We took a crowded city bus to the pier area for our hour-long
ride in a longtail boat. The walk from the bus stop took us through a market
We had our first view of the boats as we approached the docks.
Bangkok used to be called “The Venice of the East" because of the many
canals (klongs) that crisscrossed the city. These canals, all feeding off
the Chao Phraya river, provided the chief means of transport around the
city. Most of these canals have now been filled in and turned into roads,
but there is still a large network of canals in the heart of Bangkok. Taking
a tour of these klongs by boat provides a remarkable contrast to the frenetic
pace of the rest of the city.
The longtail boat has a distinct narrow, beautifully crafted wooden
hull powered by the famous longtail engine – basically a car engine with
a propeller shaft attached. The longtails were made famous by the chase
sequences in the James Bond film, The Man With The Golden Gun.
It was a bit of a challenge boarding the rocking boat from the pier and
Sue-On got swamped on one leg. It dried REALLY fast in the morning heat.
There was lots of unusual scenery that reminded us so much of the Suzhou
canals in China. We took many photos of the endless variety of structures
and boats that lined the canal: houses and buildings ranging from dilapidated
to luxurious, temples, shrines, restaurants, schools, floating markets
and food vendors.