BTS Skytrain to Grand Palace, Wat Pho, Wat Arun, Khao San, and Chao Phraya River in Bangkok

Friday, November 22, 2013

(Updated December 2015) No visit to Bangkok can be considered complete without seeing attractions like the Grand Palace, Wat Pho, etc. that are scattered along the banks of the Chao Phraya River. Fortunately for tourists, the Sathorn Bridge Pier (Central Pier) on the mighty river is connected to Bangkok BTS Skytrain's 'Saphan Taksin' Station. This station is on Skytrain's Silom line that stretches from National Stadium station at one end to Bang Wa station at the other end. Silom line connects with the Sukhumvit line on the Siam Sky Train station that is common to both the lines. There is a well decorated Tourist Information Center on the Saphan Taksin Station where one can get all the info on the various attractions along the river. To get to the boat pier, take Exit number 2 of Saphan Taksin station and you will find the stairs going straight to the Sathorn Bridge Pier (Central Pier) on Chao Phraya River. Also read: Easy Guide To Visiting Bangkok's Main Riverside Attractions. Keep reading... 

Sathorn Bridge Pier on Chao Phraya River, Bangkok

Sathorn Pier is the place from where one can find several useful boat services to see the riverside attractions. There are two types of services from here, One, the Express Boat service that can be used for travelling from one pier to another by buying a ticket sold on the boat by conductors like is done on a bus. The boat fare per person on the usual tourist routes is 14 THB. This is the better option if one is interested in travelling to Wat Pho, Grand Palace, Wat Arun, and Khao San. Actually, this much travel may just take half a day but if one is interested in more places along the river and can spare a full day, then buying a Tourist Boat Pass will be better. Read more on the Tourist Boat Pass below...

Truncated map of BTS Sky Train Bangkok

Tourist Information Center on Saphan Taksin Sky Train Station, Bangkok

Way to the Sathorn Bridge Pier from Saphan Taksin Sky Train Station Bangkok

Chao Phraya Tourist Boat - One Day Pass

Chao Phraya Tourist Boat Ticket Office Sathorn Pier Bangkok

This is an attractive option but I did not see many people opting for the Tourist Boat because it is expensive. The one day pass costs 150 THB per person for unlimited rides, boarding and alighting at any of the nine serviced piers on the routes and from 9.30am to 6.40pm. The tourist boats operated by the Chao Phraya Express Boat Company leave Sathorn Pier every 30 minutes and connect a total of 10 piers on the river:

1. Asiatique The Riverfront (service operated only between 4.40pm and 6.40pm)

2. Sathorn Pier - Starting point

3. Oriental Pier (N1) - Various hotels

4. River City Pier

5. Rajchawong Pier (N5) - China Town

6. Pak Klong Talad Pier - Flower Market

7. Tha Tien Pier (N8) - Wat Pho, Wat Arun (other side of the river via another boat)

8. Maharaj Pier (Special River Pier) - Grand Palace

9. Wang Lang Pier (N10) - Siriraj Hospital and Museum

10. Phra Arthit Pier (N13) - Khao San Road

Waiting Time For A Tourist Boat

A Tourist Boat will reach each of the ten piers after a maximum of 30 minutes. If one is not willing to wait for the next Tourist Boat, passengers are allowed to take any other Chao Phraya Express Boat within the same route from 9.30 AM to 7.30 PM using the Tourist Boat One Day Pass.

Another advantage of buying the Tourist Boat Pass is the free services of a tour guide on the boat and a free printed guidebook that is given away along with each day pass.

The Cheaper Express Boat Option

Chao Phraya Express Boat

Most tourists coming to Chao Phraya river are interested only in four attractions: Grand Palance, Emerald Buddha, Wat Pho, and Wat Arun. All these four can be visited by spending just 34 THB per person for the two-way boat trip by Express Boat. First, take an Express Boat from Sathorn Pier at 14 THB per person (buy ticket after boarding the boat), and alight at Pier N8 (Tha Tien). From this pier, one can first walk to Grand Palace / Emerald Buddha and then walk back to walk back to Wat Pho which is very close to Pier N8. After seeing Wat Pho, come back to Tha Tien Pier and buy a 3 THB per person ticket from a special river crossing boat counter. This river crossing boat takes on to the other side of the river in front of Wat Arun. To make the return journey, take the river crossing boat at 3 THB to come back to Tha Tien, and then board an Express Boat from there at 14 THB to come back to Saphan Taksin BTS station.

It is possible to take a taxi from Grand Palace or Wat Pho (eastern side of the river) to shopping areas of Bangkok (MBK etc.) without going back by boat to Sathorn Pier. Also read: Easy Guide To Visiting Bangkok's Main Riverside Attractions

Take A Free Boat Ride

One can even take a free boat ride from Sathorn Pier to go to the Asiatique The Riverfront Shopping Mall. Read more here: Free Boat Ride in Chao Phraya River

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Posted by Narinder Singh


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I left my day job in October 2013 and became a full time blogger. I love travel and hence a travel blog was the obvious place to start from. The result is I currently live in Bengaluru, India. - Narinder Singh.


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