Bangkok : Chao Phraya, The Manohra Song - Thailand
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Bangkok : The Manohra Song

Bangkok : The Manohra Song
 Cruising the Chao Phraya on the Manohra Song

by Benjamin Malcolm

The massive Chao Phraya River has played an important role in the history of Thailand. Over the centuries its annual floods have created a vast inland plain of fertile soil that provides the country with much of its food supply. It has also acted as a vital transportation link for getting goods to both domestic and international markets. Perhaps most importantly, the "River of Kings" has helped unify the country by providing a national symbol and an avenue for the various groups comprising the Thai population to communicate with one another.

Life on and along the river is always a fascinating sight and numerous tour boats provide visitors to Bangkok with a chance to view this activity. The boats range from simple "longtailed" boats powered by roaring automobile engines to luxury cruisers with every imaginable facility. The cr?me de la cr?me of the luxury class are the converted rice barges operated by Manohra Cruises. Its most impressive vessel is the Manohra Song.

Designed for only a limited number of guests, the Manohra Song possesses four air-conditioned staterooms with en suite bathrooms. The furnishings are spectacular and include objects of art, antiques, Oriental carpets, Thai fabrics and appointments made of teak and rare woods. The upper deck possesses a lounge, dining area and sun deck. There is a fully equipped galley, a bar and private quarters for the crew. The boat possesses two engines for manoeuverability and always has a captain, Chief Steward and Assistant Steward on board.

Aside from its luxury, what really sets the Manohra Song apart from other Chao Phraya cruise boats is its sumptuous staterooms. Imagine cruising one of the world's most famous rivers and retiring at night to a private cabin with air-conditioning, hot shower, separate vanity, fresh flowers and luxurious towels. These amenities enable guests to enjoy sublimely comfortable and leisurely trips along the river without worrying about hurrying back to Bangkok or to a hotel to spend the night.

The Manohra Song's repertoire includes three separate cruises. On Monday and Wednesday it travels up-river from Bangkok to Ayutthaya, with Monday or Wednesday night aboard and the return to Bangkok made by private car. On Tuesday and Thursday, guests travel to Ayutthaya by private car and then proceed down-river from Ayutthaya to Bangkok, with Tuesday or Thursday night spent aboard the vessel. On weekends, there is a roundtrip available with the entire journey spent aboard the Manohra Song.

Although space precludes a description of all of the trips, the all-inclusive weekend trip is especially delightful.

The Weekend Cruise Aboard the Manohra Song

09:30 Passengers arrive at the Manohra Cruises pier at the Bangkok Marriott Resort & Spa for a welcome drink and introduction
10:00 The cruise departs for its up river journey on the might River of Kings.
12:00 A traditional Thai lunch is served on board.
13:00 The cruise arrives at Ko Kret an island in the Chao Phraya where earthenware, famous throughout Thailand is created. There is a brief walking tour of the Mon Earthenware Centre and the opportunity to browse nearby vendor's stalls.
14:30 Depart Ko Kret
15:30 Traditional English-style tea is served on board.
18:00 Cocktails are enjoyed on board while the sun sets over the river.
18:30 The Manohra Song arrives in Ayutthaya where passengers will spend the night on board.
19:30 A candle-lit traditional Thai dinner is served on the vessel.

08:00 An American breakfast is served.
09:00 Passengers leave the vessel and enjoy a fully escorted tour of the famous Royal Summer Palaces at Ayutthaya, which date back to the 17th century.
10:30 Return to the boat and prepare to depart.
12:00 Lunch is served as the board cruises down the river.
16:00 Arrive at Wat Arun, the "Temple of Dawn" with time provided for leisurely exploration.
16:45 Return to the Manohra Song and prepare to depart.
18:00 Return to the Manohra Cruise pier at the Bangkok Marriott Resort & Spa.

The cost for each of the three of the cruises is US$390 single and US$650 double. The prices are inclusive of meals, guides, ground tours, admission charges and private car transfers.

For those who really want to experience luxury and something unique, the Manohra Song can be chartered for day cruises or multi-day cruises. Private charters are limited to eight adults unless other arrangements are made in advance.

Manohra and Manohra Moon, the other two converted rice barges operated by Manohra Cruises are available for lunch, dinner and cocktail cruises. If you are interested, call the company for details. But don't forget, if you are seeking upmarket luxury at its best, the Manohra Song is the ideal way to tour the might Chao Phraya River. Take one of these cruises and you will be given memories that will last a lifetime.


- Febuary 2003, Volume 6 Issue 2

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