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Crossing the major waterway of Bangkok, the Chao Phraya River.

Bangkok Magazine – The Second Story

Crossing the major waterway of Bangkok, the Chao Phraya River.

Travelling on the water bus, the transit for citizens

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There are many kinds of transport systems in Bangkok.

An underground railway just like the underground railway in South Korea, the BTS elevated monorail on the surface, taxis that will go anywhere you want, motorcycle taxis that zoom through narrow streets and the icon of Thailand, motorised tricycles, the tuk-tuk. Transport on the canals and rivers is also well developed. The Canal Boats speed through the Saen Saep Canal and, if you would like an alternative, there are Express Boats to board.

The Chao Phraya River that intersects Bangkok is used as a wide road for the water buses. The water buses somewhat resolve the problem of traffic jams the city is infamous for, and these are popular among the local citizens. The water bus system is very efficient, and you can determine which pier the water bus will stop at based on the colour of the flag hanging on the boat. While the water bus courses along the river and the wind is caressing your face, the exotic landscape surrounds you.

Recommended PATH for the Piers!

Tip 1. Boarding the Water Bus

Arrive at one of the piers, “Tha” in Thai, to board the water bus. Confirm the pier and route you need then select one of the boats to board. Check the colour of the flag on the boat to confirm if it stops at the pier you want to go to. There are routes with the green, yellow, orange and blue flags, and a local line without flags.  Purchase a ticket for Tha Sathorn and Tha Phra Athit, the most popular locations for tourists, at the ticket office and board the boat. At the other piers, board the boat and purchase the ticket from the crew.

Tip 2. Types of Water Buses

* Local Line (no flag)

Route: Nonthaburi – Wat Rajsingkorn

Timetable: Mon – Fri 6:45am – 7:30am / 4pm -4:30pm

Price: From 10B  

*  Green Flag 

Route: Pak Kret -Nonthaburi (N30) – Sathorn (Centre)

Timetable: Mon – Fri 6:10am – 8:10am / 4:05pm – 6:05pm

Price: From 13B

* Yellow Flag 

Route: Nonthaburi – Sathorn

Timetable: Mon – Fri 6:15am – 8:20am / 4pm – 8pm

Price: From 20B

* Orange Flag 

Route: Nonthaburi – Wat Rajsingkorn

Timetable: Daily 6am – 7pm

Price: From 15B

* Blue Flag

Chaophraya Tourist Boat

Route: Phra Athit – Sathorn

Route: Daily 9:30am – 4pm (every 30 minutes)

One-Day Ticket: 150B

▶ Chaophraya Tourist Boat Tip

It is not essential to purchase the One-Day Ticket. It won’t be cheaper than purchasing single tickets unless you board the boats more than ten times a day. Also, the standard water buses arrive frequently, which makes the journey convenient. However, do confirm the direction of the route before boarding the water buses.

Tha Sathorn

The pier that is connected to the BTS Saphan Taksin. It is the busiest water bus pier. Due to the large amount of boats passing through, it is necessary to check the direction when queueing up. There is a pier at Tha Sathorn for shuttle boats to the luxury hotels, and these boats are free of charge. You can also board the free shuttle boat going to the Asiatique, the best night market in Bangkok. You can either purchase the water bus ticket on the boat or tell the destination to purchase the ticket at the entrance of Tha Sathorn.

 

Sirocco

A luxury restaurant with a beautiful night view. Sirocco, with the best night view of Bangkok, is known as the most romantic place in the city. At the top, the 63rd floor, of the Sirocco, with its iconic golden roof, there is an open-air restaurant and a colourful sky bar. From the thrilling and elegant top floor, you can see the Chao Phraya River and the whole of Bangkok.

Booking is necessary for the restaurant. However, there is no need to be disappointed, since you can visit the sky bar without booking. It will still be a great experience with a nice cocktail in your hand. However, there is no seating at the sky bar.

방콕만다린오리엔탈호텔오서스라운지내부 호텔스닷컴 방콕 가볼만한곳
방콕만다린오리엔탈호텔오서스라운지의차 호텔스닷컴 방콕 가볼만한곳
방콕만다린오리엔탈호텔오서스라운지의에프터눈티 호텔스닷컴 방콕 가볼만한곳

Author’s Lounge | Mandarin Oriental Hotel

The Mandarin Oriental Hotel, an iconic Bangkokian place with a long history. You can enjoy a luxurious Afternoon Tea at the hotel. A hot cup of tea and sweet dessert for a warm afternoon is great treat. Food placed on the luxurious three tiered trays are a joy to look at, and they are indeed delicious.  The traditional English Style Afternoon Tea includes cake, sandwiches and scones, and the Thai Style Afternoon Tea includes sweet desserts. And, including the Vegetarian Set, there are three kinds of Afternoon Tea. Since it is not easy to find an empty table at the Tea Lounge, it is essential to book ahead.

