A Day at the Pace of the Ping (video)

 | Mon 3 Aug 2015 02:36 ICT

Hiding in plain sight runs a thoroughfare through Chiang Mai without any rush hour, traffic jams, or stifling exhaust. The lazy Ping River, with its slow flowing current, meanders through the heart of the city, but takes things at its own pace.


Having been an intern at Citylife for over a month, spending most of my days in front of computer screens, I thought of being a bit cheeky and asked the editor if I could go and explore the Ping River Cruise for a story. She actually said yes, and I spent a lovely few hours recharging my batteries while also getting information to write this story!

It was nine o’clock in the morning, when four of us including two Thai interns, one American colleague and a photographer – I don’t think that the editor knew so many of us were going! – were at Wat Chai Mongkol where the boat dock is located.


The receptionist at Mai Ping River Cruise greeted us with a big smile when we first walked into her office and we talked for a while before the friendly boat driver invited us to get into the boat.

As we boarded the boat, sat down on our comfy seats, all worries faded away as we gently navigated our city’s lifeblood.

The driver acted as a guide and would point out places of interest along the way, answering questions for our American colleague as we motored our way further and further from the city centre. The scenery kept changing, one moment we would cruise past opulent mansions of the rich then be waved at by naked kids frolicking on the banks. There were ugly concrete restaurants, and beautiful looking gardens, temples with barking dogs and quietly contemplating fishermen.


As things turned greener and greener we were told that we were reaching an organic garden. The owner of the garden was standing on a pier waving at us as we docked. He took us on a tour around his vegetable farm which is also an animal farm. He also had an agricultural museum zone showing Thai traditional rice harvesting, exhibiting rice grinding, pounding and every step of the process.

After exploring the farm, it was the time for lunch! Beautiful chicken khao soy sets served with fresh fruits and juice were in front of us!


On the way back to Wat Chai Monkol we didn’t talk much, content with the sounds of nature; water lapping gently against our boat, wind blowing a cool breeze against our skin and birds chirping to keep us entertained. Soon we heard the sound of horns and not much longer were plonked back to reality. I am now back at the office in front of my computer, having had a wonderful morning. I thought that this was an activity for tourists, but I would recommend it to any resident who has a few hours to spare and who would like to get away from it all, well, without quite going that far.