Solo Overland Backpacking Trip to Thailand & Laos – Part 6: Along the Chao Phraya River

Solo Overland Backpacking Trip to Thailand & Laos – Part 6: Along the Chao Phraya River

This is part of my travelogue on my solo overland backpacking trip to Thailand & Laos in 2013.

Previously: Part 5 – Khao San Road & Patpong, Bangkok

*****

Day 4: Thursday, 29 August 2013

Chao Phraya River is one of the main rivers in Thailand. It is one of the longest in the region apart from the Mekong River, which undoubtedly is the longest river in South East Asia. I still remember during Geography class, my teacher taught about this but of course, being a young student, I did not concentrate during the learning session.

Sungai Chao Phraya ialah salah satu daripada sungai utama di Thailand. Sungai ni merupakan salah satu daripada sungai terpanjang di rantau ni selain Sungai Mekong yang merupakan sungai paling panjang kat Asia Tenggara. Semua ni cikgu Geografi aku ajar dulu. Aku ingat lagi okay walaupun aku selalu tak dengar pun dalam kelas dan kadang-kadang ponteng kelas. Lol. Ternyata berguna jugak penghafalan aku untuk PMR dulu.

At Saphan Thaksin station. We walked to the end of the road, and the pier awaited us.

After my first visit to Bangkok two years ago, I made it a point to make another visit to the Chao Phraya River and to enjoy the view along the river. My first time cruising along the river, I went to the Grand Palace. Back then, since the visit was made during my last day in Bangkok, I was a bit rushing and did not manage to really immerse myself with the experience.

Lepas kali pertama aku ke Bangkok dua tahun lepas, aku buat keputusan, nak pergi ke Sungai Chao Phraya sekali lagi dan menikmati pemandangan di sepanjang sungai tu. Kali pertama aku pergi ke Chao Phraya, aku singgah Grand Palace. Waktu tu, aku dah nak balik dari Bangkok, jadi aku agak rushing dan memang tak sempat nak betul-betul fefeeling masa naik bot atas sungai tu. Dapat lah fefeeling sikit tapi tak cukup masa nak menghayati sepenuhnya pemandangan sekeliling.

Sathorn Pier, the pier connected with Saphan Thaksin BTS station.

So, today I woke up early and after a light breakfast of bread, I decided to go to the Chao Phraya River. I also decided to go to Laos today. Something that was not even imaginable when I first embarked on the trip. After checked-out from the hostel, I left my backpacks at the backpacks’ area, free of charge. I met my dorm mates and took a last photo with them. Daniel and Stefan will head to Langkawi while Florian will stay at the hostel for another night.

Jadi, hari ni aku bangun awal dan lepas makan roti sikit buat alas perut, aku ambil keputusan untuk ke Sungai Chao Phraya. Aku jugak buat keputusan surprise nak pergi Laos harini. Satu plan yang tidak diplan. Tak pernah terfikir pun nak ke Laos sampai lah aku dah sampai Bangkok dan baca buku Lonely Planet yang aku bawak. Aku pun terus check-out dan tinggalkan backpack aku kat tempat simpanan. Free aje. Lepas tu jumpa dorm mates aku dan ambil gambar perpisahan. Si Daniel dan Stefan nak ke Langkawi hari ni,  naik tren.

Waiting for passengers to fill in the seats.

Surprisingly, Florian had no plan for the day and he decided to follow me and go to the river.

Sekali Florian buat surprise nak ikut aku sebab katanya dia tak ada plan hari ni.

I wonder how the view is if I were to stay at the hotel by the river. Must be splendid!

From the hostel, we took the skytrain to Saphan Thaksin station which is a station away from Surasak where the pier is located. There are several boat operators operating at the Chao Phraya River, depending on the flag raised on the boat, either normal service, tourist boat or the express service.

Dari hostel, kami naik skytrain ke stesen Saphan Thaksin, satu stesen je dari stesen Surasak. Nak jalan kaki pun boleh tapi aku malas. Hehe. Kalau nak naik bot di Sungai Chao Phraya ni, ada beberapa pengendali bot yang ada, ikut lah warna bendera kat bot diorang tu. Ada bot normal, bot ekspres dan bot pelancong.

