Tips for those seeking to enjoy a peaceful Thai atmosphere amid the bustling capital.
By Harold Stephens
Rivers and canals, referred to as “mae nam” and “klong” in Thai, have always been vital forms. When the capital of Thailand (then called Siam) was moved to Bangkok in 1782 at the beginning of the Rattanakosin period, it was laced with canals so European visitors started calling the city, “Venice of the East.” Nowadays even though Bangkok has become a modern city, the Chao Phraya River — as well as the canals — still charms whoever wishes to seek the peaceful atmosphere amid bustling Bangkok.
Another interesting tour is to Ko Kret, a small island in the Chao Phraya River. The island’s Pottery Village, located along the pathway around the island, is the oldest and biggest source of earthenware in Nonthaburi. Visitors are allowed to observe the pottery making process. There are also many other interesting ancient monasteries, most of which were constructed in the Mon and the Ayutthaya styles.
Visitors can use a shuttle boat at Wat Sanam Nua pier, located within a short walking distance from Pak Kret Pier to cross the river 6 a.m.-9 p.m. for only Bt2. Returning to Pak Kret, visitors are able to catch a small long-tail boat at any pier around the island for Bt6-10.
For a description of the river in past days read my book, “For the Love of Siam.”