After all the window shopping, meandering on the streets, tasting of cuisines, partying & night life, a sitting alongside of a river with a beautiful view of the city, with your friends or all alone is must in any travel.
BANGKOK, a travel destination for numerous travellers, globetrotters and tourists is the capital of Thailand. One of the best parts of travelling to Bangkok is that it’s situated over the banks of the principle river of Thailand, Chao Phraya River also known as Maenam.
This is the river which gave Bangkok one of its names which is ‘Venice of the East’ and is referred as the artery of the city.
There are a lot of things you should know about the Chao Phraya River which will make you pack your bags and visit Bangkok as soon as possible and spend at least one day exploring this canal.
The Chao Phraya River is translated differently according to different media. According to James McCarthy who was Director-General of the Siamese Government, Maenam is a term where ‘Mae’ signifies ‘Mother’ & ‘nam’ signifies ‘Water’.
It is often referred as ‘River of kings’ in Thailand. It is due to its rich culture as the early settlers chose the spot due to its fertility for agriculture and abundance of food which were the prime requirements then.
The spot became a kingdom when in 1782, King Rama I founded the modern Bangkok along the banks and made some of the most beatific looking temples.
How to reach
You can take a local cab, tuk-tuk or any means of transport to reach the Sathorn Bridge pier as its easy from there to explore Chao Phraya River more conveniently. If taking the BTS skytrain, go to Silom line and head for Saphan Taskin. Its walking distance from there.
Not only it’s famous for its beauty but also it helps thousands of commuters including tourists to commute easily. Ferries are a main transport system in Bangkok. Most of the attractions lie on the banks of Bangkok. Hence, it’s easy for tourists to take ferries to reach their respective destinations.
There is a Chao Phraya Express Boat company which operates five public boat lines that are ‘Blue’, ‘Orange’, ‘Yellow’, ‘Green-Yellow’& ‘Local line’ covering the stretch of 21km.Each coloured ferry has a different route and it could be identified with the colour of flag on the ferry.
The local line is for locals as it stops on 34 piers whereas other four stops at selected piers, basically the stop for tourists. The cost for cross-river ferries is 3-4 baht. Only the orange line costs 15 baht as it has selected pier stops especially for the tourists and is operated throughout the day and weekends unlike others which are not available in the afternoon.
Other options for tourists are to book a private dinner cruise, river cruise, long tailed boat or a simple boat for a comfortable journey as sometimes at rush hour the ferries gets over crowded.
There is also a ‘Tourist boat’ available for tourists which charges 150 Baht flat fee and runs almost every 30 minutes. The service provided is that you can take unlimited trips to nine famous piers which are mostly explored by tourists. These piers are:
· Sathorn Pier (BTS Taksin Bridge station)
· River City Pier
· Lhong 1919 Pier
· Ratchawong Pier
· Pakklong Taladd (Yodpiman) Pier
· Wat Arun Pier
· Tha Maharaj Pier
· Thonburi Railway Pier
· Phra Arthit Pier
Here’s the time table:
Things to do
The Chao Phraya River is the main river of Bangkok because most of the temples and tourist attractions are built right on the banks of this river. It’s easy to reach there using the transport like ferries and with a ticket fee of nominal charge, you can experience the best of Bangkok cultural, traditional and other historical places.
Some of them are:
1. Grand Palace and Wat Prakeaw
Built in 1782, and for 150 years it was the home of Thai kings and the Royal Court. The Grand Palace is divided into two main zones, which are the Temple of the Emerald Buddha and the royal residence.
An important tip is that you shouldn’t wear questionable clothes. Go for black and white to offer your condolence to the kings.
Location: 1 Na Phra Lan Rd, Khet Phra Nakhon, Krung Thep Maha Nakhon 10200, Thailand.
Entry fee: The ticket costs 500 baht and one ticket includes entry to the Vimanmek Palace and Abhisek Dusit Throne Hall.
2. Wat Arun (The Temple of Dawn)
It is the highest prang of Thailand scaling 80 metres. You would remember it by many postcards. Built in 19th century in Khmer architectural style on the chao phra river bank, apart from its beauty it resembles the birth of Rattanakosin period.
Location: 158 Thanon Wang Doem, Khwaeng Wat Arun, Khet Bangkok Yai, Krung Thep Maha Nakhon 10600, Thailand.
Entry fee: Entry fees are 10 baht/ticket and boats are mostly used to reach there. It is opposite to Wat Pho hence easy to reach and a great attraction for tourists.
3. Wat Pho.
Also known as Temple of Reclining Buddha, Wat Pho is one of the six temples in Thailand that are of the highest grade of first class Royal temples. It has a 46-meter long reclining Buddha which is breath-taking to watch.
Location: 2 Sanam Chai Rd, Khet Phra Nakhon, Krung Thep Maha Nakhon 10200, Thailand.
Entry fee: The entrance fee is 100 Baht.
4. Wat Kalayanamit
It is located on Thonburi side, beside Chao Phraya River. It was built in 1825 by a king name Toh Kalayanamit. It has a Buddha statue known as Wiharn in ‘Palilai’ posture which is 10 meters 3 cubits wide, 14 meters 2 cubits high.
