5 Good Reasons Why You Should Try a Bangkok River Cruise

Bangkok is one of the most vibrant cities in the world and a must-visit if you’re in Thailand. It can also be rather hectic and humidity at times, however one way to see it in style is from the water. Here are 5 good reasons why you should try a Bangkok river cruise.

1 – Discover Bangkok’s lifeblood

Chao Phraya River, also known as the River of Kings, is the lifeblood of Bangkok. Many Thai people ply their wares at the floating markets such as Wat Sai. You’ll occasionally come across individual boats in other parts of the river, selling fruit, vegetables, sunhats and more. Our private X2 2 hour luxury river and canal tour started at Sathorn Pier, which is easily reached from the centre. Alternatively, you can ask to be picked up from Taksin Pier. The boat holds up to 14 people and is open at the back but with a cover providing welcome shade. We chose the daytime Bangkok river cruise for maximum photo opportunities although the sunset visit sounded very tempting.


2 – Travel in style to the main tourist attractions

At the moment, there is quite a lot of construction in the centre of Bangkok whilst the Green Line transit extension is being constructed. Due to this, travelling by road can be quite time-consuming. Seeing the sights by boat is a great alternative and you won’t get stuck in a traffic jam. Wat Arun, or the Temple of Dawn, is located directly on the waterfront and well worth a visit. It dates from the seventeenth century although its iconic prana or spires were constructed during the reign of King Rama II in the nineteenth century. Our private boat docked a minute’s walk from the temple and we were whisked straight inside by our charming guides. They’d even thought of a parasol to protect us from the sun. When we visited, there were ongoing repairs although that didn’t spoil our enjoyment of this majestic monument. As you enter the temple, you will notice signs asking visitors to respect Buddha and not to buy decorative items of the deity.

buddha-land-bangkokIt’s important to cover your shoulders and knees, although you can borrow a shawl inside the temple grounds.

wat_arun_shawlWat Arun has some striking mosaics made from broken pieces of porcelain that really catch the light.

You can climb up the temple stairs to get a closer look. I’d definitely recommend wearing flat shoes as the steps are quite high. It’s best to visit early morning or late afternoon as the heat and humidity can be quite strong.

wat_arun_mosaicAs we left the temple, our guide handed us a fresh coconut purchased from a stall holder within the temple – it was wonderfully refreshing. Back on board, they gave us a cool flannel which was very welcome after the heat of the sun.


3 – See off the beaten track sights

As well as the river, there’s a whole network of canals in Bangkok that are off the tourist trail. One of the most fun activities on a Bangkok river cruise is feeding the fish in the Bangkok-Noi canal. It’s located in the Thonburi neighbourhood, nicknamed the Venice of the East. For many years, locals and visitors have been giving the fish food and as a result, there are some huge fish waiting to be fed. You won’t spot them until you throw bread into the water, at which point they’ll appear in their droves.

fish_feeding_bangkokThere’s a boat in front of the temple selling bread but our guides had thoughtfully brought several loaves along for us. It’s a really fun experience seeing the fish leaping up and catching the bread.


4 – Get recommendations from the locals

We asked our guide for a good place to eat authentic Thai food and she recommended Celadon within the Suko Thai hotel. It was a great tip – the food was beautifully presented and tasted delicious. She also told us about her favourite  museum near our hotel, Kamthieng House, that we sadly did not get time to visit.


5 – Enjoy a taste of Bangkok’s lively nightlife

Our tour ended at Asiatique The Riverfront, although you can ask to be dropped off at Saphan Taksin Pier if you prefer. Asiatique opened in 2012 on the site of the former docks of the East Asiatic Company.

asiatique_bangkok_visitIt is home to many restaurants such as Baan Khanitha by the River.

baan_khanitha_bangkokThere’s also Asiatique Sky, a 60 metre high ferris wheel as well as a puppet theatre and a night market.

It was the perfect place to end our Bangkok river cruise. We took in many key sights in a truly relaxing way – thanks to X2 River Cruises for such an enjoyable experience.

Have you ever visited Bangkok and did you travel on the river?

5 reasons to try a Bangkok river cruise

  • Zeeba Life

    During our stay in Thailand we decided to fly straight to Phuket and skip Bangkok but now that I learn more about the city I wish we would have spent at least a night there.

    • We literally just scratched the surface of all there is to see so it’s definitely worth spending a few nights there if you can on your next trip

  • Wow, great pictures and post. I’ve always wanted to visit Thailand and the river cruise sounds like a much more relaxing way to explore Bangkok than the hustle and bustle of the tuk tuks!
    Thanks for sharing,
    Jaz xoxo

    • I wanted to go in a tuk tuk but it was so humid and we’d have been stuck in a traffic jam so we went for Ubers and the river cruise instead!

