SmilingInThailand.com

Chao Phraya River

Chao Phraya River Bangkok Thailand

Bangkok is founded on the banks of the River Chao Phraya. The Chao Phraya River is steeped in history, but is also important for trade.

'From acorns doth large oaks grow'. So it is with the mighty Chao Phraya river that flows through the capital city of Thailand - Bangkok.

The River Chao Phraya started upstream in the mountains - as do most rivers. In this case the mountains of Northern Thailand. The highest points in Thailand.

All along the Chao Phraya river, there are new things to be found. Just in the Bangkok area alone, there is rich diversity along it banks - and also on the river itself.

A boat ride or two will soon open your eyes to the wealth of things to do and see in this city.

Four small rivers at source - the Ping, Wong, Yom and Nan rivers started life in the northern hills as small 'acorns' and they joined and grew until they became the mighty Chao Phraya River - heart of Bangkok.

Open to debate that Bangkok would have become the mighty city of Thailand, if it had not straddled the Chao Phraya all those years ago.

The length of the River is around 370 kilometres - Starting at the region - Amphur - Paknampho and eventually finding the sea at the Gulf of Thailand.

On it's journey through Thailand, the Chao Phraya has provided the water for fertile farmland and orchards. In Bangkok it is still an important mode of travel and transportation, though not in use as it was in its not-too-distant past.

Much of the economic success of modern times is by the transportation of tourists on sightseeing tours, and as a means of getting about to some areas of the city - away from the snarled up traffic. Plenty of room on the River Chao Phraya at the moment.

Chao Phraya River Bangkok ThailandVenice of the East

The romantic term of the Venice of the East which was bestowed on the river in days gone by is stretching the goodwill and imagination a little far. However, the importance of the river and it's connecting canals can be seen at any time of the day.

Cargos of rice and sand are taken upstream in huge barges - vying for space with the kamikaze drivers (Pilots would seem more apt) of the motorised Long-Tail Boats which skim the water at best, and churn up the mud at worst. But, they get people about Bangkok, and you won't sit in a traffic jam on the river.

Wending - dodging - their way through the mayhem of the rushing Long Tails, you will see canoes being paddled either with or against the tide and happily bobbing up and down in the wash of the other river traffic.

There are several piers of note - and convenience - along the Bangkok stretch of the river. Getting on and off a long tail Boat at one of these piers can be fun - or not! (Mind the gap!). If you travel by a Long Tail, and it is a part of the real Bangkok, so make the effort, you will be 'found' - much to the surprise of the boatman - by one of the paddling superstores.

The fresh coconut is a necessity, and then of course, there will be endless stock of mini-Buddha to look at, together with other local delights. Barter your way round the goods with a smile. I bet you come off worse - even if you think you have done well.