Buffalo Tours: Canal Tour in Bangkok (Review)

Buffalo Tours Canal Tour in Bangkok

Is it your first time in Bangkok? If a taxi driver asks you, make sure you say no, but when Travelling Weasels ask, say yes and then say: what's the best thing to do first? With so much choice, it's hard to make a decision, but we think we've found the perfect solution: our first activity in Thailand was a Canal Tour in Bangkok. We teamed up with Buffalo Tours' Thailand tours for half a day filled with canals, culture, hidden secrets and well known favourites. 
Wat Arun Bangkok
Wat Arun - one of the highlights of Bangkok
The tour turned out to be perfect. It was brimming with culture - which enabled us to dive straight into Thailand. It was also not too strenuous. Most of the day we cruised along on a longtail boat. This was ideal for us as a) we were tired from our flight the day before and b) we were still getting used to Thailand's hot, hot weather! So what did the tour feature and why did we love it so much?

1. Pick Up from Our Hotel & Lunch

We were picked up at 11am from our hotel (Citadines Sukhumvit 23 Bangkok) by our guide, Dum, and our driver. The car was really swanky and came with very welcome air conditioning and water. We felt very fancy being driven around Bangkok in it. Dum explained what we were going to see and do on the tour, and then he pointed out the more interesting facts of Bangkok. Soon we were across the city and stepping onto our first ever longtail boat to get to lunch! Now, for me, and anyone else with hangry issues, a tour that starts with lunch is going to be a good one. I need my belly to be full before I can give my full attention to culture and travel :) 

Buffalo Tours Canal Tour in Bangkok Lunch

Lunch was at the Supattra River House Restaurant and it was absolutely divine! Traditional Thai culinary culture was coupled with stunning riverside views, and we stuffed ourselves! With our bellies full, it was time to get back on our longtail boat and explore our first klong.

Buffalo Tours Canal Tour in Bangkok Lunch

2. Cruising along the Klong

Cruising along the klong

A klong turned out to be another word for a canal. Cruising along the klong in our longtail boat gave us some absolutely fascinating views. 

Cruising along the klong Bangkok

Some of the houses were in better shape than others, but most seemed to be sporting satellite dishes and peeking through some of the windows, lots of them seemed to have the internet! 

Cruising along the klong Bangkok

It was really interesting to see this 'different way of life' and Dum revealed that this klong life was once a common sight in Bangkok - but most of it has now been replaced by concrete buildings. My absolute highlight was seeing goannas by the side of the river!

Buffalo Tours Canal Tour in Bangkok

3. Riverside Artisan Village

Riverside Artisan Village Puppet Show

Next on the list was visiting a traditional artisan village and enjoying the puppet show! This is a hard to find gem, often missed by travellers and tourists. 

Riverside Artisan Village Puppet Show

The puppet show was really mesmerising, not so much the puppets themselves - though they were beautifully crafted - what we found truly mesmerising were the puppeteers. Three people moved with the puppets, one working the legs, one working the right hand and the other the left. They were perfectly in time and have to be seen to be believed. In fact, check out our Daily Vlog number 2, where we filmed part of this fabulous act:

As you can see, the puppeteers' movements were mesmerising. The puppets came into the crowd, to kiss those in the front row. This entertainment/crowd interaction made me feel a bit awkward and embarrassed, but that's just because I'm British. Tanbay (German) loved it:

Riverside Artisan Village Puppet Show hug

Next was a tour around the artisans house, the artwork was epic!

4. Royal Barge Museum

Royal Barge Museum

We then hopped back on our longtail boat and set off for the Royal Barge Museum. I was pleasantly surprised by this museum. Having heard we were going to the 'Royal Barge Museum' I'd assumed it was just a Barge Museum, opened or blessed by the royals (like the Royal Academy of Arts, or the Royal Air Force or the Royal Mail.....) but it literally meant ROYAL-BARGEs Museum, like barges that the actual royals have ridden in!!! (So more like the Gold State Coach or Air Force One museum.) These barges were beautiful, with intricate detail and amazing colours.

Royal Barge Museum

Tanbay was particularly impressed that they'd been carved from one (very long) tree, they were so long! It was an important stop on our trip because it gave Dum a chance to point out to us how important the royals are in Thailand. You'll often see a portrait of the King or other royals in Thai houses, and they are always hung higher than other portraits, as a sign of respect. It's also illegal in Thailand to be rude about the king or desecrate money (which has his face on). 

5. Wat Arun, the Temple of Dawn

Wat Arun Bangkok

Our final stop was my personal favourite: Wat Arun. This is a Buddhist temple named after the God Aruna (Wat = temple in Thai). It was beautiful!

Wat Arun Temple of Dawn Bangkok

Dum gave us a chance to explore (take selfies) by ourselves here. The entire day he really got the tour guide balance well - informative and funny when needed, but made sure to give us time to ourselves too - thank you Dum! 

6. Wrap Up: Bangkok Canal Tour Review

If you are looking for a tour (or two) in Bangkok that has expert guides and is filled to bursting with culture, look no further than Buffalo Tours' Thailand tours. We had a perfect day out with them and can't recommend them highly enough. We felt that the tour was well planned out, and our guide, Dum, was extremely professional. To find out more about the tour we took, take a look at the Essence of Bangkok: Canals of Krung Thep official page, and to find out about other tours in Thailand try here. Also, check our vlog on the top things to do in Thailand -- enjoy :)

Disclaimer: Travelling Weasels were invited on this tours as guests of Buffalo Tours, as always all opinions are our own and we would never recommend something we haven't used and loved ourselves. 

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We overland. We eat plants and fungi. We live outside as much as possible. We are all connected. A female travel blogger overlanding and writing about ecotourism, ethical and sustainable travel, socially conscious travel and housesitting. An online travel magazine since 2015.


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