The river of kings, Chao Phraya River, is the prime river and waterway of Thailand, used by an average of 50,000 commuters daily. The fertile plains and abundant fish of the river are the main reasons for the choice of Thailand's capitals in the past, such as Ayutthaya, Thonburi and Bangkok.
The ferry rides, which are the way of commutate for thousands of people from home to work every day, are immensely popular among tourists. It provides a chance to see the most popular tourist destinations of Bangkok, like the Grand Palace, Wat Pho, Wat Arun etc. Tourists can opt for inexpensive, fun rides on the ferries which are available at high frequencies during the day, or indulge in lavish dinners and romantic cruises aboard grand ships at nighttime, promising a rich, cultural experience unique to Thailand.
At night, ferries are replaced by grand ships and cruises, offering an amazing cruise of the Chao Phraya River, mesmerising every tourist in the city. The opportunity to lavishly dine as you cruise through sights of Bangkok's skyline and important sites at night is an experience you must-have when visiting the city.
1. Chao Phraya Princess Cruise
Managed by Tristar Floating Restaurant Co. Ltd., there are six different options of cruises available, all of which are remarkable and exquisite. Promising a night of luxury on the Chao Phraya River, each option offers a unique and distinct feature in addition to the standard cruise amenities of the Chao Phraya Princess Cruise. The ship's size and capacity is also different in each case. The architecture of the ships is simply phenomenal. Looking at the splendid grandeur of the ships, one can not help but appreciate the Thai craftsmanship endlessly.
Chaophraya Cruise offers a luxury cruise on the Chaophraya River so that you experience the best of Thai culture. It is a two-hour long cruise, starting at 7:00 PM. After you reach the River Pier at 6:30 PM, you are free to interact with your fellow onboard passengers. There are two options available for you to choose from. The Grand Chaophraya Cruise and the Chaophraya Cruise, both of which offer almost the same services, except for the fact that the former one is bigger in size and elegance.
The elegance and splendour of a Thai cruise in the heart of the country are indeed magnificent, thanks to Bangkok Dinner Cruise Tours, which offers one of the best cruises on the Chao Phraya River in Bangkok. Pick-ups are arranged from your hotel in a car, which drops you to the docks. In the ship, the lip-smacking Thai cuisine, popular 80s songs and a fiery dance floor sets your mood to enjoy a royal and memorable moment in the middle of the river.
Timings: 6:00 PM - 10:30 PM Prices: THB 1070
The Grand Palace, Bangkok's most popular attraction, lies on the banks of Chao Phraya River and looks exquisite from here. Wat Pho, Wat Phra Kaew and Wat Arun are also located on the banks and can be visited by a ferry. A must-visit site in Bangkok, the flaunting European-styled architecture old Westerner Quarter can be visited by ferry as well. Destinations like Pak Khlong Flower Market, Thewet and Phra Arthit Road displaying Thai culture are also frequented via Chao Phraya River.
For sightseeing, ferries run in the water from 6:00 AM to 7:30 PM. Chao Phraya Express Boat Company operates five public boat lines, namely 'local line', 'orange line', 'yellow line', 'blue line' and 'green-yellow line'. It covers the distance of 21 kilometres and passes through main markets and tourist spots of the city. The local line is the best option if you want to get down at many places along the way. Amidst these, the only orange line operates on all days and time, and its fee is only THB 15.
The other ferries are "Tourist boats" and "long-tail boats". Since the number of boats are fewer, tourists would have to wait longer to board one.
Origin and Route of Chao Phraya River
Ping, Wang, Yom, and Nan rivers, which rise from the mountains in Northern Thailand, form Chao Phraya River. Chao Phraya commences from the point of confluence of the Ping and Nan rivers, in Nakhon Sawan. It flows through Chai Nat, Sing Buri, Ang Thong, Bangkok, after which it drains into the Gulf of Thailand. There are many small tributaries and canals, which are formed from the Chao Phraya river, and help in Thailand's agricultural production.
Tributaries and Canals of the Chao Phraya River
Bangkok is called the 'Venice of the East', thanks to the canals of Chao Phraya River which flows through the city and give it the classic Venice look. Pa Sak River, Sakae Krang River and Ta Chin river are the major tributaries of Chao Phraya. These tributaries further form smaller tributaries, which are known as Khwae.
Chao Phraya History
Chao Phraya River is the largest river in Thailand. It is fertile and suitable for agricultural purposes. Thonburi, the capital of Thailand before Bangkok, is located on the western banks of the river, chosen by King Taksin because of its fertility. Later, in 1782, King Rama I shifted the country's capital to Rattanakosin (Bangkok), which is located on the eastern banks of the river. Before moving to Thonburi, the capital of Siam (Thailand) was at Ayutthaya, another historic city of Thailand by the Chao Phraya River.
Ecology of Chao Phraya River
Chao Phraya River is home to many species of fish, which includes 30 endemic species. Cyprinidae, Giant Barb, Giant Pangasius, Giant Freshwater Stingray, Red-tailed black Shark etc. are some of the species found deep in the waters of the river. However, overfishing, pollution, construction of dams, etc. pose a threat to this rich aquatic fauna.
How To Reach Chao Phraya River
The best way to reach Chao Phraya is to take a BTS Skytrain and get down at Saphan Taskin station. Taking a tuk-tuk ride from there to reach Central Pier will get you down the banks of the Chao Phraya River.