Boat ride in the Tapi river delta

Boat ride in the Tapi river delta

Picturesque

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Cross the Tapi River from Surat Thani’s urban congestion and you’ll be swept into a lush, rural landscape defined by tropical flowers, dragonflies, coconut orchards, palms and reeds that often stand taller than the humble stilted houses.

Travelfish says:
City meets countryside. Photo by: David Luekens.
City meets countryside. Photo: David Luekens

Setting out on a narrow longtail boat steered by boisterous Surat native, Mr Lek, we cut north into one of the many canals that crisscross the delta. Still within sight of Surat’s multi-storey concrete buildings, the simple houses set over the water and shrouded in greenery present an immediate contrast of rural and urban, side by side.

Most houses have a boat or two tied up out front. Photo by: David Luekens.
Most houses have a boat or two tied up out front. Photo: David Luekens

Continuing into the tropical trees on a sunny morning, we spotted cranes and other birds gliding or twirling over the treetops. For a moment, a pair of dragonflies hovered next to our boat. Bright orange and yellow wildflowers joined the red leaves of umbrella trees amid a dense backdrop of flora.

Say hi to the locals. Photo by: David Luekens.
Say hi to the locals. Photo: David Luekens

Many of the families in the delta take advantage of the fresh water to grow fruit — coconuts chief among them. In some places, the impossibly narrow trunks of the coconut trees bend over the canal as though their bushy tops are trying to drop off fruit on the other side. We also passed thick groves of feathered palm leaves that transformed narrow canals into spindly tunnels of green.

No need for an umbrella here. Photo by: David Luekens.
No need for an umbrella here. Photo: David Luekens

On two occasions Mr Lek pointed out canal-side homestays that he said cost around 500 baht a night, per person, and could provide a real backwoods cultural experience. If interested, he can drop travellers off and pick them up at an agreed ... Travelfish members only (Full text is around 300 words.)

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Reviewed by

David Luekens first came to Thailand in 2005 when Thai friends from his former home of Burlington, Vermont led him on a life-changing trip. Based in Thailand since 2011, he spends much of his time eating in Bangkok street markets and island hopping the Andaman Sea.

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Our top 5 other sights and activities in and around Surat Thani

Wat Suan Mokkh
Wat Suan Mokkh

Meditation centre

Wat Phra Borommathat Chaiya
Wat Phra Borommathat Chaiya

Elaborate Srivijaya-influenced temple

Chaiya and Baan Phumriang
Chaiya and Baan Phumriang

Worth exploring

Wat Sai
Wat Sai

Small but atmospheric

Ko Lamphu
Ko Lamphu

A scenic public park