Transport in Bangkok: Try the River Boat!

Bangkok TemplesIt was my third visit to Bangkok: I had one day and I was determined to see it all. Map in hand, I found myself wearily standing on a dock (which was in fact a random slab of wood) while waiting for the River Boat and praying that the platform didn’t break it’s feeble attachment to land and float away.

While eagerly awaiting the arrival of the paddle boat, I saw a long, narrow speedboat cutting through the water and causing quite the commotion of waves behind. I thought, “Who does this guy think he is?” Little did I know that it was in fact the River Boat that I was waiting for! As it came to a stop at the “dock”, I noticed that there were people spewing out from all angles – sitting everywhere and anywhere, pressed so close together that it made an absolute haven for pickpockets.

River Boat - Bangkok
River Boat – Bangkok

I wasn’t about to wait for the next one, so I climbed over a few people and into the boat – almost to the point of a full on body surf. I managed to wedge myself between two people. We swayed back and forth as the boat zipped around the river bends. I was surprisingly comfortable because we were packed in so tightly that it was impossible to fall. With each stop, we somehow picked up additional passengers, which was totally believable – after all, we were in Southeast Asia, where fire codes and capacity regulations meant absolutely nothing.

After what seemed like an agonizingly long ride, we finally pulled up to the Chang stop, most commonly known for the Grand Palace entry point. Out we spilled into a narrow maze of huts. Completely unaware of where I was, I followed the single file line through the market, which eventually led me out of the market and onto a dirt road.


Grand Palace - Bangkok
Grand Palace – Bangkok

It wasn’t exactly the peaceful and scenic boat ride that I anticipated, but it was surely nothing short of an adventure! My next order of business was to figure out how to get to the Grand Palace…

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