Boats and Ferries
During the 19th century Bangkok was known as the “Venice of the East” for its extensive network of canals. While some of these have been filled in to make roads, the city’s waterways still provide a fast, efficient and exciting way to get around.
Every day, thousands of commuters and tourists climb into boats and ferries to travel to their destinations along the canals and the Chao Phraya River. In fact, many of the city’s most famous tourist attractions are easily accessible from this river.
Whether you simply want to cross from one side of the river to the other, travel to stops up and down its length or along canals, there is a variety of services to choose from.
Along with the MRT Subway and the BTS Skytrain, boats and ferries avoid the city’s traffic clogged streets in peak hours.
Read on for the many different ways you can navigate Bangkok from the water.
Express Boat Service
There are several express services, the majority of which are differentiated by the colour of the flags on their boats. All are operated by the Chao Phraya Express Boat Company. Most of the piers along their routes connect with bus lines and motorcycle taxi services, while Sathorn Pier (Central) is located by Saphan Taksin BTS Skytrain station.
For details of which piers connect with which other public transport services, visit Chao Phraya Express Boat Company’s official website.
Local Line (no flag)
From Nonthaburi to Wat Rajsingkorn every week day. The morning services operates from 6:45 am to 7:30 am while the afternoon service operates from 4:00 pm to 4:30 pm. The fare depends on the distance travelled and will either be 8, 10 or 12 baht.
Orange Flag Boat
From Nonthaburi to Wat Rajsingkorn seven days a week from 6:00 am to 07:00 pm. The fare is 14 baht.
Green Flag Boat
Pakkred – Nonthaburi – Sathorn (Centre) – every week day. The morning service is from 6:10 am to 8:10 am and the afternoon service is from 4:05 pm to 6:05 pm. The fare depends on the distance travelled and will either be 10, 12, 19 or 31 baht.
Yellow Flag Boat
Nonthaburi – Sathorn (Centre) – every week day. The morning service is from 6:15 am to 8:20 am while the afternoon service is from 4:00 pm to 8:00 pm. The fare depends on the distance travelled and will either be 19 or 29 baht.
- Tickets for the express boats can be purchased from designated piers and on board each vessel.
- Passengers must wait for their boats behind the yellow lines in designated areas.
- Wait for the boat to come to a complete stop before boarding.
- Passengers are advised to move toward the front of the boat upon boarding. Standing at the back is not permitted.
- Bicycles, push-carts and large objects are not allowed on boats for safety reasons.
This provides visitors with an easy and picturesque way of getting to some of the city’s principle tourist draws.
The Chao Phraya Tourist Boat travels to eight piers, including Oriental Pier, Maharaj Pier and Sathorn Pier where the service connects with the BTS Skytrain at Saphan Taksin Station. The service starts at Sathorn Pier at 9:30 am and runs until 4:00 pm with boats departing every thirty minutes. The cost of a ticket is 150 baht and is for unlimited rides on the same day.
Boats are also available for private hire. The Chao Phraya Express Boat Company has a variety of models and sizes from a speed boat with a capacity for up to eight people to a Jumbo Boat with a capacity for 120 passengers.
For more information contact Chao Phraya Express Boat Company’s Boat Rental Department Call Centre: The number is 02 866 3163-4 ext. 100, 108.
Additionally, you can hire long-tail boats to navigate the river and canals. You will find drivers touting for business at all of the city’s major piers, including Sathorn Central and the Chang Pier. Exploring the canals on a narrow, wooden longboat is a wonderful and peaceful way to explore the city.
Hotel Shuttle Boats
These complimentary shuttle boats travel across the Chao Phraya River and are provided by some of the major hotels located by the waterway. Among them are the Royal Orchid Sheraton Hotel & Towers and the Shangri-La Hotel.
Cross River Ferries
If you just want to get from one side of the Chao Phraya River to the other, you can use the small ferries that operate at many of the piers. The fares are typically around 3 baht.
You can also zip along Bangkok’s largest canal, the Kalong Saen Saep in canal taxis operated by a company called Family Transport. Handy for shopping and sightseeing, these express boats seat between 40 and 50 people and are a fast, inexpensive and scenic way of travelling through the commercial districts. Routes will take you under ornate bridges and past temples and shrines.
The canal starts in Bangkok’s Old City and extends out to the Chachoengsao Province. This 100-kilometre route is served by two lines, the Golden Mount Line and the NIDA Line.
The Golden Mount Line starts at the Panfa Leelard pier and terminates at the Pratunam Pier. Among the piers it stops at are Sapan Charoenpol and Sapan Hua Chang, which is close to Siam Square and Siam Paragon. The boats run every 20 minutes or less.
The NIDA Line starts at the NIDA/Wat Sriboonreung Pier and terminates at the Pratunam Pier. Among the other piers it stops at are Italthai, Wat Noi and Ramkhamhaeng.U, which is opposite Ramkhamhaeng University. The boats run every 20 minutes or less.
If you want to transfer from one line to another, you can do so at Pratunam Pier.
Khlong Boat Fares
The fares are between 10 and 20 baht, depending on the distance travelled. There’s no need to purchase tickets prior to your journey. You pay the ticket collector on board after you have found your seat.
Khlong Boat Operating Hours
Weekdays: 5:30 am to 8:30 pm.
Weekends and holidays: 5:30 am to 7 pm.
Glide along the Chao Phraya River and enjoy some of the best views in the city when you book seats on a river cruise. There are a number of different companies offering a variety of cruise experiences including dinner cruises and sunset cruises. They are a great way to experience the beauty of Bangkok.
In Case of Emergencies
Water Police – 02 235 7187
Marine Department – 1199