Sunday, July 13, 2014

Day on the Klong

The word Klong translates as Canal in English.  On Friday Sister Meeker and I took another Senior Couple and spent the morning on the Chao Praya River and on the canals of Thonburi.

Elder Meeker on the Chao Phraya River in a long tailed boat
Friday was a public holiday.  All of the Thai Church Employees had Friday off and they also get Monday off work.  The other three Senior Missionary couples that serve in the Service Center side of the Church office had gone to the Young Single Adult Conference (Thursday - Saturday) being held in Phitsanulok.  So the Goodson’s (the only other couple in the office) did not want to go to the office and be alone.  They suggested that we do something.  So Lois and I took them on a Long Tailed Boat tour of the Canals on the Thonburi side of the river.  We took the BTS above ground train to the River and then took the tourist boat to the Chang Pier (near the Emerald Buddha Temple).  I then negotiated a ride on a long tailed boat for the four of us.  I got them down to 2700 Baht. They wanted 3600 Baht for the three hour private tour.  We first went up the river and into the Bangkok Noi Canal.  We stopped at the Royal Barge Museum.  We spent 30 minutes or so there and took some pictures.   

Elder Meeker in the Royal Barge Museum
 Admission price for the Royal Barge Museum was 100 Baht (~3 dollars) each.  But it cost us another 3 dollars for the camera permit. These were in active use prior to World War II. 
 At the Royal Barge museum you can discover eight of Thailand's most unique and stunning vessels: the Royal Barges. These boats are reserved for auspicious ceremonies and state occasions like the very rare Royal Barge Procession, and have only made an appearance on the water 16 times in the last 65 years.  Each is carved from huge pieces of teak, their prows engraved with mythical creatures, gilded in gold and intricately decorated with tiny shimmering pieces of glass. Rowed by up to 50 specially trained oarsmen, the boats leave their dry dock at festival times and important state occasions for spectacular processions along the river.

Each of the eight royal barges has a sign indicating the name, the year of construction or renovation and the number of crew it requires to operate it... it is rather impressive to think that the largest amd most important vessel named 'Suphannahonse' is 46 meters long and needs 50 oarsmen and 14 crew members!

During Thailand's  turbulent history, the barges were often damaged or partly destroyed by bombings or fire. All around the building  photos and illustration are displayed showing past processions  and the remains of previous vessels as well as the techniques used to operate the barges.

 Many of the Boats were damaged by Japanese bombing during World War II.  The Current King (longest currently serving King in the World) had the Barges restored for the first time in the 1950's.   

Sister Meeker close to one of the Royal seating areas

Lucky Bamboo plants woven together

Various Figure heads on the Bow

Side view close up

Yes that is a cannon in the front of this barge

Serpent heads that would cradle the King when he slept

After leaving the Museum, we then went back to the river and entered Klong Mon (Mon Canal) for the long trip to an Orchard Farm.  That was quite a ways inland and finished on a very narrow canal. 

Typical Thai residence on the Canal - Wooden structure with Corrugated Tin Roof

Affluent Thai house on the Canal

Nice Thai Home with Historically accurate Architecture
 We eventually arrived at the Orchid Farm.

Our Long Tailed Boat Driver with Elder Meeker - note the narrow canal we are on

Getting around on the Canal

Prepared food sales from the Boat  - directly to your back porch

Passing another Long Tailed boat on the way back home

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