The Longboats of Thailand The jewel of Southeast Asia world travel photos
Thailand is the jewel of Southeast Asia or so they say. Who’s they you ask? Every backpacker, couple and traveling family we’ve met seems to rant and rave about the wonders of Thailand and the wonderfully hospitable Thai people.
Although we often refer to long-tail boats as “Thai Longtail Boats”, they are not native to Thailand, they are also common throughout Southeast Asia. They are though, typically Thai, one of those iconic images which we all associate with Thailand. Like images of Thailand’s floating markets, Thai “houses on stilts”, Tuk Tuks and paddy fields, the Long-tail boat is a “Very Thai Thing”.
The longtail gets its name from the trailing drive shaft and propeller at the back of the boat. Traditionally, these boats were made from wood or bamboo but they are now also made from materials such as fibre-glass. The engines at the back of the boats are sometimes custom-made, but more often than not they are simply a converted car or truck diesel engine which makes them relatively cheap and easy to maintain. The boatman sits or stands at the back of the boat whilst the passengers sit in front of him on small wooden planks. An overhead canopy provides shade and shelter and some boats also have pull-down plastic canopies that cover the sides to protect passengers from spray or rain.