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Experience Bangkok's best-kept secrets by boat

Discovery 21 October 2016

Bangkok is well-known for its labyrinth of traffic-laden roads, taking the concept of hustle and bustle to a whole new level. Yet there is a way to easily explore the sights of the city without sitting in a traffic jam - by taking to the monumental Chao Phraya River and its connected canals, known in Thai as “klong”. Embarking aboard a traditional longtail boat, you’re guided by your own Klong Guru through parts of the city rarely seen by tourists.

Taking a trip along these waterways reveals a network which has been vital to Bangkok’s transportation and prosperity for centuries. Nowadays, the banks are bursting with classical wooden houses, farms and businesses. Discover where the locals buy their seafood from, visit a riverside supermarket, or have a ready-made meal come to you as a boat cooking skewers on board floats by.

[apic src="ARIV-Klong-Tour-Temple-Unknown-DSC6604-Med-Res.jpg"]

There are plenty of chances to explore the shoreline yourself. Stretch your legs and wander around some of the most spectacular temples. Dating back centuries and covered in bright colours and intricate golden patterns, the details are as stunning as the constructions are immense. Mingle with monks clad in orange as they go about their daily routines, and gaze in awe at statues of Buddha that tower metres above you.

[apic src="ARIV-Klong-Tour-Inside-Wat-Hongrattanaram-2-DSC7465-Med-Res.jpg"]

You also have the chance to sample some traditional Thai cuisine. Mouth-watering smells waft from the markets of Klong Bang Luang, with freshly cooked noodle and stir fry dishes waiting inside for you to taste. If you’re still hungry, some mango and sticky rice makes the perfect traditional dessert, or try a unique Thai iced tea or coffee. Afterwards, wander through The Artist’s House, home to a variety of local drawings, paintings, prints and carvings. Enjoy a Thai puppet dance show, and watch stories of the country’s ancient stories come to life in a lively and colourful performance.

[apic src="ARIV-Klong-Tour-Anantara-longtail-near-The-Artists-House-2-DSC7210-Med-Res.jpg" src2="ARIV-Klong-Tour-Inside-The-Artists-House-DSC7292-Med-Res.jpg"]

Back aboard the longtail, the return journey takes you through the maze of waterways that were once the lifeblood of this city. As you pass by homes with friendly Thai people smiling and waving, it’s hard to imagine this is the same world as the busy streets and overflowing sidewalks. The peace and tranquility of the klongs transport you to a part of Bangkok still rarely seen by many visitors, and remains as a time capsule of how the city once was.