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Romantic Getaways: Bangkok's Water World
By: Ben Hall
Photography by Ben Hall
For centuries the residents of Bangkok relied on its extensive system of rivers and canals for their existence, and although many networks have been reclaimed for development, there are still pockets in the city which are holding on to the past.
As the longtail boat approaches the T-junction, it slows in preparation for a right turn into yet another canal. The driver, sitting in the back with a cigarette drooping out of the corner of his mouth, opens the throttle up on the V8 engine halfway through the turn and the front of the boat rears up out of the water.
Market traders paddle gracefully up to the side of the longtail boat with a surprisingly vast array of goods ranging from bottled water to colonial style hats and traditional Thai fans. Husband and wife teams serve piping hot noodles from their mobile floating restaurants, and children wave from the porches of their homes as they beat the heat with a cooling dip.
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How to Rent a Longtail
Most local tour companies and hotels offer package deals which include local pickup with an English speaking guide, transfer to a jetty on the Chao Phraya River for a khlong tour which can last from one hour to six hours. Prices vary depending on the length of tour taken and how many people are on board. If you’re a part of a large group, a short tour may cost about 700baht or $26, and a longer tour on your own will set you back about $130. Tha Chang landing near the Grand Palace is one of the most popular pickup and set down points for the longtails - if you fancy a good old fashioned Thai-style haggle, then this is a good place to negotiate a price. The pier adjacent to Saphan Taksin Skytrain stop is another longtail hotspot as this is where they meet commuters off the Chao Phraya Express boat from Nonthaburi.
Where to Stay & Getting There
The Oriental, Bangkok, is located at 48 Oriental Avenue, Bangkok. An oasis of serenity located on the scenic banks of the Chao Phraya River, this legendary hotel has been hosting royalty, dignitaries and distinguished travellers for almost 130 years. It has beautifully appointed rooms and suites in three very different "wings" of the property, a full-service spa in a class of its own, and nine dining venues. Other unique features include a Thai cooking school and culture program. Call +66 2 659 9000, or visit www.mandarinoriental.com/bangkok.
Thai has direct flights to Bangkok from Sydney, Melbourne, Perth, Brisbane and Adelaide.
Visit www.thaiairways.com.au or call 1300 651 960.
Tourism Authority of Thailand
For the latest exchange rate on the Thai Baht, visit our partners at XE.com
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