The glory of Bangkok is in Chao Praya River. The city may me very metropolitan yet it has preserved and continues to use in full operation its river canals. Bangkok is a Kingdom built beside the river.
To get to the Central Pier, I took the Skytrain (locally referred to as the BTS which stands for Bangkok Mass Transit System) and got off at S6 Station (Saphan Taksin or Sathorn) on the green line. I got my ticket for a Long Tail Boat cruise. The ticket I got is valid for 1 way. There are also tickets valid for roundtrip and unlimited boat pass for a day.
There are several routes here depending on the boat’s flag color. The boat with no flag is a local boat. It operates from 6AM-4PM Mondays to Fridays and it is the cheapest one. The Orange Flag boat is a local and tourist boat that operates from 5:30AM-7PM. The Yellow Flag boat operates from 6AM-7:30PM. The Blue Flag boat operates from 7AM-6:30PM and is the most expensive one.
The boat is motorized and medium in size. It can hold approximately 60-100 passengers. It is an open boat – no windows, no aircon, and few seats. Hence, most people are standing. Passengers are both locals and tourists.
True to the claim that Bangkok is the Old Venice of the East, the sight of this river canal tour brought me to the delight of the historical significance of the river. I was able to see the following:
The Holy Rosary Church which was built in 1786.
Mandarin Oriental Hotel formerly known as Oriental Hotel built in 1685.
Siam Commercial Bank which is the first Thai Bank established in 1906.
Portuguese Embassy which is the oldest Embassy in Bangkok.
Sta Cruz Church built in 1770.
Wat Kanlayanamit besides the Sta Cruz Cruz built in 1824
Fort Wichai Prasit built in 1688.
Wat Arun or Temple of the Dawn built in the 17th century.
Royal Thai Navy Headquarters.
Several Hotels are also in the river banks.
Then I got off at Maharaj Pier for my visit to Grand Palace, Temple of Emerald Buddha, and National Museum.