Bangkok

Chao Phraya River – How to use the express boats to see Bangkok

Chao Phraya River - How to use the express boats
Chao Phraya River – How to use the express boats

The Chao Phraya river express boats are an easy and cost-effective way to see Bangkok as the river zigzags its way through some of the most important tourist attractions. Before you head out though, read about how to identify the right one for you.

How to use the Chao Phraya river express boats

There are a number of boats on the Chao Phraya river that cover different routes and stop at different boat stops. The routes covered by the boats are primarily identified by the color of the flag the fly. They are also named so – orange flag, blue flag, green flag and yellow flag express boats. There are also some other boats that have no flag. These are either ferry boats or special shuttle boats belonging to some hotels.

See the map below for the different routes/stops covered by the different colored boats. If you are a tourist, the orange flag express boat and the tourist boat (blue flag boat) cover all the stops that you need to visit.

Map of Chao Phraya River express boat routes/stops

Map of Chao Phraya River express boat routes/stops
Map of Chao Phraya River express boat routes/stops

Central Pier and Nomenclature

The Central Pier, at Sathorn (Taksin), divides the Chao Phraya river into northern and southern parts. Except for the three stops to the south, most of the stops are located north of the Sathorn. The boat stops are numbered and those that lie to the north of the Sathorn started with ‘N’ and those to the south start with ‘S’.

Chao Phraya express boat schedule – routes, fares and frequency

Chao Phraya river express boats - routes, service time and frequency
Chao Phraya river express boats – routes, service time and frequency

If the picture above is not clear, I repeat the basic information about schedule, routes, fares and frequency below:

Local Line : No Flag

Route: Nonthaburi (N30) – Wat Rajsingkorn (S3)
Service: Monday – Friday
Time: 06.45 – 07.30 hrs., 16.00 – 16.30
Frequency: 20 to 25 min

Green Flag Express Boat

Route: Pakkret (N33) – Sathorn (central pier)
Service: Monday – Friday
Time: 6:10 to 8:10 hrs.
Frequency: 15 min.

Route: Sathorn (Central Pier) to Pakkret (N33)
Service: Monday – Friday
Time: 16:05 to 18:05 hrs.
Frequency: 20 min

Yellow Flag Express Boat

Route: Nonthaburi (N30) – Sathorn (central pier)
Service: Monday – Friday
Time: 06.15-08.20 hrs.
Frequency: 8 to 10 min. (check frequency per hour in the image above)

Route: Sathorn (central pier) – Nonthaburi (N30)
Service: Monday – Friday
Time: 16.00 – 20.00 hrs .
Frequency: 20 min.

Orange Flag Express Boat

Route: Nonthaburi (N30) – Wat Rajsingkorn (S3)
Service: Everyday
Time: 5.50 – 19.00 hrs. (Mon – Fri), 6.00 – 19.00 hrs. ( Sat, Sun and holidays)
Frequency: changes hourly from 5 to 20 min. see the detailed information in the picture above.

Route: Wat Rajsingkorn (S3) – Nonthaburi (N30)
Service: Everyday
Time: 6.00 – 19.00 hrs.
Frequency: changes hourly from 10 to 20 min. see the detailed information in the picture above.

Blue Flag Boat -Tourist Boat

Route: Sathorn – Phra Arthit
Service: Everyday 9:30 -16:00

How to pay fare on Express boats?

Chao Phraya Express boats fares
Chao Phraya Express boats fares

For all the boats except the tourist boat, you can pay the fare onboard the boat or buy the ticket from the counter before boarding. If you buy the ticket before boarding, keep it safe with you and show it to the conductor when asked.

Some routes are charged based on the distance (See info below). For the tourist boat, tickets can be bought at Sathorn (Taksin) or Phra Arthit.

If the picture above is not clear or didn’t load, I repeat the fare information below:
No Flag Boat : 9 / 11 / 13 Baht (charged based on distance)
Green Flag Boat : 13 / 20 / 32 Baht (charged based on distance)
Yellow Express Boat : 20 Baht
Orange Express Boat : 15 Baht
Chao Phraya Tourist Boat : 50 (one stop, one way)/ 180 (unlimited hop-on hop-off day pass)

There are some point to point boats that just take you across the river. You can find one at the temple – Wat Arun. These boats are very cheap and cost about just 4 Baht per person one way.

How to see Bangkok’s Tourist Attractions By Express Boats

As mentioned before, if you are a tourist, the orange flag and the tourist boat (blue flag) are the most important to you. These cover most of the tourist spots.

Chao Phraya Tourist Boat
Chao Phraya Tourist Boat

The tourist boat is ideal; it’s less crowded as it’s not used by locals and it has an english speaking guide on board. The Day Pass works as a hop-on hop-off ticket. So, you can hop-on and hop-off the blue flag boats as many times as you like. However, it’s expensive compared to the orange flag boats.

The orange flag express boat stops at all the stops on the tourist boat and is much cheaper. However, it may be crowded as locals use it too. The boat doesn’t necessarily stop at every stop unless there’s someone who needs to get off. So, before your stop arrives, make sure you head to the back of the boat and indicate to the guy with the whistle that you need to get off.

Tourist Attractions and the Express Boat Stops

The important stops for a tourist and the attractions you can see at these stops are listed below:

  1. Sathorn (central pier) – shuttle boat to ICONSIAM mall. The orange boat also stops at ICONSIAM just before Sathorn.
  2. Ratchawongse (N5) – Chinatown
  3. Pak Klong Taladd (N6) – Flower Market
  4. Tha Tien (N8) – Wat Arun. you can catch a cross-ferry to see Wat Pho and Grand Palace
  5. Tha Maharaj (N9) – Some of the best Bangkok temples such as Grand Palace, Wat Pho. Take a cross-ferry to see Wang Lang
  6. Thonburi Railway Station (N11) – Siriraj Phimukhsthan museum, Royal Barge National museum
  7. Phra Arthit (N13) – Khao San Road

I hope you found this guide on how to use the Chao Phraya express boats helpful. If so, please don’t forget to share it with your friends visiting Bangkok.

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