I would readily admit that taking the Chao Phraya Express Boat along Bangkok's famous Chao Phraya River was kind of confusing to me at first. But once I sorted that out, it was actually a very convenient manner of travelling along the river.
You will first need to know that there are actually a few different lines, denoted by their flag colors. The basic local line (no flags) will stop at every pier, while the colored ones will skip over some piers. Details can be found here.
For example, if you are planning to get from the Central Pier (also known as Sathorn Pier, where Saphan Taksin BTS Station is located) to Tha Tien Pier (where Wat Pho, Temple of the Reclining Buddha, is located) you can either take the local line, or the Orange Flag Express Boat.
Based on the fare chart, it cost 11 baht on the local line, and a flat 13 baht for the Orange Flag Express Boat. The return trip however, will cost 13 baht on the local line, while still remaining 13 baht for the Orange Flag Express Boat. You can also time manage your trips in advance as they keep a pretty accurate schedule.
Note that there will be 2 platforms at the piers. If you are going leftwards, then please wait on the left platform and conversely, on the right platform if you are planning to go rightwards along the river. Otherwise, if there is nobody on the correct platform, the boat heading towards your intended direction will not stop and will bypass the pier.
Another thing to note is that there are 2 kinds of piers. One is for the Chao Phraya Express Boats that move along the river, and another is for you to take the 2 baht ferry boat across the river. You can identify which is which quite easily, since the ones for the Chao Phraya Express Boats will have 2 distinct side-by-side platforms for the purpose mentioned above.
The Chao Phraya Express Boats are a cheap and efficient way to travel to various sights along Bangkok’s Chao Phraya river.
There are several lines, connecting various piers along the river, and you can find a definitive route map here:
I was staying in Chinatown during my visit to the city in September 2007, so my nearest ferry pier was Pier #5: Ratchawong (also called Ratchavongse). All of my journeys on the express boats either began or ended here.
Usually, I would catch the boat from Ratchawong to either Pier #8: Tha Tien (the pier to disembark at if visiting Wat Pho) or Pier #9: Chang Luang (for visiting the Grand Palace). From Pier #8 it is possible to catch a connecting cross-river ferry to Wat Arun, a crossing which takes just two minutes.
I could never quite understand the pricing system of the boats. I was always charged 13 Bahts (approx. 0.20 GBP) when travelling from Pier #5 to Pier #9, but charged 18 Bahts (approx. 0.30 GBP) when traveling the shorter distance between Pier #5 and Pier #8. Either way, the fares are very cheap.
The journey time between Pier #5 and Piers #8 and #9 was roughly 10 minutes.
The boats arrive and leave from the piers very quickly. You have to get straight on and off or the boat will be gone before you get chance! The boats can seat perhaps 70 or 80 people, but all the seats were taken on all of my journeys, so I had to stand up at the back of the boat. There is a special standing section at the back right hand side which is reserved for monks.
At Pier #5, tickets are purchased from a small desk prior to boarding the boat. However, when traveling back from Pier #9, I paid a conductor who came around the boat collecting fares.
The Chao Phraya Express Boats are an efficient means of transport to many major sights, and a great, cheap way to see the city from the river!
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 various types of boat identified in color flags. Boat service on the Chao Phraya River connects Bangkok with the northern neighbouring province of Nonthaburi, starting from the Tha Nam Non Pier and ending at Saphan Taksin Pier (Sathorn).
Boat (no flag) stop at all pier, has a minimum fare of 8 baht.
Rapid boat (orang flag) has a fare of 10 baht all routes.
Express boat (yellow flag) stop at only on crowded and main piers. www.chaophrayaboat.co.th
The Express boat has a fare of 15 baht all routes. After rush hour, these boat are used for tourist purpose. There are guide boats for travellrs with guide to give information about the riverside.
The boat with blue flag, is the fastest stopping only on 3 pier, ThaNamNon Pier, Siriraj Pier and SaphanTaksin (Sathorn) Pier.It has a minimum and maximum fares from 25-35 baht. (For trial period, it just newly had this type)
Boats run daily from 06.00 A.M-06.40 P.M.
