Chao Phraya River Surroundings


Chao Phraya River

The Chao Phraya River flows south from the highlands on Thais northern border to the Gulf of Thailand near Bangkok. Also known as the River of Kings, it’s around 365 km long. Throughout many centuries, the river has been used for transportation and agriculture, providing the day-to-day needs and livelihood of the people living along the water. There are several islands in the Chao Phraya River too, most notably Ko Kret, home to the minority Mon community who are renowned for their pottery skills.

Striking buildings along the Chao Phraya River

Many of Bangkok’s best attractions are situated right alongside the magnificent Chao Phraya River. The riverside is a great place to stay while in Traveling to Bangkok, and traveling by boat is definitely one of the best ways to get around the city. It’s probably most favorite form of transport in Bangkok. For an allround and comprehensive guide to getting around Chao Phraya River, you can see the following highlights along Bangkok’s Chao Phraya River.


Chao Phraya River Surroundings


Phra Sumen Fort

Built in 1783 by King Rama I to help defend against naval invasions, Phra Sumen Fort sits on the banks of Chao Phraya River within Santi Chai Prakan park. The white, octagonal brick-and-stucco tower is one of only two of Bangkok’s original 14 city watchtowers still standing. The fort was named after Mt. Meru (Phra Sumen in Thai) from Hindu-Buddhist mythology.

Locals and visitors as well come to the park to enjoy cool breezes, river views and even the occasional riverside aerobics lessons in the early evening.


Phra Sumen Fort


Wat Rakhang Kositaram / Temple of the Bell

Wat Rakhang, an old Bangkok temple from the Ayutthaya era, is one of the favorite temples for merit making and one that you should include in your Bangkok temple tour. The temple was originally called Wat Bang Wa Yai and in the reign of King Taksin (1767 – 1782), he constructed his palace nearby, the temple was renovated and elevated to a royal temple. In the reign of King Rama I (1782 – 1809), a huge bell was discovered in the temple grounds.

The bell was removed to Wat Phra Kaeo, the Temple of the Emerald Buddha and five new bells were presented by King Rama I as replacements. These five bells are still hanging in the belfry (ho rakhang) today.


Wat Rakhang Kositaram


Grand Palace & Wat Phra Kaew

The Grand Palace is one of Bangkok’s most famous landmarks and is always on the must-see list of first-timers. It was built in 1872 and was originally the home of the Thai king. The Temple of the Emerald Buddha (Wat Phra Kaew) is in the grounds of the Grand Palace. This is one of Thailand’s most sacred sites, so strict dress codes apply. Men must wear long trousers and long-sleeved shirts. If wearing flip flops, socks must also be worn, as no bare feet are allowed. Women should be similarly covered up.


The Grand Palace


Wat Arun / Temple of the Dawn

This is one of Thailand’s most amazing temples, and lots of people may have seen images of it even before arriving in Thailand. It looks great in the daytime, but even better at night. It’s on the other side of Chao Phraya River from Wat Pho, so you’ll need to take the cross-river ferry that costs 3 baht ($0.10). The temple is open every day from 08:30 until 17:30, and the entrance fee is 100 baht ($3.35). You can also climb to the top, but the steps are very steep so only attempt this is you’re fit and able and not afraid of heights.


Sunset at Wat Arun


Wat Kalayanamitr

Wat Kalayanamitr is often overlooked by tourists despite dominating the western bank of the Chao Phraya River with its giant temple structure. The nearby Wat Arun is much more well-known and acts as a magnet, drawing the crowds away from many Riverside Bangkok attractions and temples. If you want a more tranquil, less touristy alternative, head to Wat Kalayanamitr, which is particularly famous for its enormous, seated golden Buddha inside the main building.


Wat Kalayanamitr


Gong Wu Shrine

The Gong Wu Shrine in Bangkok's China Town was built between 1916- 1926 by a group of Chinese immigrants who came to settle in this area. The shrine houses the stature of Gong Wu and a horse statue, which is the travelling vehicle for the Gong Wu deity.

Gong Wu is also known by the name of Kuan Wu, Guan Yu or Gong Wu and is often pictured as a red-faced deity. Gong Wu was a warlord and as such human, living during the reign of the Three Kingdoms. He has been famous for his honesty and virtues.


Gong Wu Shrine


Che Chin Khor Temple / Pagoda

On the west side of Chao Phraya River stands a Chinese pagoda that can’t be missed by anyone travelling by boat due to Chinese Taoist Pagoda of 8 floors. The striking orange roofed tower has a prominent appearance yet a low profile – often people wonder what it is but cannot find any answers. Wonder no more. The structure is part of the Chee Chin Khor Moral Uplifting Society temple complex that has been hiding in plain sight for decades.


Chee Chin Khor Temple


Millennium Hilton Bangkok

Located on the banks of the Chao Phraya River, this contemporary 5-star property has 4 dining options, 24-hour gym and world-class spa. All the dining outlets have open kitchens and river views. Guests can cool down with cocktails and panoramic views of the city at Three Sixty Lounge. Signature desserts and artisan chocolate can be sampled at The Lantern. The hotel is located next to Khlong San Market. It is a short boat ride away from Asiatique Shopping Mall and Wat Arun.


Millennium Hilton Bangkok



Icon Siam Mall is called the "Mother of All Malls", with 500 shops and 100 restaurants from more than 30 different countries. Developed by the same tycoons behind Siam Paragon and EmQuartier, Icon Siam offers high-end brands, an indoor floating market, an art gallery, exhibition space, and a beautiful riverside location with views of downtown Bangkok.

