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CHAO PHRAYA RIVER EXPRESS
The Chao Phraya River Express boats sail on the Chao Phraya River of Bangkok. These boats on the river are a fun and convenient way to explore Bangkok. From the water you see Bangkok from a completely different side and the breeze will cool you down a bit! For the Thai population the Chao Phraya plays an important role to transport goods or to go from home to work or family and back, also the Buddhist monks regularly use these boats. In addition, the boat in Bangkok is sometimes the smartest and fastest way to get to important places or attractions. For example to the Wat Arun, Chinatown, the Grand Palace and even Khao San and Rambuttri Road. Another big advantage is that the Chao Phraya River has a pier at the BTS Sky Train which allows you to avoid the traffic jams on the road.
How to use the Chao Phraya River Express
Using the Chao Phraya River Express is actually quite simple after reading this article, so please continue reading! Once you arrive at the pier of your choice and the boat is docked you get on the boat. Sometimes you have to buy a ticket on the pier itself, but often someone on the boat comes to gather up the money. The price per ride is often a fixed amount per person. For boats with an orange/yellow flag, for example, the price is always 15 /20 baht per person, regardless of whether you go one stop or ten stops with the boat. The further you travel the cheaper the trip, and it is already so cheap! You just get on and off whenever you want! It’s as simple as that!
We love to get on a boat without any purpose and enjoy life on and along the Chao Phraya river with the mega high and fashionable skyscrapers in the background. It will only cost you 30 baht per person for a return!
Coloured flags of the Chao Phraya River Express
All boats of the Chao Phraya River Express on the Chao Phraya River in Bangkok have their own flag / color, these boats all have fixed stops. There are 5 different colors of flags and once you know what color flag to have for your destination, it can hardly can go wrong. In most cases you will mainly use the boat with the orange flag. This boat also stops at most of the famous sights along the river. Some boats like the one with the yellow flag only sail during rush hour. The boat without flag (Local Line) stops almost everywhere, but only during rush hour. This is also a nice line to discover less known places of Bangkok! There is also a boat especially for tourists, this boat has a blue flag.
Boat with orange flag:
Price: 15 baht per person per ride
Route: Nonthaburi (N30) – Wat Rajsingkorn (S3)
Available: Daily between 6 AM – 7 PM
Frequency: 5-20 minutes
(Sails more often during rush hour)
Boat with yellow flag
Price: 20 baht per person / per ride
Route: Nonthaburi (N30) – Sathorn (Centre)
Available: Monday to Friday during rush hour
Morning: 6.15 AM – 8.20 AM
Afternoon / evening: 4 PM – 8 PM
Frequency: 20-30 minutes
Boat with green flag
Price: 13 / 20 / 32 baht per person per ride (depending on distance)
Route: Packing credit (N33) Nonthaburi (N30) – Sathorn (Centre)
Available: Monday to Friday during rush hour
Morning: 6.10 AM – 8.10 AM
Afternoon: 4.05 PM – 6.05 PM
Frequency: 15-30 minutes
Boat without flag (Local Line)
Price: 9 / 11 / 13 baht per person per ride (depending on distance)
Route: Nonthaburi (N30) – Sathorn (Centre) -Wat Rajsingkorn (S3)
Available: Monday to Friday during rush hour
Morning: 6.45 AM – 7.30 AM
Afternoon: 4 PM – 4.30 PM
Frequency: Every 20 minutes
Sightseeing by the river with pier number:
- Thewet Flower Market: N15 Thewet
- Khao San Road: N13 Phra Athit
- Rambuttri Road: N13 Phra Athit
- National Museum of Royal Barges: N12 Phra Pin Klao Bridge
- Thonburi Train Station: N11 Thonburi Railway
- The Grand Palace and Emerald Buddha (Wat Phra Kaew): N9 Tha Chang
- Maharaj and Amulet Market N9 Tha Chang
- Wat Pho (Temple of the Reclining Buddha): N8 Tha tien
- Wat Arun ferry: N8 Tha Tien*
- Wat Arun (Temple of Dawn) (direct): Ratchawararon
- China Town: N5 Rajchawongse
- River City Bangkok: N4 Marine dept. River City Bangkok
- The Chao Phraya River Cruise (pick up point): River City Bangkok
- BTS Sky Train connection: Sathorn (Taksin)
- Asiatique The Riverfront: S3 Wat Rajsingkorn Asiatique
- ICONSIAM: Direct free shuttle service vanaf Sathorn (Taksin)
*You don’t have to take the tourist boat for the Wat Arun Temple. Take the orange flag or grey boat to N8 Tha Tien and from there take the ferry to the Ratchawararam for Wat Arun, the costs are only a few baht extra.
