Amazing Bangkok seen on boat at the Chao Phraya River

10:51 AM

Boat tour on Chao Phraya River, Bangkok

I have visited Bangkok many times over the years, but never once did I ever take a boat tour on Chao Phraya River to really witness the beauty of Chao Phraya River and Bangkok's old charms.

In my most recent Bangkok trip, I decided to get away from the hustle bustle of  downtown Bangkok and soak myself in the old charms of Bangkok through a boat ride on Chao Phraya River.




About the Chao Phraya River


The Chao Phraya River flows through the very heart of Bangkok. This major artery has brought life and wealth to this part of Thailand for many centuries.

Today Chao Phraya River is a hive of activity around the clock. River taxis take thousands of Thais to nd from their places of work every day. Ferries crisscross the river carrying both locals and visitors to homes, shops, hotels and tourist attractions.

As the river twists and turns between an eclectic combination of modern and traditional architecture, there is always something to catch the eye. There are many eye-catching historical buildings and temples on both sides of the river.

According to the tourist information, there are more than 30 piers along the Chao Phraya River in Bangkok, covering tourist attractions and historical sites such as the Grand Palace, Temple of the Reclining Buddha (Wat Pho), Temple of the Dawn (Wat Arun), Pak Khlong Talad (the Flower Market), China Town, Khaosan Road, the Talad Noi branch of Siam Commercial Bank, Holy Rosary Church, and Asiatique Riverfront. 

However, the most popular pier for tourists to start the river tour on the Chao Phraya River is Sathorn Pier. 

How to get to the Chao Phraya River (Sathorn Pier)




The friendly hotel staff showed me the easiest and most convenient way to get to the Chao Phraya River is by BTS SkyTrain. 

In my shorts and sandal, I took BTS SkyTrain from Chong Nonsi station, the nearest BTS SkyTrain station to my hotel, to Saphan Taksin BTS SkyTrain station . It was a mere three (3) stations away. If I remember correctly, the fare is 28 Thai Baht.

Sathorn Pier is just a walking distance from Saphan Taksin BTS station. Please make sure you take Exit No. 2. The signs are very clear though, leading you passed a Tourist Information Center to the staircase from Exit No. 2 to Sathorn Pier. 

Sathorn Pier is very busy with local people and tourists. It seems that every commuter boat stops at this pier. I was glad that I chose a weekday to go there to avoid the usual weekend tourist crowd. I prefer a more relaxing way of enjoying the Chao Phraya River.


Chao Phraya Tourist "Hop-on, Hop-off"Boat

There are so many boats. It could be rather confusing to figure out which boat to take and where to get off.

Basically, there are five types of commuter boats, which are identified by different colors of flags placed on the read of the boat's roof. I managed to spot four colors of flags: orange, green, yellow and blue.

I saw a long queue of tourists waiting for a boat to arrive. I wasn't sure which boat company it was but I decided to first spend some time at Sathorn Pier to take some photos and enjoy the river breeze.

About 10 minutes later, boat operator was calling tourists to go on board the boat. I quickly ran to the ticket counter and realized that it was a blue-flag Chao Phraya Tourist "Hop-on, Hop-off" Boat.


Hop on here, off off there, On the river, hop anywhere


I have two options:
  1. 40 Baht for one "Hop-off" only. But a new ticket to hop back on. 
  2. 150 Baht for one-day River pass (09.30 am to 04.00 pm) - unlimited "Hop-on, Hop-off"
According to the information counter, the routing of this boat is designed for tourists. It stops at all of the main tourist attractions along the Chao Phraya River.

The 40 Baht fare is good for one stop only while the ful lday pass (150 Baht) allows you to get on and off any pier and take any boar (from Chao Phraya Express Boat company) until about 9 pm without extra fare. The boat even has a tour guide on board to give information about each tourist attraction along the river.

10 piers with tourist attractions

As per the map, tourists and passengers are allowed to hop-off and hop-on at 10 piers with all the major tourist attractions.

Below are the 10 piers which I also indicate the tourist attractions at each pier for your reference:

