Bangkok was once known as the ‘Venice of Asia’. This is because of the kilometres of canals, called ‘klongs’, that once criss-crossed the city and served as boulevards to get from one area of the city to the next.
Sadly, most of these klongs fell victim to the inevitable modernization of the city. Nowadays, in order to experience a glimpse into old Bangkok, you need to explore the still-remaining klongs off the Chao Phrya River.
But before you explore these ancient klongs, you should experience commuting on the river as thousands of residents do by taking the Express Boat River Taxis that journey back and forth along the river and stop at the numerous piers to let passengers on and off.
See the Sights by an Express Boat River Taxi
Different river taxis have different flags signifying that they only stop at certain piers. But, they have river taxis, flying a blue flag, that are specifically aimed at tourists who want the option of choosing which pier the boat stops at.
If you’re new to Bangkok and the Chao Phrya River, this is the boat you’ll want to take. For 100 Baht, you’ll get a pass that’s good for the whole day between 9 AM and 7 PM. This is a great way to get an overview of the sights on the river. You can ride these river taxis to your heart’s content up and down the river and disembark to investigate any stop that look interesting.
The conductor will call out each stop and ask who wants to get off. Simply raise your hand to indicate that you’d like the boat to stop at the upcoming pier. The conductors will also point out places of interest along the route.
Explore the Klongs by Long-tail BoatThese ubiquitous, long and narrow boats got their name because of the long boom with a propeller at the end that stick out from the stern of the boats. You’ve undoubtedly seen them in hundreds of photos and postcards of Thailand.
These boats are for private hire and they’ll take you exploring in the klongs on the Thonburi side of the river, opposite the central business district.
Touring these klongs will provide you with a glimpse into what life must have been like for the majority of the city’s residents a hundred or more years ago when the klongs were the main avenues of travel.
You might ask at the front desk of your hotel whether they can recommend or book a boat for you. Or simply take your chances by going down to one of the many piers along the river and bargaining for a tour yourself. They charge by the destination or by the length of time you want to spend touring.
One thing to keep in mind is that if you’re offered a price that’s too good to believe, it probably is. They may demand another exorbitant fee to return you to your starting point. Plan on spending at least 1000 Baht per person for about an hour’s tour of the klongs.
Enjoy a Sunset Dinner Cruise Along the RiverThe perfect way to enjoy a romantic evening and see the sights along the river as well, is to take a sunset dinner cruise. There are many companies that offer these cruises. You can choose between some that offer a buffet dinner and a cabaret show, or others that offer an elegant, multi-course, candle-lit dinner. There are even historic, converted rice barges that host these dinner cruises.
Simply go online and find the one that suits your idea of a nice evening on the river. These boats operate every night of the week starting from about 7 PM. It’s a charming and relaxing way to end a day of sightseeing in Bangkok.
Rentals for the holidays has accommodations in practically every area of Bangkok. Booking your stay in the area you’ll be exploring is so much more convenient than traveling around the city when you don’t need to. For your next trip to Bangkok, why not book your accommodations with Rental for the Holidays?