Activities & Events
Bangkok  September 24, 2009 11:55 AMSunny83°


Cruising the Majestic Waterways


River & Canal Trip


River and canales (khlong in Thai) are synonymous with Thai existence. These vital waterways not only provide basic needs for the Thai people, but also serve as important transportation routes, conveniently linking all corners of the Kingdom. The waterway cruises detailed here are only a small example of the diverse and amazing routes that cross the length and breadth of Thailand. Wherever your port of call, you are sure to encounter historic riverside architecture and fabulous scenes of natural beauty that create unique cultural identities specific to each locale. Get ready to set sail on a voyage of fascinating discovery!







Bangkok and around

In Bangkok, rivers and canals were the traditional form of transport. When the city was founded in 1782, the Chao Phraya River formed part of its defense system, and canals were dug as moats and transport infrastructure. No roads were built until the 1860s, and it was the network of rivers and canals that led European visitors to describe the city as “the Venice of the East.”

Although Bangkok is a modern metropolis, the architecture and way of life along the river and canals—especially those of the Thon Buri side of the Chao Phraya—remain true to the city’s origins. There are many scheduled boat trips, and visitors can easily rent boats to enjoy the scenic pleasures along the rivers and canals that look back to a more tranquil age. Along both sides of the Chao Phraya River are the awe-inspiring temples, the Grand Palace, beautiful Portuguese churches, the Royal Thai Navy Dockyard, the Old Custom House, and the Royal Barge Museum.

Recommended routes include:

• Cruising the Chao Phraya River along the edge of Rattanakosin Island
• Touring riverside orchards of Bangkok Noi and Nontaburi’s Om Non
• Observing Mon community and pottery village at Ko Kret in Nontaburi



A visit to the royal palace on a river island in Ayutthaya is highly recommended. Bang Pa-In is a major island in the Chao Phraya River. Even today, the stretch of the river from the city island of Ayutthaya to Bang Pa-In is piled with barges laden with rice, sand, water jars, and pots. Visitors with limited time can travel by road and cross to the island at the Bang Pa-In Palace Pier. A boat tour around the island can be made before visiting the palace. On the way back, stop by the Bang Sai Arts and Crafts Center, where craftworks from all regions of the country are made by local farmers.

River barge cruises to Uthai Thani 

Cruising the Sakae Krang River to Uthai Thani provides even purer version of riverside lifestyles. Here, converted teak rice barges that have plied the river for more than 50 years.  A journey upstream carries visitors to Uthai Thani, a typical town of the alluvial plains where traders, farmers, and river fishermen mingle in the crowded market. Then, pass the temples of Manohrom and glide through rural scenes that have remained largely unchanged for close to a century.

Uthai Thani is also a home of a unique merit-making ceremony—the Tak Bat Devo festival, held annually—and the Huai Kha Khaeng Wildlife Sanctuaries, a part of the UNESCO’s World Heritage Site of Thung Yai Naresuan and Huai Kha Khaeng Wildlife Sanctuaries.






Useful Links


Thailand River & Canal E-Brochure