  • I visited Bangkok a few year back and fell in love with it! It’s such a beautiful city!


    Tamara – Loveofmode.com

  • Paola

    I have seen Bangkok about 15 years ago and I fell in love with this amazing city!!! Great pics hun!
    Kisses, Paola.

    • Thanks Paola, I hope you get to return soon – you’d get some great pics yourself!

  • Oooh I did mini cruise when I was there, it’s the perfect to see the city. Actually Mr S loves seeing a city from the water.

  • I’m definitely convinced! This looks like an incredible way to get to know the area. Interesting to know that they ask travellers not to buy decorative items of buddha! xxx
    Lucy @ La Lingua | Life, Travel, Italy

    • Yes I never knew that, they also ask travellers not to get a Buddha tattoo – makes sense out of respect

  • Beautiful place, thanks for sharing!

  • You know what? I have actually never been to Bangkok but always wanted to visit there. Thanks for always giving us such detailed information on your lovely excursions, Suze. x

  • Ellese Launer

    Love your travel guides! I will definitely give this a try when I visit. Xo, Ellese


  • Looks amazing! What a cool way to explore.

    Amy Ann
    Straight A Style

  • This looks like it would be so much fun!

  • Your pictures are always so gorgeously breathtaking. I’ve got to put this on my bucket list for sure.

  • ♫ Alison M ♪

    I would love to go to Thailand, it looks amazing from your photos.

  • Deepika Gumaste

    I went to Bangkok some 8 years back and it was so amazing. Missed the river cruise though.

  • I love Bangkok,I went many years ago and still miss it! This post brought back many happy memories!

  • Wow. I’ve wanted to go to Thailand for so long and this just makes me want to go even more! This sounds like an amazing trip. Thanks for sharing!

    xx, Pia

  • I want to visit Thailand so badly and you’re killing me with these gorgeous photographs! I’ll definitely have to go and take this river cruise when I finally make it to Bangkok!


    • I’m sure you’ll really enjoy it, Courtney – it’s a fascinating city and country!

  • Looks so beautiful in Thailand. I would love to go there one day! The temple looks so beautiful. Gemma x

    • It was fascinating to visit the temple and there were quite a few Buddhist monks there – taking photos with their mobile phones!

      • Wow really! You wouldn’t expect that. Great experience for you. Gemma x

  • Coco Cami

    This sounds like an amazing experience, what beautiful scenery too 🙂 great post, thanks for sharing!

    Camille xo


  • I bet you had a time of your life in Thailand! I have never been to Bangkok but definitely plan to in the future.

    Shireen | Reflection of Sanity

    • We really enjoyed it, the country is huge so I’ll definitely be back to see more

  • All the photos are so great that makes me want to go!!! Amazing post!


  • Lucy

    Bangkok is somewhere I have always wanted to visit and a river cruise sounds perfect. Especially for a foodie I bet the cooking is wonderful. Wat Arun looks very similar to the beautiful Mosaics in Guell Park Barcelona Lucy

  • you definitely convinced me!

    THE FASHION MATTERS- Travel & Fashion blog | INSTAGRAM: TheFashionMatters

  • Hayley Rubery

    LOVE this post Suze, I’ve been to Bangkok 3/4 times but haven’t ever done a river cruise, I’d love to try this next time I’m there though – looks fab!

    Hayley xo

  • Oh man, does this remind me of a story…I got put on a river cruise for a press trip to Bangkok which I naively thought was going to be a tranquil, serene ride…imagine my surprise to find it was more of a party boat full of drunks tourists sexually harassing me (because, you know, I look ‘Oriental’ and therefore it’s ok to objectify me). I have to say I had more fun on one of those rickety canoes sailing along the river market especially as I could shop with wild abandon – imagine the novelty of boats laden with wares and a sign that says “We Accept Matercard/Visa/AMEX”! x

    My Complete Skincare Collection, Day & Night Routine, and more… – Posh, Broke, & Bored

  • A river cruise is such a fantastic way to see Bangkok! The first time round as I was so jet lagged that I just sat on it and didn’t get off but I’m pleased to say that the next day we got on and off quite a few times. Loving your black and white halter neck dress by the way!

    • Thanks very much, Maggie, the dress kept me protected from mosquitoes although there aren’t many in Bangkok

  • what a fun adventure! I love being on the water!


  • What a beautiful setting! I have yet to visit Thailand but it’s high on my list! I love hope nice and cheap it is to travel to as well (not the islands though, booooo). So glad I stumbled upon your blog! You have great content and take lovely photos! Happy Travels lady. 🙂

    -Emily http://www.coatandcoffee.com