Many amazing sites are dotted along the riverside in the Thai capital of Bangkok.
It is a pity if you miss the beautiful scenery on the bank of the Chao Phraya River. Transportation in Riverside is easier than in Bangkok’s center.
The Riverside is full of fascinating temples that straddle its sides and all kinds of night markets and a whole host of other fun attractions throughout the area.
Here are our travel tips for the Bangkok Riverside:
1. Wat Arun (วัดอรุณ)
Wat Arun (locally konwn as Wat Chaeng)stands on the west (Thonburi) bank of the Chao Phraya River. Undoubtedly, Wat Arun is one of the most beautiful temples in Bangkok, not due to its location but the design is totally different to other temples. Wat Arun (the Temple of the Dawn) is partly made up of colorful spire decoration.
Wat Arun is opposite to Wat Pho, so it is very easy to get there. Starting from Sapphan Taksin boat pier, you can take the boat to the No.8 boat pier. From here, it just costs you about 3 baht to cross the river by ferry. The entrance fee is 100 baht. The temple is open daily from 08:30 to 17:30.
Opening Hours: 08:00 -17:30
Location: Located on the west side of Chao Praya River (opposite Tha Thien Pier)
Ticket: 50 Baht
2. Wat Pho
Wat Pho (the Temple of the Reclining Buddha) is situated behind the Temple of the Emerald Buddha and it is also a must-visit for first time visitors to Bangkok. It is famed for the giant reclining Buddha that measures 46 meters long and is covered by golden leaf.
Wandering around the temple takes you about ten minutes.We recommend you firstly visit Grand Palace as Wat Pho is so crowded that many people won’t spend too much time visiting the whole temple. Besides, it is a good place to enjoy a traditional Thai massage. Since December 2012, the entrance to the temple is 100 baht and it opens from 8:00 to 17:00.
Opening time: 8:00 am-5:00pm (message service will be provided before 6:00pm)
Location: Maharat Road
Ticket: 100 Baht
3. Grand Palace & Wat Prakeaw-a spiritual pillar of Thailand
Without doubt, the majestic Grand Palace is a must-see attraction in Bangkok. Built in 1782, it continues to be the residence of the Kings of Thailand and senior administrative officers for 150 years. The giant buildings with exquisite architectural details will have tourists in awe, however, all of which are due to the creativity and matchless craftsmanship of the Thai people.
Within the palace, there are many magnificent buildings, including Wat Phra Kaew (Temple of the Emerald Buddha), which also contains a long history of about 100 years. Besides, there is a famous and greatly revered Emerald Buddha that dates back to the 14th century.
Opening time: 8:00am-3:30pm
Location: on the east bank of the Chao Phraya River
Ticket: 500 Baht, including Grand Palace & Wat Prakeaw, Wat Phra Kaew and Vimanmek Mansion Palace
4. The Khlongs of Thonburi in Bangkok
Before merging into Bangkok in 1972,Thonbur,situated on the western bank of the Chao Phraya River, has always been an independent province, so it happened to escape from modern development in many places. Its man-made network of khlongs, including Khlong Mon and Khlong Bangkok Noi, retain great historical charm.
Put the crowded ferries aside and forget flocks of people, expensive souvenirs and scam tricks. When you go sightseeing by boat on the Chao Phraya River, you can learn how Thai people live in huts, old townhouses and dilapidated flats.
5. Sky Bar Rooftop at Lebua
Sky Bar Rooftop at Lebua offers the best views of Bangkok city-you can overlook the scenery along the river from the 63rd floor with a must-have of a glass of sundown cocktail held in your hand. It is well-known for hosting the Hangover II boys during filming in Bangkok.
It is easy to get there: go out from Saphan Taksin and walk towards the tall white dome with golden dome for about 10 minutes. It may not give a relaxed experience as people will flock here but the beauty will impress and you won’t forget the view.
