Using the river boat system on the Chao Phraya is a must! It is affordable and convenient with access to the many tourist attractions. Most people start from the Central Pier (Saphan Taksin is the stop from the Sky Train). But once at the Central Pier, things can be very confusing.
First, do not buy a ticket from anyone that approaches you. They will try and sell a ticket at an inflated cost and push a private long boat for about 500 baht.
You have two options, there is a tourist boat and all day pass for 150 baht or 40 baht for one way trip. Or, do what the locals do and just pay the local transport boat which is only 15 baht. The tourist boat does have an English speaking tour guide that explains what is at each pier they stop. This is good if you have not done much research. I did the tourist one way route for 40 baht and did learn a good amount of what is at each stop. The remaining days I just paid the 15 baht and explored on my own.
The key here is not to buy a ticket from anyone that approaches you. In the photos you can see people in the light blue polo shirts. They work for the tourist boat. a line forms behind this area for the local boat that cost 15 baht. If you've done your research this is the best way to go. All the piers are well marked so you know where you are.
The Chao Pharaya River plays many roles in Thai life and in fact it is regarded as the principle artery of the nation! Much of Thai history can be traced along the banks of the Chao Phraya River. As it flows, the river carries with it the history and culture of the country. You can take the boar ride/service which takes you to all the 9 piers providing access to Bangkok's most famous attractions. Like the Rattanakosin Island Historic Area which was settled during the Thonburi and Rattanakosin eras. Old temples, palaecs and communities along the river banks tells us the livelihood of the poeple and had led to the birth of civilisation.
The Chao Phraya River is the major river of Thailand, pass through 9 provinces from Nakhon Sawan, the province in lower part of northern region, to central region, pass through Bangkok, and end at gulf of Thailand, approximately distance 360 km.
I always like to travel by boat, its always enjoyable thing to do. I like to see life along the riverside, its so real Thai life. The long river pass through many provinces, has played a major role in the lifestyles, culture and traditions of the people along it. You can feel it by yourself, just making a trip along the Chao Phraya River or even along canals. In day time, a trip can be made with small long-tail boat to visit canals where you can see typical and life-style of the people with water way along the canals. The old way of living in the past, people depended mostly upon river and canals transportation. Nowadays, the most transportation people use is by roads, but canals are still used. Beside those, you will see typical old houses, temples, and the way people buy and sell things. In the evening you can make a special dinner on the river cruise and enjoy the view of Bangkok at night.
We travelled along this river several times during our visit, the first time on a Rice Barge tour which was very pleasant as we had Thai food and drinks as we cruised along the river for an hour or so. The second time we took a longboat and this stopped several times to allow us to visit various sites. This boat had a powerful engine and was very fast, a bit of excitement. The river has constant traffic, be it barges hauling rice and other products to and from the ocean port, ferries, longboats etc etc. From the river you get a great impression of the city, the fabulous riverside hotels and apartments, and the developing high rise buildings, however you will see that there are several large apartment buildings completed around 2000 which have not yet been occupied.
If we consider Bangkok as a show, in my opinion, the main star would be Chao Phraya river. You can spend hours just looking this lively, fresh, ever-changing stage. Cargo ships and bus-boats mix with luxury cruisers. At banksides you can admire some of the most luxurious hotels in Thailand, the most beautiful wats and all kind of scenes of everyday life, for example, people hanging their laundry. There are also smaller wats along the river (apart form Wat Arun, Wat Phra Kaew or Wat Po), which are accesible from piers stranded along the bankside. Travelling along the river is both cheap (18 baths each way) and fast (you avoid Bangkok traffic jams, which are sometimes terrible). There are also little boats which only cross the river
Si considerasemos que Bangkok es un espectaculo, en mi opinion, el rio Chao Phraya deberia ser la estrella. Puedes pasarte horas solo mirando este escenario siempre cambiante, vivo y fresco. Cargueros y barcos autobus se mezclan con cruceros de lujo. En las orillas puedes admirar algunos de los hoteles mas lujosos de Thailandia, los templos mas hermosos y todo tipo de escenas de la vida diaria, por ejemplo, residentes colgado su colada. TamBien hay templos mas pequenhos a lo largo del rio (aparte del Wat Arun, Wat Phra Kaew o el Wat Po), que son accesibles desde los muelles diseminados a lo largo de la orilla. Viajar por el rio es barato (18 baths cada trayecto) y rapido (te evitas los atascos de Bangkok, que son terribles a veces). Tambien hay pequenhos barquitos que solo cruzan el rio de una a otra orilla
A visit to Bangkok would not be complete without a trip on the river. It gives you a different perspective of the city.
I especially enjoyed the canals off the river,
where people live right on the waters edge.
Very serene and peaceful, nice break from
the chaotic traffic in Bangkok.
I could not find if this has more meaning than to fish go crazy when someone throws bread into the water. At many of the piers along Chao Phraya vendors sell bread you can use to throw into the river. It is quite a frenzy and interesting to watch while you wait for the next ferry to take you along the river.
A cruise along Chao Phraya River at night is one of the best scenic river cruise.
Many interesting sights and buildings along Chao Phraya have been lit up at night.
Several restaurants and hotels along the river provide several cruises to choose from.
Take the BTS to Taksin Station and take a min walk to the jetty.
A day tour along the Chao Phraya River can give you a glimps of how Thailand is like. Many of the historic sights of Bangkok lie on on the banks of the Chao Phraya river which is why it's such a great way to get around.
Since my Daddy was a Navy and I was so keen in Naval life when I was a kid, I can notice this monument within very short time "it's must be sumthin kinda like Navy" as I ever seen in my own country, or like Pearl Harbor monument in Hawaii. And I was right :) It's the monument for Thailand Navy!
So many activities and buildings you can see from the river of Chao Phraya. The sailorman tell me, that brown water of this river and klongs indicate that the river is clean. If the river in bad condition, the color will turn to black!!!
It's interesting to see a river running within a city. It's more interesting to see the people and the architecture on both sides of the river banks.
You'll see the locals washing in the river, you'll be amazed by the huts, you'll be impressed by the view when you are approching Temple of Dawn...
Don't miss it. Join a river tour or simply take a river taxi (a public ferry) to explore this lovely river.