Khlong Tours of the Chao Praya River in Bangkok

Why is Stone Forest so special?

A Khlong tour through the canals of Bangkok is the ultimate way to discover Thonburi, the old part of Bangkok. Thonburi is located west of the Chao Phraya River. This is a part of Bangkok where you, as a tourist normally don’t come quickly. You feel like you are far away from the blocks with skyscrapers, large luxury shopping malls and four-lane roads. Yet Thonburi is closer than you think and easy to reach. During the boat trip you will see wooden houses on stilts, friendly locals, unexpected green oasis and colorful temples.

You will navigate primarily through the narrow canals (known as Khlong) of Bangkok, which allows for a close-up view of the houses along the waterfront. You’ll witness the lively activity both on and off the water, including people gardening, cooking, doing laundry or taking a peaceful nap. In essence, it’s simply life along the river that has been passed down for generations. While this is normal for Thai locals, it’s an extraordinary experience for us!


History of Chao Phraya River

The earliest civilizations in Southeast Asia, including the ancient Mon kingdom and the civilization of Dvaravati from the 7th to 11th centuries, rose on the basins of Chao Phraya River. The river played a crucial role in the Lavo kingdom that existed on its left bank in the Upper Chao Phraya valley. Chao Phraya continued to be important in succeeding kingdoms, forming the bases of Ayodhaya kingdom which was later incorporated into Ayutthaya Kingdom in the 14th century. This kingdom was a precursor to modern Thailand (formerly known as Siam). After Rattanakosin (Bangkok) was established on its east bank in 1782, Chao Phraya River became even more significant. Bangkok’s location ensured protection for Siamese Kingdom from Burmese invasions coming from West.

History of Khlong

A khlong, which is sometimes spelled as klong, typically denotes a canal in Thailand. These canals are formed by the rivers Chao Phraya, Tha Chin, and Mae Klong, along with their tributaries especially in the low-lying regions of central Thailand. It’s worth noting that the Thai term khlong isn’t restricted to man-made canals; many smaller streams are also referred to as “khlong” followed by their respective names.

As of 2019, there are 1,682 canals in Bangkok with a total length of 2,604 kilometers. Nine of these canals serve as primary flood drainage conduits. In the past, Bangkok was known as the “Venice of the East” due to its numerous khlongs or canals that were used for transportation and floating markets but also for sewage disposal. However, most of these khlongs have been filled in over time except for some larger ones on the Thonburi side west of Chao Phraya River. Khlong Saen Saep located in central Bangkok is an important thoroughfare within the city’s public transportation network especially during traffic congestion.

Main Pier of Khlong Saen Saep

Khlong Saen Saep Express Boat is a public ferry service operated by Family Transport Company in Thailand, with 100 ferries that have 40 to 50 seats each. It serves 60,000 passengers daily on the 18-kilometer-long Khlong Saen Saep canal in Bangkok. It connects the north-south MRT and BTS lines. It is the fastest way to enter the old city area. The Golden Mount Line goes westward towards the Wat Saket (金山寺), while the Nida Line goes eastward. There are a total of 30 stations. This city canal, regardless of whether the boat is heading east or west, only stops on one side unless it is at the largest transfer station – Pratunam Pier.

Golden Mount Line

  1. Saphan Phan Fa Lilat: This pier is located near the King Prajadhipok Museum and within walking distance to Wat Saket.
  2. Bobe Market(母马哒叻): This is a large wholesale market for ready-made clothing.
  3. Charoen Phon(乍能蓬)
  4. Saphan Hua Chang(石象桥):This pier is close to the MBK Center, a commercial center for overseas Chinese, as well as the National Stadium Station and Siam Station of Bangkok’s mass transit system’s elevated train.
  5. Pratunam Pier(水门): Here are the Praunam Market, Computer Center and Central World Business Center. It is also a transfer point for the East-West Line.

