Life around the Chao Praya River

Travels to Bangkok have always had me booking into hotels within the city centre simply because it’s been more convenient for my work meetings.  This time round, the visit was for pleasure and I wanted to sample life around the Chao Phraya river.  So the Mandarin Oriental Bangkok was the hotel of choice.  The first big difference was the lovely calming sight of water from the hotel window!  So nice to see a true river view instead of a concrete canopy 🙂

The Mandarin Oriental Barge that brings guests to the Spa across the River

As a fan of old buildings, I was surrounded by lovely art deco-type buildings along the river.  I could just imagine these buildings in their glory days in the early 1920s and 1930s – buildings like these were built to impress.  I  saw the old East Asiatic Company Thailand building and the annex which is now under ‘O.P. Properties’.  Such beautiful facades – I do hope that these buildings are going to be preserved and used appropriately.

Lotus flowers are everywhere in Thailand

Street life around the river is also very vibrant.  I had a wonderful time being an observer of every day life.  The market around the river banks teem with activity and I especially liked the many opportunities for street photography.  Just take a look at the tuk-tuk driver zoning out in-between passengers.  A Thai friend commented he is in a ‘sabai-sabai’ mood 🙂  Indeed he was – it really looked like a zen state of mind!

Another scene I encountered was a family who’d just purchased a play-pen and was in the process of hiring a couple of tuk-tuks – one to bring home the pen while the other was to transport passengers.  Cheap transport goes a long way 🙂  Last but not least, I always like the hawkers who never fail to amaze me with their make-up.  The lady in the pic was so nicely made-up together with her beautiful false eyelashes.  Brings new meaning to the word ‘batting your eyelashes’!

If the street food has not filled you, stop into a cafe or a Thai bistro and tuck into some Thai curry and a refreshing lemon grass cordial.  Thai chefs are quite innovative in their cooking and I always look forward to trying a traditional dish that has been given a  twist.

Delicious Duck Curry

Boat rides are an inexpensive way of touring the river.  You get to see things that you don’t normally see in land transport – barges plying up and down the river as well as beautiful old religious buildings such as temples, churches and mosques.

So next time you go to Bangkok, take a weekend to acquaint yourself with what the Chao Phraya has to offer.  You certainly won’t be disappointed with the amount of colour and activity that keeps the place buzzing with excitement!