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How to Become Riverwise

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Explore Cultural riches and local life along Bangkok’s fascinating canal maze, with anantara’s “Klong Guru”

Thailand’s waterways were once the nation’s lifeline for communication and transport. Today, Bangkok’s majestic Chao Phraya River and connecting maze of canals—known in Thai as “klong”—tempt visitors to explore the capital’s thriving age-old lifestyle and rich heritage.

Wat Ratcha OrasararamAnantara Bangkok Riverside Resort & Spa (257/1-3 Charoennakorn Road, Thonburi, 02 476 0022, has developed what it calls the “Klong Guru” tour (THB 2,000 per person), which takes the visitor along the Chao Phraya for half a day to discover the food, culture, and way of life that lie along its narrow canals.

Your journey will start by stepping aboard a traditional longtail boat at 11 a.m. Having spent the first 10 years of his life in a traditional canal home, the “Klong Guru”—Anantara’s assistant chief concierge, Visanu Kidkarn—can share insider knowledge that will be key throughout the trip.

Small Thai PuppetBesides making a couple of stops to enjoy fresh coconut juice, sticky rice, and to get some bread to feed the fish for luck (a typical Thai custom), the boat will take you through the Grand Palace and Temple of Dawn, the floating plant farm, and to explore glittering temples that were created in the Ayutthaya era.

Probably the most interesting and enjoyable stop, especially for children, is at “The Artist’s House,” a gallery where guests can browse a collection of locally inspired drawings, while learning for themselves how to create a Thai painting. Guests are also invited to try their hand at making handicrafts through carving, making an artistic paper print, or painting a traditional Thai mask. The highlight of the visit to the gallery is a traditional Thai puppet show, which provides guests with a wonderful chance to see how the kingdom’s puppetry dramas bring ancient myths and legends to life.

After the four-hour tour you will have proved to have become so riverwise, that you would be able to challenge a local himself on Thai history, culture, and popular flavors. OK, you might never be able to challenge a Thai on popular flavors …