There are shuttle boats for the hotel, as the location of the Mandarin Oriental Hotel is by the Chao Phraya River. And even the boats look classy. Experience the shuttle boat, built with premium wood, going to the Mandarin Hotel from the Tha Sathorn pier.

Tha Ratchawang

Disembark at Tha Ratchawang Pier to visit the many markets in Chinatown. Get off the boat and walk straight for 10 minutes to arrive at Thanon Yaowarat, one of the main streets in Bangkok.

Chinatown

Every Chinatown in any country always seems busy and complex. This is also true of the Chinatown in Bangkok. The traffic jam in Chinatown is so severe that the taxis will charge exorbitant fees or they will refuse to accept passengers.

You can cross the Chao Phraya River and get off at Tha Ratchawang to avoid this problem and enjoy the local site at a more leisurely pace. There are many stores and stalls in every nook and cranny which could be quite disorientating at first, but this is exactly the appeal of Chinatown. The narrow Sampeng Lane is packed with merchants, who come here to purchase whole products, and tourists. Nakhon Kasem, a market selling electric and machine parts, markets selling second-hand items, and wholesale shoe stores line the alleys.

While sightseeing at the markets and walking through Thanon Yaowarat, you may also notice the small and large Chinese style temples. You may pass by Wat Mangkon Kamalawat at Charoen Krung, Wat Chakrawat and even Wat Traimit, with the most expensive golden Buddha in the world.

T&K Seafood

The most famous restaurant in Chinatown. It does not operate in the daytime and only opens at dusk. To accommodate the ceaseless food orders, there are tables even on the street outside of the restaurant. Of course, the most popular dish is the seafood. Shallow-frying, roasting and many other cooking methods are used to cook the freshly caught seafood. Also, the price is slightly cheaper than the restaurants in downtown areas. Enjoy crab, prawn, and shark’s fin soup that you cannot find easily in other seafood restaurants.

You can find the restaurant by entering Phadung Dao from Thanon Yaowarat.

** Tha Saphan Phut 

Get off at Tha Saphan Phut Pier to visit the most down-to-earth wholesale market in Bangkok. Fresh vegetable and fruit shops open in the morning, and Saphan Phut Night Market, famous for second-hand products, opens at night. While browsing the shops and walking slowly through the market, you can smell the uniquely bustling air of the market and notice the lively merchants. Venture a bit farther and you arrive at the fragrant Pak Khlong Talat, the flower market.

-Pak Khlong Talat

Pak Khlong Talat, the flower market, in front of Tha Saphan Phut. The market operates 24 hours a day. You can find roses and other flowers that grow abundantly in Thailand such as fresh orchids, lotuses and jasmine.

Practically all the flowers in Bangkok pass through this market and the flowers are sold to every region in Thailand. The flowers are mostly used for religious services and various events. Since there is an altar in every home and building, a vast amount of flowers are used. Several times a day, flowers and food are sincerely placed in front of altars of devotion or revered statues.

Tha Tien

Get off at Tha Tien to visit Wat Pho, Wat Arun or the Royal Palace. You need to cross the river at Tha Tien for Wat Arun, and since it is not possible to reach Wat Arun without passing through Tha Tien, you need to board the boat to cross the river. Most of the people visiting are tourists, however, the pier still maintains a humble appearance.

Wat Pho

The oldest temple in Bangkok with a large Reclining Buddha. Enjoy the peaceful smile of the Reclining Buddha, walk around the temple and visit the main temple. Some of the ashes of Rama I are enshrined in the main temple, and there is a precious Buddha statue brought from Ayutthaya. It is polite to keep quiet and respectful when visiting this holy place for the Thai people. The original Thai traditional massage, the Wat Pho massage, is still practised at the temple, which is a nice experience if you are interested in it.

Wat Arun

A temple with an especially unique style for Thailand. The name is derived from the Hindu god of dawn, Aruna, and for this reason, it is also called the Temple of Dawn. The central tower of Wat Arun reflects both Hinduism and Buddhism. The whole Chao Phraya River can be seen once you climb to the top of the steep stairs of the temple. It is beautiful during the day, however, Wat Arun is exceptionally beautiful during the night. Once the sun sets and the lights come on, the porcelains shine brightly. You can still see it by looking at a Thai coin if you cannot personally visit Wat Arun. The beautiful temple printed on the 10 Thai Baht coin is actually Wat Arun.

The Deck

There is a small restaurant hidden like a treasure in an alley that does not seem to attract much foot traffic. Various Thai foods are on the menu. The food tastes great and you can enjoy the brilliant view of Wat Arun right in front your eyes. The place was shown in the Korean film, The Spy, featuring Sol Kyung-gu and Moon So-ri. In the film, Daniel Henney and Moon So-ri sit at a table by the window with the whole view of Wat Arun. So, you can enjoy the charm of The Deck before visiting by watching the film. It is possible to enjoy a peaceful meal at lunch, but it is quite difficult to get a table with the river view. It is essential to book ahead if you are planning a romantic evening at The Deck.

