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
Update. September 2011
*** 15 Baht for Regular and 30 Baht for Express Boat (Blue Flag - Phar Arthit to Saphan Thaksin)
Fare Increaded from April
14 Baht for Orange Flag-Yellow-Green-No Flag (Saphan Thaksin~Phra Arthit up to Nonthanburi/Pakred or vice versa) Be aware, ticket counter at the piers will ask you for 25 Baht which is for EXPRESS (Blue Flag Boat which only perates between Saphan Thaksin to Phra Arthit Pier) Just wait no more then 15-25 minutes for the Orange Flad Boat and pay after get on board.
Avoid Traffic, get to the Sathorn Pier in 15 minutes and a short walk from there if you wish to go Silom.
Wonderful Sight seeing. Comfortable and Cheap
Starts at 06.00 from Nontahnburi Pier from AM till 07.00 PM
Route Map can be seen at the web sitementioned below
Boat Type: Single Deck
Capacity: 60 Persons every seat have inflatable raft if needed in emmergency.
Length: 27.00 m
Width: 3.50 m
Depth: 1.50 m
The canal buses that run along Klong Sen Seb are an impressively quick way of getting from one side of town to the other.
For tourists they usefully run from near the Democracy monument a 10-minute walk from Khasaon Road to the main shopping area around Thanon Rama. The stop at Tha Saphan Hua Chang is usefully close to the skytrain stop at Ratchathevi and the Jim Thompson house.
These little boats come by every few minutes - just jump on and find a seat in the serried rows. Several men in bicycle type helmets dance along the side of the boat to collect fares.
Don't think this will be scenic canal trip however - the boats set off at a furious pace as the plastic sheeting on both sides is lifted to avoid the worst of the splashes.
At one point (beware if you are tall and standing up) the whole roof is lowered without warning to get under and especially low-slung bridge - duck !
With small boat, you can find this Chao Phraya river and the klong in shallow water. Beware your butt about sitting there. Sometimes not so comfy and the views was coverage by the soft top of the boat. I have my own way by sitting on top of the seat!!! Oh!!!
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.
We took Chao Phraya Express to visit Wat Phra Keow, because it helps you to avoid traffic jams (although they are even worst at afternoon hours). We arrived at Saphan Taksin by Skytrain and from Sathorn Pier, we took, almost by chance, Chao Phraya Express. We were hurried to take it, so I was afraid that we had got into some of those very expensive touristic boats that go up and down the river. The men at the desk tried that we paid a ticket for the whole day (it cost 100 bahts), but we were planning to do a single trip, so we declined this fare. Single ticket cost 18 baths and you buy it at the boat. There is a person who gives indications through a loudspeaker about the sites at each stop (in English). Be aware of what you see around, and set your camera ready.
Cogimos el Chao Phraya Express para visitar Wat Phra Keow, porque ayuda a evitar los atascos (aunque son peores por la tarde). Llegamos a Saphan Taksin en Skytrain y desde el Muelle Sathorn cogimos, casi por casualidad, el CPE. Nos metieron prisa para que subieramos, asi que me temi que nos habiamos metido en alguno de esos barcos turisticos carisimos que van rio arriba y abajo. Los hombres del mostrador intentaban que comprasemos un ticket de todo el dia por 100 bahts, pero teniamos pensado hacer solo un viaje, asi que no aceptamos esta tarifa. El billete simple cuesto 18 bahts y lo compras dentro del barco. Hay una persona que va dando indicaciones por un altavoz (en ingles) sobre los sitios a los que se accede desde cada parada. Ve mirando el paisaje desde el barco y ten la camara preparada.
The Chao Praya River offers transportation relief from the slow and chaotic road traffic in Bangkok.
There are many kinds of boat services, from the express boats, to the boats belonging to the various luxury hotels along the river to the little river-taxis that you can hire yourself.
For only 75 Bht (approx. $2.00), purchase a ticket to board the Chao Phraya Tourist Boat, which will provide you with a one-day opp to visit all the sites located on or near the Chao Phraya River, including the Temple of the Dawn, Wat Pho, the Grand Palace, etc.
