Chao Phraya Express Boat

The mighty river of Bangkok: what you can expect to see during the Chao Praya River tour

Exploring the Chao Phraya River is a splendid way to immerse yourself in Bangkok’s culture and captivating scenery. The Chao Phraya Express Boat operates a regular service with different routes along the river, stopping at key piers close to famous landmarks.

These are the main attractions I would personally choose:

Temple of the Dawn

This magnificent riverside temple, also called Wat Arun, derives its name from the Hindu god Aruna, personified as the radiations of the rising sun. Although the temple had existed since at least the seventeenth century, its distinctive prang (spires) were built in the early nineteenth century during the reign of King Rama II.

Where: Tha Tien Pier

Wat Pho

This is generally known as the Temple of the Reclining Buddha. It is the largest temple in Bangkok and is also the oldest. Before the temple’s founding, the site was a center of education for traditional Thai medicine, and many statues were created showing yoga positions. There is still a traditional Thai massage school located there.

Where: Tha Tien Pier

Asiatique River front

This riverfront attraction, with its landmark ferris wheel, is an outdoor mall and boutique shopping area with over 1,500 little shops and stalls selling souvenirs, accessories, art, handicrafts, and more. There are many eateries, bars, cafes, and a puppet theatre. To get there, take the BTS to Saphan Taksin and take the shuttle boat from the pier directly to Asiatique.

Where: Sathorn Pier (Central Pier). Walk over to the central pier left-hand side and board Asiatique’s free shuttle boat.

Temple of the Emerald Buddha (Wat Phra Kaew)

The adjoining Grand Palace is regarded as the most sacred Buddhist temple (Wat) in Thailand. Wat Phra Kaew, as it is known in Thailand, has over 100 buildings covering a total area of over 54 acres. The architectural style is named Rattanakosin (old Bangkok style). The main temple of the Emerald Buddha is elegantly decorated and similar to the temple in the ancient capital of Ayudhya.

Where: Tha Chang Pier

The Grand Palace

Highlights of the compound include the Borom Phiman Throne Hall, built by King Rama VI. Although the Royal Family used to live here full time, nowadays, it is mainly used only for ceremonial purposes and is no longer the royal residence.

Where: Tha Chang Pier

National Museum

This museum houses the country’s most extensive collection of Thai art and artifacts. It exhibits relics from the rule of King Rama IV. Today the galleries contain exhibits covering Thai History back to Neolithic times. The collection includes Thai artifacts dated from Dvaravati, Srivijaya, to Sukhothai extensive and Ayutthaya periods and collections of regional Asian Buddhist Arts.

Where: Tha Phra Pinklao Pier

And here are some additional tips to make your journey with The Chao Phraya Express Boat as comfy as possible:

  1. Choose your route: there are different routes, each market with a different color flag.
  2. Check the schedule, as boats run at regular intervals throughout the day.
  3. Be mindful of crowds; this is a public transport option, so you’ll meet tourists and locals.
  4. Know your stops or follow your location on Google Maps.
  5. You can purchase tickets almost at all piers, but I wouldn’t risk and go to the Central Pier.
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