Laem Chabang Cruise Gateway to Bangkok, Thailand
Cruising in the South China Sea is becoming increasingly popular which normally includes one or two ports of call in Thailand.
Thailand is one of the most advanced and open nations in Southeast Asia, and was once known as Siam. It is bordered by Myanmar (Burma) to the north, Laos to the northeast, Cambodia to the southeast and Malaysia on the south along Thailand’s isthmus. Thailand is a constitutional monarchy, and tourists are welcomed with open arms by these friendly people.
Where The Ship Docks
Most cruise ships dock at the port of Laem Chabang on the Gulf of Thailand, a full two hours south of Bangkok, the nation’s capital.
Often smaller ships dock at Klong Toey on the Chao Phraya River, right on the outskirts of Bangkok.
Terminal facilities at Laem Chabang
This port is located along the southeast coast and serves primarily as a working industrial port. While there are supposed to be facilities being developed to include a terminal, currently there is not much there for cruise passengers.
Getting into Bangkok by taxi is estimated to cost about $40 each way with bus service costing about $7.50. We’ve known people that tried the buses and eventually gave up trying to catch the right bus and hired a taxi.
The roads and highways in Thailand are very well maintained and if you want to go it alone and see some of the countryside there are good car rental services. We’ve always been amazed with Thailands highway rest stops usually lined with a half dozen or more American franchises. One rental company near Laem Chabang that comes highly recommended is:
Address: 329/48, Soi Pattaya New Plaza, 50m off 2nd Road, Opposite Soi 7 – Soi 8, Central Pattaya, Pattaya 20150 . Phone: 089 007 7804 Rental cars can be arranged ahead of arrival for pick up at the port through their web site.
Thailand uses the Baht at an exchange rate to the U.S. Dollar of one Baht equals about 3¢. While most credit cards are welcome if you are going to spend a day or two in Bangkok it is recommended that you exchange for local Baht.
The capital city of Bangkok is the big attraction, with the best place to start being the Grand Palace. This is the central sightseeing attraction in the city, and it’s overwhelming in its historical significance and stunning architecture. The grounds are packed full with royal palaces, temples, and history, the highlight is Wat Phra Kaeo, Temple of the Emerald Buddha. A relic within this temple is said to be a piece of bone from the Buddha himself. While there also visit the Temple of the Reclining Buddha, its official name is Wat Phra Chetuphon Vimolmangklararm Rajwaramahaviharn and it measures 135 feet long. Allow a number of hours to do the Grand Palace grounds but also try and visit the famous Wat Po and Wat Arun, the Temple of the Dawn rising above the Chao Phraya River. We would also recommend taking a water trip through canals and along the river.
Thailand is also famous for floating markets where goods are sold from boats. Originally developed when rivers and canals played an important role in daily life, most floating markets operating today serve primarily as tourist attractions.
One unique market is the Famous Maeklong Railway Market. It is located in a congested town and sits right on an active train track. As trains approach vendors pull back their awnings and displays with only minutes to spare and are right back in business as soon as the trains pass. A unique experience as you stand there with train only only inches away.
While there are tons of cultural and historic attractions to see in Bangkok and the people are remarkably polite and friendly be aware of con artists; they frequently prey on tourists. Though the cruise port is a good distance from the city, venturing into the the city to see the sights is something that shouldn’t be missed.