It was made by King Rama III on May 18th 1837. In front of the royal wiharn is a bell tower, which is the biggest bell in Thailand. It’s a must to visit this place to see the culture and beauty of traditions of Thailand.
Location: New Arun Amarin Rd, Khet Thon Buri, Krung Thep Maha Nakhon 10600, Thailand.
Entry Fee: The entry fee is 500 Baht per person and the same ticket can be used for Vimanak Palace for entry also.
5. Royal Barges Museum
It is the museum of some of the best canal boats you’ll ever see. There are eight of the most unique and beautiful royal barges carved from huge pieces of teak wood. These boats are working but are sailed only on special occasions such as royal processions.
Each of them is engraved with mythical creature, carved with name, year of manufacture and other details. Covered in gold and other intriguing colours and covered with glass decoration, the royal barges should be witnessed once.
Location: 80/1, Krung Thep Maha Nakhon 10700, Thailand.
Entry fee: Entry fee is 100 Baht per person and for camera its extra 100 Baht.
Restaurants & Cuisines
Chao Phraya River is the home of many species of fish and some of them are exotic as well as a good treat. Having lunch, dinner along the bank of any river is a treat in itself.
With the immense beauty of Bangkok at night, with all the buildings, temples lighten up, the glory helps gulping down the famous cuisine with a feeling of happiness.
There are some restaurants along the bank of Chao Phraya River which are must visit. These are:
1. Steve Cafe & Cuisine
The relaxed atmosphere and the corner space location of this restaurant makes it a unique place to have dinner. The Thai food is delicious here and the vibes of different tourist along with a beautiful view makes it even better.
Location: 68 Thanon Si Ayutthaya, Khwaeng Wachira Phayaban, Khet Dusit, Krung Thep Maha Nakhon 10300, Thailand.
Opening Hours: 11.00am – 10.30pm
2. The Deck
The Wat Arun at night looks majestic and beautiful. Covered with lights and all golden, it’s a treat to watch. The Deck is a restaurant with delicious Thai food and also the view from this restaurant is directed to the Wat Arun (The Temple of Dawn).
Address: Arun Residence, 36-38 Soi Pratoo Nok Yoong, Maharat Road, Thailand.
Opening Hours: Mon – Thurs 11.00am – 10.00pm, Fri – Sun 11.00am – 11.00pm
3. Sheepshank Public House
The owner of the restaurant actually transformed it from an abandoned boatshed. This rough looks of it along with the view of the city makes this place a special place to have a meal. The essence of a boatshed could be felt inside.
Address: 49 Phra Athit Rd, Khwaeng Chana Songkhram, Khet Phra Nakhon, Krung Thep Maha Nakhon 10200
Opening Hours: 11.00am – 1.00am (Closed on Mondays)
The Night Life
The night spent at a riverside is always a night spent well. After all the tourist chores when the party time comes, Bangkok has some of the best party scenes. It has numerous streets, night clubs, bars to treat you with booze and dance. A beer along the banks of river with a mesmerizing view of city covered in lights and people is probably the best part of any travel.
Night can be spent in different ways on Chao Phraya River.
1. Sky Bar at Lebua State Tower
If you’ve seen Hangover movie, then you’ll be familiar with this bar. The rooftop bar over 63 floors is the world’s tallest sky bar and offers the best view of Bangkok city than anything else. The 360 degree view at night with a party going on and Chao Phraya River reflecting the soul of the city will knock you out already.
Also the restaurant Sirocco on the top is one of the best restaurants in Bangkok with some of the best chef’s and cuisines.
Address: 1055 Si Lom, Khwaeng Silom, Khet Bang Rak, Krung Thep Maha Nakhon 10500, Thailand
2. ASIATIQUE: The Riverfront
If you want to spend your night shopping and experiencing the traditions of the city, ASIATIQUE: The Riverfront is the best place. Set on the banks of Chao Phraya River, it is a night complex with all the national/international brands, open pubs or beer gardens, street food vendors selling delicious local food and many other things.
At the top of everything there is a massive Ferris wheel which should be experienced if anyone visits Bangkok. It gives the immense fun along with the view of whole city covered with night light.
Address: Chareonkrung soi 74-76
Price for Ferris wheel: 200 Baht for adults and 150 Baht for children.
3. Dinner Cruise
If you want to spend your night romantically with your partner with a romantic dinner then the Dinner Cruise will be the best option to impress your partner. You can enjoy Bangkok's night landscape and cool breeze in the middle of the Chao Phraya River riding a cruise with different types of cuisines in buffet. What else satisfies the night?
There will be live music, you can dance on it. There will be international buffet for dinner to feast on. There will be 2 hour ride which is enough to sooth your eyes with the beauty of the city and the majestic Chao Phraya River.
Address: Inside River City complex, beside Pier 1, next to River City Plaza: 3 Trok Rongnamkhaeng, Si Phaya Pier, Yota Road, Sampantawong, Bangkok 10100
Cost: It will cost you 1400-1500 Baht per person.
So, your itinerary is now planned I guess. Start with the ferries to visit all the beautiful places and temples. Have your lunch at any restaurant on the banks of river with the blissful view. In the evening, go shopping or party around and take the dawn sight of the city. Spend your night on the banks of the Chao Phraya River with your friends, family or partner peacefully.
Don’t think much and plan a trip to Bangkok right now to experience the best.