Cruising in Thailand along the River of Kings

Journey back in time and discover the Chao Phraya River’s majestic wonders. Step aboard an exquisite 100-year-old rice barge, meticulously rebuilt from solid teak and lavishly converted to its present splendour. Cruise in comfort for a once in a lifetime voyage along the River of Kings.

Set off on a three-day cruise aboard the Anantara Song or Anantara Dream for the Ayutthaya Thousand Golden Temples Tour. Pass iconic landmarks such as the Grand Palace, Temple of Dawn and Royal Barges Boat House. Experience age-old river life and participate in traditional merit making rituals. Tour a monastery housing Thailand’s largest Buddha image, a summer palace of past Ayutthaya Kings and visit Bang Sai Royal Folk Arts and Craft Centre. Approach one of Thailand’s greatest historical treasures with unique viewing from the cruise’s sun deck and spend time at this glorious UNESCO World Heritage Site. Explore first-hand Ayutthaya’s archaeological sites and historical religious ruins, then return on board to absorb the experience with Anantara Cruises.

Best time to travel: Year-round with optimum conditions from November to April

Cruising in Thailand along the River of Kings at a glance
  • Day 1: Bangkok - Temple of Dawn - Koh Kret - Wat Pathum Khong Ka - Wat Samakkiyaram
  • Day 2: Wat Samakkiyaram - Wat Panancherng - Ayutthaya - Wat Niwet Thammaprawat
  • Day 3: Wat Niwet Thammaprawat - Bang Sai Royal Folk Pier - Bangkok
Cruising in Thailand along the River of Kings Image 1

Day 1: Embarkation

Depart from the pier located in front of Anantara Bangkok Riverside Resort & Spa. Once on board, your experienced crew will serve a welcome chilled herbal drink.

Arrive at the Temple of Dawn, or Wat Arun. This is one of the best-known temples in Bangkok and dates back to the ancient Ayutthaya period. Stop here for a short guided tour and depart for the Royal Barges National Museum. This is one of Bangkok’s most fascinating sites, not seen anywhere else in the world. The museum is home to an incredible collection of gilded and ornately decorated boats with magnificently carved prows, including his Majesty the King’s personal barge, Suphannahongse. Built in 1911 to resemble a mythical swan, the boat is 46 metres long and was carved from a single tree. All the barges kept here are unique in their portrayal of incredible craftsmanship.

Lunch is served. Shortly after your lunch, pass the manmade island of Koh Kret in Nonthaburi Province which is populated by one of Thailand’s many ethnic minority groups, the Mon people, who use the river’s fine clay to produce earthenware pots.

A quick stop at Wat Pathum Khong Ka to feed the fish which offers a simple way of gaining merit and good luck. 

Arrive at Wat Samakkiyaram in time to watch sunset and moor for the night. Relax and freshen up in your private en-suite stateroom, before returning to the deck for aperitifs and Thai canapés. With Wat Samakkiyaram as a dramatic backdrop, a traditional Thai dinner will be served, after which you can relax on the deck with a glass of wine or nightcap before retiring to your stateroom for your first night on the river.

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Day 2: Ayutthaya and Bang Pa In

An early start and wonderful chance to make merit with the Monks of Wat Samakkiyaram, followed by a tour of the temple. Thai Buddhists believe that by making merit they earn happiness, peace and the chance to progress in their next life, while this sacred experience creates a harmonious way to start the day for all.

Enjoy your freshly prepared breakfast. Recline on a deck lounger and watch river life float past as you cruise up the Chao Phraya River through the Thai countryside.

Mediterranean set lunch is served. Arrive at Wat Panancherng for a tour of this old monastery which houses Thailand’s largest ancient Buddha image. This image, known as Luang Po To, was made in 1344 and is revered as the God Protector by the Chinese, who made up the majority of sailors at this time.

A limousine will then transfer you to the UNESCO World Heritage site of Ayutthaya. This ancient capital was founded in 1350 by King U-Thong and it was from here that the Siamese ruled their Kingdom for 417 years. Spend the afternoon exploring Ayutthaya in the company of an expert guide. Enjoy the chance to ride an elephant, and as Ayutthaya is such a large area, your limousine driver will wait for you and provide a tour of the city’s outer areas.

Take a limousine transfer to Bang Pa In, one of the 16 districts of Ayutthaya, where you will rejoin Anantara Song. Along the way, you may wish to buy a bag of fish or a cage of small birds for you to release back to nature in a local gesture of making merit.

Across from Bang Pa In is Wat Niwet Thammaprawat - one of the most intriguing Buddhist temples – and this is where we will moor for the night. Wat Niwet Thammaprawat was constructed at the command of King Rama V in 1878 in the style of an English Gothic church. The temple’s stained glass windows and unusual architecture makes it one of the most distinctive Buddhist temples in Thailand.

Relax and freshen up in your private en-suite stateroom before returning to the deck for aperitifs and Thai canapés. A traditional Thai dinner will be served on deck.

Cruising in Thailand along the River of Kings Image 3

Day 3: Return to Bangkok

After breakfast, your personal guide will meet you at Anantara Song and begin the tour of Wat Niwet Thammaprawat.

From Wat Niwet Thammaprawat we will take a short walk to the Bang Pa-In Summer Palace. The original palace was built by King Prasat Thong on the island and was used as a country residence for the later kings of the Ayutthaya period. However, after the capital moved to Bangkok, Bang Pa In was abandoned for 80 years to be revived by King Rama V, who commanded the construction of additional theatres, temples, and monuments in a mixture of European, Chinese and Thai styles. We will explore the palace grounds by electric carts, although the site can also be easily walked.

Travel to Bang Sai Royal Folk Arts and Crafts Centre. Here you can see a variety of Thai houses in regional styles and discover how Thailand’s rural people make handicrafts such as fern basketry, silk flowers, hand-woven silk and cotton, silk dyeing, wood carving, miniature hand modelled dolls and traditional furniture, which make it a great place to shop. After a short guided tour, we will depart at around noon.

Rejoin your rice barge at the Bang Sai Royal Folk Pier. A light Thai set lunch will be served as we head back to Bangkok.

Highlights

Ayutthaya

The capital of the Siamese Kingdom between the 14th and 18th centuries, Ayutthaya was widely proclaimed by visiting merchants and emissaries the finest they had seen

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Bangkok

Tracing its origins to the former capitals of Thonburi and Rattanakosin, Bangkok is a city of fascinating contrasts

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Accommodation

Bangkok, Luxury cruises
Anantara Dream Rice Barge

Feel at home in your private floating palace aboard the Anantara Dream. Ornately designed and decorated with an elegance evoking old Siam, the two staterooms offer 20-25 square metres of fully air-conditioned space

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