Canal & River Boats, Bangkok
We had seen the water taxis on the Chayo Praya and the canal near our hotel and decided we must try this form of transport. We were informed to avoid peak hour when all the business people are going to/ returning from work as it gets very hectic at the wharf as there is very little time to get on and off the boat. Our trip proved that advice.
We had been at River City and decided to walk through the streets to a nearby canal and catch the water taxi back to our hotel on Phayathai Road. After a 15 minute walk we reached the wharf and managed to get on board, a little difficult as I am very tall and my wife also experienced trouble, the seating was very tight but once aboard it was good. The conductor walks along the outside rail and collect the fare, in our case 8 baht, but really 10 baht as you do not get change. It was 5:00pm peak hour and the boat quickly filled, most likely 100 people crammed in, they worked the side pulley and "side curtains" came up on the outside and stayed up for the duration of the trip. This is to keep the water from splashing you as there is much activity on the water and at times rough. The trip was at high speed and we made 4 stops, at our stop it was difficult to get out as we had to step over the "side curtains". The trip along the canals gave us an insight as to how local people lived, I think the location would be upper class suburb. A most enjoyable mode of travel.
The Cross-river ferry provides a useful means of transport when visiting two of Bangkok’s most popular riverside attractions.
The small passenger ferry makes the 2 minute crossing of the Chao Phraya river every few minutes throughout the day, connecting Wat Pho on one side of the river with Wat Arun on the other side.
If you catch the Chao Phraya Express Boat along the river, alight at Pier #8: Tha Tien (the pier for Wat Pho) and connect to the cross-river ferry.
No tickets are issued for the cross-river ferry, just pay your 3 Bahts (approx. 0.05 GBP) to the elderly lady operating the turnstile and board the next boat that comes along.
The above details were correct as at September 2007 when I made the journey.
There are many ways to travel in Bangkok. Some prefer the meter taxi which should start from 35bath. Others prefer the sky train & bought themselves 'tourist tickets' (250bath for 10 trips). Many hate the tuk- tuk because the drivers always try to overcharge the tourist while others like it so much. You'll have to negotiate the price before you jump in to one & I guess that's one of the reason most people avoid the tuk-tuk .We use all & enjoy the boat service most. We paid only 10bath per person from Pratunam to Bobae...They are faster & cheaper with no traffic jam!
There are four types of boats, spotted by a flag in different colours.
Pictures in the web: Chao Praya River and Pier
Main boat - Chao Praya Pier:
01. Saphan Taksin bridge
02. Oriental Pier
03. Wat Muang kae Pier
04. Si Phraya Pier
05. Harbour Dept Pier
06. Rachawongse Pier
07. Memorial Bridge Pier
Near is: Chinatown
08. Rajinee Pier
09. Tha Tien Pier
Near is: Wat Pho
10. Tha Chang Pier
Near is: Wat Phra Khaew
11. Wang lang (Siriraj) Pier
12. Thonburi Railway Pier
13. Phra Pin Klao Bridge Pier
14. Phra Arthit Pier
15. RAMA 8 Bridge Pier
16. Thewet Pier
17. Krung Thon Bridge Pier
18. Wat Thepnahree Pier
19. Payap Pier
20. Irrigation Dept Pier
21. Kheaw Khai Ka Pier
22. Kiak Kai Pier
23. Bang Po Pier
24. Wat Soi Thong Pier
25. RAMA 7 Bridge Pier
26. Pibul 1 Pier
27. Wat Khema Pier
28. Wat Tuek Pier
29. Wat Kien Pier
30. Pibul 2 Pier
If you’re able to use this mode of transport when you’re in Bangkok…don’t hesitate to UNLESS maybe you have an aversion to water.. :o) If river transit works for your destination you’ll be able to avoid the traffic congestion that Bangkok is famous for.
Nonthaburi pier is the most northerly stop along the river and the southernmost pier is at the Taksin Bridge close to Sathorn Rd. where you’ll be able to connect with the sky train.
The water “taxi” was the easiest, the quickest, and the most reliable mode of transit that I used while visiting Bangkok. I kind of enjoy the water and if there’s any opportunity to be on a boat…I’ll be on it!
This was is a VERY INEXPENSIVE way to get myself to and from Wat Pho, Wat Arun, and The Grand Palace from where I stayed in the Banglumpoo Area, not too far a walk from Kho San Road. A short fifteen minute walk to Stop 13 and I was on my way….
