After visiting the Crystal Palace, we were ready for lunch. We were offered an interesting option. As mentioned in the previous post, the Sakae Krang River, which is a tributary of the Chao Phraya River, passes thru the city and province of Uthai Thani. Our guide offered us the opportunity to take a raft ride thru the river while enjoying “lunch”.
I am surrounding the word lunch in quotation marks because it was not something I consider a proper lunch. I would rather say we were offered some snacks. I am not sure who came up with the menu but it was probably the most untypical thing I ate while in Thailand. The meal consisted of chicken nuggets (?), French fries (?) and wontons (at least, this is kind of Asian). We were offered a wide arrange of fruits to end the meal. We had rambutans, pomelos, sapodillas and rose apples. At least, this was more exotic. Also, we had a dessert of yucca (or cassava) with coconut cream. For me, it was an unusual combination because I am not used to eat yucca in sweet ways. However, it tasted great. We ended up cleaning the baskets of offerings because our companions did not enjoy the morsels so much. Oh my!!! The sacrifices you have to do while traveling.
Let’s not talk more about food. The point of the raft trip was to appreciate the way of life of the people who inhabit the river. During the trajectory, you can observe numerous floating houses made of bamboo and wood. What it’s more impressive, is that while cruising, you can actually observe people on their daily routines. It is weird and interesting at the same time. Locals wave and smile often from their living rooms or work areas.
The Sakae Krang River has its water source in the Mokoju Peak in Mae Wong National Park. The origin of the name “Sakae Krang” is as follows. In former times, there was a big Sakae tree on an islet in the middle of the river. The village there was thus called “Ban (village) Sakae Klang (in the middle)”. The name gradually became Sakae Krang.
Long time ago, this river served as a main transportation route for traders of various nations such as Chinese, Laotians and Karens.
The traditional riverside way of life is evident in here. You can observe how people live off the river. The Sakae Krang River people subsist on agriculture and fishing. They grow pandanus (which has and edible fruit) near their houses. Additionally, swap morning glory is cultivated around their houses. They cut the youngest parts to be sold at the market and feed fish with the rest. I didn’t try morning glory but I saw it on some menus. Apparently, it tastes good. Anyway, Thais can make anything taste good.
Gourami, a big fish, is raised in floating baskets. This fish is sold by the kilogram at a very good value. Moreover, the province is famous for the succulent gourami that comes from its waters.
From the raft, Wat U-Posatharam is visible. This is a small temple which Rama I once visited. Uthai Thani was the hometown of the first king of the Chakri dynasty (the ruling dynasty). The temple is from the Rattanakosin Period (the same period when the old part of Bangkok was founded) and shows Thai and Western architecture styles.
If you visit Uthai Thani, a cruise thru the Sakae Krang River is a must. Try to book a ride if you want to absorb another face of Thailand.
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