Our rice barge, the “Nattawarin” or Brilliance on the Water, is a teak rice barge built in the traditional Rua Krachaeng style and now converted for lunch and dinner cruises.
Rua Krachaeng means a boat built from wood with a canopy. Currently more than 80% of the boats that we see on the river are built in the rua krachaeng style. The word “krachaeng” means the canopy that covers almost the entire length of the boat. So, the boat is called “krachaeng.”
In the olden days the krachaeng was made of bamboo leaves, pandan palm leaves or toei leaves (a water plant). The leaves were sewn together to form a sheet, and the sheets sewn together to form the krachaeng.
In more recent years, as these traditional materials have become more expensive, Krachaeng made of such materials became expensive, galvanized iron sheets have been used to make the canopy and the krachaeng are no longer seen.
Rua krachaeng carried many cargoes: rocks, soil, sand, firewood, rice, etc. If it is used for carrying rice, it would be called a rice barge.
Size of a rice barge is determined by the quantity of rice it is able to carry, for example, 700 sacks, 1,600 sacks, etc.
Note: The above explanation is translated from an article “Differences between Krachaeng boats and Lamjun boats,” published in the Thai travel magazine “Aw Saw Thaw” in April 2001.
In memory of and with great thanks to Khun Anan Subhongsang for the above translation into English.