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Kyle C

Travelled to 18 countries / regions

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Living in Chiang Mai and go to Bangkok often

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Asia > Thailand > Bangkok > Useful Info
Submitted on Sep 05, 2018 Useful Info

How to take the express boats in Bangkok for quick and cheap transportation to major tourist spots

  • Chao Phraya River is that big river that flows across Bangkok, and some of the top tourist attractions in Bangkok are located along the river or within walking distance to it, like Grand Palace, Wat Arun, Wat Pho, Khao San Road, China Town
  • Taking a boat along the river is a good way to experience Bangkok, and given how much traffic jam there is in Bangkok, it can be a lot quicker than taxi during the day time too. Best part, it's really cheap as these boats are a form of public transportation that locals use
  • There are a couple of different types of boats in Bangkok, the 4 types that I'm aware of:
  1. Chao Phraya Express Boat: what this brief is focused on. It's cheap and serves most number of piers in Bangkok. Locals and tourists alike use it frequently
  2. Hop On Hop Off Boat: targeted towards tourists, I think it's very expensive and unnecessary. I saw one boat as well it looked empty doesn't seem like many people are using it
  3. Cross river boats: independently operated boats that literally take you across the river from one side to the other
  4. River cruises: dinner cruises, etc.


How to take the Chow Phraya Express Boat:

  1. Know that there are 4 routes of express boats, indicated by flag: Yellow Flag, Green Flag, Orange Flag, and No Flag. Each of these 4 routes have different stops, frequency, and cost. Orange Flag is the one most tourists use
  2. Find the closest pier to where you want to go. Bangkok has lots of piers, use the official site of the Express Boat to figure out the closest one. Link to route map. I also noticed that Google Maps show the piers as well, like this:User submitted photo of BangkokBut with Google Maps, always double check the pier name against the official website, as some of these piers might be for other boat services (like Hop On Hop Off)
  3. Find the route (i.e. flag color) of that gets you to that pier. The official site has this page that shows you which color of boat stops at which pier, very handy. Here's what it looks like as of today (September 2018):User submitted photo of BangkokAlso, at the pier, they will have a map with visual indication of which flag stops at which pier. Like this:User submitted photo of Bangkok
  4. Use the official site to look up the service hours, price, and frequency of the boats. Here's a screenshot of the service frequency from the official site from today:User submitted photo of Bangkok
  5. Go to the pier and wait. During busy times (like evening commute hours) there are booths selling tickets at the pier. If you don't see them, don't panic, you can always buy tickets on the boat itself with cash. The prices do not vary by distance. The most expensive one is 30 baht so if you have 50 you're set
  6. Make sure you board the correct boat. The piers have physical colored flags on the docks to indicate where the boat of specific route stops. Orange flag indicates the dock orange route stops at, for example.User submitted photo of BangkokFurthermore, each boat will have flags on the front to indicate which route it is running. Make sure you look for it. Finally, make sure you get the direction right. Each pierce serves boat running north and south, so make sure you're not boarding the correct route but opposite direction
  7. Once you board, just find a seat a relax! It's a really enjoyable ride. A person will come up to you to either check your ticket, or to ask for cash to buy ticket. They won't announce the names of the stops, use Google Maps to follow along


User submitted photo of Bangkok

User submitted photo of Bangkok

User submitted photo of BangkokUser submitted photo of Bangkok