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River & Canal Trip

A cruise along the legendary Chao Phraya River, Bangkok, Thailand, and some canals on the Thon Buri side is the most pleasant way to explore the city once dubbed "Venice of the East" The majestic charm of the Chao Phraya adds perspective to your exploration of the city's premier attractions. Tourists can book such a tour through travel agents or rent a boat at Tha Chang (Tel: (02) 225-6179, (02) 623-6169), a pier near the Grand Palace, or Tha Si Phraya (Tel: (02) 235-3108) near the River City Shopping Complex.

Rivers and canals referred to maenam and khlong in Thai have always been vital forms of communication. When the capital of Thailand was moved to Bangkok in 1782 (the beginning of the Rattanakosin period), the capital was laced with canals, so Bangkok was sometimes called the "VENICE OF THE EAST" by European visitors.

In the past, Bangkokians usually settled by the Chao Phraya River and gradually spread into the core of the country. As you will see traces of the Early Rattanakosin period such as architecture and traditional ways of life have been left by the river more than in the inland areas. Besides, waterways at that time were the most important means of transportation and trading as well.

Nowadays, even though Bangkok has become a modern city, the Chao Phraya River as well as the canals are still charming for whoever wishes to seek the peaceful atmosphere amidst bustling Bangkok.

chao phraya canals
chao phraya canals
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Boat services on the Chao Phraya River which connect Bangkok with the northern neighboring province of Nonthaburi are operated by two companies: Laem Thong Co. Ltd., and Chao Phraya Express Boat Co.,Ltd. Tel (02) 623-6143

wat arun

Chao Phya Express Boats

:: Express Boat - Local Lines (No Flag)
run Monday-Friday from Wat Rajsingkorn to Nonthaburi during 06.00 am.-18.00 pm. and departure every 20 minutes; the fare range from 10 to 14 Baht.
:: Express Boat - (Orange Flag)
run daily from Wat Rajsingkorn to Nonthaburi during 05.50 am.-19.00 pm. and the fare 15 Baht.
:: Express Boat - (Yellow Flag)
run Monday-Friday from Sathorn to Nonthaburi ;and Ratburana (Big C) to Nonthaburi during 06.10 am.-19.30 pm. and the fare 20-29 Baht.
:: Express Boat - (Blue Flag)
run Monday-Friday from Sathorn(Taksin) to Nonthaburi(Pibul 3) during 07.00 am.-18.25 pm. and the fare 24-34 Baht.

On both sides of the Chao Phraya River, a tourist can see many magnificent temples and architectural buildings including the First Presbyterian Church, the Royal Thai Navy Dockyard, the Thai Maritime Navigation Company, the Old Customs House, Wat Prayunwong, Wat Arun, the Grand Palace, Wat Rakhang Kositaram, and the Royal Boat House.

When arriving at Pak Kret, tourists can travel further to Koh Kret, a small island in the Chao Phraya River. A river ferry leaves Wat Sanam Nua, which is located within a short walking distance from Pak Kret Pier during 6.00 a-m.-9.00 p.m. Returning to Pak Kret, visitors are able to catch a small long-tail boat at any pier around the island. The atmosphere surrounding the pier is very calm.

:: Pottery Village
is located along the pathway around the island. There are some huts where visitors are able to see through the pottery making process. Villagers make various kinds of earthen products for daily use such as pots, mortars, and flowerpots. This is the oldest and biggest source of earthenware in Nonthaburi province, in the village, there is the Ancient Mon Pottery Center where pottery in various style is exhibited.
:: Wat Poramai Yikawat
was constructed in Mon style over 200 years ago. King Rama V commanded to renovate the monastery dedicated to his grandmother and to construct Phra Maha Raman Chedi (a chedi in Mon style) to house Buddha relics. The principal Buddha of the monastery is carved with marble in Mon style, so it is also called "Wat Mon" (Mon Temple).
:: Wat Phai Lom
is well-known for the magnificent bot (ordination hall) in the Ayutthaya style. Some parts have been changed due to renovation. Behind the bot, there is a chedi in Mon style.

