WAYS TO SIGHTSEE ALONG THAILAND’S MOST IMPORTANT RIVER
Water. It makes up between 50 and 70 percent of the body’s weight, it is the main source of life, and civilizations have developed near a source of water since the beginning of time.
The Mae Nam Chao Phraya, better known as the Chao Phraya River, is Thailand’s most important river. It flows south from the mountains of northern Thailand 365 kilometers down toward the Gulf of Thailand, and all of the country’s capitals—present and former—have been located on or near its banks.
This river has been an invaluable means of transportation for Thailand’s traditional exports, such as teak and rice, and the Chao Phraya’s “klong” canal system has been used for living, recreation, drainage, fishing, and as a source of water.
If you are visiting Bangkok, you can’t miss the opportunity to explore life on the river. And here are the different ways that you can go about it.
The Chao Phraya River Express Boat
(www.chaophrayaexpressboat.com/en/home) is the easiest and cheapest way to tour the river. It will allow you to cover long stretches of the river for a small price. Approach the people on the counter at Tha Sathon (or Central Pier, at Saphan Takin BTS station, and tell them where you want to go; they will recommend which color-flag boat you should take. For example, the boat flying the orange flag (THB 15) will stop almost at every pier, while the one with the blue flag (THB 40) will go from Saphan Taksin directly to the Grand Palace.
If you’d like to have a more exclusive experience of the river, you can always rent a longtail boat (around THB 1,000 per hour, totally negotiable) and ask to be taken in through the small canals, which is a worthy experience, and something that you won’t get to do on the bigger public boats.
The popular Yok Yor Khlongsan (Klong San 762 Lard Yar, Klong San district Bangkok, 02 437 3791, 02 437 1121) offers inexpensive Asian and Western dishes you can order a la carte, while enjoying the sunset views from the boat. Anantara Bangkok Riverside (257/1-3 Charoennakorn Road Thonburi, 02 476 0022, www.bangkok-riverside.anantara.com/manohra-cruises) multi-course menus offered during three hours of a river cruise aboard Manohra Cruises.