10: 00 am: Depart from the Manohra Cruises Pier located in front of the Bangkok Marriott Resort & Spa. Once on board you’ll meet your Manohra Song Chief Steward and the crew who will be looking after you on your trip. Cold, lemon-grass scented towels and a chilled fresh fruit cocktail will be waiting for you.
10: 50 am: Arrive at The Temple of Dawn or Wat Arun as it is otherwise known. This is one of the best known temples in Bangkok and dates back to the ancient Ayuthaya period. The tall, elongated central Khmer-style tower is surrounded by four minor towers, which symbolize Mount Meru, the earthly representation of the thirty-three heavens. Here you’ll find pavilions containing statues of the Buddha at the most important stages of life. The beautiful architecture and fine craftsmanship mark Wat Arun as one of the most remarkable temples in Thailand. We’ll stop here for a short guided tour and depart at 11.30 am. There also a chance to have your fortune told here also.
11: 50 am: Arrive at the Royal Barges National Museum. This is one of Bangkok’s most fascinating sights and something you will not see anywhere else in the world. The museum is home to an incredible collection of gilded and ornately decorated boats with magnificently carved prows. His Majesty the King’s personal barge, Suphannahongse, can be seen here. Built in 1911 to resemble a mythical swan, the boat is 46 meters long and was carved from a single tree. All the barges are unique and incredible works of craftsmanship.
12: 45 pm: Lunch underway. Enjoy our Thai cuisine prepared by your personal on-board chef. Shortly after your lunch, the Manohra Song will pass the island of Koh Kret in Nonthaburi Province, an island which was ‘man-made’ in the last 100 years when a canal was built to shorten the journey around a circuitous bend in the river. The island is populated by the Mon people, one of Thailand’s many ethnic minority groups, who use the river’s fine clay to produce earthenware pots.
Spend the afternoon relaxing on board, watching the vignettes of river life unfold as they float by. At 4 pm we’ll serve a traditional English afternoon tea of finger sandwiches, scones and dainties, with a selection of teas.
4: 30 pm: A quick stop at Wat Pathum Khong Ka to feed the fish – a simple way of gaining merit and good luck. This promotes the Buddhist cycle of life by feeding the fish so they in turn can produce life. Some of these carp fish are giants!
5: 30 pm: Arrive at Wat Bang Na, where we can watch the sunset and then moor for the night. Wat Bang Na was constructed in 1777 by a Mon family who moved from Ayuthaya. One of the more curious sights within the compound of this temple is the body of the 4th chief monk of this temple who died in 1988 but whose mummified body remains in excellent condition and is today housed in a glass enclosure.
7: 30 pm: Relax and freshen up in your private ensuite stateroom and then return to the deck for aperitifs and Thai canapés.
8: 00 pm: With Wat Bang Na, as a dramatic backdrop, a dinner of Thai traditional dishes will be served. Relax on deck with a glass of wine or digestive before retiring to your stateroom for your first night on the river.
Day2: Cruising To Ayuthaya
7: 30 am: An early start and chance to make merit with the Monks of Wat Bang Na and tour the temple. Thai Buddhists believe that by making merit, they earn happiness, peace in life and the chance to progress in their next life. Making merit with the Monks is a wonderfully harmonious way to start the day.
8: 00 am: We’ll get underway for the ancient Thai capital of Ayuthaya.
9: 00 am: Freshly prepared continental breakfast is served.
A morning of gentle cruising up the Chao Phraya, through the Thai countryside. Recline on a deck lounger and watch the river life float past.
1: 00 pm: An Italian luncheon of pasta and salad served underway.
2: 00 pm: Arrive at Wat Pananchoeng to begin your tour. Wat Pananchoeng is an old monastery housing Thailand’s largest ancient Buddha image. This image, known as Luang Po To was made in 1344. The Chinese revere this image as their God Protector since much of the sailing done then was by the Chinese.
A waiting limousine with guide will then transfer you to Ayuthaya, a UNESCO World Heritage site. The ancient capital was founded in 1350 by King U-Thong and it was from here that the Siamese ruled their Kingdom for 417 years.
You’ll spend the afternoon exploring Ayuthaya in the company of our expert guide. There’ll even be a chance for you to experience riding on the back of an elephant. As Ayuthaya is such a large area, the limousine driver will wait for you and take you on a tour of several areas of the ancient city.
5: 30 pm: From Ayuthaya, you’ll transfer by limousine to Bang Pa In, one of the 16 districts of Ayuthaya where you’ll rejoin the Manohra Song. Along the way, you may wish to buy a bag of fish or a cage of small birds for you to release back to nature. This is a wonderful gesture and makes merit.
Across from Bang Pa In is Wat Nivat - one of the more intriguing Buddhist temples – and this is where we’ll moor for the night. Wat Nivat was constructed at the command of King Rama V in 1878, in the style of an English Gothic church. The temple’s stained glass windows and unusual architecture make it one of the most distinctive Buddhist temples anywhere in Thailand.
6: 30 pm: Relax and freshen up in your private ensuite stateroom and then return to the deck for aperitifs and Asian-inspired canapes.
8: 00 pm: For your second night on the river, we’ll serve an Ayuthaya-inspired Thai dinner.
Day3: Cruising & Disembarkment
8: 00 am: Wake up to the taste of a full English breakfast, freshly prepared to your order from the Manohra Song kitchen.
9: 00 am: Guided tour of Wat Nivat.
9: 30 am: From Wat Nivat it is a short walk to the Bang Pa In Summer Palace. The original Bang Pa In Palace was built by King Prasat Thong on the island and was used as a country residence for the later kings of the Ayuthaya period. However, after the capital moved to Bangkok, Bang Pa In was abandoned for 80 years, to be revived by King Rama V. He commanded the construction of additional buildings – theatres, temples and monuments in a mixture of European, Chinese and Thai styles.
We’ll explore the palace grounds by electric carts although the site can be easily walked.
10: 30 am: Get underway for Bang Sai Royal Folk Arts and Crafts Center.
12: 00 Pm: A short cruise downriver from Bang Pa In is the Bang Sai village, which enjoys the patronage of Her Majesty the Queen. Here you can see a variety of Thai houses in regional styles and see how Thailand’s rural people make handicrafts such as fern basketry, silk flowers, hand-woven silk and cotton, silk dyeing, wood carving, miniature hand-modeled dolls and traditional furniture. A great place to shop for Thai handicrafts. After a short guided tour, we will depart at around 1 pm.
1: 30 Pm: Light Thai luncheon underway.
4: 00 pm Light afternoon tea served on board as we head back towards Bangkok.
6: 30 pm: Arrive at the Manohra Cruises Pier and disembark. Try dinner at one of the Resort’s many restaurants. The Bangkok Marriott Resort & Spa has the longest river front terrace in Bangkok and at the open-air Riverside Terrace restaurant there is a nightly show of Thai dancing and music set against the backdrop of the river. The restaurant’s ‘ show kitchens’ serve everything from a la minute pasta, seafood BBQ, Teppanyaki and Thai dishes to Indian and Chinese delicacies, Japanese sushi and sashimi, all freshly prepared at live stations. Alternatively head to one of the resort’s other restaurants – award-winning Benihana, The Rice Mill or Trader Vic’s (dinner costs on the third night are not included in the cruise).
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