You can pick up a map that shows the stops and the “attractions” that are nearby to any particular stop. I think the hotel that I stayed at provided us with maps if my memory is correct but you can get them at the infamous 7/11 s that you’ll see around town or any Pier Station along the river.
There are a number of commercial boat services that move up and down the river at fairly regular intervals, including Longtails….and they all use the same wharves. Waiting for the next boat was never for long and it was always a treat to watch the traffic on the river, waiting for the next boat to come along. The stops are identified by a sign on the “street side” of the wharf complex, and as you enter you will see a ticket booth. It’s not necessary to purchase your boat tickets here unless you’re latching onto a “Tour” boat.
When the boat pulls up to the wharf the “conductor” will allow access..people are allowed to get off before those getting are allowed to board. I never prepaid my trip. The conductor will collect the fare from you as the boat is under way.
The cost is again totally minimal…it’s ridiculously inexpensive by Western standards although sorry; I can’t remember exactly how much the far was.
Take the skytrain down to the river, and then use the river taxis to get around Bangkok. You can visit Chinatown , Grand Palce, Wat Po, Temple of the Dawn, Royal Barge Museum, canal tours etc all from the river taxis. These are cheap, and you travel with the locals, and your views are phenominal
While there are many boats traveling up and down the Chao Phraya, most piers also has a ferry that crosses the river for a very small fee. It is definitely a good idea to take advantage of this ferry. There are some fascinating temples on the other side.
The ferry is only 3 baht each way. You can't beat the price! Inside each pier is a small booth where you pay the 3 baht.
If you're the people who take the BTS, go to the last station, Saphan Taksin and from there you have many choices. Some people like the tourist boat but it's not my favourite because stops at the same piers that the express boat and also it's so difficult to understand what the guide is saying, so you have to pay 100 bath when easily you can pay only 18 bath going by express boat (with yellow flag) and is very easy to know in which pier you have to disembark by looking a map if you want to go to the temples; you'll see, when you back, you can take even the blue boat and pay only 9 bath, just that it stops every pier.
I forgot to say that the ticket bought to go by tourist boat is a one-day pass ticket, for one day unlimited trips, not only in the tourist boat but in the express boat (same company).
To get to Wat Po (reclining Buddha) and Wat Phra Kaew (Emerald Buddha and Grand Palace) temples on your own without using a cab, tuktuk or going through traffic, take the BTS and Chao Phraya river boats. Here are the steps:
1) from the Siam Center station, take the BTS line that goes to Saphan Taksin which is the terminal station (cost: 30 baht).
2) get down the stairs to the Chao Phraya boat station/pier.
3) wait for the long boat that takes in all commuters, including locals. Other boats stop here too, like those ran by hotels along the river banks, so know what you're boarding on.
4) on the boat, a conductress goes around selling tickets. She is the one rattling a metal cylinder that contains the coins and tickets. Tell her where you're going and you pay up (cost: 13 baht to either temple).
5) For Wat Po, get off at Tha Tien. For the Grand Palace, get off at Tha Chang. The 2 are just next to each other.
6) For the return trip, just reverse the sequence.
This is an excellent & heavily used mode of transportation in this buzzing city. You can board at any of the severla piers on either side of the river.
You pay on the boat, each destination has a name (pick up maps at the pier) & pier number. Typically, travelling 9 piers (from P1-P9) only costs 11 THB! Fanastic value.
This is a very fast, comfortable (very breezy), and refreshing way to go around. In fact the best way to see the Grand Palace & Wat Arun.
Great way of absorbing the whole essence of Bangkok, seeing at the tall riverside hotels (Oriental, Peninsular, etc), and several colourful Wats, not to mention casual city dwellings.
CHAO PHRAYA RIVER - Using the river ferry for getting around Bangkok is a good way of seeing the sights from a different angle.The ferries stop at many places along the river and run a regular service throughout the day.Do not hang around when getting on or off the ferry as they move very quickly.Fares are collected once onboard.
Khlong Saen Saeb also known as Saen Saep) is a canal (Khlong) in central Thailand, connecting the Chao Phraya River to Prachin Buri and Chachoengsao. A portion of the canal is used for public transport by an express boat service in Bangkok. The canal is lined with concrete walkways on either side in many areas where people stroll despite the foul smells of the canal, and in other areas the heavily polluted water oozes into adjacent properties, especially after heavy rainstorms. The canal is connected to many other canals in a large network, though most of the other canals do not have a regular transport service.
