Friday, January 24, 2014

The Chao Phraya River Cruise finally, at the end of my 5th calendar year in Bangkok

Boarding the Grand Pearl before 3 hours cruising on the majestic Chao Phraya River

While the political tension has continued to heat up, temperatures in Bangkok have hit new lows. I am writing now wearing a jacket at home, shivering at 18degC, though it's slightly 'warmer' than yesterday's 15.6degC, which was Bangkok's coldest day in 3 decades.

December 2013 marked the end of my 5th calendar year in Bangkok (yes, I moved here in August 2009), and what a month it was. I spent a brilliant few days with a good friend from Singapore (played EscapeHunt, visited Ayuthaya and the sunflowers in Lop Buri) before welcoming back my family, then subsequently went to Jim Thompson Farm and camping at Farm Chokchai in the 'extreme cold'. I even managed to find time to finally do a couple of 'must-dos' for tourists - viewing Bangkok from 84 storeys at Baiyoke Sky Hotel and cruising the Chao Phraya River.

Congratulations Nat and Mew!
Perhaps, one of the most meaningful things I did among the many unforgettable events was to attend Nat and Mew's beautiful wedding. As I told Nat many times, I had been waiting for this moment for YEARS, to the point I wasn't even sure whether it was going to happen, but all of a sudden, it did, and I am extremely pleased for both of them.

What a beautiful couple

Having a picture with the groom before boarding the ferry

How can we miss out on a family portrait

It was also because of them that Li Li and I had the opportunity to embark on our first ever cruise along the Chao Phraya River. I would like to thank the couple again, because there were limited seats on the ferry, and to be one of the guests invited on board to celebrate with them was an absolute privilege.

Many friends of mine have already done the cruise as tourists, and though none of them said it was very good, none of them complained about it as well. The service and food were decent, a mix of live band and Thai traditional dance performances kept everyone occupied, but if the weather is bearable, I do recommend choosing an outdoor Alfresco dining seat as the star of the experience is most definitely the view, as the ferry cruises for 3 hours, giving you brilliant views of both sides of the Chao Phraya.

Wat Arun looks better at night than it does in the day
Did you even know that there's such a beautiful bridge in Bangkok? This is the Rama VIII Bridge.
If you don't wish to join the squeeze at Asiatique, looking from afar's pretty cool too

Ok, now my verdict.

Like my other friends, I feel though there's nothing to shout about, there's absolutely nothing to complain about too. If you are in Bangkok and just can't find a place to spend your evening, the Chao Phraya River Cruise might just be the solution to all your headaches. Who knows, like me, you might end up writing good things about it after the experience.

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