Bangkok, Thailand




Canal Tour
Bangkok in the 19th century was laced with canals, giving the city the designation "Venice of the East". As Bangkok turned into a bustling metropolis, Thonburi's surviving canals and the Chao Phraya River provide memories of the traditional waterborne way of life. You might still encounter a floating vendor, paddling from house to house selling just-prepared food. No wonder many travellers visit Thonburi by boat.

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Wat along the Chao Phraya River by Anthony Hartman
The most convenient option for a canal tour is to take a fixed-price trip, which is a package deal that usually includes a visit to Wat Arun, Royal Barge Museum and a floating market. Such a tour can be booked through a travel agency but easier to go to the piers and do the booking yourself.
  • Mitchaophraya Travel Service (Tha Chang Pier), Tel: 66 2 225-6179 - Operating from Tha Chang Pier, there are plenty of tours on offer. All of them include Wat Arun, the Royal Barge National Museum and a floating market. On weekdays it passes through the Thonburi Floating Market, which seems to be set-up for tourists. The weekend tour passes the Taling Chan Floating Market, which is a more authentic feel and a lot more livelier).  
  • Pandan Tour Company (780/488 Charoen Krung Rd, Bang Kho Laem), Tel: 66 8 7109-8873 -  Traditional Thai teak boats are used and life-vests are offered on the tours. Boat tours are slightly different on weekdays and weekends. The weekday tour starts at the Wat Sai Morning Market and weekend tour takes you to the Lat Mayom Floating Market, which is more authentic and fun than the Wat Sai Market.
  • The Boat Tour Centre (Si Phraya Pier) - Operates from the Si Phraya Pier, offering one-hour tours for 800 baht and two-hour tours for 1,500 baht. The one-hour tour is a quick trip on the Chao Phraya River. The two-hour tour takes you to the Wat Sai Floating Market (if arriving around 8:00 a.m on weekdays) or up north to Wat Arun and the Royal Barge National Museum (if arriving at other times).

Canal in Thonburi by Heinrich Damm

You can also charter boats and convenient places to book are at Tha Chang Pier and Tha Tien Pier on the Rattanakosin side of the river. It's also possible to book at Oriental Pier in Silom and at the Bangkok Information Centre (under Phra Pinklao Bridge) near Khao San Road. Major canals in Thonburi which tourists can take a boat trip through include the Bangkok Noi, Bangkok Yai, Daan and Chakphra Canals. Prepare to bargain but don't pay more than 1,000-1,500 baht for a two-hour trip without any stops.

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