Bangkok, Thailand : Loy Nava, Dinner Cruise on a Rice Barge

Bangkok - Si Phraya Express Pier

15th December 2010. Written by Xin Li.
Bangkok, Thailand

Since we only had 1 night in Bangkok, I decided to opt for a dinner cruise in order to have a brief but comprehensive sightseeing touring along the Chao Phraya River. In the end we end up with Loy Nava because we wanted to travel on a traditional looking rice barge instead of the modern ferries. On top of that, it is Thai food that we are looking for rather than buffet.

Priced at 1200++ THB on the internet, it is not cheap for a meal but as it is the last day of our trip before heading back to the sweatshop in school, we decided to splurge a bit more in Bangkok.

After making our booking online, we are to make our own way down to Si Phraya Express Pier which is near the Orchid Sheraton Hotel. The pier is a no-frills venue with a ticket counter selling drinks and seats for commuters.

Loy Nava - Welcoming Ceremony Preparation

As the sun sets and the sky get blanketed in a purplish hue in the evening, the Tahsaneeya Nava approached the pier slowly. Dressed in traditional Thai costumes, the crew gave us “traditional” Thai welcoming ceremony with rose-water sprinkling ceremony and jasmine garland presentation when we boarded the rice barge.

Loy Nava - Tahsaneeya Nava

The boat is named after the beautiful riverine vistas encountered along the river. It is constructed of solid hand-carved and polished golden teak and the roof is constructed from over one hundred thousand hand-split and woven bamboo skins. Also decorating the boat are petite looking bells that jingles gracefully with wind as well as long stretches of tiny lights along the boat’s perimeter.

The boat was quite dim and with the boat on endless motion, the environment is particularly unfavorable for photography.

Both of us have requested for a milder version of the food has my buddy had a rather nasty experience with a devilishly spicy Thai food during his national service here and I do not hav a very high threshold for spicy stuff.

Loy Nava - Hor D'ouevres

The food on the Loy Nava is best described as generous and varied. It would be impossible for me to go through each and every single item as there is quite a lot of food and I wasn’t able to get good photographs of them on the boat. Hence I shall just list the items from the menu here:

Traditional Thai Menu:
Hors D’oeuvres:
Pork or Chicken Satay
Marinated Chicken in Pandanus Leaf with a smear of sweet Thai Plum Sauce
Miang of Pomelo & Shrimp with Roasted Shredded Coconut in Betel Leaf
Seared Grade AAA Tuna with Slow Braised Capsicum Jam
Ceviche of Quail Egg in lime, sugar, fish sauce, cilantro & onion.

Loy Nava - Ceviche of Quail Egg in Lime, Sugar, Fish Sauce, Cilantro & Onion

I only like the Miang of Pomelo & Shrimp with Roasted Shredded Coconut for its savory and fruity flavor. It is to be consumed with the contents wrapped in raw betel leaf, interesting and rather delish.

Loy Nava - Miang of Pomelo & Shrimp with Roasted Shredded Coconut in Betel Leaf

I remembered the satay as being rather disappointing, too tough and chewy.


Soup of Fresh Seasonal Thai Vegetables or Dtom Yam Goong Mildly Spicy Shrimp & Coconut Soup.

Loy Nava - Dinner Cruise

Mild Massaman Curry of Aged Australian Black Angus Beef
Green Curry of Gren Thai Aubergines, Coconut Cream & Chicken Cooked Sous-vide
Warm Salad of Duck with Sweet Tamarind Sauce
Deep Fried Crispy Pork Cakes with Palm Sugar Sauce
Stir-Fried Medley of Seasonal Thai Vegetables with Oyster Sauce
Mildly Spiced Grilled Australian John Dory with Lime & Chilli Sauce
Deep Fried Crispy Shrimp & Fish Cakes with Thai Plum Sauce
Warm Salad of Scallops with Sweet Tamarind Sauce
Grilled Thai Green Jumbo Tiger Prawns

Green-lipped N.z Mussels with Mild Curry & White Wine Sauce and Spicy Sauce
Steamed Grade A Jasmine White Rice.

Loy Nava - Deep Fried Chrispy Shrimp & Fish Cakes with Thai Plum Sauce

By now, you would have observe that the names of the dishes are rather fanciful and somewhat pretentious in my humble opinion. However, the food was just average, nothing particularly bad or good. Quantity wise, however, it was a lot for the two of us.

Loy Nava - Dinner Cruise

Loy Nava - Dinner Cruise

Sticky Rice Sushi of Mango with Coconut Cream &
Sesame Seeds Thai Flag Jelly of Pomegranate, Coconut Cream &
Blue Pea Flower Roti Pancake of Miniature Thai Banana with Lime-Honey Sauce &
Candied Citrus Fruit Salad of Unique Thai Seasonal Tropical Fruits with Thai Basil &
Mint Pineapple Two Ways – Fresh Sweet Phuket Pineapple &
Pineapple Candies Taro Birds Nest with Yellow Bean Eggs and Ice Flour Bird

Loy Nava - Desserts

By the desserts, we were already quite stuffed from the mains. Sticky Rice Sushi of Mango with Coconut Cream & Sesame Seeds is simply Khao Niaow Ma Muang (Mango Sticky Rice) given a fanciful name. I was rather disappointed with the taste, it wasn’t the sweet mango + coconut medley that I envisioned. The desserts are like the mains, just average. The ice flour bird is like a candy.

Loy Nava - Entrees

Overall, the food was generous in portions but if you are a fussy eater, you might leave Loy Nava disappointed. However, the Loy Nava, besides making up for it with its large quantities also provides some form of entertainment to inject some dynamism into the dining experience (which was more than welcome when the board was only occupied by 3-4 tables out of 17). There was traditional kim music (they also played some western songs), occasional Thai dancing (at least two types) and with the best of their English capabilities to point out the various landmarks and sights along the sightseeing route which was printed out on a nicely designed illustrated map and history booklet of the river.

Loy Nava - Thai Dance

As the meal nears the end, we were being served coffee or tea (be aware that there are surcharge for these) and presented with a stalk of lotus flower to bring back. The service was very efficient but a little too business like.

The Loy Nava cruise offered us the change to do some last minute sightseeing of the city at night, covering locations as the Rama VIII Bridge, Wat Arun, Holy Rosary Church, Church of the Immaculate Conception and Wang Lee House.

The part I enjoyed most of this cruise is not the food but rather the peaceful and serene atmosphere that we had especially as it headed southbound with a symphony of bells jingling to the notes of the wind, as if Mother Nature is playing music in her own means.

Loy Nava Dinner Cruise

1367 Charoen Nakorn Road
Klongsan, Bangkok 10600


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