Enjoy a slow and scenic overnight cruise to Ayutthaya on the River of Kings aboard a luxury converted rice barge, then tour Ayutthaya's palaces and temples with a private car and driver and one of Purple Dragon's legendary English speaking guides
Not included: beverages or items of a strictly personal nature.
Why take the highway when you can Cruise to Ayutthaya on the River of Kings? Enjoy a private tour when you arrive, or a small group bicycle adventure!
The Chao Phraya, Thailand's River of Kings, connects Bangkok with the ancient capital of Ayutthaya and beyond. This trip begins with a leisurely overnight journey up the river from Bangkok on a teak rice barge that has been converted into a first class floating hotel. This is the best way we know of to see every day life along the river while enjoying its scenic beauty and unique views of major landmarks. You do not have to be gay to enjoy The River of Dreams. Many of our mainstream customers choose us because they know they will get something better from a gay company.
We meet you at your hotel on the day of your departure from Bangkok and whisk you off to the dock in time for your early afternoon departure. On arrival you will be assisted aboard The Mekhala, a twenty meter long teak rice barge that has been converted into a deluxe floating hotel with the beautifully appointed staterooms and amenities you would expect on a luxury yacht. A lounge area above the sleeping rooms is spacious and comfortable. From the forward deck you can enjoy the sun, enjoy your favorite beverage, and watch the scenery float by.
The river itself is endlessly fascinating. It is a major thoroughfare for people and cargo in vessels of every size and description. Some of Thailand's most magnificent historic sites are built along its banks. The farther you go up the river, the more you will see of rural life along its banks. You will see people fishing, swimming and paddling small boats, tending their crops, and engaged in every day life in the countryside. It is easy to imagine royalty traveling on the river as you glide along in a truly regal vessel.
Just after the sunset, the Mekhala docks at Wat Kai Tia, a four hundred-year- old temple set in a tranquil rural village. Against the backdrop of this majestic temple an exquisite candlelit dinner of month-watering Thai cuisine is served on the deck.
If you are an early riser, there is an option to offer alms to the monks in the temple at 05:00. (You need to arrange this in advance and pay for the things you give the monks.) A delicious breakfast served on board before you dock at Bang Pa-In, about two more hours upriver.
Your private guide your car and driver will be waiting for you there to begin the second half of your adventure. Begin the day with a tour of Bang Pa-In, one of the historical summer retreats of the Chakri, Thailand's ruling dynasty. The complex dates to the seventeenth century. Buildings from the reign of Rama IV (depicted in a Hollywood musical by Yul Brynner) include huge pavilions, a Chinese throne hall, and formal gardens. You can also tour the interior of the Victorian-era palace.
Ayutthaya is not far away. There are dozens of unique archeological wonders scattered inside this river-ringed metropolis. Your guide knows many rarely-visited sites which have fascinated discerning travelers through the centuries. We normally visit two or three sides, depending on your interest. A "must see" is Wat Yai Chai Mongkul, famous for its peaceful sleeping Buddha, towering chedi (stupa), and plumeria-scented courtyard of meditating Buddhas.
Ayutthaya was built at the confluence of three rivers and some of the best views are from the water, so we explore the byways by small boat and enjoy lunch at one of the many local restaurants along the way.
If time allows you may also visit the lovely historical museum (closed Tuesdays), the Angkor-influenced Wat Chaiwattanaram, or Wat Napramen, the only temple to have survived the 17th century blaze set by the invading Burmese Army that eventually brought an end to Ayutthaya as a capital city.
Return to Bangkok by highway late afternoon. We can deliver you to any hotel in Central Bangkok or Don Muaeng Airport. We can also take you to Pattaya or to Suvnabhumi airport for a small additional charge.
About Your River Boat
The Century-old Mekhala is twenty meters long and constructed of huge teak planks. It was originally built to carry rice from upriver to market in Bangkok. It has since been transformed into an elegant floating hotel with six air conditioned cabins, each with a private western-style bathroom. The boat meets the highest standards for safety and cleanliness, and has all necessary lifejackets, safety equipment, and a highly trained crew. The boat has two engines for safety and maneuverability.
Life aboard could not be more comfortable. The spacious upper deck includes a lounge, dining area, and fully stocked bar, as well as a library with audio entertainment system. Two stewards and a chef pamper passengers. Cabins are furnished with teak and other rare woods, Thai fabrics, antiques, and oriental carpets.
Through February 2016 upstream departures are every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday During March, April, July, August and October 2016 departures are Tuesday and Thursday only. Please contact us for May, June and September dates. The Mekhala departs from Bangkok's Wat Yanawa Pier at 13:30