  1. Asiatique Pier - the famous Asiatique RiverFront (operational 4.30 pm - 6.30 pm)
  2. Sathorn (Central) Pier - connects with the BTS sky train line at Saphan Taksin station
  3. Oriental Pier (N1) - walking distance to the Oriental Hotel and Chareon Krung road, which connects to Bangkok's business district at Silom Road.
  4. Si Phraya Pier (N3) - River City, a riverside shopping plaza famous for selling antiques and old maps from Southeast Asia with great selection of handicrafts and silk clothing.
  5. Ratchawongse Pier (N5) - China Town, a good place to find delicious Chinese food and buy Chinese herbs and medicines.
  6. Pak Klong Taladd (N6) - Thailand Flower Market
  7. Tha Tien Pier / Wat Arun Pier (N8)Wat Arun (the temple of Dawn) and Wat Pho (the Temple of the Reclining Buddha) 
  8. Tha Maharaj Pier (N9) - The Grand Palace and the Temple of the Emerald Buddha
  9. Thonburi Railway Pier (N11) - Thonburi Railway Station, Royal Barge National Museum and Siriraj Phimukhsthan Museum
  10. Phra Arthit Pier (N13) - Khao San Road (backpackers' haven), Phra Sumane Fort (one of the old forts left in Bangkok)
Personally, I have visited Wat Arun, Wat Pho, The Grand Palace, the Temple of the Emerald Buddha, Khao San Road, The Flower Market before. For this particular exploration, my focus wasn't so much on the visitations of the tourist attractions along the Chao Phraya River. 

My key focus was on the beautiful Chao Phraya River itself. Equipped with awesome Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge smartphone camera, I decided to have a leisure 1 hop-off at the Maharaj Pier (N9) only from Sathorn Centeral Pier. The rest of the time was to be on the boat exploring the beautiful scenery of the Chao Phraya River and eclectic combination of modern and traditional architecture along the river.

I sincerely hope that the photos shared below will inspire you to discover amazing Bangkok through a boat ride on the Chao Phraya River.

Sathorn Central Pier - connection with BTS sky train line

a blue flag can be seen at the back of the boat

Yay! Boarding the hop-on, hop-off tourist boat now...

Super excited for my first boat ride at the Chao Phraya River

Inside the boat - very spacious and airy with tour guide on board to give information about each tourist attraction along the river. 

Hotel shuttle boats dropping off their guests at Sathorn Pier. The commuter boat belongs to Shangri-la Hotel.


Wat Arun  / Way Pho

Tha Tien Pier / Wat Arun Pier (N8) - Wat Arun (the temple of Dawn) and Wat Pho (the Temple of the Reclining Buddha) 

Reaching Tha Tien pier - with Wat Arun insight.

What a great contrast of Wat Arun and the color boat


Tha Maharaj Pier / Grand Palace / Temple of the Emerald Buddha

I hopped off here from Sathon Central Pier. There is a beautiful riverfront sidewalk with restaurants, cafe and gift shops. It's very relaxing. I then took a leisure walk from the pier to The Grand Palace and the Temple of the Emerald Buddha.

This Tha Maharaj Pier is beautiful - combination of the new and old. 
Beautiful view of the Chao Phraya River from Tha Maharaj Pier



Beautiful view of the Chao Phraya River from Tha Maharaj Pier

Beautiful view of the Chao Phraya River from Tha Maharaj Pier

Beautiful view of the Chao Phraya River from Tha Maharaj Pier

Beautiful view of the Chao Phraya River from Tha Maharaj Pier

haha.... exploring the Chao Phraya River in Fipper sandal

Sidewalk along the Chao Phraya River at Tha Maharaj Pier.
 I took this with my Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge with self timer. :)

Tourist boat at the Chao Phraya River



Thailand Flower Market



The Thailand flower Market



the Talad Noi branch of Siam Commercial Bank

hop-on, hop-off boat ride on the Chao Phraya River, Bangkok

hop-on, hop-off boat ride on the Chao Phraya River, Bangkok







hop-on, hop-off boat ride on the Chao Phraya River, Bangkok

River City

Si Phraya Pier (N3) - River City, a riverside shopping plaza famous for selling antiques and old maps from Southeast Asia with great selection of handicrafts and silk clothing.




Oriental Pier

Oriental Pier (N1) - walking distance to the Oriental Hotel and Chareon Krung road, which connects to Bangkok's business district at Silom Road.

My most favorite photo of all - Bangkok skyline with the Chao Phraya River reflection.


Another of my favorite shot!! - the Bangkok city skyline with the Chao Phraya River, Bangkok

Shangri-la Hotel
Shangri-la hotel and its commuter boat


Amazing Bangkok on the Chao Phraya River



I had such a relaxing wonderful time exploring the Chao Phraya River on a weekday to avoid the tourist crowd. I love water. Perhaps that's one of the reasons why I love this hop-on, hop-off boat ride so so much!!!  I could spend whole day here.

If you ever travel to Bangkok, please don't go for shopping, foot massage, and food only. :) 

Please make an effort to spend at least half a day or even 1 full day exploring the beautiful Chao Phraya.

As the river twists and turns between an eclectic combination of modern and traditional architecture, you will surely find something charming - be it the historical buildings and temples on both sides of the river, or some modern high rise buildings in Bangkok, or the river boats, or the old houses along the river.

You will love it!! 😊😊😊


Written by Vincent Khor on June 17, 2017

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