Canal Tour in Bangkok with Pandan Tour
While diverse and full of things to see, Bangkok is also huge and full of traffic. To avoid the congestion, consider exploring Bangkok using canal system, which never gets blocked and offers a pleasant refuge from the city heat.
When I was in Bangkok 10 years ago, I went on a canal tour and I loved it so much, I wanted to repeat this experience with my kids. I googled for canal tours and Pandan Tour looked like a friendly company to go on the adventure.
Pandan Tour offers a variety of options for families, whether it is a private tour or a group tour. If your kids are small, you may consider going on a shorter afternoon or a morning ride. If the kids are a bit older, a longer 6 hours tour might be a great plan for your day in Bangkok.
I think the canal tour is a great option for families :
you see a lot of things during the day
you don’t need to walk in the heat and push the pushchair
you get to see a completely different life of Bangkok, removed from skyscrapers and sky train in the downtown.
Pandan Tour offered very clear joining instructions, complete with pictures and phone numbers to call if we are late/lost. To me, joining instructions are very important, as I went on many tours and sometimes you either can’t find the joining place easily or worry that you are going to miss the guide as there are a lot of people around.
Our day was full to the brim with activities , but also offered some quiet periods to have some family time.
We started off with a relaxing ride to the local temple Wat Paknam, which has a museum inside and a glass stupa on the top floor, where you can also appreciate the view of Bangkok’s downtown.
The stupa room has been done recently, so it incorporates modern elements in the traditional temple design. I could not believe how bright the colours were.
I was also mesmerised by one of the murals, which depicted temple goers with lots of of modern references to details, like brands of shoes, bags or T-shirts. You can spend a good half an hour there just looking at it.
The glass stupa was also something I have not seen before, as it was made from crystal glass and sparkled against the bright background of walls and ceiling. This was definitely one of the best temple experiences for me in Bangkok as there were zero crowds and atmosphere was serene and relaxing.
Our next stop was at another small temple to feed the fish. A special kind of catfish is considered sacred by Thai people and they do not eat it. Everyone feeds them with dry bread , widely available for 10-15 Baht around any of the temples, which have a river next to them. Basically, once you throw the bread, the water starts to boil, there is that much fish! It was fascinating!
Just before lunch we stopped at the orchid farm to appreciate the beauty and the smells. Some of the flowers smell like a ready made perfume, and our guide Tom was extremely knowledgeable about plants, as his mother used to be involved in the flower business. He has shown us the plant , which will close its leaves if you touch it. Tom also introduced us to the holy trinity of herbs used in Thai cooking: kaffir lime, basil and lemongrass.
Our lunch was at a floating market and this was my paradise, as you know I am a food lover. There is so much food on offer – you need a week to try all the stalls, if not more. Tom again offered us advice on things to try and selected fantastic curries and little snacks for the kids, like sweet little pavlovas, and satay sticks. To finish off we had ice cream in local flavours, like passions fruit and coconut.
I did not really want to leave, but we were heading towards a very special place, called the Artist House. The owner of the space welcomes all artists and there are frequently performances staged.
There is a lovely cafe with canal views, you can sit and enjoy either an art performance inside or watch the local canal life go by. The place was more touristy than other places that we visited, but it did not take away from the charms of the place.
I also went to explore upstairs , there were plenty of Thai puppets on display and other art works which depicted nerby houses and the river.
And just like that our 6 hours journey with Pandan tour has come to an end. I did not even notice how the time flew by. I would definitely recommend Pandan Tour as it is a family run business and you can see that they care about their customers.
Our tour was hosted by Pandan Tour, but all opinions are my own.