Bangkok Riverside Attractions

What to See in Riverside

A visit to Bangkok would not be complete without exploring the riverside for a taste of life in the Thai capital long before mobile phones, cable TV and microwave popcorn became all the buzz. Day or night, the riverside provides plentiful picture-perfect photo opportunities with its many historical landmarks and hidden charms.

The Chao Phraya is also the star attraction in the city during important events like Songkran (the Thai New Year, celebrated in April), the annual Loy Krathong Festival in November, and the very rare Royal Barge Procession - the most recent one held in June 2006 to celebrate the Diamond Jubilee of Thailand's King Bhumibol Adulyadej. On New Year's Eve, riverside hotels take turns to outdo each other with spectacular fireworks that light up the sky well into the new year.

A day spent at Bangkok's riverside is like taking a journey back into time. Many of Bangkok's most famous attractions are located along the river banks, the likes of the Temple of Dawn (Wat Arun), the splendid Grand Palace and the Temple of the Emerald Buddha (Wat Phra Kaew), as well as Wat Pho, Bangkok's oldest temple.


River of Kings

Bangkok became the capital of Thailand in the tumultuous years following the Burmese sacking of the former Siamese capital of Ayutthaya in 1767. Originally established on the western bank of the Chao Phraya River (known as Thonburi), the capital was later moved to the eastern side (Old City or Rattanakosin). As a result, the Thonburi side is much less developed. A series of 'khlongs' (canals) branch off into local neighborhoods where communities still live above the water, and where life takes place on the waterline. On the other side, too, many of the 'khlongs' that formerly formed a major transportation network still exist - the reason Bangkok was dubbed 'The Venice of the East' by early explorers. Even today it is still possible to catch a water taxi from the center of the city to the riverside.

Flowing south from the highlands on the country's northern border to the Gulf of Thailand near Bangkok, the Chao Phraya River - or 'River of Kings' - is some 365 km (225 miles) long and is Thailand's principal river. Throughout many centuries is has been both the country's and city's lifeblood, used for transportation, agriculture and providing in the day-to-day needs and livelihood of the people living along the water's edge. There are several islands in the Chao Phraya too, most notably Ko Kret, home to the minority Mon community who are renowned for their pottery skills, and believed to have been the first inhabitants of the Bangkok area.

During the day, the riverside offers plentiful exciting exploration opportunities and, by night, a romantic dinner cruise along the river with its many beautifully illuminated historical highlights rates among one of the most memorable experiences you can possibly have in Bangkok.

Tour Available: River of Kings

 

Bangkok Food Tour Bangkok Food Tour

If you’ve always wanted to try some of the great street food Bangkok has to offer but have been too afraid to ask, or even venture in to some of the local restaurants, then the Bangkok Food Tour is a great initiation. Read More...

 
OP Place Bangkok OP Place Antiques Gallery

Even if you haven’t come to Bangkok to take home an antique stone elephant or some modern art from the northern tribes of Thailand, OP Place (Oriental Plaza) is still a fantastic place to visit. Read More...

Bangkok Klong Tour Klong Tour in Bangkok

The best way to get a taste of Bangkok’s past is to explore the klongs (canals) on a long-tail boat. On the west side of the river in Thonburi you can get glimpses of what Bangkok was like before the skyscrapers and six-lane expressways. Read More...

 
Rivercity Rooftop Bar Rivercity Rooftop

Located on the fifth floor of the Rivercity shopping complex, Balco Bar maybe one of the least known rooftops of Bangkok but is actually a great one, offering one of the best panoramas of the Chao Phraya River. Read More...

All Attractions in Riverside

Asiatique The Riverfront

Asiatique has successfully combined two of the most popular shopping experiences in the city: a night bazaar and a mall. Ten minutes downriver from Saphan Taksin BTS station this once-bustling international trade port has been transformed, with over 1,500 boutiques and 40 restaurants housed under a huge replica warehouse complex. Open from 17:00, spending an evening here is no problem: you’ll have good fun browsing the boutiques, picking up gifts or something for yourself; you are guaranteed to find something you would like to eat and if this isn’t enough entertainment, shows are performed nightly: Calypso ladyboy cabaret and soon, a classic Thai puppets performance. Read More...

Opening Hours: 17:00-midnight
Location: Chareonkrung Soi 74-76
How to get there: The easiest and fastest way to get there is via boat. Take the BTS to Saphan Taksin and jump on the free shuttle at the end of the pier. It only takes ten minutes, and the boat runs until 23:00. Taxis are not recommended as the traffic can be terrible in this area.

