6. Khlong Saen Saeb
Route Guide and How to use it
Dirty and dangerous... but also handy, vibrant and exhilarating. With ornate Italian Barocco bridges and river boats that resemble gondolas on steroids, Khlong Saen Saeb is the closest to the Venice of the East you'll find in central Bangkok. Stretching west to east across the map of Bangkok, Khlong Saen Saeb begins in the Old City, near the Mahakhan Fortress at the end of Ratchadamnoen Road, and runs all the way to Chachoengsao Province, where it ends by flowing into the Bang Pa Kong River. It cuts through central areas like Phayathai, Pratunam, Chitlom, Nana, Asok Road, Thonglor and Ekkamai, running parallel to Phetchaburi and New Phetchaburi Roads, before turning up Ramkhamhaeng Road and on to Bangkapi.
There are two lines - the western line (terminating at Golden Mount) and the eastern line (terminating at Wat Si Bunrueang, near the National Institute of Development Administration). The interchange, at Pratunam pier, feels seamless and tickets are valid on both lines. This route guide features the most useful or interesting stops along the 18km long route which serves Khlong Saen Saeb, including what can be found at each one.
While busy during rush hour, it's convenient for shopping, sightseeing. There are temples, markets, old simple wooden houses and interesting bridges en route, and it is possible to walk along the banks in many places. Simply wave them down and wait patiently for two helmeted deckhands to jump ashore, ropes in hand for fastening. Be warned though: rush-hours are busy and falling in could prove fatal.
Opening Hours: 05:30 - 20:30
Price: between 10 and 20 baht, with increments of 2 baht depending on distance
Areas Served by the River Buses
A shopping haven. Find everything from street fashion to top-end designer labels, luxury goods and even sports cars at the range of shopping malls all located in the same area: MBK, Siam Paragon, Siam Discover, Siam Square and Siam Centre. To get here, hop off at Saphan Hua Chang Pier.
Another shopping haven, for those on a tight budget or in search of something totally off-the-wall. Find all your accessories from Platinum Market, Platinum Fashion Mall, or hit Pantip Plaza for cheap computer equipment. To get here, hop off at Pratunam Central Pier.
From luxury hotels to high street fashion and malls, Ratchaprasong has it all. Other highlights include the Erawan shrine and gourmet eateries along Lang Suan Road. To get here, hop off at Chidlom Pier.
the see and be-seen street. Peppered with hip outdoor malls and trend-setting pubs, the entire stretch of Thong Lor is like a giant magnet that draws the younger and well-to-do crowds. To get here, hop off at Thong Lor Pier.
Khlong Saen Saeb - Pier by Pier Guide
Bo Bae Market
Location: Beside Bo Bae Tower, off Khrung Kasem Road
What is around: Bo Bae wholesale clothes market, stalls line the canal path and there are dilapidated but interesting shophouses and alleyways.
Ban Krua Nua
Location: At the end of narrow soi near BTS National Stadium station
What is around: Visit famous silk entrepreneur Jim Thompson’s House or walk past the rickety wooden homes on the opposite side. Some are home to the weavers who provided silk fabrics to a young Jim Thompson when he was starting out.
Hua Chang Bridge
Location: Beneath Hua Chang Bridge (Elephant Head Bridge), Phayathai Road, near BTS Ratchathewi station
What is around: Siam Square, Siam Paragon, Siam Discovery or MBK (turn left from pier, then take a short walk or tuk-tuk ride); to visit Jim Thompson’s House (turn right along canal path, walk around 200 metres).
Pratunam Pier (Interchange)
Location: beneath bridge on Ratchadamri Road, just before junction with Petchaburi and Ratchaprarop Roads
What is around: Pratunam Market, Platinum Fashion mall or Panthip Plaza IT mall (turn right on leaving pier, then first left into Petchaburi Road); CentralWorld, Gaysorn and Erawan (turn left down Ratchadamri Road); Ganesha, Trimurti or Erawan shrines (turn left down Ratchadamri Road)
Location: beneath bridge, north of Chidlom Road
What is around: Skytrain Chidlom BTS station, Central Chidlom (turn right down Chidlom Road), or enjoy a gourmet meal at one of Lang Suan Road's hi-so restaurants (turn right down Chidlom Road, cross Ploenchit road and continue straight).
Location: Beneath Witthayu Bridge, Wireless Road
What is around: The British Embassy (turn left down Wireless Road)
Nana Nua Pier
Location: Beneath Sukhumvit Soi 3 bridge, northern end near Petchaburi Road
What is around: Experience the Midde Eastern/Little African enclave that is Soi 3, to visit sleazy red light district Nana Plaza on Soi 4, to get a check-up at Bumrungrad Hospital (turn right down Soi 3 to find them all)
Location: Beneath bridge at junction with Phetchaburi and Asok Road
What is around: Catch the underground (MRT Phetchaburi), visit Siam Society museum and cultural centre, or experience red-light district Soi Cowboy.
Soi Thonglor Pier
Location: Beneath bridge at north end of Soi Thonglor (Sukhumvit 55), near junction with New Petchaburi Road
What is around: Hang with Bangkok's hip urban youth in Thonglor's cafes and boutiques (turn right over bridge), to visit clubbing zone RCA (short taxi ride)
Sapan Klongtun Pier
Location: Beneath bridge, near busy intersection of New Petchaburi and Ramkhamhaeng road
What is around: Catch a taxi to clubbing zone RCA, or Ekkamai Bus Station
The Mall Ramkhamhaeng Pier
What is around: The Mall Ramkhamhaeng, near Rama IX Road intersection.
The Mall Bangkapi Pier
What is around: The Mall Bangkapi
The Khlongs and Canals of Bangkok