Chao Phraya Boat Cruise

Bangkok, Thailand

Boat Cruise with Cal Poly’s 2015 study abroad program

We sat down on seats at the edge of the Chao Phraya and waited for our boat to pull in. The cool breezes from the river made the Southeast Asian humidity rather enjoyable. I had a pretty specific picture in my head about what type of boat to expect: a small, open faced wooden boat with the iconic Thai longboat ribbons tied to the bow.

A Thai Longboat on Chao Phraya

A Thai Longboat on Chao Phraya

I was worried about those of us who claimed seasickness, but was generally looking forward to eating a Thai meal on a boat.

As we waited along the shore in front of cafes and shopping complexes, a woman in traditional Thai dress came out on the dock and began to dance in a Khmer style (hand contortion) dance. She was soon joined by another dancer dressed as a Thai demon.

Chilling alongside the Chao Phraya

Chilling alongside the Chao Phraya

A large yacht pulled into harbor, and we gawked at the ridiculous luxury of the vessel.

A regal yacht on the River of Kings

A regal yacht on the River of Kings

A water fountain changed colors on the top deck, which had a rooftop sushi bar. A line of workers dressed in white uniforms faced us stoically, with perfectly still salutes.

Boat staff

Boat staff

The James Bond theme was being played live, on flute! We excitedly laughed at the extreme lavishness of the boat, and joked that, “this is our boat, right guys?”

Surprise, surprise, it was!

All aboard

All aboard

By far, the swankiest boat I have ever been on. White staircases with white lights lead us to multiple dining areas.

One of the multiple bars on board

One of the multiple bars on board

One room’s ceiling had a galaxy of tiny lights on a dark blue background.

Are we in vegas?

Are we in vegas?

The food was an all-you-can-eat buffet, with multiple types of curries, seafoods, and tiny desserts.

On-board buffet

On-board buffet

We sat down on a long white-tableclothed table. Two women on a stage performed American songs, and we sometimes mobbed the dance floor to dance dorkily.

The main stage. Did I mention escalators?

The main stage. Did I mention escalators?

A Thai Elvis impersonator sang every once in a while, but he mostly just walked around the boat.

Archetypal cruise performance

Archetypal cruise performance

Eventually, I went up to the top deck to enjoy the view. The cool breeze from the moving boat and river air felt amazing, and I got to watch temple after temple pass on the side of the river.

Watching temples pass in glimmering lights

Watching temples pass in glimmering lights

At one point, it began to rain, so most people went back inside. Not only do I love standing in the rain, I now had the entire deck to myself and a few other people, so of course I stayed out. We passed under a giant suspension bridge that was lit up in golden light.

Chao Phraya adventuring

Chao Phraya adventuring

The end of the night was spent dancing on the deck, where a second stage was set up.

bangkok river cruise chao phraya yacht boat dance fountain

A Thai Longboat on Chao Phraya

More overplayed American songs sung in mediocre karaoke style. A flashing light illuminated us as we laughed along with each other, as well as some other guests on the boat. One old Thai man got really into dancing with us, which was hilarious. He even went up on stage to sing along to “Rolling on the River” with Thai Elvis.
Similar to the previous night’s trip to Skybar, we all felt like billionaires. Swank city.

 

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