What’s the best 15 Baht deal in Bangkok?

Well, it has to be the hour long trip up the Chao Phraya river in the orange flag ferry.

An hour’s boat ride for 15 baht – doesn’t get much better, especially when the trip takes you past some of Bangkok’s most iconic sights, such as the Royal Palace and the striking Wat Arun.

The 15 baht fee is fixed, whether you go just a few stops up river & hop off to sightsee, or take it all the way to the end point, Nonthaburi. We often do this, on a day when we feel like enjoying the river, but without any fixed agenda.

Hop off at Nonthaburi, buy a snack, watch people feeding the fish with bright jolly-coloured fish food, and then head back down river.

Fish feeding is taken very seriously here

The hour up (and then back down) the river is a delightful lesson in history and geography. There are temples and churches and mosques and stilted villages and luxury condominiums. Plus there’s a palace.

The whole visual 9 yards, for those famous 15 baht.

Monks hop on and off the ferry, along with school children, fellow tourists, regular commuters. The river is always busy – ferries, longtail boats zipping up and down, barges – it is fascinating.

Depending where you are staying, there are ferry stops all along the river, but a good, central place to get on the orange flag ferry is at Saphan Taksin (0 on the map above) where the noisily busy ferry staff herd you into a queue. As soon as the ferry arrives, you quickly board, and then the boat leaves in a second. There is no dawdling around. This is a regular passenger service that happens to stop at some of the most beautiful sites in the city, but it sticks to a timetable, make no mistake.

You can buy your ticket at the pier before boarding – the staff all speak rudimentary English. (You already know how much it costs, right?!). Or you can buy your ticket on board.

It isn’t luxurious by any means, so if you want a slightly less crowded and slower-paced trip up the river, opt for a tourist boat.

But for value, local colour and efficiency, you cannot better the Chao Phraya River Express Boat, to give the orange flag ferry its full name.

They operate from 6 in the morning till 7pm and depending on the time of day there are boats every 5 minutes. I don’t think we’ve ever waited more than 10 minutes.

Have fun, and just remember, you read it here In my blog.

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The River Art Hotel in Chiang Mai

Pre-review disclosure: we knew of the owners of this delightful hotel, via some official, work stuff in Bangkok.

Knew of them, as opposed to know them.

We’d never met, never even spoken on the phone.

All we knew is that they ran a hotel in Chiang Mai.

So when we decided to visit the city (after a gap of 35 years, but that’s another story altogether) we chose the River Art Hotel simply because of this tenuous connection.

And also because it looked so quirky from the photos online.

What a fun hotel it is.

We stayed 3 nights in the River Art Hotel & had an absolutely wonderful time.

The hotel is located a short distance outside town, an easy rickshaw ride, and has an unbeatable location, with a garden going down to the Ping river.

It is peaceful, quiet, there are birds everywhere, meaning breakfast in the garden is a delight.



The hotel is beyond stylish.

It is fun, it is colourful, and every corner has a different piece of modern, pop art.

This lovely fella greets you in the lobby
An atrium-styled lobby

There is quirky pop art at every turn, much of it making you laugh out loud – like the crocs peeping out from plants in the garden, and one placed cheekily by the pool.

The pool is small but just what you need after a day’s sightseeing.

We stayed in a garden room, with a fab view, a balcony, rocking chairs…what more can you ask?

Stylish way to store the in-room tea and coffee

The hotel only serves breakfast, so we explored the local restaurants down the road, walking to dinner every night.

One of the delicious breakfast choices

The staff of the River Art Hotel could not have been nicer, advising, explaining, and were super helpful.

The hotel is non-smoking, other than in the garden.

It is also dog-friendly, and the owners’ dog exemplifies this attitude, happily following us back to our room for a quick cuddle.

Would we stay here again, on a subsequent visit to Chiang Mai?

100% yes.

We paid our own way, and no-one at the hotel knew that I blogged and write reviews.

Address: 96 Wang Sing Kam Rd, Patan, Amphoe Mueang Chiang Mai, Chang Wat Chiang Mai 50300, Thailand

Phone: +66 80 071 2946

For a quick reply about a booking, you can contact them via their Facebook page.