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.
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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