The renowned Chao Phraya River is one of Thailand’s major rivers and its most significant waterway. This river flows through the city of Bangkok and figures prominently in the history of the Thai capital.
The first settlers who made their homes at the location were attracted by the abundance of fish and the fertility of the land here. In later years King Taksin made his capital at this location on the river’s western banks, which is now called Thonburi. However it was King Rama I who is credited with founding the modern city of Bangkok on the eastern shores of the river. In subsequent years the local canals became well-known, so much so that they were compared to the canals of Venice.
Even today the Chao Phraya is often called the lifeblood of the city. Even in the present day, some 50,000 individuals still travel on the ferries which sail on its waters each day. Slow-moving barges bear cargo to destinations upstream. Local children play in the river waters and you will see wooden huts which stand by its shores.
One of the most distinctive aspects of the Chao Phraya is its combination of traditional and modern facets which may be seen side by side. Lofty condominiums and hotels are flanked by sedate churches, temples and European-style buildings which often date to the 19th century. Frequently you will see wooden sailing vessels, known as sampans, selling soup, noodles and squid to the workers who toil on the river.
To really obtain an authentic impression of the Chao Phraya there is no better way than to take a cruise on the river. Public boats are an inexpensive option to tour the waterway whilst tourist boats are another option. On the other hand if you hire a long-tailed boat you can tour the local network of canals, and explore the waterway at your leisure. Perhaps the most enjoyable option would be to take a dinner cruise on a sailing vessel and sample the renowned Thai cuisine on the waters.
If you are interested in a quality Bangkok hotel an outstanding option would be Anantara Bangkok Sathorn. One of the convenient hotels Bangkok offers this fine rest provides appealing accommodations and attentive hospitality.
Uditha Dharmawardhane is a travel writer who writes under the pen name Roland Lefevre. He specializes in creating features on leisure as well as business travel destinations across the globe.