A stop in Bangkok: touring the countryside in a long-tail boat

For our 2nd day in Bangkok, on August 3rd 2013, we have decided to get away from the hurly-burly of the big city and go visit the countryside and its inhabitants to the west of Bangkok, in the direction of Nakhon Pathom. To that end, we drive westbound from the city center for about 1 hour and a half, and then hop on a long-tail boat which we have hired for the day. With its driver, of course.



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Aboard our typically-Thai long-tail boat, once you get used to the deafening noise of the boat’s moped-like engine, the ride is nice and smooth.

After a moment, we find ourselves in a maze of canals crossing one another, with flooded paddies every so often. On each side, houses rest on wooden pillars, just a few feet above water level. Other houses are more prudently built firmly inland, a safe distance from the banks.

From our long-boat riding slowly, we get to observe the people attending their chores, doing the things they do every day: an old woman is preparing some fish, a man is napping in a hammock, a few children are playing and they wave at us as we pass by. Some plastic bottles float in the current, but overall the canals are actually rather clean.

We pass by a lotus farm which looks quite interesting. So of course we decide to make a stop and visit it.

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The lotus is the flower of choice which is displayed in temples as a sign of respect for Buddha.

The workers, mostly women, who pick the lotus flowers from the paddies, are almost totally covered, wearing full-body wetsuits and wetshoes, hats, gloves, pieces of clothing around their necks and shoulders. This is to protect themselves both from the punishing sun and from leeches. The paddies are shallow, maybe 3-feet deep, and each worker picks a heavy load of lotus flowers which they carry on their shoulders back to the warehouse. There, the flowers are prepared to be sent to different markets for sale.


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We get back to our boat and head for a small village where we visit a farm which produces papayas, bananas and mango fruit. We are treated to a snack of delicious scones made of rice and sweet peanuts.

In this picturesque farm, we notice an interesting set of photos featuring the Royal family, creatively framed and prominently hanged on the central pillars of the farm warehouse.


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So this is a timely opportunity to talk a little bit about the King and Queen of Thailand. Indeed we were surprised to see everywhere many photos of the royal family, in particular of the Queen. As it happens, we were told that the many photos were in celebration of the Queen’s birthday on 12th August, which is also Mother’s Day. What a fitting coincidence! Queen Sirikit, now 81 years old, is the daughter of Prince Chandaburi Suranath and of Luang Bua Kitiyakara. She is the great-grand-daughter of King Chulalongkorn, better known as King Rama V. And she is the wife of King Bhumibol Adulyadej, known as King Rama IX. The Rama dynasty started in 1782, when the construction of the Royal Palace was started.


The system of absolute monarchy was officially abolished in Thailand in 1932, but the Thai people actually hold a genuine devotion to their King and their Queen. It is said however that the King and Queen’s son, Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn, is not as beloved.

The political system today, similar to that of Great Britain, is a constitutional monarchy.

It seems however that any hint of criticism of the Royal family is severely punished, and over the past years, some intellectuals and opponents to the regime have been found guilty of crime of lese-majesty, which has tarnished the image of the Royal family and of the Thai regime. As the King’s health is deteriorating, and since the Prince is said not to be too popular, succession for the throne of Thailand seems to be now a serious issue. Stay tuned to see what happens!

Getting back to our day journey, here is a can alignment seen on display in a nice little grocery store.


We pursue our tour with a visit of an orchid farm. I wish I could take a few of those beautiful orchids back home with me!


It is lunch time, and we walk into a market, busy and crowded, with many food stalls of all sorts. Fish, meat, vegetables, fruit, dried foods, grilled or fried dishes ready to be tasted. But very few tourists in sight, which is nice! We choose a restaurant by the riverside which specializes in duck meat, and enjoy a delicious meal of duck and noodle soup.




We will spend the latter part of the afternoon back at our hotel in the swimming pool. Well, you know, it is very hot, and even the most constant traveler deserves a little break from visit and sightseeing from time to time. Wouldn’t you say?!