13 Dec 2011
The Loy Nava Cruise rice barge heading our way

Often times when we travel to a city, we ask ourselves if there's anything to do at night? Well, to most of us, night life plays an important role. On the 2nd night in Bangkok, I decided to take Fann out to a really special dinner. She always told me that she would like to watch Thai dances while having a wonderful meal. So, I went around researching for the best places to have that kind of experience in Bangkok.

I came across a few, such as Studio 9 Café and Patravadi Theatre Café. These cafés are situated at the banks of the Chao Phraya River. Where you can not only enjoy traditional Thai dances while having your dinner and also a great view of the Grand Palace. However after much consideration, I booked for a river cruise dinner instead.

The beautiful teakwood barge

A trip to Thailand isn't complete without a boat ride on the Chao Phraya River, so I decided to booked the Loy Nava Cruise. It is a luxurious rice barge with five star dining, touring and gives you a chance to experience traditional Thai culture on board. It is also known as the only teakwood rice barge on the river in Bangkok. I booked the cruise online through their website http://www.loynava.com/

What's great about this cruise is that they also provide pick up service from anywhere you want in Bangkok and Yes, the price already includes the pick up service. After the dinner, they will drop you back to wherever you want (usually your hotel).

The pick up driver's sign

The cruise dinner has 2 sessions. One is at 6pm (known as the sunset cruise) and the other is at 8pm (known as the night cruise). We went for the sunset cruise, believing that it would be more romantic to see Bangkok at sunset. They picked us up at our hotel at 5pm sharp, then went on to pick up the other cruise customers. Fann and I were so excited but felt a little alienated as all of the other customers were caucasians. Made me feel a little bit out of place. :P

Thai girl performing traditional music throughout the cruise

Once everyone is on board, the waiter head will introduce what's planned for the night as the barge cruises on. He hands out a small menu-looking map that is beautifully drawn. That is actually a map of the sights you will see while on the cruise, such as The Assumption Cathedral, The Royal Palace, Santa Cruz Church, Tammasart University, and many more.

Fann happily reading what's on the menu for the night

In the mood for some photography

So, what's on the menu you ask. The cruise dinner includes 3 menus namely the Thai traditional Menu, Thai Seafood Menu & Thai Vegetarian Menu. Of course, vegetarian is out of the question for the both of us. I'll not go into details on what's on the menu as you can read it up on their page here. But I can tell you that, if you choose the Thai traditional menu, you get the chance to taste almost all of the luxury delicacies that you can find in Thailand.

Sorry for the bad food photos. (The food is tastier than it looks here, trust me)
Notice the cute elephant table cloth :)

The waiter will introduce each of the food once it's placed on the table in front of you. So you can have an idea what's going into your mouth. The food was delicious and while enjoying some traditional dances, really makes you feel like a Thai King.

The sights around were astounding. I've never seen Bangkok so beautiful at night. The soft traditional Thai music in the background, while the engine of the barge slowly cruises through the river, gives you a great tranquil feeling as you enjoy your dinner with the magnificent view of Bangkok. I managed to captured some shots of the things we saw.

The famous Wat Arun (Temple of Dawn)
Rachini School (the first girls school to be operated by Thais)

The Grand Palace & Temple of the Emerald Buddha

Wat Rakhang Kositharam (The temple of bells)

A view of the Phra Pok Klao Bridge

Lastly a huge U turn at the Rama VIII Bridge

The romantic mood on the barge (great for couples)

The cruise lasted for about an hour and a half. Everything was planned out very nicely and the service was great. We had a wonderful experience and this cruise has gave us a great summary and introduction of Bangkok's heritage.

As the tour ended, we payed the bill by cash and everyone left with a small souvenir from the cruise. It was the beautiful map of the cruise's route. I have it right here with me, if you're interested to have a look at it, just let me know. The driver sent each of us back to the hotel and I could feel that everyone was very excited. The cruise left us with a beautiful memory and a wonderful experience on how beautiful Thai culture and hospitality is.

It was a great evening, and for those first timers to Bangkok, you can give Loy Nava a try. I find the price reasonable, having such a fantastic time on board. Check out the price on their website and just for your information, pre payment is not needed. You just have to pay on board and I would suggest all tourist to pay by cash. :)

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