Thursday, February 9, 2012

Khlongs in Bangkok

Long Tail Boat on Chao Phraya River

Bangkok is a city of khlongs or canals that are connected to the main river, the Chao Phraya.  It was once called the Venice of the East due to the number of canals and passages that divided the city into separate areas of land. The city once used these canals as a basic transportation network but they have since slowly been filled over the years as motorized vehicles have taken over the movement of people and Trade.

Does the Venice of the East still exist? Yes and no. The canals were drained or filled because of the risk of cholera and Malaria they posed, or to make way for the badly needed roads. 
River Lock
However it wasn't a total destruction of the canals.In some areas, the remaining khlongs are a slightly pungent but are still quite picturesque. The old bridges survive and crooked houses still crowd the waters edge. For a few baht you can zip past them in long tail boats or take a gentle stroll along canal paths, peeking into Thai homes, stepping over shoes, children or elderly ladies watering potted plants. Either by boat or by path it shows the Thai way of living and their lifestyle. It's fascinating.
We really like being in Bangkok and exploring the Khlongs by long tail boat. It's an interesting thing to do there. If you get a chance, grab a long tail boat and go. 

1 comment:

  1. Beautifully stated. I don't know what has changed in the last 30 years, but there used to be a renowned floating market that you should also see. Also, people in the northern cities also live along main rivers in the same fashion as they do along the "khlongs"