Cruise along the River of Kings – Bangkok, Thailand

In the heart of Thailand’s megalopolis, Bangkok, lies the Chao Praya River a.k.a “The River of Kings”. Cargo vessels and barges, up to this day, thrive this river to bring in produce from the provinces and other products that fuel the industry. Each day thousands of locals use the passenger ferries to get on with their daily commute. With its rich history and significance to Thai’s everyday lives, Chao Praya River is often called the city’s lifeblood.

As a visitor to this bustling city, a ride on the Chao Praya Tourist Boat gave me a quick immersion on the city’s sights, sounds and culture. Famous attractions such as markets and temples are within walking distance from the piers.

Here’s a guide on my Chao Praya Tourist Boat experience.

What is Chao Praya Tourist Boat?

A ferry service purposely aimed for tourism. The boat has an in-house tour guide that shares insights on the establishments, temples and nearby attractions along the river.

 

Starting Point

The cruise commences at Sathorn (Central) Pier which is located just outside Saphan Taksin station of BTS Skytrain Silom Line.

 

Tickets

Tickets may be purchased from the ticket booth before the trip or on the boat. You have two fare options depending on how you would want to explore the area.

Option 1 – Pay Per Ride @ THB 40.00 per person
This could be cost efficient if you intend to visit one place, however the ticket becomes invalid the moment you get off the boat.

Option 2 – One Day River Pass @ THB 150.00
This gives you unlimited rides for the whole day. An economical way if you plan to do temple and market hopping. You may also use this pass to take any of the other express boat that runs on the same route.

 

Map provided in the Central Pier

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Stops and Nearby Attractions

Unlike the other express boats in Chao Phraya, the tourist boat only have 9 stops where famous attractions are within walking distance.

Sathorn or Central Pier

  • Jieow Eng Bieow Shrine – this 150 year old shrine is often visited by people who are travelling by sea to pray for a safe journey.
  • Wat Yannawa – is an old Buddhist temple built during the Ayutthaya period. Commonly called ‘Boat Temple’ as the architecture resembles that of a chinese junk.

The Oriental Pier

  • Assumption Cathedral – built in 1909 with Romanesque facade, is Thailand’s main Catholic Church. Within its grounds are institutions of Assumption College and Assumption Convent and Assumption Suksa. Interesting fact – remains of bishops and missionaries lie underneath its sanctuary.

Sri Phraya Pier

  • Holy Rosary Church – one of Bangkok’s oldest church that serves as a reminder of the relationship between Portugal and Thailand in the 18th century.
  • Wat Traimit Wittayaram – a famous temple as it houses the world’s largest golden Buddha statue.

Ratchawongse Pier

  • Yaowaraj – locally known as Chinatown, its road are lined with several gold shops, food stalls and shops that sells products from China.
  • Wat Mangkon Kamalawat –  is the biggest and most important Chinese Buddhist temple in Bangkok.
    Phahurat Market – this is Thailand’s ‘Little India’, here you can find all types and colors of fabric. From the most affordable ones up to the fanciest.
  • Sampeng Market – the best place to buy products at wholesale price!

Pak Khlong Talad

  • Flower Market – it used to be a fish market but today this is Bangkok’s largest flower market. It is open for 24 hours and is busiest in the morning when trucks from nearby provinces arrive to delivery fresh cut blooms.
  • Museum of Siam – location may be in an old building but the modern exhibitions inside will surprise you.

Tha Tien Pier

  • Wat Po – commonly known as ‘Temple of the Reclining Buddha’. One of the largest temple grounds in Bangkok and is famous for the reclining Buddha. The giant image measures 46 meters long and is covered with gold leaf.
  • Wat Arun – also known as ‘The Temple of Dawn’ is one of the most remarkable temples in Bangkok. It is best visited in the morning but it also exudes a different charm during sunset. You may climb the highest spire and on top a gorgeous view of the winding river can be seen.

Maharaj Pier

  • The Grand Palace and Wat Phra Kaew – Bangkok’s most famous landmark and a not-to-be-missed attraction for any first-timer in Bangkok. This palace continue to amaze visitors with its elaborate design. Within its compound is Wat Phra Kaew or Temple of the Emerald Buddha which is said to have been carved from a single block of Jade.
  • Bangkok National Museum – this houses Thailand’s most extensive collection of Thai art and artifacts.

Wang Lang (Siriraj) Pier

  • The Royal Barge Museum – serves as a dry dock for the ‘Royal Barges’ or boats used only during auspicious ceremonies and government occasions. The boats were meticulously engraved with mythical creatures and covered with gold.

Phra Athit Pier

  • Khao San Road – can be easily recognized as ‘backpacker’s haven’ as the streets are lined with several guesthouses, internet cafes, food stalls, massage parlors and more. You name it, Khao San Road have it! You will never get tired of this place as it’s lively vibe is never ending.

BONUS!!!

In case you still have time to spare and relax for a good dinner and a drink or two, the tourist boat offers a complimentary stop to Asiatique. This is after Central Pier on your way back.

asiatique-che

This pretty sums up most of the must-see places along the river. You could easily spend the whole day hopping on and off the boat to cover as much as you can. Enjoy!

Heres a video of our tour