It’s amazing to think that a lifestyle exists where people live and make a living for themselves on water. Where people own houses built on stilts, sell items boat to boat, and fish for their food without ever having a need to travel inland. What I am describing is a lifestyle that can be found along the Chao Phraya River in Bangkok, Thailand. I tried doing a little research on this topic but unfortunately fell short. So all I have to offer is my experience from a river boat tour that we took, which was meant to explore the temples along the river. But unbeknownst to us, unexpectedly opened our eyes to a whole other society contained within such a huge metropolitan city – Bangkok.
We had one full day left in Bangkok and had yet to explore the temples in the city. We decided to book a tour which would cover all of the major temples including the Grand Palace in an effort to make the most of our day. All entry fees and modes of transportation were included and a portion of the tour would be done by water.
The day we set out was a bit dreary, but as were the previous days before. When we got to the water portion of the tour, the typical mode of transportation was a high-speed motorized long-boat. We were surprised at how fast the boats could go! The water was splashing us from every direction and midway a storm rolled through. Luckily the weather was a pleasant so a bit of rain didn’t ruin our day.
Traveling along the Chao Phraya River was quite the experience! I have seen houses along rivers in the past, but never houses built in a river. It was certainly unexpected to see. The houses varied by size, style, and complexity. Strictly going off of observation, I would have to say that some homes looked like squatter homes, as if built from scraps on unclaimed land. Other homes were more intricate, displaying great detail and built from sturdy materials. Many homes appeared to have electrical and even the most modest homes had satellite dishes. At times I observed people fishing off their balconies, hanging their clothes, or children playing. It was a very interesting sight to behold and definitely an eye opening experience. I wish I had more information on this subject, but I’m not sure about the history or cultural background on these homes.
Just as we were traveling along our path, the boat slowed down to meet a passerby on a small canoe type boat selling goodies and drinks. Personally, I’m not a big fan of beer, but how could I pass up an opportunity to buy something from a river vendor.
Upon reaching the end of our path, we got an opportunity to be on land for a bit and explore the markets. Overall, exploring the Chao Phraya River was such a great experience, and I am so glad we unexpectedly stumbled upon this tour. Hopefully this inspires you to add the Cha Phraya River to your travel list if it wasn’t already there before. 😉
Click on the smaller photos to enlarge. If you have any questions please feel free to ask!