I am always fascinated with the roof design. Always.

If in 2011 I used the normal boat service which was cheaper, this time around, I accidentally and carelessly chose the tourist boat service. I got confused with the boat service and boarded the tourist boat. The price was a bit higher but in a way, it was good since this boat provides explanations every time it passed any landmark or important places.

Tahun 2011 dulu aku guna bot biasa yang normal, murah je harga tiket dia. Tapi, kali ni tersilap pulak. Terambil bot pelancong. Jadi pelanconglah kami. Harga tiket bot pelancong mahal sikitttt je dari bot biasa, tapi tak menyesal sebab ada guide yang dok bagi explanation sepanjang bot tu menyusuri sungai yang megah ni.

Nice traditional boat on the murky but mighty Chao Phraya River.

As the boat cruises from one pier to another, the guide explained in incomprehensible English the history and the importance of the places. Florian and I listened carefully to the explanation whilst snapping photos along the way.

Sepanjang bot kami menyusuri sungai Chao Phraya dari satu jeti ke satu jeti, guide tu terangkan dalam bahasa Inggeris yang aku pun pening dengar (sebab sound system kurang jelas dan accent dia tahap tinggi sangat. Lol), pasal sesuatu tempat yang kami lalu tu. Aku kena khusyuk dengar sebab alang-alang dah bayar lebih, baik gunakan kesempatan tu elok-elok kan.

A huge stupa, on the land by the riverside.

We passed through Chinatown, which is the centre for Thai-Chinese merchants and immigrants. We passed through some good-looking hotels which were built by the river. From a far, we could see the Rama VIII Bridge with the cables holding the bridge and hang it from being submersed in the river.

Bot kami lalu kawasan Chinatown, lalu tepi wat-wat cantik yang terletak dekat dengan sungai, hotel-hotel besar di pesisir sungai. Dari jauh, nampak Jambatan Rama VIII yang cantik tu. Ala-ala Jambatan Putrajaya gitu!

Pagoda style tower, near the Chinatown area.

It was an amazing journey along the Chao Phraya River, the pulse of Bangkok. It cuts through the city and was the main ‘road’ for people in Bangkok to travel from one place to another before the abundance of highways. It was a slow and memorable journey.

Perjalanan menyusuri Sungai Chao Phraya memang pengalaman yang mengasyikkan, menyusuri nadi kota Bangkok. Perjalanan yang penuh nostalgik. Haaa, macam tu sekali aku rasa. Haha.

One of the historical forts along the Chao Phraya River.

I saw several temples, stupas, and buildings with iconic Thai-style roofs. I saw the sun, reflected on the murky river from afar, shrubs floating on the river and big boats pulling smaller boats. Amazing how this river is still important even until today, with boats cruising along this mighty river.

Naik bot di sungai tu, selain wat-wat, aku nampak stupa di kejauhan, bangunan-bangunan dengan bumbung stail Thai, matahari tewrik atas kepala, bot besar tarik bot kecil. Eh, memang bestlah senang cerita!

The start of another journey.

And when the boat reached Tha Tien pier, it stopped and Florian and I disembarked here, to continue with our journey.

Bila bot sampai jeti Tha Tien, aku dan Florian turun, untuk teruskan pengembaraan kami.

+++++

To be continued – Part 7

+++++

To go to Sathorn Pier, take the BTS Skytrain to Saphan Thaksin station. The pier is within walking distance from the BTS station.

There are several boat operators cruising along the Chao Phraya river. For normal or express boat service, once you board the boat, a boat conductor will collect fares based on the pier which you intend to disembark. If you plan to go to the Grand Palace, the fare is THB 15 [as of December 2011] and you will need to disembark at Pier N9: Tha Chang.

For tourist boat service, the fares must be paid before boarding the boat. The fare is THB 40 [as of August 2013] for a single trip and you can choose where to disembark.

6 Replies to “Solo Overland Backpacking Trip to Thailand & Laos – Part 6: Along the Chao Phraya River”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

%d bloggers like this: