Mekhala Cruise, Chao Phraya,
Info : Mekhala Cruise, Chao Phraya
There are a number of companies offering the perfect Chao Phraya river cruise from Bangkok to Ayutthaya. This is not surprising, as it is a beautiful and accessible route offering visitors a glimpse at a Thailand that’s a little different from Bangkok and the southern beaches.
The “Mekhala”, a traditional rice barge cruise, is our favourites as their emphasis is on responsible travel – unobtrusive tourism, great Thai food and off the beaten track excursions, giving you a wonderful insight into ancient Thai culture.
The Mekhala is not just a Chao Phraya river cruise, it is effectively a floating hotel. There are 15 comfortable cabins, immaculately appointed, with bunks, cushioned sofa (which can serve as a third bunk for child), dressing table and a private shower room. All have varnished wooden floors & walls. Up on deck, there is room for sunbathing with chairs and cushions, a cozy corner and a dining area.
The Mekhala departs Bangkok in the early afternoon and immediately offers spectacular views of the Temple of Dawn and The Grand Palace on the river banks of Bangkok, before moving into the rural delta outside of Bangkok. The boat stops at Pathum Thani, for a visit to a fresh local market and docks for the night at Wat Kai Ria, a Thai temple set in a tranquil rural village. A Thai feast is served on deck.
On the second day of your Chao Phraya river cruise, the boat stops at the small village of Baan Saladang, an old Mon community who migrated from Burma to this area in the early 19th century. The villagers have successfully maintained their traditional life style, customs and natural surroundings. In the afternoon, we include a visit to the spectacular ruins of the ancient capital of Ayutthaya. In the 17th and 18th century Ayutthaya was one of the largest cities in the words due to its ideal trading location. The ruins of its once majestic golden temples and palaces are now UNESCO protected.
We thoroughly recommend this as a unique and relaxing way to experience some of the historical, cultural and architectural highlights of Thailand.
Deluxe - This is our first really 'upmarket' category. It might be a beautiful tiny hotel with very limited facilities or a 5* resort hotel with all the trimmings; but any hotel in this category will be a well-run establishment with very comfortable rooms, a strong service ethos and excellent food.
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Really enjoyed the food tour. It took us to a part of Bangkok that we would never have visited. We visited 5 restaurants, some of which you would probably dismiss out of hand and carry on walking past from their appearance. They were also very clued up on local knowledge so it was a much a cultural tour as food tour.