This cruise might assist to better understand Bangkok’s and indeed Thailand’s history and the growth of its amazing capital Bangkok, city of angels. The Chaophraya River itself has a long history associated with the city, its royal family and with the great temples that adore the shores of this fascinating river. The river system stretches more than a hundred thousand square kilometres within a region representing 35 percent of Thailand’s total land area. 265 kilometres long, the Chaophraya River is also known by the locals’ as the “Maenam” river. “Maenam” stands for “mother of waters”, while the word “Nam” stands for water. Therefore, no visit to Bangkok is complete without a visit to the legendary “River of Kings”. What better way to do it in than just eat luxurious Thai food and just admire the views (or each other if you are on a romantic getaway) on board a well restored 50-year old rice barges, known as the “Manohra” and the “Manohra Moon”. The cruise is both a great culinary experience and while comfortably seated on board, a perfect opportunity to learn more about the Chaophraya River, its wildlife and its various landscapes.
The first of the barges were introduced in the summer of 1992 for lunch or dining cruises. Due to popular demand, a second barge was introduced in year-2000 for the dining experience. Further more in 2005, another ship was introduced called the “Manohra Star” which can seat up to 70 people, along with an open-air main deck that also accommodates a large bar section.
If you prefer then you can also choose to do an overnight cruise where you have your own double bed with an en-suite toilet, and with a waiter to serve you food as and when you need it. There is also a shower as well! The overnight cruise is the ultimate experience in cruising and is highly recommended for honeymooners’ or those who just want to try something new with a twist of luxury- add elegance to this ancient way of travelling.
Passengers meet the crew at the Longtail Bar in front of the Marriott Resort & Spa pier, and are then taken to the Manohra Cruise to set sail on the River of Kings.
Drinks, including a selection of cocktails and fresh exotic juices such as passion fruit with mango and papaya are served just prior to departure. Around 15 minutes into the cruise, the boat passes the 25-year old King Taksin Bridge which is also known as the Sathorn Bridge. Guests are firstly treated to a selection of typical Thai appetisers including “Miang Som” and “Mieng Kham”. Miang Som is a crispy cake filled with prawns and pomelo (P.S.. Pomelo in Thai is known as “Som O”, so this is why the dish is known as Miiang Som).
The square shaped cake is best enjoyed when taken with one full bite because then you can experience its rich adapted sweet and sour taste. This was followed by the “Mieng Kham” that has a selection of traditional condiments along with Thai chapu leaves. If this is your first time to experience a boat dinner in Bangkok then you’ll definitely find it irresistible because not only does it make you absorb the flavour of the mouth-watering Thai dishes but it leaves a memorable picture in your mind of Bangkok from a different angle.
Mind you, there are lot of “party boats” that run along the Chaophraya River in the evening, which is equally stunning in terms of the beauty and the style of the food they offer. However if you prefer the quieter, and more elegant way to enjoy Bangkok’s picturesque views while indulging in luxury food then the Manohra cruise is most certainly catered for you.
The menu includes other authentic Thai dishes as the “Tom Yam Goong” (Traditional spicy prawn soup with lemongrass and lime leaf flavored), and the “Gaeng Garee Gai”. The former is a clear spicy beef consume offered in a true Thai style (and yes, it’s ridiculously spicy!), while the latter is a slowly cooked marinated spring chicken breast drowned in a generous helping of delicious yellow spiced curry. I always find that Thai food is a neat fusion of Chinese and Indian cookery because it’s got the spicy food, as well as the sweetness and sour taste of Chinese cookery as well.
The favourite dish arrived just at the right time. As we passed the beautiful royal barges housed at the boat and shed museum located near the Somdej Phra Pin Klao Bridge, we were treated to a scrumptious dish of “Goong Sauce Makam”. A fabulously presented dish that contained a roasted tiger prawn (largest prawns’ I have ever seen- I thought it was a lobster!) surrounded by a munificent helping of tamarind sauce. Exceedingly delicious when taken with either red or white rice (“Khao Song See”). You may want to try both the brown and white rice just to compare the two varieties. Thailand is famous the world over for its delicious rice.
The concluding main dish of the evening came in the name of “Pla Krapong Rad Prik”, which is a seared sea-bass fillet accompanied by a sweet chilli dressing.
For dessert there was the traditional Thai dessert of Khao Niew Mamaung(mango with Thai sticky rice). Generous amounts of freshly cut mango slices are accompanied by a brash of tempting sticky white rice topped with soya seeds’. It’s perhaps one of the healthiest desserts one can imagine to have. The Manohra cruise Thai set menu has 9 courses for the Manohra gold menu and 7 courses for the Manohra silver menu. The Manohra Gold Menu is priced at Baht 1,990 per person and the Manohra Silver Menu is priced at Baht 1,400 per person (Prices are subject to 10% service charge and applicable government tax)