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Bangkok   |   Palace   |   Wat   |   Chinatown   |   River   |   Khlong   |   etc.

June, 2004

Thailand photo.
1. Our view of the khlong
Thailand photo.
2. Traditional boat
Thailand photo.
3. Moving freight
Thailand photo.
4. Passing another long-tail

— Index —

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The khlongs (canals) of Bangkok were once the principal means of transportation, and the center of life, in the City. Most houses were built on rafts and moored in the canals, or on stilts along the canal banks. The houses faced the water. People and goods traveled exclusively along the canals. 90% of the population once lived along the canals. Today, most of the khlongs in Bangkok have mostly been filled in and converted into roads. Only in areas around the city, such as Thon Buri and Nontha Buri, are the khlongs still in use.

We took a tour of the Thon Buri khlongs on a long-tail boat (see photo #1, at left.) We are in Thailand during the low period, and there are not many tourists here now, so we had the boat to ourselves. Along the banks, we saw examples of traditional teak houses, many of which are quite old. Others are newly constructed of traditional design. People living along the khlongs decorate their houses with flowering plants in small gardens on their terraces.

People still live and travel along the khlongs. The traditional boats were paddled; today they are often powered with small motors and long-tail prop shafts (photo #2). During our trip, we passed work boats towing barges with large loads (photo #3), and small boats much like canoes, which are often brightly painted.

There are still a few people living on boats moored along the banks of the khlongs. And, we met people selling produce and other goods from small boats (we bought some excellent rambutan fruit from the couple in this boat.) Others were running floating restaurants, serving bar-b-que to passing boats.

Elsewhere, we saw people who were using the khlongs for fishing, and passed a family whose children waved to us as we passed. Our greatest excitement occured when we passed other long-tail boats at high speed on the narrow khlongs (photo #4).


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Jim and Jamie Richter, http://gotouring.com/razzledazzle/
Website designed and created by Lois Richter, expanded by Jim.
Created 6/2004. All photos are © 2004 Jim Richter.