I celebrate Valentine’s a day early in Bangkok. There are three reasons for this; Fewer crowds, Valentine’s is stupid and I am cheap. We celebrate with a Bangkok Dinner Cruise on the majestic Chao Phraya River. With advance booking for the day before Valentine’s, we find a bargain; 1,200 Baht per person. It was one of the cheaper Bangkok River cruises (Chao Phraya Princess) but to be honest they all look fairly similar.
The Bangkok Dinner Cruise
We reserve the front table of the boat which worked well. Great views. The tour takes two hours and covers the touristy stretch of the Chao Phraya River taking in both Wat Arun (Temple of Dawn) and the Rama 8 Bridge. Both look fantastic at night and are easily the highlight of the night. Not much else of excitement however (as you can tell by our less than excited faces).
What to Expect?
The Bangkok Dinner Cruise experience is far from romantic although we do try to dupe people with our photos. The whole thing was touristy (as expected). We spend close to an hour registering and waiting at the pier. The queues for the buffet food were not worth joining. The food was generic Asian buffet food, blanded for tourists and few Thai dishes. After eating the music starts with ugly renditions of La Bamba and other played-out tourist tracks. Mums do the twist, kids skid on their knees, all the stereotypes. I wanted to shoot myself a little. Luckily an Indian crowd kept me entertained dancing the card shuffle and an odd doggy paddle.
To me it seems completely bizarre how people travel the world to dance to Le Bamba while spectacular views of a spectacular city pass by. A better Bangkok Dinner Cruise would tear out the buffet and tourist resort crap. Keep the cocktails (180 Baht) and the amazing views.
I am not a complete scrooge. Valentine’s Day we keep simple. We avoid crowds with lunch of Italian wine, pizza and pasta at our local Wine Connection. We avoid reservations in the evening with food delivered from our favourite restaurant to the condo (using Food Panda). We find romance with a glass of wine and Bangkok city views from the condo pool. Close to perfect.