Canal Boat Ride
Klong Tan to Sri Nakharin

This was written in the 1990s so may be very obsolete, whether or not these boats still run.

Many people live on Sukhumvit, so this suggested day tour starts from there.

Take the skytrain or a bus to near the corner of soi 71 (Klong Tan). Continue on foot past soi 71, on under the bridge. There, you will find some klong boats. Note: There are freelance boat drivers who will offer you a ride to anywhere for, say, 100 baht. Just decline and take the normal boat that other people are on.

Tell the boat driver in advance that you want to get off at Sri Nakharin.

Note: This is not the well known Klong Saen Sap boat ride. Klong Saen Sap is very polluted, is bigger and has bigger boats.

Klong Prakanong is a winding stream rather than a straight canal, with some nice scenery. It's a glimpse of the core water culture of Thailand, as close as you'll get in the middle of Bangkok.

At Sri Nakarin, there are many options of places to go from there:

Going south on Sri Nakarin, you can find Seacon Square and Rama 9 Park.

Seacon Square is a large modern mall that's trendy. When I first arrived, I walked around the top floor, especially on the way towards the movie theatre (oposite the end with the indoor rides), and did people watching there. Grab a bite at Black Canyon, a trendy Thai place that's good for people-watching.

Rama 9 Park is nice near the evening, say 4:30 onwards, and near Seacon Square. Go by taxi. Very nice park, especially towards the back left.

Alternatively, going north on Sri Nakarin by bus, you may want to try The Mall Bangkapi or Siam Park.

The Mall Bangkapi is another large modern mall that's trendy, with a nice 4-level waterfall at the entrance, a slow stream down one alleyway (with large, free tropical birds who hang out there), a fantasy park for children on the top floor, and best of all a water park on the roof where you can rent swimsuits.

If you're into water parks, then take a taxi to Siam Park, which is a huge water park down Sukhaphiban 2 road from The Mall Bangkapi. (I don't know if you can rent a swimsuit there, but you can probably buy one.)

Ramkamhaeng Road is the location of Ramkamhaeng University, the largest and cheapest university in Bangkok, populated mainly by students from the rural and poor northeast. (It is the only "open university" where a uniform is not required, though about half the students voluntarily wear one anyway.) In the daytime, the road is packed with students starting about a kilometer from Sri Nakarin and continuing to less than a kilometer from Rama 9 Rd. The side sois are full of ordinary Thai food, with many places offering the multiple stainless steel vats where you get a plate of rice and just point to two or three items to put a scoop of on top. There are also many ecclectic indoor student restaurants in the nooks and crannies there. Towards the evening, a few nice big restaurants open up that are viewable from the street.

After the sun sets, the student section of Ramkamhaeng Rd. turns into a huge nitetime market. The sidewalks are packed so if you don't like crowds and people watching, or if you're impatient, then skip this interesting experience... The vendors close shop or pack up around 10pm.

Starting around 11pm, especially on weekends, some of the student dance pubs are interesting to go to, such as MTV on soi 43/1 or soi 24, and various others. Many good pubs are in out of the way places, and the "in" places seem to change from month to month. These play pop music, and the students and young businesspeople dance next to their table. There is no dance floor at mainstream Thai places.

Near the corner of Ramkamhaeng and Sri Nakarin, the music style changes. You get mainly country music from the Isaan northeast area, and there are a lot of Karaoke bars. This area, too, starts up late.

If you stay that late, then you will miss the last Klong Saen Sap boat back at around 7:30.

There are late nite buses, and with no traffic plus the cool nitetime air, why not? I like taking the buses mainly for people watching and the open air breeze (and I save about 100 baht, too). Very late, a taxi will run about 100 baht back to lower Sukhumvit or Phloenchit.

Different strokes for different folks...




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