Chao Phraya Tourist Boat (blue flag)
The tourist boat costs about 40 baht per trip, employees of these boats will be happy to accompany you when you arrive at the pier, everything will be obvious. The boats leave every half hour. The tourist boat stops at all destinations that can be interesting for tourists and all information is in English. If you are in Bangkok for the first time, this can be a handy option. A day or evening pass costs 200 baht per person. Through the website you get a discount if you buy multiple tickets, but to take advantage of your day pass you will have to sail back and forth quite a bit. Online tickets must first be exchanged at the Saphan Taksin Pier near the BTS or the Maharaj Pier. Don’t have the illusion that you can see all the sights in one day, in Chinatown alone you can easily get lost for a whole day!
Discounts and more information on the Blue Flag Chao Phraya Tourist Boat.
DID YOU KNOW?
The letters N and S stand for “North” and “South”. The Sathorn pier (Saphan Taksin) with the BTS Skytrain connection is seen as the central pier. Everything above this pier is indicated by the letter N, every pier below the Sathorn pier (Saphan Taksin) gets the letter S.
Chao Phraya River Express during rush hour
Even during rush hour it’s good to be on the river, while half of Bangkok is stuck in traffic, the boats sail on reasonably well. During rush hour there are more and more boats on the river, like the boats with an orange and yellow flag. But when it’s busy on the road, it is also busy on the boats and river. This means that you might be transported as pegs in a barrel, if you have a seat you are very lucky. But at least you get ahead! The blue flag tourist boats are less crowded during rush hour than the regular boats, because tourists don’t have to be at work on time, the lucky ones!
Getting on and off the boats has to be pretty fast and there is not always a gangway, if you have difficulty walking this can be a problem. The tourist boat might be a better option then.
Free boates to the shopping malls!
From the Sathorn Taksin Pier (Center) there are shuttle boats to ASIATIQUE The Riverfront and the in 2018 opened ICONSIAM shopping mall, this is absolutely free! From BTS Saphan Taksin follow the signs to Sathorn Pier. This is a few minutes walk. When you arrive at the pier turn left, you’ll already see signs with ASIATIQUE and ICONSIAM (they share the same pier). On the boats the destination is written in big letters, so it can’t go wrong! Maybe you’ll have to wait a while, but most of the time it all goes pretty smoothly. You are about ten minutes away by boat. Also from the Si Phraya ferry Pier boats leave for ICONSIAM. this ferry is next to the Si Phraya Express Pier.
Free boats to hotels
Hotels near or on the Chao Phraya River often have a shuttle service between the hotel and the Sathorn Pier. From the Sathorn Pier you can travel further via BTS Sathorn Taksin to the Siam area for example. This is a great area with many amazing shopping malls and Sky Bars! Nice Hotels that are located at the Chao Phraya and have a free shuttle service include Anantara Riverside. Mandarin Oriental and The Peninsula. The Millennium Hilton has a shuttle to/from ASIATIQUE The Riverfront. The Shangri-La Hotel has a free shuttle to the brand new shopping mall ICONSIAM
The white building is the Millenium Hilton Bangkok | Image: Isriya Paireepairit (Flickr)
In the surroundings of the Chao Phraya River
In the vicinity of the river there is a lot to see and do! We’ve collected a number of great options nearby for you, such as well-appreciated places to sleep, restaurants, shopping malls and places of interest worth seeing, you’re so close now! We hope this will make your visit to Bangkok even easier and more fun!
- V Varee Bangkok
- River View Guest House
- Prince Theatre Heritage Stay
- Navalai River Resort Bangkok
- Chatrium Hotel Riverside Bangkok
- Millennium Hilton Bangkok
- Lebua At State Tower
- Anantara Riverside Bangkok Resort
- Shangri-La Hotel Bangkok
- Mandarin Oriental Bangkok
We have already written several articles about some good places and areas to spend the night:
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The Chao Phraya River Express sails between Nonthaburi and Ratburana, the distance between these two lines is 21 km. There are currently a total of 28 piers on the Chao Phraya River.
Open: Monday to Friday from 06.00 – 20:00 (depending on which boat/flag) | Weekend 06.00 – 19.00
Tourist Boat: Daily from 09:00 – 20:30| Online discounted day pass can be purchased here: Blue flag boat (tourist boat)
Route via BTS: Saphan Taksin
Good eats in Bangkok
- River Vibe Restaurant & Bar
- Eat Sight Story
- Jack’s Bar
- Supatra River House
- River Side Dining Anantara
- Sheepshank Public House
- ASIATIQUE The Riverfront
We also wrote a number of other articles about good restaurants and coffee shops:
- The shopping malls of Bangkok
Shop till you drop in Bangkok’s mega malls
- The most amazing temples in Bangkok
You can’t actually leave Bangkok without visiting a temple.
- Parks in Bangkok
Beautiful green parks in the middle of Bangkok, a green oasis to relax for a while.
- Markets in Bangkok
Take a look into local life and look for bargains among the colourful market stalls.
- Museums in Bangkok
Here you discover the cultural (art) treasures of Thailand
- Fun activities in Bangkok
Alone or with children, there are so many fun things to do in Bangkok. Look at them here!
- Just get on one of the boats on the Chao Phraya River and be surprised by the special surroundings!