Named by the famed King Rama the First, the Chao Phraya River, or the “River of Kings”, is a main thoroughfare through the city of Bangkok – and not just for its history. Today, it still sees much use in commerce and commute, as barges make their way up and downstream through the waters, and over 50,000 people use the ferries to travel – a strange juxtaposition of old culture and new metropolitan buildings framing the sights over the river.
The River of Kings
In 1782, King Rama the First founded the city of Bangkok, having found the eastern banks of the river to be more suited to his needs. He celebrated the occasion by building various gorgeous temples, visible from any hotel in the Bangkok City Center. The location of the river itself then inspired many Western authors such as Maugham and Conrad to choose the Chao Phraya as one of their most favoured spots of the Far East.
The Riverboats and Ferries
The Chao Phraya sees much traffic in the way of riverboats and ferries over a day. With 5 public boat lines operated by the Chao Phraya Express boat company, separated by the colours of orange, blue, yellow, and yellow-blue (the 5th colour is referred to as the “local line”) marked on the boat itself, the overwater travel is considered an affordable way to travel in between the shores.
The Tourist Boats
The tourist boats of the Chao Phraya are another way to travel the waters – as many offer flat rates for unlimited trips in a certain period of time. Many services provide the opportunity for one to have the various sites of the city pointed out, and is perfect for the traveller that expects to get on and off repeatedly at their leisure. One can also hire a long-tailed boat for a more exclusive experience if needed.
Along with the river come many hotspots of culture and delight. For example, one can visit the incredible Pak Khlong flower market, an oriental display of colour and life. One can also stop off at the river pier of Thewet for a glimpse into the nearby wet market, a great place to experience some culture, and also visit the nearby Royal Enclave of Dusit. Luckily, any of these spots are nearby to luxurious accommodations such as the Jono Bangkok Asok.