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The Chao Phraya River in Bangkok, Part 1

This page, and the page linked to it, tries to give you a -doubtless far from complete- impression of the Chao Phraya River, that flows through Bangkok.
This first page is mainly about the traffic upon the river. The second page (see the link at the bottom) is mainly about buildings along the river.


Like so many other cities, the City of Bangkok is built near a river: the Chao Phraya River. For a City the size of Bangkok, such a river is a necessity. In fact it is the "vein" of the City.

First I want to give you some impression of the traffic on the river. Elsewhere on these pages you have already seen the Express Boat Service (See my pages about Public Transport, but finish this page first, please!)

Cargo boats on the river Tugboat

There is a lot of cargo traffic on the river. Not in the last place because many companies have built their factories at the riverside. These factories are one of the reasons why you will often see a kind of "smog", like on the left hand side picture above. Environmental regulations are not yet as strict as in Western Countries, but doubtless the Thais will bring them closer to the Western standards as soon as they can.

The Singha Boat The Pepsi Boat

Here are two examples of boats you will see pass at least once a day in every direction. The Singha Beer Boat (left hand side picture) and the Pepsi Boat (right hand side picture).

Small businessman on the Big River Hotel Shuttle  Boat

But not only large businesses have their boats traveling along the Chao Phraya River. Don't underestimate the honest small businessman, who also uses his boat for his business (left hand side picture). And then there is a lot of "pleasure traffic" too. On the right hand side picture you see a "Shuttle Boat" belonging to one of the many riverside hotels.

House Boats House Boat

On several places along the river you find the "boat people", living permanently in their old and simple boats on the river. If you want to see some of them, go to Tewes Pier, where the right hand side picture was taken.
The "boat people" are very poor, but it seems that they would not want to live elsewhere. They seem to belong to the river. And the river belongs (partly) to them.

Ferry boat

And here you see another example of the busy "business traffic" on the river. This is a ferry boat. You find them -say- every 500 meters on the riverside. They simply cross the river from one side to the other and ask you the modest fee of 2 Baht per person.

Inside a long tailed boat

And this is the Chao Phraya River, as seen from inside a "long tailed boat". You can make a "Klong Tour" with one of these boats. Any travel agency (for instance the one in your hotel) will be happy to book it for you.

House along a Klong Large house along a Klong

These two pictures were made during my own most recent "Klong Tour" (a "Klong" is a small river or canal). As you see, many different types of houses can be found along the "Klongs" of Bangkok.

Fun in a Klong

But you would be mistaken if you thought that the river is only, or mostly used for serious purposes. The river can be great fun, and a scene like shown above is quite normal. You can't miss it on any trip on the river or on the klongs!

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This page was last uploaded: September 4, 2010 at 17:38