Exploring Bangkok River, Klongs and Canals

How it works - A beginner's guide

Exploring Bangkok by boat is a fantastic way to get a glimpse into the timeless charm of the city, as well as witness the role Bangkok’s many waterways have played in its past right up to the present day. With the wind in your hair and majestic sites and attractions lined up on both banks of the mighty Chao Phraya, most people fall for the charm of getting around Bangkok by boat.

However, using the extensive network of boats and ferries might appear complicated and requires research (which is explained in detail over the following pages). But for a first-time visitor here is a list of important points taken from our Bangkok Ferry and Boat Guide:

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Important points about Bangkok water travel

  • Bangkok waterways are divided in 3 parts:
    1. The main Chao Phraya river
    2. Klong Saen Saeb that cuts across Bangkok city from east to west
    3. Klongs of Thonburi, the network of canals on the opposite side of the river.
  • There are 6 main types of boats:
    1. river taxis (also called Express Boats)
    2. long tail boats,
    3. river crossing ferry,
    4. canal boats,
    5. private river cruises
    6. hotel shuttle boats.
  • There are 5 different types of Express Boat River Taxis:
    1. No flag (Local Line) – Stops at every Pier
    2. Blue Flag Line (tourist boat) – Stops when you want
    3. Orange Flag Line – Stops at the main piers
    4. Yellow Flag Line – Large express boat for commuters
    5. Green Flag Line – Express boat for commuters 
  • Long Tail Boats are like tuk-tuks on water. These yellow narrow boats can be rented privately. Cost is negotiable with the driver directly, but it is highly recommended to book a tour.
  • Sathorn Central Pier is directly in front of BTS Skytrain Station Saphan Taksin and provides a link from the riverside to the rest of the city. 
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