Shore Thing

Su­pan­niga Cruise passes the taste test with fly­ing colours, but is it a din­ner boat we might want to be spot­ted on, asks Max Cros­bie-Jones

Thailand Tatler - - LIFE -

un­down at bangkok’s River City pier is tourist cen­tral. Forty-me­tre-long din­ner cruis­ers, each over­dressed in reti­nasear­ing neon, slink up and open up their doors in an­tic­i­pa­tion of hun­dreds of fam­ished guests. Wait­resses who ap­pear to have tot­tered out of The Jet­sons— think retro-fu­tur­is­tic air hostesses—greet them with painted-on smiles. Crowds jos­tle and the dull thud of EDM beats con­tam­i­nates the sticky evening air.

None of this nightly hus­tle-and-bus­tle is news of course—boor­ish cruise ships have dom­i­nated Bangkok’s din­ner cruise scene for years now—but in re­cent weeks a more so­phis­ti­cated al­ter­na­tive has coasted grace­fully into eye­line. And while it de­parts from the same stretch as the tacky, pack-’em-in com­pe­ti­tion, Su­pan­niga Cruise plies a slower, more ex­clu­sive—and dare-we-say ro­man­tic— course. Think im­pec­ca­ble home-style cook­ing, lounge beats you can hear the sound of your own voice over, and the oc­ca­sional clink of Tat­tinger-branded cham­pagne glasses.

“We looked for the gaps in what the typ­i­cal cruises of­fered and have tried to fill them,” says owner Tha­naruek Lao­raowirodge as this hand­some, muddy or­ange 40-seater sets off up­river for its evening tour of the hig­gledy-pig­gledy pa­rade of ar­chi­tec­ture that is the city’s wa­ter­side mi­lieu: old churches, mono­lithic bridges, di­lap­i­dated godowns, gabled tem­ples and shim­mer­ing stu­pas.

Tha­naruek has al­ready made sev­eral big splashes in the Thai restau­rant in­dus­try. His Isan restau­rant Som­tum Der is a pop­u­lar

crowd pleasers (From top) The tom yum goong soup with jumbo prawn; a dain­tily-carved ren­di­tion of mango with sticky rice

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