:: Wat Saotong Thong
houses an old Ayutthaya style chedi and was the first secondary school in Pak Kret.
Besides, There are many other interesting ancient monasteries most of which were constructed in the Mon and the Ayutthaya styles.
A boat service is operated during 6.30 a.m.-11.00 p.m. The boats depart from Tha Chang every half an hour until 11.00 a.m. They leave the pier when there are enough passengers. The boat fare is 30 Baht per person. It takes 50 minutes to Bang Yai, a district in Nonthaburi.
:: The Royal Barge National Museum
exhibits royal barges and their ornaments used for waterborne state ceremonies which have been held occasionally since the Sukhothai period. During the Ayutthaya period, a procession was held for the royal Kathin ceremony at the end of the rainy season in order to carry the kings to their royal monasteries to offer robes and other monastic paraphernalia to the monks. The museum is open everyday during 9.00 a.m. - 5.00 p.m., close on 31st December -1st January. Admission fee is 30 Baht.
:: Wat Suwannaram
is a big royal monastery constructed during the reign of King Rama I and was subsequently renovated during the reign of King Rama III. Inside the bot, there are murals depicting the jataka, deities and the Buddha image in Subduing Mara Posture. These works of art of the early Rattanakosin period (1 9th century) are considered as the best surviving mural painting in Bangkok.
:: Wat Si Sudaram or Wat Chi Pakhao
was built during the Ayutthaya period and was renovated by King Rama I. The temple houses some interesting buildings including Tarn Nak Daeng (a pavilion). Sala Kan Parian (a sermon hall) , and the residence of Sunthon Phu (the greatest poet of the Rattanakosin period). Moreover, visitors can enjoy feeding a number of freshwater fish here.
::Wat Chalo
is assumed to have been constructed during the Sukhothai period as some Buddha images in Sukhothai style were found in front of the bot.
:: Wat Pho Bang O
is a monastery constructed during the reign of King Rama III. The top of the bot was made of wood; mural painting inside the bot was made during the existence of the Nonthaburi school of painting.
:: Wat Bang 0l Chang
houses a 200-year-old Buddha sole, which was found by Phra Khru Nawa Kam Koson (the first abbot of this monastery) while traveling in Phitsanuloke province during 1986 A.D.
:: Wat Kaeo Fa
is an ancient temple located in an open area next to Khiong Bangkok Noi. According to archaeologists, many buildings and art objects here were constructed in the Ayutthaya style; for example; the Ubosot, the Buddha image, the boundary stones, the boundary wall, the chedi behind the bot and the chedi with 12 cornered indented pillar. The monastery later was renovated during the Rattanakosin period.
:: Wat Prasat
was built during the Late Ayutthaya period. The monastery is well-known for its well-preserved mural painting made by artisans of the Nonthaburi school, and the gable made of carved timber. Visitors who come along by boat have to walk about 2 kilometers through orchards from the pier.
:: Wat Amphawan
was constructed during the Late Ayutthaya period. This temple houses Ho Trai (a hall for keeping scriptures) which is situated in the middle of a pond. The building was made of wood in magnificent Thai style.

chao phraya

After arriving at Bang Yai (a district in Nonthaburi), travelers who expect to continue the trip to Nonthaburi can catch another taxi boat at Wat Sao Thong Hin pier which is situated within a walking distance from Bang Yai pier. The boat service is operated during 4.00 a.m.-8.00 p.m. It takes 15-20 minutes. The fare is 12 Baht/person. Next to Wat Sao Thong Hin, Wat Rat Prakhong Tham has a three-top building which houses a huge reclining Buddha image.

Along the route, visitors are able to enjoy the peaceful scenery and waterway life along Khlong Om. Houses along both sides of the canal look very tidy. Almost every house is made of wood in the same style, Colourful flowers are also planted along verandahs by the river.