The Khlong Saen Saep Express Boat service operates on the Khlong Saen Saep in Bangkok, providing fast, inexpensive transportation through the city's traffic-congested commercial districts. The service has a checkered reputation, due to the polluted water in the khlong and the haphazard nature in which the service is operated.
The 18-kilometre route is served by 100 boats of 40-50 seats, and operates 5:30am to 8:30pm daily. Prices are 8 to 20 baht, depending on distance travelled. The service carries about 60,000 passengers per day. It is run by a company called Family Transport.
Line # 1 Golden Mount Station
Phan Fa Lilat - terminal, near Golden Mount and other attractions.
Bobe Market - a large garment market for whole sale price
Hua Chang - near MBK Center and Bangkok Skytrain National Stadium station and Siam station.
Pratu Nam - interchange, near Pratu Nam garment district, Big C, CentralWorld and Pantip Plaza.
Line # 2 NIDA Station List
Pratu Nam - interchange, near Pratu Nam garment district, CentralWorld and Pantip Plaza.
Chit Lom - near Central Chidlom.
Witthayu (Wireless Road) - near British Embassy.
Nana Nuea (Sukhumvit Soi 3) - near Bumrungrad Hospital, "Little Africa" neighborhood.
Saphan Asok - near Bangkok Metro Phetchaburi station and the old site of Embassy of Japan.
Prasan Mit - at Srinakharinwirot University (Prasarn Mitr Campus).
Wat Mai Chong Lom - near Royal City Avenue (RCA).
Thong Lo - a trendy street with many boutique shopping malls.
Charn Issara - at Charn Issara 2 Building.
Klong Tan - near busy intersection of Petchaburi, Ramkhamhaeng, Rama IX and Phra Khanong roads, with Bangkok Skytrain (BTS) shuttle-bus service.
The Mall 3 - The Mall Ramkhamhaeng, near Rama IX Road intersection.
Wat Thep Lila - Soi Ram Khamheang 39
Ramkhamhaeng - Opposite Ramkhamhaeng University.
The Mall Bangkapi - The Mall Bangkapi on Lat Phrao Road.
Bang Kapi - Bang Kapi district office and market.
Wat Si Bun Rueang - terminal pier, near National Institute of Development Administration (NIDA).
The ferry system is the cheapest way of getting around Bangkok - provided you are along the river route. The trick is ensuring you know which ferry to catch - and which direction you are going - I've managed to lose my bearings and make both errors! No fuss from me though - its all good fun, and a cheap mistake.
The ferries run at roughly 15 to 20 minute intervals, from piers (Tha), but do not necessarily stop at all stops, unless someone is waiting to get on or off - and they don't stop for long! So, make sure you are at the back of the ferry waiting, and hustle when it stops!
Services start at 6.00am and run til 7.30pm on weekdays - be aware that they stop at 6.30pm on weekend days.
Routes are designated by different coloured flags - colour coded on the easy to read route maps at the piers.
Tickets cost between 9 and 13Bt, and are purchased on the ferries - so have coinage to make the purchas easy.
The Chao Praya river is a very busy waterway.
Chao Phraya River boats ply along the river during the day stopping at regular piers. These boats are an inexpensive and convenient way for a Bangkok sightseeing tour of the river.
A Chao Phraya River tourist boat service is also available for a day tour of selected historical areas and piers. Boat rental services are also available for groups of 20 or more.
A total of 34 Chao Phraya River piers located along this 25 km winding stretch of river. You don't have to go all the way though, just take your pick and get on and off where you wish.
Chao Phraya River ferries provide point-to-point crossings at various piers to help you get to the other side.
A river cruise in Bangkok provides a very different perspective of life in the city on the banks of the Chao Phraya River.
As of May 8, 2008
From Sathorn (Central Pier), pay 15baht for the orange line boats. yellow line cost 10 baht. Look for flags on the boats. If you are going north, pass through the right side of the pier. Left side, if going south.
I went to Wat Pho and got off at N8 (Tha Thieng/Tha Chang). Walk a little bit and you'll emerge at an intersection. Wat Pho is the temple complex to your right.