Cruising along the Chao Phraya

Cruising along the Chao Phraya river, one of Bangkok's main rivers, is one of the most enjoyable and least stressful activity to do while in Bangkok.

While the main reason for taking the tourist river boat was to get to the temples located in the north of the city, the trip itself is an adventure.

The river, which empties into the Gulf of Thailand, is about 372 kilometers long. It figured prominently in the history of the country.

Along its banks dot the structures that give witness to the past: temples, churches, government and royal buildings and forts. During the ride from Sathorn station up to Phra Atit, we saw Wat Arun, the Sta. Cruz church (built by the Portugese in 1770), the Wichai Prasit fort, the Holy Rosary church (also built by the Portugese in 1786), the former trading house of East Asia Trading company, the first headquarters of the Siam Commercial Bank (built in 1906) and of course, the bridges that criss-cross the river to connect Bangkok with the Thonburi district. Phra Atit is also the terminal point to get to the backpacker haven of Khao San Road.

Useful info: the Chao Phraya river tourist boat operates from 9:30am to 6:30pm. An all-day pass can be purchased for 150 baht at the Sathorn station, below the BTS station of Saphan Takhsin. The trip terminates at the Phra Atit station, and a boat comes every 30 minutes.

pics, from top: Chao Praya as seen from the top of Wat Arun; inside the boat plying the river; Sta. Cruz church; Wat Rakhang, an old Ayutthaya temple.

by Kin Enriquez


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