What is Bangkok without the Chao Phraya River? The city would certainly be nothing like how it is today, that’s for sure. The Chao Phraya River is pretty much the backbone of the city, practically dissecting it in half. And yes, both halves are quite different from each other. A cruise on the Chao Phraya River is a great way to experience the city and really discover both Bangkoks.
The Chao Phraya River begins from the confluence of the Ping and Nan Rivers in Nakon Sawan Province, about 372 kilometers north of the capital city. Before reaching the capital though, the river cuts through some important cities such as, Nakon Sawan, Uthai Thani and the former capital Ayutthaya, just to name a few. And yes, these cities were important mainly because of its access to the waterway. Thank you Chao Phraya River!
It is pretty cool when you compare and contrast the Thonburi (western) side of Bangkok with the eastern half of the city. It is almost like two separate worlds! The Thonburi half is much quieter and was pretty much uninvolved with the development of the city across the river. And yes, this half of Bangkok was once the capital. Many come to this side of the city to escape the bustle from the eastern half. After touring the area, you will surely understand why.
Alright, let’s get back to that river cruise, shall we? A lot of Bangkok’s main sites are along the river. This includes the Grand Palace, Wat Arun and Wat Pho. A boat ride also affords you to pass Wat Kanlayanamit, built during the reign of King Rama III. The structure combines Thai and Chinese architectural styles and houses the biggest sitting Buddha image in the city. Next up is another of Thonburi’s hidden gems, Wat Rakhang, built during the Ayutthaya Period. Don’t forget to check out the beautiful mural paintings depicting the Ramayana epic. Also included are a beautiful pavilionscripture hall and a finely gilded black lacquer door panels. These works of art truly showcase the skill of the artists during that time. Amazing.
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