Along the Chao Phraya River Canal

01 can  Chao Praya River boat pierAfter sleeping through our first day and night in Bangkok, we were ready for our first sightseeing venture. We asked our bellman for transportation recommendations to some of the popular wats (temples). Fortunately he spoke enough English that we could understand the gist of his suggestion. He ordered a taxi for us and gave the driver instructions to transport us to a pier on the river where we would take a 1 1/2-hour boat tour along the canal, with a stop at Wat Arun. The tour would end farther up the canal, a short distance from the Grand Palace.

The morning was pleasant, and our ride on the covered longboat comfortable as we snapped photos. It reminded me of the gondolas in Venice, but the architecture such a contrast. From modest to modern, the culture was a colorful palate.

Along the way we encountered a couple feeding the fish from their back porch. Green plants floated with the current. Every now and then, we’d see a stork in the water. We got an early preview of the floating market, with boats rowing up to our boat and showing off their wares, hoping we were interested in a fan, a hat, a trinket… With several other longboats of tourists, it was a bustling Sunday morning on the canal; yet it was quiet and serene. The colorful temples intermixed among modest residences were thought provoking.