Located on the Thonburi side of the Chao Phraya River, you can reach Icon Siam by taking the BTS to Saphan Taksin Station and heading to the pier, where you can hop on a free river shuttle. You can also go to Krung Thon Buri Station and take a free shuttle bus (the slightly faster, but far less impressive way to reach Icon Siam). Both options drop you off in front of the mall.




Old Customs House

Now referred to as the Old Customs House, this structure in the Creative District was designed by an Italian architect Joachim Grassi in the late 1880s towards the turn of the century when Western influence on public buildings was quite prevalent. The Old Customs House grand façade and front door faced Chao Phraya River. Its Palladian architecture is easily discernible from the top triangular pediment embedded with a clock, windows with arched transoms, and strong theme of symmetry. Unfortunately, the Old Customs House had a few decades of life before shuttering its doors. The customs office moved to Khlong Toei in the 1949. Since then, the building has been decaying.


Old Customs House Bangkok


Golden dome of the Lebua State Tower (Sirocco Sky Bar)

Sky Bar at Lebua Bangkok stands at almost 250 metres above sea level, offering impressive views of the Thai capital. Located in Silom, this rooftop bar is quite easy to find, a 5-minute walk from Saphan Taksin BTS station, look for a tall cream-coloured building with a gold dome on the roof. The bar was made even more famous after featuring in the Hollywood film, The Hangover Part II.

If you arrive before Sky Bar opens, you can still have a drink and enjoy the view from Distil Bar, located on the 64th floor of Lebua Bangkok. This comfortable whisky bar has an outdoor terrace with a comfortable sofa area.


Sky Bar at Lebua Bangkok


Santa Cruz Church

Santa Cruz Church is a Portuguese Roman Catholic church that was originally built in the 1700s. It has been rebuilt many times since, with the current church dating back to 1916. It’s open every day and can be entered free of charge. Nearest Pier: N7 (Rajinee) – then take cross-river ferry to the church.

Ferris wheel of ASIATIQUE The Riverfront

ASIATIQUE The Riverfront is a night market and mall complex with over 1,500 boutiques street food vendors alongside posh restaurants, beer gardens set next to sophisticated wine bars – not forgetting the massive Ferris wheel that towers over the riverside. Set on the banks of the Chao Phraya River, the running theme throughout is a bit of mishmash of retro decor alongside vintage props that are a tip of the hat to the site’s long trade history, including a replica tram, clock tower, and ship hangars.


Ferris Wheel of ASIATIQUE Riverfront


Royal bridges

Major bridges across the Chao Phraya River in Bangkok are as follows: the Rama VI railroad bridge; Phra Pin-klao near the Grand Palace; Rama VIII, a single tower asymmetrical cable-stayed bridge; Rama IX, a semi-symmetric cable-stayed bridge; and Mega Bridge, on the Industrial Ring Road. Among them, Rama VIII Bridge is a bridge crossing Chao Phraya River which connects Wisut Kasat Road and Arun Amarin Road. The bride was part of the royal project to alleviate traffic congestion from Rattanakosin Island to Thonburi.

In Bangkok, the Chao Phraya is a major transportation artery for a network of river buses, cross-river ferries, and water taxis ("longtails"). More than 15 boat lines run on the rivers and canals of the city, including commuter lines.


Rama VIII Bridge


Romantic evening at the Chao Phraya River

We suggest you take a romantic nighttime dinner cruise on Bangkok's Chao Phraya River. You can watch the lights of greater Bangkok sparkle from the city’s Chao Phraya River during a romantic 2-hour dinner cruise. You will kick things off with a cocktail and smile from the crew as you board, enjoying a candlelight buffet dinner of Thai and international cuisine plus live music. Out the windows you’ll glide past illuminated landmarks such as Wat Phra Kaew, Wat Arun, and many more.


Night Cruise on Chao Phraya River


Going out at the Chao Phraya River of Bangkok

Going out near the Chao Phraya River means enjoying good food and cool drinks Bangkok’s Riverside is home to some of the best restaurants in town, many of which take advantage of the cool breezes, sumptuous views across the water and sit in ideal spots next to the Chao Phraya River’s many piers and luxury hotels.

The stretch of the river offers a great escape from Bangkok’s often oppressive traffic and inner-city stuffiness. Hugging the banks of the Chao Phraya River, you’ll find old temples, wooden houses and old buildings and warehouses as well as a whole host of stunning hotels offering great river views. Make your way up and down the water on one of the many shuttle boats and choose among these best restaurants in Bangkok’s Riverside for a memorable dining experience.


Restaurant on Riverside of Chao Phraya River


Transportation on the Chao Phraya River from Bangkok

One of the most convenient and most exotic types of transport in Bangkok is the water. Through the city passes the river of Chao Phraya (Chao Phraya River), and areas of Bangkok are covered with a network of channels, which is the capital at the time was nicknamed "Venice of the East". Some of these channels were dug by hand to divert water, but today many of them gradually fall asleep, winning back the land for construction.

In General, water transport in Bangkok can be divided into three types: water taxis, Express boats and ferries across the river Chao Phraya.

This transport has a distinct advantage: by boat you can reach anywhere quickly, bypassing the traffic on the roads. It should be noted that along the Chao Phraya River can be navigated not only in Bangkok but also far beyond it.


Chaophraya River Transportation


Sleeping along the Chao Phraya River

For many people, a hotel next to the river makes for an ideal holiday. And that is especially so in Bangkok. The temperature in the hot season can be in the high 30s, so a gentle breeze from the city’s Chao Phraya River is a welcome relief. Staying at a hotel along the river also means you can take advantage of one of the best ways to see many of the city’s top attractions – by boat.