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Updated by Joanna James on Mar 07, 2020
Headline for Facts about Chao Phraya River in Bangkok – Things you should know and a few suggestions for visits
Joanna James Joanna James
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Facts about Chao Phraya River in Bangkok – Things you should know and a few suggestions for visits

Chao Phraya River is an intrinsic part of Bangkok; it is also a reason why the city thrives as a tourist destination. There are certain facts about the river that make Bangkok even more appealing.


Lifeline of the city

The history of the river goes back a thousand years, and it is intertwined with the city. The first settlers chose Bangkok as their residential ground because the river was fertile, and fish were abundantly available. In 1782, King Rama I established the city of Bangkok, having realised that the river banks were fertile. The river feeds a network of canals which earned Bangkok its nickname 'Venice of the East'. The reputation of the river is such that tourists travel down to the city from all around the world looking for the best river cruise Bangkok; the likes of Manohra Cruise make sure that no visitor is disappointed.


The River of Kings

King Rama I saw the river as the lifeblood of the city, and so it was, and it still is. On account of the king's favour, the river was named 'the River of Kings'. Nearly 50,000 ferries cruise across the river for both recreational purposes and to enable day-to-day transport. The russet-brown water of the river is still appealing to kids. The river banks are packed with wooden shacks selling various local delights to worn-out workers. Calm and chaotic are the two elements that make up the contrasting atmosphere that intrigues tourists.


Riverboats and ferries

Chao Phraya Express Boat Company manages all the boat lines: local line, orange, yellow, blue and green-yellow; they all ply the same 21 km route. The operating hours of the boats are between 6 am and 7.30 pm. Every boat is distinctly marked by the flag hanging off the rear. The local line drops off and picks up passengers from all 34 piers while other lines serve different requirements. The Orange Flag Line operates every day of the week, including weekends, and it charges a flat fee. Cross-river ferries make stops only at major piers and carry passengers to the other bank for a small fare.


Tourist boats

Tourists who want to do sightseeing and explore the river are offered tourist boats. They operate between 9.30 am and 3 pm every day and charges a flat fee. You are given unlimited trips, and these boats stop at nine piers. Ideal for hopping, they are known for offering a comfortable journey. You can catch tourist boats every half an hour; quite different to the way public ones run which leave the pier every ten minutes. Tourists are given similar options including long-tail boats, river cruises and dinner cruises.


Phra Arthit Road

The road stretches from Phra Sumen fort to Thammasat University, and it runs parallel to Chao Phraya River. The road is lined with charming restaurants serving delicious food, quaint shophouses selling souvenirs, bars and cafes with live music. If you take a ferry to Phra Arthit Road in the evening, you can join the crowds of artistic minds.



If you want to gain some merit by releasing fish into the river, head to Thewet. The place is scintillating, and there's a ramshackle yet fascinating wet market.



This is the part of the city that's demonstrative of its European architectural heritage; this old Westerner Quarter is where the contemporary scribes once stayed. Antique shops around here sell fascinating objects.


Pak Khlong Flower Market

This is another highlight found around the river that pays tribute to the oriental heritage of Bangkok. Pak Khlong Flower Market is an animated portion of the city; it sells all sorts of flowers, spices, fruits and vegetables.