Aboard Chao Phraya River Express

After filling ourselves with roasted duck and sticky rice with durian, Foong and I started our adventure around Bangkok. Our first destination is Wat Arun, also known as the Temple of Dawn.

There are many ways to reach Wat Arun from Charoen Krung Road but the fastest way is by riding a Chao Phraya River express boat at Sathorn Pier. The express boats transport passengers to interesting places along Chao Phraya River.

Krung Thonburi Road crossing the Chao Phraya River
Somdedprajaotaksinmahalad Bridge or Krung Thonburi Bridge

I was always amazed with the bigness of the Chao Phraya River. I never saw a river this big. Even Pasig River, the biggest river that I encountered in the Philippines, is narrow compared to this river. There was a time that I mistook it for a bay during our journey to Phukhieo Wildlife Sanctuary.

Chao Phraya River is Thailand's major artery. It is important, especially during the pre-modern period, because it connected the major settlements in Thailand. Two capitals of the Kingdom of Thailand, namely Ayutthaya and Bangkok, were established beside this river.

Now, Chao Phraya River became one of the tourism assets of Thailand. Many foreigners go to Bangkok to experience the Chao Phraya River cruise or go to the tourist spots erected along this river.

Sathorn Pier along Chao Phraya River
Sathorn Pier

Riding the Chao Phraya River express boat is confusing for a first timer like me. Good thing that I was with Foong the veteran tourist of Bangkok, who explained to me how to ride the Chao Phraya River express boat.

The first thing that you should know when riding a boat at Sathorn Pier is the different kinds of boats plying the Chao Phraya River. The Chao Phraya River express boats carry color-coded flags that can be used by tourists as guides. Green, yellow, orange and blue are the colors of the flag that a boat may carry.

Foong said that the boat bearing the orange flag has the cheapest fare so waited for it.

Tourists lining up for boats at Sathorn Pier, Chao Phraya River

The line is long at the Sathorn Pier. Both foreigners and Thai had to wait for the Chao Phraya River express boat to come. We waited a little longer because the orange flag express boat took a long time to come. Foreigners already rode the yellow and blue flag express boats but we were still waiting.

It seems that the orange flag express boat is in demand because it is very crowded. The express boat that we rode is full to the brim with people, which reminds me of the MRT train or the crowded ordinary bus that I usually ride in Metro Manila.

Chao Phraya River express boat - orange flag

Our long wait at Sathorn Pier and the being crushed inside the boat paid off because we just paid the lowest fare possible when travelling on the Chao Phraya River. We just paid 15 Thai Baht each for our trip to the Tha Thien Pier, which is the pier nearest to Wat Arun.

Travelling in this crowded boat is not a big deal to me because I'm a veteran when it comes to riding crowded public transport. This is a perk of being a commuter in the Philippines. :-)

I'm fortunate that I stood at the side of the boat. I got a good view of the Chao Phraya River. And, of course, I took some photos. One building that caught my attention during our trip down Chao Phraya River is a church.

Santa Cruz Church located along Chao Phraya River
Santa Cruz Church, Bangkok

I was surprised to see another Catholic church. I didn't visit this church. Google Maps showed that this church is the Santa Cruz Catholic Church. I guess that it is an old church based only on its architectural style. You can read more about Santa Cruz Church in the Tour Bangkok Legacies website.

Of course, Buddhist temples are everywhere. We even passed by a set of buildings, which I think is part of the complex of Buddhist temple.

Thai structures along Chao Phraya River

Boats are plenty on Chao Phraya River. There are boats owned by hotels, there are government vessels and of course the Chao Phraya River express boats. But the most common vessel on Chao Phraya River are the small boats that usually have garlands hanging at the bow.

Small boat on Chao Phraya River

In less than 30 minutes, I finally saw our destination: the Temple of Dawn.

View of Wat Arun from Chao Phraya River

I got excited the moment I saw the towering structure of Wat Arun. It will be my first time to visit a major tourist destination in Bangkok.

View of Wat Arun on Chao Phraya River
Wat Arun

Before we reached Wat Arun, we had to go down to Tha Tien Pier and transfer to a boat that will ferry us across Chao Phraya River to the pier of Wat Arun. We had to pay around 5 Thai Baht (I can’t remember exactly) to make this cross.

Crossing Chao Phraya River
Crossing Chao Phraya River.

And thus end my morning adventure Chao Phraya River.

It was a pleasant trip and everything was new to me. I actually envy Thailand for keeping Chao Phraya River alive. Yes, Chao Phraya River is dirty and polluted with trash but it is not as polluted as the Pasig River. Chao Phraya River is not as neglected as our Pasig River.

I believe that Pasig River can be like Chao Phraya River if we at least stop ignoring it. We should treat Pasig River as an artery of economic life of Metro Manila and not just a place to dump our waste. We can make Pasig River a waterway for boats just like in Jose Rizal's time.

How I wish to see the day when Pasig River is truly rehabilitated.


For more info on traveling on Chao Phraya River, please visit the Chao Phraya River express boat website.

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  1. Woooh, grabe. Super ganda naman ng Chao Phraya River. Kung sana inaalagaan din naten ng maayos ang Pasig River, eh di sana kahit papaano ay may maipagmamalaki din tayong magandang tourist destination na river dito sa Pinas.

    Thumbs up sa Santa Cruz Catholic Church and the Buddhist Temples!

    Na-meet mo na rin pala si Foong jan sa Bangkok, nice! friend din siya ni Mecoy diba?

    1. Yun nga eh. Kung inalagaan lang sana natin yung Pasig River eh di napakinabangan pa sana natin. Merong isdnag mahuhuli ang mga taga-Metro.

    2. Actually, I this is the second time that I met Foong. The first time is here in Manila.

      Yes, friends namin siya niMeCoy at ni Bluedreamer.

  2. Haha!! Cant stop laughing when you mention I am a veteran Bangkok tourist and you are a veteran at riding crowded public transport. LMAO!!

    1. Haha...well that's trua. You really are a veteran as compared to me who is just a newbie visitor of Bangkok.

  3. But actually that's only my second time riding a boat on Chao Phraya so I guess I am not yet an expert haha! But it's really cheap right? :D

    1. Nah. You are an expert.:-)

      Yeah. It is really cheap. That's why it worth it even if its crowded.

  4. Oh I remember the Pasig River well!! But are you sure it's more polluted than Chao Phraya? Yes, I think your Government should do something with Pasig River and turn it into transportation system or even a tourist attraction!

    1. I am sure that it is more polluted that Chao Phraya River.

      Chao Phraya River gets cleaner when you go upstream. It is not so with Pasig River. Water is still polluted upstream.

  5. What a long name for a bridge a! Somdedprajaotaksinmahalad! Wow! Hehehe!

    It's nice to see the river well maintained. Unlike some parts of Pasig river. =(

    1. Oo nga po eh. Idon't know the meaning of this bridge pero baka puro praises ang dating sa akin.

      Pasig River is really saddening. Napabayaan talaga. :-(

  6. wow! it's indeed nice! cant wait for my Thailand trip next year!!!

    1. Good for you that you are going to Thailand next year. I hope that you have a memorable trip to the Kingdom of Siam. :-)


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