The Chaopraya river cruises scene is a great experience, and there are many choices to choose from. To categorized them, there are three types of cruises. There are the Thai rice barge cruises, which provide peaceful ambiance and mostly has Thai set menu’s on a converted old rice barge. Then there’s also large entertainment cruise, which are most well known. The theme for this is fun and entertainment, because after the buffet dinner there’s a crew which dances and sings to make your night one big party. The other category of cruises, are more private small and quiet cruise boats. Other than the rice barges these Cruises serve international buffets but many of the items offered are mild Thai dishes oriented for western tongue. The cruise buffets compared to hotel buffets are lower in quality and quantity because being on the boat there is nothing much that can be done.
The Horizontal Cruise is a small more private cruise boat with 2 floors. Air conditioned dinning areas are on the first and part of 2nd floor. Our evening began at 7.30 p.m. for a two-hour cruise, starting with drinks served on deck followed by an international buffet dinner. The quality of food is on pare with other cruises but the dessert was more superior. The boat had spacious air-conditioned cabins where you can enjoy dinner, but we were seated in the open air with an occasional river breeze and nice music on the background. It was the perfect night to sit on deck in the fresh air.
Meanwhile, the Horizon took us into the enchanting night on the Chao Phraya River. It really showed us the magic of Bangkok by night. There were lights everywhere and we went past many historic old buildings and monuments such as the Santa Cruz Church, Guan Yu Shrine, Kiang Au Keng Shrine, Chakrabongse House and Bangkhunprom Palace. We also passed by the many Wats that are located at the riverside. Wat Poramai Yikawat, the Grand Palace and Wat Phra Kaew, Wat Kalayanamitr, Wat Rakhang Kositaram, Wat Rachathiwas, Wat Pho and Wat Arun or temple of the dawn, located on the west bank of the river. Its 82-metre-high pagoda was lightened so it was a highlight to the ambience.
The Grand Palace and Wat Phra Kaew
Wat Rakhang Kositaram
We cruised underneath several bridges. The Phra Buddha Yodfa Bridge, in English commonly known as Memorial Bridge, had bright green lights on the bottom side of the bridge, so it gave a really special effect to us while sailing underneath it and have all that light shining on the boat. You could also really see the liveliness of the people this evening, as they were crossing over the Somdej Phra Pin Klao Bridge by foot. The traffic was jammed because of the people wanting to get to Ratchadamnoen to pay respect to his Majesty the King and watch the shows and lights, since it was his birthday the next day.
As we arrived at the Rama VIII Bridge we were lucky enough to enjoy some small fireworks as they were preparing for the King’s Birthday. The pins that are gracing the Rama VIII bridge were beautifully enlightened and even more impressing then by daylight.
Rama 8 bridge
All of this makes the evening really special. The changing view and scenery added that little extra to our meal, as you are not getting this in an ordinary restaurant.
A romantic scenery, being with good company, that’s what you want when you think about taking a dinner-cruise along the river. We definately got a taste of that when we got aboard Shangri-La’s Horizon boat. If you’re a person who gets easily bored with the same view the whole night, and you are looking for a romantic night out, this will be perfect solution for you.
The Horizon boat departs from Shangri-La Pier at 7:30 p.m. every night and returns safely at 9:30 p.m.
Fireworks on the occation of the celebration of the King’s Birthday
Price for this unforgettable evening along the River of Kings incl. ticket and buffet at THB 2,300 per person
Text: Fabiënne van Poppel
Shangri La Bangkok 89 Soi Wat Suan Plu, New Road, Bangrak, Bangkok 10500 Phone: (662) 236 7777