Canal boats

Posted from Bangkok, Bangkok, Thailand.

IMG_0314The walk to the boats from the Chao Phraya River along the canal was long but worth it. It took us a few moments to find the entrance to the pier, but Phanfa Leelard pier, the starting point where two canals intersect, does not stay hidden from us for long. For 18 baht, we travelled to Pratunam Pier, which is the end of the line. It is also an exchange between the western Golden Mount line and the eastern NIDA line. The price depends on how far you need to go. The boats are operated by Khlong Saen Saeb express boat service.

The boats can lower their roofs when going under low bridges, which kind of surprised me the first time. The operator actually does this mere seconds before speeding under the bridge. The ticket collectors perch on the edge of the boat and wear helmets, and I can only imagine why. If you don’t know where you’re going, this system of travel could be a nightmare. There are no clear maps or signs and the operators speak hardly any English. IMG_0317

The canal boats are not as user friendly as the river boats, though they do have splash guards, which, when you see what’s floating in the canal you will feel very inclined to use. To get on the boat one must basically step or hop onto the ledge of the boat and the climb in over the lip. If you aren’t standing and ready when your stop is coming the boat simply won’t stop. To get off the boat you must basically leap as they don’t really dally at the dock. It’s sort of a half-assed landing. The stops also aren’t so easy to find, but if you check under most bridges, you may get lucky.IMG_0318

IMG_0320One thing I notice (when the splash-guard wasn’t fully drawn) was the level of poverty along the edge of the canal. While life by the water might be real nice the boats are loud, the water smells and is filled with garbage. There used to be a lot more canals in Bangkok, but they filled them in with dirt. This act has only aided in a lot of the flooding the city has endured during the rainy season.

A river boat turns around to go back the other way at the exchange point.

A river boat turns around to go back the other way at the exchange point.

Steph and I went home and chilled out for a little bit before we headed out for dinner in China Town Soi Texas.



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