Chao Phraya: A Floating Food World


Cummins Vessel Reference #804

Water taxi: 12 by 2.5-meter powered by Cummins 6BTA-M 5.9-liter.

For many years, the Supatra River House on the Chao Phrya River, has been a favourite with Thai and foreign dinners. Situated on the Thonburi side of the river, the most favoured approach to the restaurant is by boat. To that end, the owner, Khun Supapan maintains a fleet of beautifully restored Chao Phraya River water taxis. These can pickup dinners from their riverside hotels or any one of the Express Boat docks, including Tha Maharaj pier on the Bangkok side across from the Supatra House.


Dinner cruise boat owned by Khun Supapan, 18 by 5-meters, 66-gue

These elegant slim 12 by 2.5-meter wooden boats display the Thai tradition of craftsmanship from the rounded settee in the stern to the extreme rake of their bows. Open to the sides, they are roofed from the pilot statin back to the stern. Entrance is near to amidships with steps down to both forward and aft passenger areas.


Seating for 66 on the main deck.

An oval, wood-encased compartment in the aft passenger area contains the single 150-HP Cummins 6BTA-M diesel engine linked to a ZF gear. This gives the boat an ample 12-knot speed for trips up and down or across the spectacular section of the legendary Chao Phrya River that flows through the palaces and temples of modern day Bangkok.


Inspecting the Cummins 6BTA-M main engine.

Not satisfied with having one of the finest restaurants on the riverside, Khun Supapan recently commissioned a very tidy dinner cruise vessel. Smaller than the huge dinner boats that feed hundreds of tour-bus groups in a single setting, the Supanniga Cruise seats 66 guest on the main deck and 24 on an upper deck. A compact and efficient galley in the stern of the lower deck turns out meals comparable to those classical Thai creations of the Supatra House.


A compact galley can prepare meals for up to 90 guests.

For reliable power in moving the 18 by 5-meter steel-hulled vessel in the river currents, another single 150-HP Cummins 6BTA-M is mounted in an engine room accessed by stairs from the galley. Again, the engine is coupled to a ZF gear that gives the boat a comfortable seven-knot cruising speed. Two silencing-shrouded generators, a 20 and a 10 kW, are also mounted in the vessel’s hull.


Tourist boat with 18 by 3.5-meter, carvel hull of takien with teak shear plank and decks.

Another vessel to cater to luxurious travel from hotels to the city’s transportation infrastructure, or to any of the riverside restaurants, is the new Supapan #4. This 16 by 3.5-meter carvel planked beauty demonstrates that a plumb bow and beamier hull can also display elegance and tasteful harmony on the water. Teak has become a rare commodity in Thailand and is used here for the bright finished decks and sheer plank. The rest of the cream-coloured hull is planked with takien, (Hopea Odorata) a wood noted for similar longevity to teak. Framing for the boat is teng (Shorea Obtusa) wood.


And away for one more set of tourists to enjoy the magic of the Chao Phrya in the evening.

It is always interesting to note the versatility of Cummins power as, in this case, with three distinctly different vessels all utilizing a single Cummins 6BTA-M for power.

Photos courtesy of Haig-Brown/Cummins

For further information:

Sathit Suwanprasert
Senior Engineer, Marketing Dept.
Cummins DKSH (Thailand) Limited
Phone: 66 23017500 ext. 7540
Mobile: 081-913-6599
Fax: 02-3330995
E-mail: [email protected]

Ekachai Virunrattanasiri
Shipyard Manager,
Chao Phrya Express Boat Co. Ltd
00 Moo 3 Bang Si Mueang,
Mueang Nonthaburi, Nonthaburi 11000
Phone: 08 9133 7689
E-mail: [email protected]

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Alan Haig-Brown

Alan Haig-Brown

Over 30 years as an author for global commercial marine and fishing publications backed with hands-on experience on commercial fishing boats and coastal freighters makes Alan Haig-Brown uniquely qualified to provide vessel reference articles for Cummins Marine. You can find him in shipyards around the world, and on his own website,

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