Assumption Cathedral

Located in Bangrak, this is Bangkok's principal Roman Catholic cathedral and the main church of the Archdiocese of Bangkok, which dates back to 1662. It was built between 1910 and 1918 to replace an earlier church on the same spot, and repaired after sustaining severe damage during World War II. Pope John Paul II visited the church during his trip in 1984.

An impressive tall structure, it has a striking, almost luminescent red brick facade that contrasts pleasingly with surrounding buildings. The beautiful interior is classic Romanesque, with round arches, looming ceilings covered in rich rococo and stained glass. Murals on the walls of the nave at the end depict biblical scenes. There's a choir here, and although open everyday, mass on Sundays is especially popular (at 6am, 7:30am, 8:30am, 10am and 5pm).

Location: 23 Oriental Lane, Charoenkrung Road
BTS: Saphan Taksin
How to get there: Either take a taxi or embark the Chao Phraya Express Boat to Oriental Pier (N1).

Bangkok Forensic Museum

If your vision of a museum is a pretty display of artistic or cultural artifacts, then perhaps the Bangkok Forensic Museum is not for you. Located inside the Siriraj Hospital on the west bank of the Chao Phraya river, this sinister exhibition is more for the morbid or for travellers searching for something extremely unusual. The hospital actually features six distinct museums within two separate buildings, but only three of them seem to be of interest - obviously the creepiest ones: The pathology, anatomic forensic museums. All good fun... Read More...

Opening Hours: Monday to Saturday - 09:00 to 16:00
Price Range: 40 baht - free for children under 120 cm (not sure you should take kids there, though)
How to get there: Take the river shuttle near the Grand Palace. Catch the boat at Chang Pier or Prajan Pier, disembark just across the river at Pranok Pier, it's fairly simple. The ride only costs three baht.

King Rama I Monument

Otherwise known as King Puttayodfa, this double life-size monument to King Rama I was built to mark the city's 150th anniversary in 1932, along with the Puttayodfa Memorial Bridge next to which it sits. It was designed by HRH Prince Naris, and architect Silpa Bhirasri sculpted it in bronze. Born on March 20, 1736, King Rama I was the first king in the Chakri Dynasty which continues to this day. He ascended to the throne on April 6, 1782, and died 27 years later.

Location: Foot of Phra Phutta Yodfa Bridge (The Memorial Bridge), Bangkok side

OP Place

Even if you haven’t come to Bangkok to take home an antique stone elephant or some modern art from the northern tribes of Thailand, OP Place (Oriental Plaza) is still a fantastic place to visit. This shopping centre is more like an art gallery or museum than a department store with 50 boutiques displaying a host of fantastic pieces to admire, or if you are lucky, take home. As well as fine arts shops there are also some well-known tailors and jewellers. OP Place has a reputation for luxury and all antiques have been issued with certificates from Thailand’s Fine Arts Department, so you can shop without worry. Read More...

Opening Hours: 10:30 – 18:30 every day (some stores close on Sundays)
Location: 30/1 Soi Charoen Krung 38 (behind the Oriental Hotel)
BTS: Saphan Taksin
Tel: +66 (0)2 266 0186

Rivercity Shopping Complex

One of Bangkok's least-known rooftops is actually a great one, offering some of the best panoramas in town of the Chao Phraya River. Located on the fifth floor of the well-known Rivercity shopping complex, the rooftop is both a large Thai barbecue restaurant and the cozy venue of the 'Balco Bar. Not only the views are amazing, but the Thai barbecue itself is a fun and unusual experience for travellers wanting to discover a favourite Thai weekend dinner spot! Read More...

Opening Hours: Bar B Q, open 11:00-23:00, Balco Bar, open 18:30-midnight, closed Mondays
Location: Charoen Krung Soi 30 (next to the Royal Orchid Sheraton Hotel)
Tel: +66 (0) 2237 0077-8
How to get there: Get on the BTS to Saphan Taksin Station. There's a free shuttle boat service to Rivercity available at Sathorn Pier everyday from 10:00 to 20:00

Royal Barges Museum

Once upon a time in Bangkok the Chao Phraya River and its tributaries were the most important avenue of communication, boats the main mode of transport for all, even royalty. Here you can discover eight of the country's most unique and stunning - the Royal Barges reserved for auspicious ceremonies and state occasions like the very rare Royal Barge Procession.

