Rivers and canals referred to maenam and khlong in Thai have always been vital forms of communication. When the capital of Thailand was moved
to Bangkok in 1782 (the beginning of the Rattanakosin period), the capital was laced with canals, so Bangkok was sometimes called the "VENICE
OF THE EAST" by European visitors.
In the past, Bangkokians usually settled by the Chao Phraya River and gradually spread into the core of the country. As you will see traces of
the Early Rattanakosin period such as architecture and traditional ways of life have been left by the river more than in the inland areas.
Besides, waterways at that time were the most important means of transportation and trading as well.
About Khlong Bangkok Noi ( Bangkok Noi Canal )
Dubbed by Westerners at the time as the “Venice of East,” Bangkok is still an enchanting city, with the local people’s way of life closely aligned with the life-giving waterways. The charm of living along the banks of serene klong (canal) is much the same as in the past.
Historical records point to Bangkok Noi Canal, in Bangkok Noi District being part of the majestic Chao Phraya River. This canal flows in a horseshoe shape through the old Bangkok Noi community in the Thonburi area. The community was established in the Ayutthaya Period and King Chai Racha Dhiraj who ruled between 1534 and 1546, commanded the excavation of a shortcut waterway from Bangkok Noi Canal to Bangkok Yai Canalto facilitate transport and communications. Along both banks of the Bangkok Noi Canal, visitors see orchid growers and places of cultural and historical significance. On a boat trip from the mouth of the canal near Thonburi railway station, it is possible to see the National Museum of Royal Barges on the right hand side. A place to stop and look at the barges used in the Royal Barge Procession – the most spectacular of waterfront events.
The boat trip takes in several major temples such as Wat Si Sudaram, which houses Thailand’s largest image of the Venerable Somdet Phra Phitthachan (To Phrommarangsi). Other interesting temples are Wat Suwannaram and Wat Nai Rong, famous for their old and magnificent murals. Before turning into the Chak Phra Canal you can see beautiful, traditional Thai houses with carved designs.Although cargo boats have turned to use the new route of the Chao Phraya River, the lively Khlong Bangkok Noi community still endures. It reflects a bygone Thai lifestyle, inextricably related with waterways, and a Thai identity handed down from generation to generation.