Over in Thailand lies one of the more major rivers, cutting through the very centre of the country. In fact, it goes directly through the capital of Bangkok, and out into the Gulf of Thailand. Some of the most significant towns and cities lie along the river, having greatly profited from its position – but what makes it such a unique river?
One of the very best ways to experience Thailand and its cities is through boat – an interesting luxury that not many countries can provide. Thailand is lucky to be one of them, and the Chao Phraya river is the best possible candidate. Exploring the many canals of Bangkok is an especial privilege that we as tourists ought to be grateful, as these are the very same canals that are often referred to as the arteries of the country.
The rich history of the Bangkok canals, explorable through the Chao Phraya river, are infinitely travelable with at least 1,682 canals recorded in the city as of 2019. It’s this that earned the Thai capital the nickname of the “Venice of the East.”
The bulk of the Chao Phraya river itself is formed by the conjunction of the Ping, Wang, Yom, and Nan rivers. It’s these tributaries that contribute to the great size and length of the Chao Phraya. Its greatness has led to it earning a nickname of its own, often being called the ‘River of Kings’ in English.
For many people living along the banks of the river, it’s not only a way of life but a source of income, and a means of travel – either to work, or back home. It’s as culturally important to the people of Thailand as it is commercially important. And as a valued piece of nature, it can’t be understated enough how beautiful the shimmering waters are.
On a trip along the river, there are plenty of gorgeous sights to witness. Such attractions are the Temple of the Reclining Buddha named Wat Pho, or the Temple of the Emerald Buddha named Wat Phra Kaew. Even the Grand Palace is accessible from the river here! It’s simply the most interesting, and most convenient means of exploration for the hottest Thailand attractions.
Most ferries are fairly cheap, typically costing between ฿10-40 and running between Monday-Friday. The only exception to this is the orange-flagged ferry, which operates every day. Tickets can be purchased either on the docks where the ferries operate, or on the ferries themselves. Timetables are available, with some ferries leaving every minute, whilst others leave every half and hour. It’s a fairly popular attraction, so it’s likely that you’ll be with plenty of other tourists.
Visiting during one of the rainier seasons, between May and October, come with a recommendation of both caution, and of bringing a towel along with you (along with spare socks). But overall, a trip over the Chao Phraya is one for the books. It provides a good look into some of Thailand’s culture and history, and serves as an excellent opportunity to enjoy some of its finer attractions.
Directions: BTS Station Taksin
Entrance fee: Tourist Boat 200 Baht
Opening hours: 9:00 - 20:30
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