Each is carved from huge pieces of teak with prows carved into mythical creatures, gilded in gold and intricately decorated with tiny shimmering pieces of glass. Rowed by up to 50 specially trained oarsmen, the boats leave their dry dock at festival times and important state occasions for these spectacular processions along the river. Read More...

Opening Hours: Daily 09:00 - 17:00
Address: Khlong Bangkok Noi (near Thonburi side, not far from Phra Pin Klao Bridge)
Tel: +66 (0) 2424 0004

The Grand Palace

If there is one must-see sight that no visit to Bangkok would be complete without, it's the dazzling, spectacular Grand Palace, undoubtedly the city's most famous landmark. Built in 1782 - and for 150 years the home of the Thai King, the Royal court and the administrative seat of government - the Grand Palace of Bangkok is a grand old dame indeed, that continues to have visitors in awe with its beautiful architecture and intricate detail, all of which is a proud salute to the creativity and craftsmanship of Thai people. Within its walls were also the Thai war ministry, state departments, and even the mint. Today, the complex remains the spiritual heart of the Thai Kingdom. Read More...

Opening Hours: Daily 08:30 - 15:30
Location: Na Phra Lan Road, Old City (Rattanakosin)
Price Range: Tickets sold from 8:30 - 15:30 and cost 400 baht! One ticket includes entry to Vimanmek Palace and Abhisek Dusit Throne Hall.

Wat Arun

Wat Arun, locally known as Wat Chaeng, is situated on the west (Thonburi) bank of the Chao Phraya River. It is believed that after fighting his way out of Ayutthaya, which was besieged by a Burmese army at the time, King Taksin arrived at this temple just as dawn was breaking.

He later had the temple renovated and renamed it Wat Chaeng, the Temple of the Dawn. During his reign (Thonburi Period), Wat Chaeng was the chief temple, and it once enshrined the Emerald Buddha and another important Buddha image, the Phra Bang, both of which had been removed from Vientiane. Read More...

Opening Hours: 08:00 -17:30
Location: Located on the west side of Chao Praya River (opposite Tha Thien Pier)
Price Range: 50 Baht

Wat Phra Kaew

Wat Phra Kaew or the Temple of the Emerald Buddha (officially known as Wat Phra Sri Rattana Satsadaram) is regarded as the most important Buddhist temple in Thailand. Located in the historic centre of Bangkok, within the grounds of the Grand Palace, it enshrines Phra Kaew Morakot (the Emerald Buddha), the highly revered Buddha image meticulously carved from a single block of jade. Read More...

Opening Hours: 8.30 am to 3.30 pm
Location: Na Phralan, Phra Nakorn (inside Grand Palace complex), Old City (Rattanakosin)
Dress Code: no short pants or short skirts, not sleeveless tshirts. Sarong are for rent at the entrance but better dress appropriately to avoid the queue.
Price Range: 400 Baht!

Related Tours

Bangkok River Cruise Tours

Bangkok's temples, the Chao Praya River and the ancient capital of Ayutthaya are three of Thailand's most iconic symbols and undoubtedly among its biggest attractions. Read More...

 
City Discovery Tours

From the city's most splendid temples to its evocative floating markets, we have all the excursions you need to discover Bangkok's awe-inspiring beauty and endless charms. Read More...

Related Pages

Top 10 Attractions in Bangkok

From the top 10 things to do, to the most unusual sites, and the most glamourous places to be, discover all the best attractions you don’t want to miss on your next visit to Bangkok. Read More...

 
Klongs of Bangkok Khlongs of Thonburi

Fancy exploring a ramshackle world of criss-crossing canal networks that sub-divide into even narrower canals, and are all lined with old wooden houses and pots of colourful flowers? Read More...

Best Selling Hotels on Riverside
Loading...

LOCATION :  
HOTEL :  
CHECK IN : CHECK OUT : FOR : NIGHT(S)
IN : Loading...  

Send us your feedback

Help us keep this website up-to-date by sending us your comments and suggestions. If your question is about a hotel please use this link - For TOUR questions and enquiries please use this link


Hotel Quick Finder

City:
Check In:
Check Out:
in:
Loading...
Bangkok Riverside
Download our Free {place} Guide

Asia Web Direct Travel Club members have access to our free travel guides, and lots of other travel specials and benefits from the Asia Travel Specialists.

Please enter your details and we'll send your free {place} Travel Guide to you straight away. We will also add you to our free Asia Web Direct Travel Club Newsletter.

All fields are required.

We will not pass your details on to any other company or individual. We take your privacy seriously!

in
in Loading... out