Water transport still plays an important role in transportation system of Bangkok, city known as the “Venice of the East”. As a tourist, you can charter a boat and explore Bangkok’s canals or join one of river cruises on the mighty Chao Phraya River. However, the most fun way of exploring the waterways of Thai capital is joining locals on public transportation and jumping on one of Bangkok river boats also known as Chao Phraya Express Boat Service is the easiest way to do that.
Bangkok river boats operate along the Chao Phraya River and together with cross river ferries connect both banks of the river in Thai capital. Chao Phraya Express Boat service is a very useful mean of transport not only for commuting in central part of the city but for sightseeing too as a big part of Bangkok’s top attractions can be found by the river.
Here you will find the most important information on how to use Bangkok river boats - Chao Phraya Express Boat Service.
Chao Phraya Express Boat Piers
Chao Phraya River piers that are used by Chao Phraya Express Boat service are clearly marked in Thai and English so there shouldn’t be problems with noticing signs leading to them.
Chao Phraya Express Boat service operates at more than 40 piers along the Chao Phraya River. The main hub of Bangkok river boats is the Central Pier which is called Sathorn Pier or Taksin Bridge Pier. Sathorn Pier is conveniently connected with BTS SkyTrain Saphan Taksin station and can be easily reached from anywhere in Bangkok by using city trains.
Most of Chao Phraya River piers are numbered for the convenience of passengers. Piers to the north of Central Pier are marked with ‘N’ and ascending numbers. Piers to the south of Central Pier are marked with ‘S’ and ascending numbers. However, lately they added more piers and they are known only by name and not number. New piers are used by Chao Phraya Tourist Boat service only with an exception of Wat Arun Pier.
Full list of Chao Phraya Express Boat piers in 2018 is as follows (South to North):
- Asiatique The Riverfront Pier – open-air shopping mall Asiatique the Riverfront
- S3 / Wat Rajsingkorn Pier
- S2 / Wat Worachanyawas Pier
- S1 /Wat Sawetachat Pier
- Central Pier / Sathorn Pier – connection with BTS SkyTrain Saphan Taksin station
- N1 / Oriental Pier
- N2 / Wat Muang Kae Pier
- N3 / Si Phraya Pier – starting point of Loy Nava Dinner Cruise
- ICONSIAM Pier – the newest shopping mall ICONSIAM
- River City Pier – shopping complex River City specializing in arts and antiques
- N4 / Harbour Department Pier
- Lhong 1919 Pier - 19th century Chinese mansion Lhong 1919
- N5 / Rachawongse Pier – Chinatown, Sampheng Market
- N6 / Memorial Bridge Pier – Memorial Bridge
- N6/1 / Pak Klong Talad Pier – Flower Market
- N7 / Rajinee Pier – Ferry Crossing to the Old Portuguese Quarter and Santa Cruz Church
- Wat Arun Pier - Wat Arun (Temple of the Dawn)
- N8 / Tha Tien Pier – Wat Pho (Temple of the Reclining Buddha)
- N9 / Tha Chang Pier – Grand Palace and Wat Phra Kaew (Temple of the Emerald Buddha)
- Tha Maharaj Pier - Tha Maharaj shopping mall with open-air riverfront restaurants
- N10 / Wang Lang (Prannok) Pier – Wang Lang Market
- N11 / Thonburi Railway Station Pier – Bangkok Thonburi train station
- N12 / Phra Pinklao Bridge Pier – National Museum of Royal Barges
- N13 / Phra Athit Pier – Khao San Road
- N14 / Rama 8 Bridge Pier – Rama 8 Bridge
- N15 / Thewes Pier
- N16 / Krung Thon Bridge (Sung Hi) Pier
- N17 / Wat Thepnahree Pier
- N17/1 / Wat Thepakorn Pier
- N18 / Payap Pier
- N19 / Irrigation Department Pier
- N20 / Kheaw Khai Ka Pier
- N21 / Kiak Kai Pier
- N22 / Bang Po Pier
- N23 / Wat Soi Thong Pier
- N24 / Rama 7 Bridge Pier
- N25 / Pibul 1 Pier
- N26 / Wat Khema Pier
- N27 / Wat Tuek Pier
- N28 / Wat Khien
- N29 / Pibul 2
- N29/1 / Rama 5 Bridge Pier
- N30 / Nonthaburi (Pibul 3) Pier
- N31 / Ministry of Commerce Pier
- N32 / Wat Klangkret Pier – Ko Kret Island
- N33 / Pakkret Pier
Chao Phraya Express Boat Map
You can find Chao Phraya Express Boat map at the pier. However, the map might be a bit out-dated and missing newest additions to the route such as ICONSIAM Pier.
