The perfect treat for a significant other, an Apsara Dinner Cruise is an alternative for a romantic experience when in the bustling Thai capital. Imagine drifting along Bangkok’s river and canals at sundown past some of Asia’s most stunning sights, all the while dining on sumptuous Thai cuisine and sipping the best wines.
This elegantly appointed Apsara vintage rice barge is run by the five-star Banyan Tree Hotel on the grand Sathorn Tai Road, so visitors can be sure of its authenticity and attention to detail. Cruises go from near the hotel along the Sathorn Canal, not far from bustling Silom Road, which then meets up with the mighty Chao Phraya River.
The stretch of river between the exit of the canal and the King Rama VIII Bridge – the most northerly point on the cruise – features many of Bangkok’s most famous and iconic sights, including that of the Temple of Dawn (Wat Arun) and Wat Rakang on the Thon Buri bank and the golden spires of the Grand Palace on the old Bangkok side.
Tourists also get to cruise past the high end Mandarin Oriental Hotel and many other noted waterfront sights, such as the Royal Barge Museum. The highlight of the Apsara Dinner Cruise, however, is having the sun descend right behind the Temple of Dawn for that picture perfect photo.
Trip time aboard the Apsara is a generous one hour, 45 minutes, which is plenty of time to admire the sights and also dine on gourmet Thai food. The menu on an Apsara Dinner Cruise is as classy as can be expected, featuring such delicacies as lamb curry, fresh crab claw in a smooth coconut broth and snow fish, along with many of the well known Thai dishes, plus tasty dessert.
While it is definitely worth taking in the above Bangkok sights on foot, doing it all again from the water at a steady pace with a constant cooling breeze makes for an unforgettable experience. Not many people are lucky enough to indulge in the Apsara Dinner Cruise along Bangkok’s thriving waterways, so visitors to Bangkok should jump at the chance.
Those toying with the Chao Phraya Express Boat in order to save money should bear in mind that, while cheaper, this is a very touristy option for cruising the main sights. There is none of the intimacy and uniqueness of the Apsara and definitely not the delicious meal.