After lunch, our Tuk Tuk took us to a couple of shopping areas, which we assume they must get commission for bringing people, because there were nothing but tourists in these shops filled with everything from fine jewels to cheap souvenirs. Since this wasn’t what we were looking for, we quickly asked for an alternate activity and a longtail boat tour seemed to be the best idea.
Bangkok used to be called “the Venice of the East” with its many canals and the communities that still live on them, right in the heart of the modern metropolis. Riding a longtail boat is a bit of an adventure in itself! The distinct narrow, beautifully crafted wooden hull is powered by a car engine that is mounted on an inboard turret-like pole which can rotate through 180 degrees, allowing steering by thrust vectoring. The propeller is mounted directly on the driveshaft with no additional gearing or transmission. Usually the engine also swivels up and down to provide a “neutral gear” where the propeller does not contact the water. The driveshaft must be extended by several metres of metal rod to properly position the propeller, giving the boat its name and distinct appearance.