Klongs are the canals in Bangkok, and also one of the capital’s striking feature. Canals, big and small, winding their way through the city, home to a lot of locals who either have their homes right at the water or traverse them with their boats.
A lot of the smaller klongs don’t exist anymore, but the remaining ones still over a great way to experience the city from a different perspective.
So hop on one of the longtail boats or fetch a river taxi and begin to roam this very special route which once gave Bangkok the nickname ‘Venice of the East’
The 19th Century was the century of the canals. They were expanded and soon became Bangkok’s main route for transport. The klongs stretched for hundreds of kilometres, kilometres which were used by locals for simply everything – just as the streets are today. They were the connecting fibres between houses, public spaces, temples, stores and were home to stores as well, still known today as the floating markets.
The ‘Venice of the East’, however, faced changes as the 20th Century drew near. The Klongs were filled and streets were created, on which horses and later cars could traverse more easily. The population grew rapidly and thus transportation had to get quicker and easier.
Some of the klongs remained and through them tourists can easily dive deeper into the not-so-frequented areas of Bangkok. At the Klong’s sides are sometimes beautiful houses, some closed off to possible intruders; and sometimes houses which look like they’re falling apart any instant. There are gardens, some small and some that big that they give home to entire orchid farms. If you take some time, you will find small stores or even boats selling various goods. The floating markets are interesting and if you leave Bangkok without at least having seen one of those boats, you sure missed something.
If you look closely, while passing through the canals, you can also spot some monitor lizards, lazily sleeping on rocks standing in the water.
What you also will see, are unfortunately dirty bits and pieces in the water. It doesn’t look very clean and a lot of rubbish is floating around. I really hope that this might change in the future and that the klongs might still be around in the many years to come.