Bangkok’s canal network is an oft-overlooked part of the city. With unique perspectives on Thailand’s capitol city and what it used to look like, Bangkok comes alive in the vast network of waterways. For a few hours a canal tour of Bangkok will surely satisfy anyone willing to put their apprehensions of safety and certified boat operators aside. The charm of the old houses and the friendly smiles of the people sitting on their docks along the water will transport you to, well… old Bangkok. Before it became the modern and brilliant city that it is today, there was a charming quality of self-reliance and durability that still can be found in the canals.
Taking a tour is relatively simple. The most common piers for starting these tours are the Sathon Express Boat Pier, conveniently located near a BTS Station near the river, and Rat Burana Pier which is close to Wat Pho and the Grand Palace. There are numerous ports that offer these services and upon arrival, you’ll have the option of waiting for a group to take the boat at a discounted rate (per person) or chartering it alone for a bit more money. You can book canal tours through most hotels but arriving and going on a whim is also very possible. Packages are differentiated by time spent on the water and each timeline includes different stops along the way. Prices for canal tours vary wildly, but are usually somewhere between $10 and $20 per person. We paid $20 per person for a two hour tour, but we also chartered our own private boat since we didn’t have a lot of time. There are also loads of resources for booking these tours online (LIKE THIS ONE) and reading up on the different tour companies.