Tha Phra Athit

A pier that leads to Khaosan Road, a paradise for backpackers. Visit this place to avoid the busy road and if you are interested in experiencing the exotic side of Bangkok. Most visitors are foreigners.

Thanon Phra Athit is right in front of the pier. Travellers mostly gather at Khaosan Road, which does not have many nice restaurants, so it is recommended to go to Thanon Phra Athit for the better restaurants.

붕 스타 커피

Bung Star Coffee

This stall is the most prominent one, once you cross the road after leaving Thanon Phra Athit.

 The stall started business as Star Bung, a name which invited Starbucks to sue the shop for the infringing logo and name. However, this has actually made the shop more popular than it once was. The stall since has changed its name to Bung Star, and it still operates under the new name. Interestingly, the price is lower and the serving size is larger than Starbucks. Due to the nature of the stall, holidays and operating times are not fixed. 

나이 쏘이

Nai Soi

The restaurant with its tender beef rice noodles became famous among Koreans long ago. Kindly, Nai Soi is also written in Korean on the signboard. The tender beef, boiled for a long time, and the soft rice noodles make a fantastic combination. The portions are not large enough to be filling, so some people might want to try the Peeset Large portion. Some people eat two bowls of noodles easily, but if you are planning to visit another restaurant, it might be better to eat a moderate amount.

쿤 댕 꾸어이 짭 유안

Khun Dang Guay Jub Yuan

This noodle restaurant has been open for only a few years, but it is quickly becoming formidable competition for the other restaurants on Tha Phra Athit. The noodles, which are slightly different from the noodles you can taste at other restaurants, are also called the Sticky Noodles due to their stickiness. It has a prominent green sign, which makes it easy to find.

 Khoasan Road

The most famous backpackers’ street in Bangkok, that you have probably heard of even if you have not been there yet. Khaosan Road extends to Soi Rambuttri and Samsen.

Khaosan Road offers cheap places to stay and eat, and it also acts as an information hub for other travel locations. Travellers from all over the world exchange information here. And travellers come back here to meet each other again. It is quiet during the day, however once night comes, stalls, bars and restaurants start to open. It is one of best places to enjoy music and eat food from different countries at an affordable price. It is also a nice location for a leisurely stroll. Many new buildings were built recently, and some are still under construction. You may want to try the street massage that is popular on Khaosan Road. The weather can get rather warm, but it will never be a boring place due to other travellers.

Text/Photo: So-yeon Noh

0630noh@hanmail.net

1.Tha Sathorn

2. Sirocco

Address: 1055 State Tower, Silom Rd

Telephone: 02 624 9555

Operating hours: 6pm – 1am

Directions: Get off at Tha Sathorn

Website: www.lebua.com/sirocco

3. Author’s Lounge | Mandarin Oriental Hotel

Address: 48 Oriental Avenue

Telephone: 0-2659-9000

Time for Afternoon Tea: 2:30pm – 5pm

Directions: Get on the free shuttle boat at Tha Sathorn

Website: www.mandarinoriental.com/bangkok  

4. Tha Ratchawang

5. Chinatown

Address: Yaowarat Road, Chinatown

Directions: Get off at Tha Ratchawang

6. T&K Seafood

Address: 49-51 Soi Phadung Dao, Chinatown

Telephone: 01-507-5555

Operating hours: 4:30pm – 1am

Directions: Get off at Tha Ratchawang

7. Tha Saphan Phut

8. Pak Khlong Talat

Address: 1, Chak Phet Rd., Wang Burapha Phirom, Phra Nakhon

Operating hours: 24 hours a day

Directions: Get off at Tha Saphan Phut

9. Tha Tien

10. Wat Pho

Address: 2 Sanamchai Road, Grand Palace Sub-district, Pranakorn

Telephone: 0-2226-0335

Opening Hours: 8am – 5pm

Directions: Get off at Tha Tien

Website: www.watpho.com

11. Wat Arun

Address: 158 Wang Doem Road, Wat Arun, Bang Kok Yai

Telephone: 0-2891-2185

Opening Hours:7am – 6pm

Directions: Take the Cross Boat at Tha Tien and get off at Wat Arun

12. The Deck

Address: Maha Rat Rd, Phra Borom Maha Ratchawang, Phra Nakhon

Telephone: 0-2221-9158

Operating hours: 8am – 11pm

Directions: Get off at Tha Tien

13. Tha Phra Athit

14. Bung Star Coffee

Directions: Get off at Tha Phra Athit. It is on the Phra Athit road

15. Nai Soi

Address: 100/2-3 Phra Athit Road, Chana Songkhram

Telephone: 083-495-3129

Operating hours: 8am – 4pm

Directions: Get off at Tha Phra Athit

16. Khun Dang Kuay Jub Yuan

Address: 68 Phra Athit Road, Chana Songkhram

Telephone: 085-246-0111

Operating hours: 11am – 9pm. Closed on Sundays

Directions: Get off at Tha Phra Athit

17. Khaosan Road

Address: Khaosan Road, Banglamphu

Directions: Get off at Tha Phra Athit