Castaway on river for Thai escape
A deluxe escape from Bangkok's traffic aboard a converted river rice barge has been launched by Manohora Cruises.
The 16-metre Manohora Song with a solid teak hull was built 40 years ago to haul cargo along Thailand's famous Menam Chao Phraya - the so-called 'River of Kings'.
Now it is a river cruiser designed for up to four couples to explore Bangkok's waterways in luxury.
It features four air-conditioned bedrooms with en suite bathrooms, an expansive salon, dining room, bar and sun-deck.
It has been custom-designed with Thai silk, Persian rugs, sculptures and artefacts. 'With only four staterooms, we are selling exclusivity,' said interior designer Kathleen Heinecke. 'It is the ultimate in personalised service.' A variety of customised cruises with candlelight dinners and sunset cocktails are also available. The two-day one-night Ayutthaya Adventure is priced at US$288, inclusive of all meals. It is a one-way trip to the historic capital of old Siam, stopping along the way at the famous Wat Arun (Temple of Dawn) as well as the fabulous Royal Summer Palace at Bang Pa-In.
In Ayutthaya, there are famous 17th-century ruins, declared a World Heritage site by UNESCO, while the River of Kings presents an ever-changing vista of temples, barges, long-tail boats and villages. Launched by Royal Garden Resorts, the Manohora Song has a sister vessel called The Manohora. It makes nightly dinner and cocktail cruises on the Chao Phraya River, taking in the Wat Arun, the Royal Grand Palace and the boathouse of the Royal Barges.
The hour-long sunset cocktail cruise departs at 5.30 pm and is free. Passengers are only charged for drinks.
Nightly dinner cruises depart at 7.30 pm for a 21/2-hour cruise.
Both barges - which depart from the Marriott Royal Garden Riverside's private jetty, the River City Public Pier and the Oriental Public Pier - can also be chartered for private cruises or customised events.