Mit Chao Phraya Express Boat operates another boat trip on Saturdays during 8.30 a.rn.-12.30 p.m. through Khlong Bangkok Noi, Bang Kruai, Khlong Om, and stops for sightseeing at the Royal Barge Museum.  The trip costs 100 Baht/person. For more information, Tel: (02) 225-6179, 623-6169

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Visitors willing to take a private trip along this route are able to rent a boat from Tha Chang at the rate of approximately 400 Baht per hour. For advance reservations contact Mit Chao Phraya Co. Ltd. at Tha Chang, Tel: (02) 225-6179, (02) 623-6169 and Si Phraya Trip and Boat Co. Ltd. at the River City Shopping Complex, Tel: (02) 41 2-0207, (02) 41 2-7644.

:: Wat Sai Floating Market should be visited in the late morning when many boats assemble for selling souvenirs to visitors.

:: Snake Farm, 35 minutes from Wat Sai Floating Market, is another stop for sightseeing and watching a snake show. The farm is open daily from 8.30

:: Wat Pak Nam is famous for amulets and is always crowded with a number of people who come to make merit during the weekend.

::Wat Ko houses an old viharn (chapel) which was registered as an archaeological site.

:: Orchid Farms grow orchids for sale as cut-flowers.

:: Taling Chan Floating Market is held every weekend. Boats and stalls gather here for selling a variety of food.
Chao Phraya Chartered Co. Ltd. operates a daily tour along Khlong Mon - Khlong Bangkok Noi during 2.30-4.30 p.m., leaving the River City Shopping Complex on Charoen Krung Road. The fare is 360 baht per person including fruit and drinks. For more information, Tel: (02) 622-7657-61 ext. 111 The luxurious cruise from Bangkok to the former capital's ruins of Ayutthaya and the Bang Pa-In Summer Palace are operated every day by the following companies:
Tel. (02) 236-0400-20
The Oriental Hotel 8.00 a.m.-5.00 p.m.
 every day
1,800 Baht/person
Tel. (02) 266-931 6, (02) 266-9125-6
The River City Shopping Complex 8.00 a.m.-5.00 p.m.
every day
1,500 Baht/person
Tel. (02) 266-8165-6
The Shangri-La Hotel 8.00 a.m.-5.00 p.m.
every day
1,490 Baht/person
Tel. (02) 476-0021-2
The Marriott Royal Garden Riverside Two-day package 308-472 US$/person
Tel. (02) 256-7168-9
The Maenam Hotel Two-day package 4,800-5,600Baht/person
Tel. (02) 222-5330, (02) 225-3002-3
Tha Maharat Pier. The tour include a visit to
the Thai Folk Arts & Handicrafts Centre.
8.00 a.m.-5.30 p.m.
(only on Sundays)
280 Baht/person
Tel. (02) 225-6179, (02) 623-6169
Tha Chang to BangPa-In 8.00 a.m.-5.00 p.m.
(only on Sundays)
280 Baht/person
Tel: (02) 921-8670-5
From Dairy Queen Restaurant near
 Phra Nang Klao Bridge to Wat Arun
8.00-10.00 p.m.
every day
70 Baht per person
for the boat cruise;
 dinner costs as
Tel: (02) 433-6611, (02) 424-8453-4
From Khanab Nam Restaurant Krung Thon
 Bridge to Rama IX Bridge
8.00-10.30 p.m.
every day
70 Baht per person
for the boat cruise; dinner costs as ordered.
Tel: (02) 437-4932, (02) 437-7329
From the Oriental Hotel Pier to Tha Wasukri 6.00-8.00 p.m.
8.00-10.00 p.m.
twice daily
880 Baht per person
including dinner.
Tel: (02) 476-0021-2
From Marriott Royal Garden Riverside
Hotel to Tha Wasukri
7.30-10.00 p.m.
every day
950 Baht per person
including dinner.
Tel: (02) 434-0090-3
From Riverside Plaza Hotel near Krung Thon
Bridge to Rama IX Bridge
8.00-10.30 p.m.
8.30-11.00 p.m.
70 Baht per person
for the boat cruise; dinner costs as ordered.
Tel: (02) 863-0565, (02) 863-1708
From Yok-Yor Restaurant Dank-of Thailand to Rama, IX 8.30-10.30 p.m.
every day
140 Baht per person
excluding dinner.