Opening Time: 6:00pm-1:00am
BTS: Saphan Taksin
Location: The Dome at Lebua, Silom Road, Bangrak, Bangkok, Thailand,10500
Tel: +66 (0) 2 624 9555
6. Asiatique The Riverfront in Bangkok
The popular shopping experiences in Asiatique is the combination of a night market and a shopping mall. It is about ten-minutes away from Saphan Taksin BTS station.
Asiatique was transformed from a thriving international trade port in the past, which houses more than 1500 stalls and 40 restaurants.The night bazaar starts from 17:00, you can browse in the boutiques, buying gifts for your friends or yourself; you are guaranteed to find something that you like. Besides, Calypso ladyboy cabaret and classic Thai puppet performances etc, shows are performed nightly.
Opening Hours: 17:00-24:00
Location: Chareonkrung Soi 74-76
How to get there: The easiest and fastest way to get there is via boat. Take the BTS to Saphan Taksin and jump on the free shuttle at the end of the pier. It only takes ten minutes, and the boat runs until 23:00. Taxis are not recommended as the traffic can be terrible in this area.
7. Bangkok Forensic Museum
If you prefer a museum full of artistic or cultural artifacts, then perhaps the Bangkok Forensic Museum may not be for you. Located inside the Siriraj Hospital on the west bank of the Chao Phraya river, its exhibition is more suitable for morbid travelers or for those searching for something extremely unusual.
The hospital features six district museums, three of which are full of fun but obviously the creepiest ones are pathology and anatomical medicine museums.
Opening Time: 09:00-16:00,Monday-Saturday
Price Range: 40 Baht; free for children leaa than 1.2 meter(not sure you should take kids there, though)
How to get there: Take the river shuttle near the Grand Palace. Catch a boat at Chang Pier or Prajan Pier, and stop to Pranok Pier-the whole process only spends you 3 baht.
8. Muay Thai Live at Asiatique Bangkok
Muay Thai Live at Asiatique Bangkok is an exciting show combining drama performances with ancient martial arts Muay Thai.This excellent play will help you appreciate the beauty of ancient Siam and modern Bangkok-a mixed show with a great Xiang Kong kick, the traditional Muay Thai moves, strong upper limb hit and romantic comedy plot. It is a ninety-minute show infused with special content and real combat.This Bangkok show runs Tuesday – Sunday (closed Mondays) from 20:00 at The Stage, a modern theatre with 600 seats.
Opening Time: 20:00-21:30,Monday-Saturday
Location: THE STAGE Theatre, Asiatique Bangkok, Chareonkrung Soi 74-76
9. Wat Kalayanamit
Despite Wat Kalayanamit’s domination on the west bank of the Chao Phraya River, many visitors, guides or even locals always miss it. However, the nearby Wat Arun enjoys much more fame, like a magnet, attracting flocks of visitors from the nearby scenes and temples.
If your visions for quiet and less touristy alternative, Wat Kalayanamit is waiting for you! It is easy to get there, why? In fact, it even has its own pier. Take a ferry there from the opposite side at Ratchinee Pier or take a express boat (ask for Wat Kala-yan-amit )
Opening Hours: 06:00 – 21:00
Location: At Kalayanamit Pier
10. Royal Barges Museum
Royal Barges Museum is home to a variety of canal boats, made of large teak cast and decorated with various patterns of beasts with bright gold, red and blue colors.
All barges on display are still fully operational, but generally lent from the museum only for special occasions, such as royal parades. There are a collection of less flamboyantly decorated barges at the back to offer visitors a great insight into the outstanding contribution of barges in Bangkok history. This museum is just like a big warehouse standing on the river, so you can take an express boat to Wang Lang Pier (N10) and walk to it.
Opening Hours: 09:00 – 17:00
Location: Khlong Bangkok Noi (Thonburi side, near Phra Pin Klao Bridge)
Tel: +66 (0)2 424 0004
Many sites are floating on the river. Your sights will be broadened with visiting these attractions by boat. When the evening lights are lit, the scene is very special.
If your Thailand trip includes Bangkok, a riverside exploration should be on the must-visit list.