Nida Line

  1. Pratunam Pier(水门): Here are the Praunam Market, Computer Center and Central World Business Center. It is also a transfer point for the East-West Line.
  2. Chit Lom(奇隆): near Central Chidlom
  3. Witthayu(无线电路): Near the British Embassy in Thailand.
  4. Nana Nua(那那北): Near Bumrungrad Hospital.
  5. Nana Chard(那那茶)
  6. Asok(阿素): This pier is close to the Bangkok MRT’s Phra Ram 9 Station.
  7. Srinakharinwirot University Prasarn Mit(诗纳卡琳威洛大学)
  8. Ital-Thai Tower(意泰大厦)
  9. Wat Mai Chong Lom(越迈崇隆寺): Royal City Avenue (RCA)
  10. Thong Lo(通罗街): A fashionable shopping street with many boutique malls.
  11. Charn Issara 2 Building(许参第二大厦)
  12. Klong Tan(空丹)
  13. The Mall 3(吕蒙3洋行)
  14. Ramkhamhaeng 29(兰甘亨29街)
  15. Wat Thep Lila(越贴丽拉寺)
  16. Ramkhamhaeng(兰甘亨)
  17. Saphan Mith Mahat Thai(密玛哈泰桥)
  18. Wat Klang(越港寺)
  19. The Mall Bangkapi(曼甲必吕蒙洋行)
  20. Bang Kapi(曼甲必)
  21. Wat Si Bun Rueang(越诗汶良佛寺): National Institute of Development Administration, NIDA

How to Get There

The Khlong Saen Saep canal has 4 piers that intersect with the MRT and BTS. From east to west, they are Asok Pier (connected to Phetchaburi station on the MRT), Wireless Pier (closer to Phloen Chit station on the BTS), Chidlom Pier (within walking distance of Central Chidlom shopping district) and Pratunam Wan Pier (near Chidlom station on the BTS accessible from a bridge).

Among the 4 piers, Asok Pier has the most perfect connection between transportation boat stations and MRT lines. When constructing the MRT, the exit of Phetchaburi Station was already connected to the pier. Follow the signs inside the station and turn right after exiting from Exit 2 to reach it.

When you stand at Asok station facing the river, the boats that go to the west towards Golden Mount Temple and Watergate Market are on your right-hand side. If you take the boats on your left-hand side, they will go to The Mall Bangkapi and Ramkhamhaeng campus in the east direction.

Cruising and Route of Longtail Boat Tour

In addition to taking the Khlong Saen Saep Express Boat, you can also rent a long-tail boat. You can also rent a longtail boat at the Phra Arthit Pier (near Khao San Road and Rambuttri Road). Check in at the public pier of Chaophraya River. Depart by long-tail speedboat from the public pier and cruise along the Chao Phraya River and canals. While cruising back, you will pass many interesting places such as Chinese shrines, Muslim mosques, Catholic churches, and many Buddhist temples. The highlights of our trip will be Temple of the Dawn, Royal Grand Palace, Siriraj Medical Museum where our king has been admitted there. Along Bangkok Noi canal, you will be immersed in real-life sites where rich and poor stay together in big and small wooden houses. The long-tail boat will also pass Rattanakosin Exhibition Hall museum. You will enjoy strolling around which would be an unforgettable experience for your stay in Thailand.

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17 Days Northern Thailand Birding Tour from Bangkok to Chiang Mai

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7 Days Amazing Nothern Thailand Tour from Bangkok to Chiang Mai

Useful Travel Tips

1. Service Time

The service hours are from 05:30 to 20:30 daily (until 7 pm on weekends).

2. Best seasons

The best time to travel to Bangkok is from November to March of the second year.

3. Tickets of Khlong Saen Saep Express Boat

After boarding the ship, there will be a dedicated person to collect money. The boat fee is 8-20 Baht and charged according to distance.

4. Prices of Longtail Boat

  • Long Tail Boat Rental Bangkok Price /1 Hour
    1900 Baht ( 2- 4 Persons )
    2000 Baht ( 5 -6 Persons )
    2200 Baht( 7 -8 Persons )
    2500 Baht( 9 -10 Persons)
  • Long Tail Boat Rental Bangkok Price / 1.30 Hours
    2850 Baht( 2- 4 Persons
    3000 Baht ( 5 -6 Persons )
    3300 Baht ( 7 -8 Persons )
    3800 Baht( 9 -10 Persons)
  • Long Tail Boat Rental Bangkok Price / 2 Hours
    3800 Baht( 2- 4 Persons
    4000 Baht ( 5 -6 Persons )
    4400 Baht ( 7 -8 Persons )
    5000 Baht( 9 -10 Persons)