Chao Phraya Express Boat Co.,Ltd. www.chaophrayaboat.com
Star Cruises www.starcruises.com
Andaman Princess www.andamanprincess.com
Ocean Princess www.oceanprincess.co.th
River King Cruise & Jak Kaew Boat www.riverkingcruise.net
River Side Bangkok www.riversidebangkok.com
Thai River Cruise www.thairivercruise.com
Thai Marine Leisure www.thaimarine.com
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
(date took the express boat - Feb. 12, 2004)
Tha Tient - Sapan Taksin & vice-versa
Tha Tient pier is a walking distance to Wat Pho & Wat Pra Kaew while Saphan Taksin Pier is near to Saphan Taksin Station (sky train)
Boat fare - THB 15
One of the fast way for moving in BKK. It begin at Nonthaburi pier and end at Wat Ratchasingkhon pier.
The boat begin from 6AM-6PM daily.
It 'll drop by flag as follow;
Green flag - stop every piers.
Red flag - Stop some piers.
Yellow flag - Express boat ,just stop only main piers.
I think this transportation 's a good way for sightseeing BKK also.
The express boat on the Chao Praya River goes up and down the various piers for just 4 to 10 baht.
If you get yourself a map of the piers you will see that a lot of them are close to a temple or one of the other attractions Bangkok has to offer.
Daily Standard Express Boats
All day from 6:00-18:40.
Every 20 minutes
Bangkok and the Choa Praya river ... its hard to picture one without another. And to complement the trip, we decided to try out the river taxi's (well.. it wasnt the original ones taken by the locals as we hired one for a trip) but it was close enough. Anyhow.. from the Grand Palace, ask a guide and he would navigate you to the river. I cant quite remember how much it cost but it should be approx THB400.00 I think.The trip takes around an hour and stops at Wan Arun. And if you're lucky, you might get visited by some floating marketish influents as well!
The river taxis are a great alternative to the roads. Traffic is awful in Bangkok. If you want to go in the northern part of the city and see Wat Pho, Wat Phra Kaew, dusit park or some others it's faster to take a river taxi up the Chao Phraya. Wat Phra Kaew and Wat Pho are right near the river. Other sites, such as Dusit Park-you can take a river taxi to Tha Thewet pier and then a tuk tuk from there.
There is a faster river taxi, that hits the main attractions-Chao Phraya Express. More expensive, but it's possible to get a day pass. Local river taxis cost just a few baht.
For a little bit more, but a lot of fun -you can take a longtail boat. It's usually 40-120 baht. Depending on route and such. You can also hire these guys to take you to the barge museum or a khlong tour. They go quite fast and you will get a tiny bit wet. Great when you are hot and tired. Since it's going fast -you will keep hitting the river (bump bump thud noises). They will appropriately slow down near other ferries/boats and the Thai coast guard is nearby.
Boat trip is interesting even for us Thais.Many people go to work by express boats every morning.(for myself,unfortunately i'm too lazy to walk from pier to busstop so I take a boat just ocassionally)
Anyway,by boat.Even you don't have plan "where to go" you can jump in and buy ticket to somewhere (wherever it takes) It's nice already seeing people,their activities along the great river of Bangkok (even once during APEC summit,our PM placed very huge and ugly canvas to hide those old wooden houses as if he was sweeping dust and keep it under a carpet)
Taking public express boat is cheap ( you won't pay more than 30 Baht each trip) and nice.I usually take a boat up tp Nonthaburi where you can visit "Koh Kred" or Kred island.Small island in Nonthaburi where once it was Mon settlement.Nowadays,Some Mon families still living there and it's biggest pottery village in town.Ideal for relaxing weekend.(during weekday it will be too quiet,some restaurants and shops are closed)
Remarks : Express boat doesn't go direct to Koh Kred but you will off at "Nonthaburi pier" then you can hire taxi,tuktuk or take a bus to "Pak Kred" and walk a bit,cross by furry (3.50 baht each) that's it.
Daily Standard Express Boats
All day from 6:00-18:40.
Every 20 minutes
Fare : up to 20 baht something
Special Express Boats (Monday-Friday)
During rush hours
From 6:00-9:00 and 12:00-19:00
Fare : up tp 20 baht something
(NO FLAG) Stop every pier
More information you can call "Chaopraya Boat" Co.( or known as "Supatra" Co.) or check their website
When you arrive to the river piers, there are several kinds of boats:
1.- The touristic boats. More expensive, with loudspeakers comments, less stops at touristic places.
2.- Normal boats, locals, with many stops, cheaper. They have blue roofs
3.- Boats JUST TO CROSS to the other shore, those with the red roof, don't be mistaken
These are Daily Standard Express Boats running all day from 6:00-18:40, every 20 minutes or so. You can find the stops and itineraries at the website below.
Fare 4-10 baht, depending on the distance.
The BTS station to connect with the boats is Saphan Taksim, the end of the Silom line.