The mighty Chao Phraya river is 372 km long and starts at the confluence of the Ping and Nan rivers at Nakhon Sawan. It flows from the central plains to Bangkok and ends in the Gulf of Thailand. Some cities along the river are Chainat, Sing Buri, Ayutthaya, Pathum Thani, Samut Prakan and of course Bangkok. The southern part of the river have been modified through the years to make it shorter and easier for transportations. As early as 1538 the river was shortened by a vast 13 km in order to make travel from the gulf to the capital (at the time Ayutthaya) faster.
Through the years more work has been done to make the Chao Phraya shorter. The river really is the lifeblood of Bangkok, more than 50,000 people uses it everyday. It sure is worth visiting while you are here in Bangkok.
Many of Bangkok’s major luxury hotels are located along the river, Peninsula, Mandarin Oriental, Shangri-La, and many more. You will also find many restaurants, coffee shops and souvenir stands here.
Bangkok became Thailand’s capital in 1782 and have been growing ever since, with the Chao Phraya playing a major part in Bangkok’s development. Of course there is many bridges crossing the river, but still to this day boats are vital for transporting people across. Some major bridges are Rama 6, Phra Pin-Klao, Rama 8, Rama 4 and Mega bridge. There are more than 15 boat lines operating the river and canals including commuter lines. You will also see the big barge boats hauling heavy loads along the river. A popular area specially for tourists is the fairly new Asiatique, it is an open large mall with loads of restaurants, bars, shops and a popular ferriswheel on which you can see spectacular views of Bangkok. Easiest way to get there is to take the Skytrain (BTS) to Saphan Taksin station and catch the free shuttle boat at the end of the pier. It only takes 10 minutes and the boats runs until 11 pm. Taking taxis to Asiatique is not recommended as traffic in this area always is heavy. Other sights worth a visit are Wat Arun or the Grand Palace.
There are a number of options for you to choose from depending on your budget, what you like to see and how long time to spend on your boat excursion. Choose either one of the bigger boats and hop on and off at any pier you find interesting, these are very cheap but often overcrowded at peak hours so try and avoid rush hours. If you really want to explore the Chao Phraya river we recommend you to take a longtail boat on your own and it will take you for a ride along the river and small canals. It should not cost you more then 2000 thb for a 1.5-2 hour trip, this way you can enjoy the tour without any hassle. Why not take a stop at the snake show and take a look at the colossal snakes up close.
Whatever you decide to do we can assure you that it’s time and money well spent. Bring one of our Bangkok Massage Girls and your day will be even better.
Here are some pictures and video of the Chao Praya.