The dusk was coming once I arrived at River City Bangkok, a recently opened mall located along the Chaophraya River. Shopping wasn’t my purpose this time; indeed, a dinner cruise experience seduced me here. Walking along the riverside terrace, I reached La Grande Perle – an elegant French restaurant at the end of the pier. Here is the meeting point for those who would like to enjoy a luxurious moment on the five-star ship travelling along the Chaophraya River.
After the registration, I was welcomed to sit back by the riverside waiting for the boarding time. A gentle river breeze cooled me off while I was stunned by the sunset with Bangkok’s charming corner as a background. Then, the glamorous Wonderful Pearl with its shining white body highlighted with neon-purple LEDs docked; the red carpet was unrolled and the door opened to welcome me on board.
Boasted as the largest cruise on Chaophraya River, this 65-metre-long cruise ship has three-level decks with a capacity of 500 passengers. An air-conditioning zone is available on the 1st and a part of the 2nd floor, amazingly connected by a tiny escalator, when the 2nd floor prow and the rooftop provide open-air seats. ‘First come, first served’ is used for the basis of seat selection. However, all guests are free to walk around the ship.
My appetite hailed once the sky became clearly dark, and the buffet line started just at the right time. A variety of international cuisine scattered around the cruise. I began with my favourite: Japanese, which is hosted at the aft bar, catering various sushi menus and sashimi at an additional charge.
The steamed rice noodle rolls booth drew my attention before reaching the main food bar at the centre of the ship. Thai, Chinese and western dishes were fully provided, along with choices of desserts. While enjoying the sumptuous dinner, live bands performed and the ship started cruising along the river.
After the big meal was finished, it was time to relax on the rooftop. A cocktail bought from the bar on the 2nd floor perfectly matched the relaxing ambience: sipping while being swept away through the nocturnal enchantment of the city’s riverside heritage. From Wat Arun (Temple of Dawn), the Grand Palace and Wat Pra Kaew (Temple of the Emerald Buddha), fascinating piers along the river, to historical bridges overhead, they glamorously shone under the stars and moonlight.
Also, charmed by the Classic Thai masked play, Khon, and the sounds of the live band playing on the 360-degree panoramic deck, this could be one memorable night. The turning back at the Rama 8 Bridge reminded me that the end of dreamy moment was coming. Hence, I kept spending minutes on the rooftop to admire one last glimpse of the river’s cultural treats. Two hours of delight passed, yet impressive vibes remained.
Wonderful Pearl departs every evening from 7.30 – 9.30 pm. Visit wonderfulpearl.com or call +66 (0) 2861 0255 EXT. 5 for more information.
RIVER CITY BANGKOK
Charoen Krung 24, Sampantawong, Bangkok
T: +66 2237 0077
F: +662 237 7600