There are few places where visitors can see their urban areas from a boat. Vancouver, Canada, has ferries that allow passengers to see the surrounding islands. Hong Kong has a ferry enabling passengers to see the city skyline for only five minutes. What makes Bangkok’s canals so unique? Bangkok’s canals have a rich history. These canals are often referred to as the nation’s main thoroughfare. Find out why these channels are so important and why you should spend a day exploring them. Here’s the ultimate guide to navigating Bangkok’s canals.
The Chao Phraya River is also known as the River of Kings. It consists of four main tributaries, including the Ping, Wang, Yom and Nan rivers. It was and still is a significant waterway for people from central Thailand. Many people call the banks of the Chao Phraya River home.
Others use the river to commute to and from work almost every day. For others, it is a way of life and, ultimately, their primary source of income.
Many of Bangkok’s top attractions are located right on Bangkok’s Chao Phraya River, making a boat trip high on the travel plan for many tourists. Either with the public boats on your own or with a guide. The boat trip to discover Bangkok from the river is excellent and not to be missed. Evening dinner cruises are top-rated, allowing you to soak up this great city’s wonderful riverside atmosphere with delicious food and cold drinks.
Riverfront Night market
Asiatique, the Riverfront Night Market is one of Bangkok’s newest attractions, and it’s adorable to visit in the evening. The boat ride on the Chao Phraya River is an experience in itself. As soon as you arrive, you’ll experience one of the most extraordinary open-air malls in the city. A landmark is the unmistakable white Ferris wheel, which, together with the romantic location right on the river, makes this market a real highlight. Here countless fashion shops, excellent restaurants, entertaining cabaret shows, Thai boxing and a small amusement park provide action.
Some of Bangkok’s most notable sights are on the mighty Chao Phraya River banks. You can easily reach four attractions from the river: Wat Pho (Temple of the Reclining Buddha), the Grand Palace, Wat Phra Kaew (Temple of the Emerald Buddha), and Wat Arun. However, keep in mind that these are trendy tourist attractions. Many “friendly” strangers will try to get you to pay more than ฿500 (about $15) for a cruise on the river. Politely decline these offers and follow our guide.
Chao Phraya Express Boat
There are four different express boats. Look for those with an orange, green, or yellow flag. Only the orange boat is open every day. Otherwise, these boats operate from Monday to Friday from 6 a.m. to 5 p.m. m. to 10 p.m. (some ships depart earlier, but not all).
Depending on which boat you take, tickets cost between ฿10 and ฿40, which compares very favorably to most public transport in the city. You can buy your tickets at the pier or on board. Keep this ticket with you. Some ships depart every five minutes, others every 25 minutes. Before you arrive, check your ship’s schedule.
There are also many ferries on both sides of the river. They often depart from 6 a.m. onwards until 9 p.m.
Every big city has a river, and Bangkok is the Chao Phraya (Mae Nam Chao Phraya). Bustling with traditional longtail boats, passenger ferries and cargo ships, the Chao Phraya River is the city’s lifeblood.