Probably the best thing we did in Bangkok was the canal tour on the river. We were using the ferries for transportation every day, but they were only going on the main river, Chao Phraya. We wanted to see the small canals between the regions where local people were living. It is said that Bangkok is very much like Venice, so we thought it must certainly be worth seeing the secret parts of the city.
We found a long tailed boat and the owner agreed to give us a 2 hour ride on the canals. We started the tour at the best possible moment, just before the sun set, which meant we got to see the beautiful view before the sunset and we got back when it was dark and the city was full of lights. Since it is very warm in the daytime, I strongly recommend taking such a tour before sun set.
After we took off from the big river Chao Phraya, it felt like we moved to the ‘other’ Bangkok. It was much calmer, and more real. We were moving between the small wooden houses which were built on the river with weak construction. People living in those houses were taking care of their daily routines, minding their own business as if we were just a part of the canal. The lives were so real. Some people were cleaning their kids in a washtub, some were playing cards, some were fishing on the river and some were preparing dinner. It was more like watching a movie, and we were a bit worried to disturb their flow as foreigners.
We finished our tour at Asiatique, a big area full of restaurants, souvenir shops and bars. It is more like an open area shopping center, but very good for tourists. We bought lots of presents for our families and friends there.