3. Chao Phraya Pier Guide

Bangkok Waterways

This printable guide has been designed to highlight the most interesting piers found along the 21km Chao Phraya River Express Boat route. Temples, a wet market or an unexpected enclave... if it's something worth seeing then it's here. Once you've decided which piers you want to visit, use the quick links below to familiarise yourself with the different ferry lines, namely their routes, schedules and fares. Then set off on your custom-made - and dirt cheap - adventure on the River of Kings.

A quick tip: of the five lines that ply the water the Orange Flag is your best bet - it operates all day. After the morning rush-hour, boats come every 20 minutes until around 16:00 when other lines kick into action and boats appear more frequently. If completely confused by the melee, another more comfortable option is a 'Tourist Boat', though these only come every 30 minutes.

Operating Hours: 06:00 - 19:30
Price: Typically between 10 to 15 baht, though long journeys at peak hours can reach 30 baht (fares paid onboard).

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North Route (North of Sathorn)

Sathorn (Central Pier)

Reasons to come:

  • Saphan Taksin Skytrain (BTS) Station
  • Silom Road
  • Sathorn Road
  • Eminent Riverside Hotels, including Shangri-La Bangkok and lebua at State Tower
  • Shuttle boats to hotels like The Peninsula Bangkok, Millennium Hilton Bangkok, Menam Riverside Hotel, Mandarin Oriental Hotel Bangkok and Bangkok Marriott Resort & Spa.
  • Shuttle boat to Bangkok Night Festival Market named Asiatique the Riverfront

Lines: tourist, local, orange, yellow, green-yellow, blue 

Oriental (N1)

Reasons to come:

  • the colonial atmospheres and period architecture of the old Western quarter
  • the venerable Mandarin Oriental Hotel Bangkok, the perfect place for literary nostalgia and afternoon tea on the Author's Lounge
  • OP Place, an upmarket antiques arcade housed in a white period building
  • French Embassy

Lines: tourist, local, orange

Si Phaya (N3)

Reasons to come:

  • River City, a modern shopping complex selling pricey antiques
  • Royal Orchid Sheraton Hotel & Towers
  • Bustling Charoen Krung Road
  • Bangkok Folk Museum

Lines: tourist, local, orange, yellow, green-yellow

Rachawongs (N5)

Reasons to come:

  • Chinatown, one of the city's most evocative and historic enclaves (walk up Ratchawong Road)
  • Offbeat shopping: used amulets, Canto pop cassettes, Guan Yin statues, gold, Chinese medical herbs, birds nest soup etc
  • Sampeng Lane, a charismatic alley lined with cheap clothes, food and household items (walk up Ratchawong Road)
  • Wat Mangkon Kamalawat, a Chinese temple with Buddhist, Taoist and Confucian shrines

Lines: tourist, local, orange, yellow, green-yellow 

Memorial Bridge/Saphan Phut (N6)

Reasons to come:

  • Saphan Phut Night Market
  • King Rama I Monument
  • Pak Khlong Talad, Bangkok's biggest 24-hour flower/fruit market (turn left out of pier, walk for 10 minutes)
  • Sampeng Lane, a narrow old alley lined with cheap clothes, food and household items
  • Pahurat Road/Little India, the Indian enclave famed for its Hindu iconography and fabrics

Lines: tourist, local, orange 

Tha Tien (N8)

Reasons to come:

  • Wat Pho (Temple of the Reclining Buddha)
  • cross-river ferry to Wat Arun, the Temple of Dawn
  • dried seafood market found along a parade of King Rama V-era shophouses 
  • restaurants and bars overlooking Wat Arun

Lines: tourist, local, orange 

Tha Chang (N9)

Reasons to come:

  • a leafy old enclave brimming with atmosphere and King Rama V-era shophouses
  • Maharaj Road's pavement market selling everything from used Buddhist amulets and phallic charms to old religious texts and false teeth
  • the city's most venerable temples (Wat Phra Kaew, Wat Mahathat)
  • the iconic Grand Palace
  • National Museum
  • Sanam Luang, the old, oval-shaped Royal park
  • authentic local food at the pedestrianised market in front of the pier 

Lines: local, orange 

Maharaj Pier

Reasons to come:

  • The iconic Grand Palace
  • City's most venerable temples, including Wat Phra Kaew and Wat Mahathat
  • National Museum, Sanam Luang, the old, oval-shaped Royal park

Lines: tourist

Wang Lang (N10)

Reasons to come:

  • a women's clothing market selling cheap shoes, bags, dress, T-shirts and accessories (popular with teenagers)
  • Patravadi Theatre, a riverside playhouse staging traditional/modern performing arts
  • Wat Rakhang Khositaram, and ancient Ayutthaya temple with five bells inside
  • Siriraj Hospital

Lines: tourist, local, orange, yellow, green-yellow, blue

Phra Pin Klao Bridge (N12)

Reasons to come:

Lines: local, orange, yellow, green-yellow

Phra Arthit (N13)

Reasons to come:

  • Phra Athit Road's tree-shaded atmosphere, hip shophouse boutiques and cafes
  • nearby backpacker ghetto Khao San Road (10-minute walk)
  • Banglamphu clothing market
  • Wat Chana Songkram
  • National Art Gallery
  • early 20th Century architecture style made popular by King Rama V
  • vintage postcards and kooky one-off blouses
  • superb Indian food at Roti Mataba, a tiny box of a restaurant
  • bohemian coffee shops like Coffee & More, Joy Luck Club or On Art
  • chilled out Santiphap Park
  • the Phra Sumen fort

Lines: tourist, local, orange

King Rama VIII Bridge (N14)

Reasons to come:

  • to visit Bank of Thailand Museum
  • to see up close the King Rama VIII bridge
  • for Samsen Road – home to guesthouses and a few decent live music bars
  • to dine at Kin Lom Chom Saphan, a relaxed open-air restaurant overlooking the river (Samsen Soi 3)

Lines: local line

Thewet (N15)

Reasons to come:

  • to make merit by releasing fish into the river
  • to witness the feeding frenzy as people feed catfish beneath the pier
  • to dine at an old wooden restaurant overlooking the river
  • to visit the lively wet market beside the canal (walk 100 metres, turn left over footbridge)
  • to get to the nearby Royal district of Dusit (Wat Benchamabophit, Dusit Zoo, Vimanmek Mansion, Ananta Samakhom Throne Hall). 

Lines: local, orange, yellow, green-yellow

Nonthaburi (N30)

Reasons to come:

  • Nonthaburi, a charming provincial town with old fashioned clock tower, cyclos (bicycle taxis), a clothing market and early 20th Century European-style civic buildings
  • Koh Kret, the nearby Mon tribe island and daytripper favourite

Lines: local, orange, yellow, green-yellow, blue 

Kiak Kai (N21)

Reasons to come:

  • interesting temple
  • short taxi ride from Soi Ari, a hip road popular with the city's arty urban youth
  • Krung Thon Bridge 
  • River Side Bangkok Hotel

Lines: local, orange

South Route (South of Sathorn)

Wat Worachanyawas (S2) and Wat Rajsingkorn (S3)

Reasons to come:

  • low-key temple complexes serving local communities

Lines: local, orange

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