Luckily this one went better than that other famous tour….
Thru the Concierge at the Mandarin Oriental, Paul booked us on a three hour boat tour around the city. A private boat tour to boot! We showed up and find a very large boat (15 seater?), a smiling captain, and us. No tour guide. We quickly realize, we asked for a boat tour, not a guided boat tour…. Oh well, into the boat we got. Just the two of us on this big boat. Luckily we saw this a couple times on boats we passed, so I guess it’s not uncommon. It proved to be really great, our captain, who spoke VERY little English, moved the boat up the big river which was busy, choppy, and made me a little quezy, until we got to a side canal and then things got interesting (in a good way).
The big river portion was a little too hectic for my taste, but the side canals proved to be really nice. In fact it looked a lot like Southern Louisiana, in the bayous and back ways. Tin roofs, wood docks, fishing nets, small boats, just like some places back home. The boat was powered by a big engine, with a LONG pipe with a propeller on the end. I’m not sure why they do them this way, but it seems to work. The funny thing is that when the captain wants to turn the boat he really leans sideways to move the propeller left or right, I looked back at one point and we was really stretched out!
We saw a big lizard, a nice old lady selling curry from the boat to a family, a swarm of fish in a feeding frenzy from a lady throwing bread into the river, kids swimming, big houses, spirit houses, run down shacks, and so many National Geographic photo ops you could make a book. All in all, even without the guide, it was a great way to see Bangkok. What was also interesting is that we went so quickly from an urban landscape to a quiet canal water way of life. Double bonus, we had great weather, we started out early in the morning, had nice sun, a great breeze and a very comfortable ride.
I would do this boat trip again in a heart beat, it was amazing.