Aquatic Adventures, Asia, History & Culture

Explore Bangkok by Long Tail Boat

February 3, 2016

Boats of varying shapes and sizes ply Bangkok’s Chao Phraya River, but none of them make their presence known quite like the raucous long tail boat. Powered by an unmuffled car or truck engine with a propeller attached to a long shaft resembling a tail, the narrow boat doesn’t slip silently along the murky river. Instead, the long tail boat makes a bold statement, buzzing and splashing through the water.

Long tail boat Chao Phraya River Bangkok

Developed in Thailand decades ago as a cheap and simple means of transportation, a ride in the rainbow-coloured long tail boat offers an authentic Thai experience.

Long tail boat Chao Phraya River Bangkok

Explore Bangkok’s Canals By Long Tail Boat

At one time, Bangkok was crisscrossed with man-made canals, also known as khlongs. Hence Bangkok’s historical nickname “Venice of the East”. Over time, canals were filled in to make way for roads, but this didn’t occur everywhere in the city.

CharmingExplore Bangkok by Long Tail boat and visit Thonburi

Thonburi

Thonburi, the former capital, hasn’t experienced the rapid development seen elsewhere in Bangkok. This neighborhood, located west of the Chao Phraya River, is still accessible by canal. If you explore Bangkok by long tail boat, visit the Thonburi neighborhood to see how Bangkok residents used to live, and the people in Thonburi still do.

Thonburi silt houses explore Bangkok by long tail boat

A ride in a skinny  long tail boat, with its canoe-like hull, isn’t just an authentic experience. The boat is also the perfect size for exploring Thonburi’s network of narrow canals.

Sampan selling hot food Thonburi khlong

Here you can cruise past dilapidated houses threatening to plunge into the murky water, stop alongside paint-peeled wooden sampan’s selling trinkets or food to hungry river-workers (including our long tail driver), and visit the charming Taling Chan Floating Market.

Sweet treats Taling Chan Floating Market

After browsing through the tempting food and drink stalls, be sure to purchase food for the catfish in the canal. They are ravenous!

Explore Bangkok by long tail boat and feed the Catfish in Thonburi

If the gleaming Kawasaki motorcycles housed in tumbledown lean-tos and supersize iMacs glowing in the dimly lite stilt houses along the canal are signs, the future is coming to Thonburi. But for now, exploring this part of Bangkok by long tail boat feels a lot like traveling back in time.

sampan selling food Thonburi neighbourhood Bangkok

Explore Bangkok by Long Tail Boat – Travel Tips

  • If you want to explore Bangkok by long tail boat, plan at least a two-hour tour. We paid 1800 Thai Baht for two adults and two children for a two-hour tour.
  • We reserved our tour through the concierge at The Peninsula Bangkok and the long tail boat driver picked us up at the hotel dock.

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2 Comments

  • Reply Sand In My Suitcase February 4, 2016 at 5:32 am

    Oh, you’ve brought back happy memories of all of Bangkok’s lovely chaos! A longtail boat ride is such a great way to gain a different perspective on the city. Did you visit the Snake Farm on your longtail boat ride?

  • Reply Manjulika Pramod February 4, 2016 at 5:36 am

    It brought back lovely memories of my boat ride too. In Bangkok, one must explore its canals and this ride can be very calming and peaceful..

  • Leave a Reply


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