clear blue skies.

We also had quite a few commercial establishments and malls on the riverbanks, just waiting for tourists who regularly drop by to cool off or to rest a bit on their way to seeing more of Bangkok's sights.

I was particularly charmed by this Catholic church in the middle of Buddhist Bangkok. The church is situated in an old Portuguese center, which explains how it got to be built there in the first place. Personally, it was nice to see something so familiar even in the center of such an "other" culture. Plus it's so nice to see how cultures actually meld and accommodate each other so that they both survive and thrive side-by-side by each other.

Speaking of other cultures, the whole river ride experience was also punctuated with vibrant colors courtesy of the many traditional beauties dotting the banks. Each are a window to the many temples and palaces that dot the whole of Bangkok, each a reminder of how rich Thailand's cultural heritage is.

Next up on this Bangkok series: a peek at what the Grand Palace and Wat Pho looks like.

Other articles in the Bangkok series:
Bejeweled Bangkok


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