Just note, however, that the tourist boat stops running at 3pm, so you'll have to take a Chao Phraya Express Boat back as it stops running later (7:30pm).
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).
Do take the river taxi's. They are super cheap (about 10-20 baht for wherever you may want to go downtown) It's also a great way to see the city the way many locals do. It's also a great break away from the bustle of automobile traffic (although there is plenty of river traffic to contend with) but you are much safer in a boat than in the street!
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.
It’s dead easy to get Chao Phraya River Buses up and down the river, look for the pier with other tourist Caucasian people on, and ensure that the boat has a pointy front, a flat back and is coming from either up or down stream.
This then is a Chao Phraya river taxi / public bus.
Right. Transport Tips.
One. Let the buggers off first. We ain’t dealing with “mind the platform gap” on the London Underground here. “Oh dear you slipped! Oh did you bash your bag?” Nup, we’re talking, “Oooops you is in the Chao Phraya, getting squashed between the boat and the pier. You are mouth washing with the world’s most toxic raw sewage, don’t swallow!” (OK Thai fish can swim in it, but then prawns are also known to hang around toilet cistern outlets heh?). And you’ll have a film of grease in your hair that Procter & Gamble’s lab team can’t assist with. I have seen folk fall in – and it is quite a fiasco.
So let them off first!
Two: Then jump on quick like buggery before the boat pulls away as the Thai bloke peeps his whistle. (also see tip one)
Three: The fare? Daft variations on 2 THB, 3 THB and 7 THB. Personally, I rarely pay for anything less than a bottle of Heineken at 35 THB from 7-Eleven, so I find this rather quaint. Try and have some shrapnel / change.
Four: Using the river is the best way to get around the bits of Bangkok …that are close to the river. Leave the cabs and tuk tuks for the non river bits.
Five: Using Humphrey Bogart phrases (African Queen, 1951) are rarely understood by the conductoress / fare taker… “I asked you on board ‘cause I was sorry for you on account of your losing your brother and all. That’s what you get for feeling sorry for someone. Well, I ain’t sorry no more, you crazy psalm-singing, skinny old maid!” ...Shame, it's not a bad one liner.
There are so many things to see along the Chao Phraya river.This makes it perfect for a day trip away from the Bangkok roads.The Chao Phraya River Tourist Boat visits 10 pier for a sightseeing tour of some historical sites of "Old" Bangkok.The tour starts at Sathorn at Taksin Bridge. You can buy a 100 baht unlimited all day river pass at Sathorn,Maharaj,Phra Artit,Siam,Nana & Taksin Bridge BTS Station. The ticket does not include admissiun fee to the various places.
Always good for a laugh this one. A great one to pull from your bag of show your mates around Bangkok tricks. Hire your own long tail boat (you’ve no doubt seen them in the guidebooks, all colourful and they have an engine on a stick) and tour the back khlongs of Thon Buri.
You can pick up these longtail boats for 500THB for an hour, up to 1000 THB for two. Though to be honest one and a half hours give you long enough to see the back canals of Thon Buri, the royal Barges, some slummie looking areas, some decent house boat areas, and the boat driver’s mates who surprisingly appear from nowhere to sell you luke warm cans of Singha Beer. The bloke driving often steers with his feet… while drinking Red Bull, snorting on menthol nasal sticks and taking Muay Thai bets on his mobile).
As you get the boats to yourself you can chat the driver up to go as fast as you like, stop for photos when you want and on a few occasions they’ve given me a go on the engine on a stick. (Though they rarely, if ever, let you do this on the main Chao Phraya.)
Lonely Planet implies you can pick these up from Silpakorn University. Nup, that’s pants – you’ll get ripped off. Best to get them from the Number 8 ferry stop on the main Chao Phraya - two stops upstream from River City, the one downstream from Taksin Bridge. Where this bloke sits.
Many of the hotels offer cruises at all times of the day up and down the river. I'm not sure of the cost as I've never taken one. But a day on the river can be beautiful!! Also many of them offer sunset cruises. How romantic would that be??