Canal & River boats, Bangkok
High speed river buses fly along some of the remaining Bangkok canals and can be great fun for the more adventurous. They are fast, direct and cheap but not for the feint hearted. Some of the stops are no more than flimsy, unidentified landing stages tethered to the side of the canal. The drivers don't take prisoners here so you jump for your life when you want to get on or off! You soon get used to it, just like the locals but keep your wits about you.
Take a map as the canal landscape can be devoid of any meaningfull reference points. It's easy to lose yourself however, if all else fails, follow the crowds.
As an example, there's canal (Klong San Sap) that runs between and parallel to Sukhumvit Road and Phetburi Road. It's accessed from some of the Sois which connect the two roads and runs along to just a Tuk Tuk ride from The Grand Palace. Passes directly behing Jim Thomson's house too.
Go on, have a go. I guess the conductors wear the helmets due to some of the low bridges!
Be careful of the 'staff' at pier thirteen which leads to Bangkok. They're not boat staff but a simple private travel agent. They give out false advice, steering people to the more expensive tourist boats and away from local ones, and suggest that you cannot buy tickets on the boat or that the police may check you going on.
These two women look like friendly old grandmothers, but are actually simple bullies. Ignore them and go straight onto the boat.
Ferries generally stop at piers where there are people waiting to get on or off - so, always be sure you are at the back of the boat, signifying your intention to alight - and BE QUICK! - the stop is fairly brief, the boat bounces off the pier on the tyre buffers, and you need to watch your footing, and jump on and off, to ensure safety.
Additional warning for when you are close to the back of the boat is the shrillness of the pierman's whistle! Maybe my hearing is overly sensitive!
We were reassured by the tourist guide on the Chao Praya tourist boat that the shuttle boat would pick us up at 3.00 pm from Museum of Royal Barges, in time to catch the last tourist boat from Pier no.13, Phra Arthit.
The shuttle boat came late and we were dropped off at Pier no.10, Wang Lang Pier. Clueless, we waited for half an hour before we realised we had missed the last tourist boat.
One Japanese family unwittingly went out thro the disembarking door and couldn't come in to join us without paying the entrance fee.
Enquiries finally led us to board the Chao Praya Express ferry back to the Central Jetty (Sathon).
If you ride one of those water buses along the narrow canals, you will see they have a green cloth on the side. I thought it ws decorative and was annoyed because it didn't let me see the landscpae.
But it was there for something! The boats go really fast, so the water can splash you all over if you don't pay attention....