An edited version of Chao Phraya Express Boat map 2018/2019 can be seen in the picture below.
Types of Bangkok River Boat Services
There are 5 types of river express boats in Bangkok operated by the Chao Phraya Express Boat company. The types of boats are differentiated by the colour of the flag: Blue, Orange, Yellow, Green and No Flag.
Different types of express boats stop at different piers along the way. All Chao Phraya Express Boat routes can be seen in the picture below.
Blue Flag - Chao Phraya Tourist Boat
Blue Flag is a Chao Phraya Tourist Boat service running from Phra Arthit Pier to Sathorn Pier. During late afternoon hours (16:30 – 18:30) the route is extended all the way to Asiatique The Riverfront. Chao Phraya Tourist Boat route connects touristy district of Khao San Road (N13 / Phra Arthit Pier) with Thonburi Railway Station, Grand Palace and Wat Phra Kaew, Wat Pho, Wat Arun, Flower Market, Chinatown, Longh 1919, ICONSIAM, BTS SkyTrain Saphan Taksin station and Asiatique the Riverfront.
Chao Phraya Tourist Boat map 2018/2019 can be seen in the picture below.
Chao Phraya Tourist Boat is one of the best ways to explore Bangkok’s attractions along the Chao Phraya River as you can use it not only for single trips but also as a hop on hop off service. Some of them even offer an open deck!
Orange Flag Boat
Orange Flag is the most frequent express boat service running all the way from Nonthaburi Pier (N30) to Wat Rajsingkorn Pier (S3). Orange Flag boat costs less and is a good alternative to the pricier tourist boat.
Yellow Flag, Green Flag & No Flag Boats
Yellow Flag is the express service running from Nonthaburi Pier (N30) to Sathorn Pier (Central). This express boat service operates on weekdays and during rush hour only.
Green Flag boats run from Pakkret Pier (N33) to Sathorn Pier (Central) but they are even less than frequent than Yellow Flag boats and also operate on weekdays and during rush hour only.
No Flag boats operate between Nonthaburi Pier (N30) to Wat Rajsingkorn Pier (S3) only on weekdays and specific hours only.
Cross River Ferries
Chao Phraya Express Boat services are complemented by Bangkok’s cross river ferries available in most of the main piers for crossing to the opposite bank of the river. More info about Chao Phraya River crossing can be found here: Bangkok Cross River Ferries: Chao Phraya River Crossing.
Chao Phraya Express Boat Fare
Chao Phraya Express Boat fare depends on the service you are using:
- Blue Flag - Chao Phraya Tourist Boat fare is 50 Baht for a single trip or 180 Baht for one day pass
- Orange Flag boat fare is 15 Baht for a single trip
- Yellow Flag boat fare is 20 Baht for a single trip
- Green Flag boat fare depends on the distance and is 13/20/32 Baht for a single trip
- No Flag boat fare depends on the distance and is 9/11/13 Baht for a single trip
Chao Phraya Express Boat ticket can be bought at the desks found at the pier. Normally separate desks are set up for different boat services.
In general it is possible to buy a ticket on board as well but it’s definitely not recommended unless there’s no other option available.
Operating time and frequency of Chao Phraya Express boats depends on the service:
- Blue Flag - Chao Phraya Tourist Boat operates daily from 09.00 to 18.00, frequency – every 30 minutes
- Orange Flag boat operates daily from 06.00 to 20.10, frequency – every 12 to 20 minutes
- Yellow Flag boats operate Monday – Friday from 06.15 to 08.20 in the morning and from 16.00 to 20.00 in the afternoon, frequency – every 5 to 10 minutes in the morning and every 20 minutes in the afternoon
- Green Flag boats operate Monday – Friday from 06.00 to 08.10 in the morning and from 15.45 to 18.05 in the afternoon, frequency – every 15 to 20 minutes
- No Flag boats operate Monday – Friday from 06.45 to 07.30 in the morning and from 16.00 to 16.30 in the afternoon, frequency – every 20 to 25 minutes
Taking a River Boat in Bangkok
Once the boat arrives at the pier, make sure that it’s going into the right direction as the same pier is used for boats going both ways. Stand in a queue and let arriving passengers to leave the boat.
As the entry/exit of the boat is at the rear, move towards the front of the boat unless you are planning to get off the boat at the next stop. Go to the back of the boat only when your stop approaches.
Where to Stay in Bangkok?
What is the best area to stay in Bangkok if you are willing to use river boats as your main mode of transportation in Bangkok? The answer can be found here: Where to Stay in Bangkok - Guide to Bangkok Best Areas.
Enjoy your ride on river boats in Bangkok!
Check our Frequently Asked Questions about public transportation in Bangkok and ask your own question if it's not answered there yet.