One of my favorite tours to take in Bangkok, Thailand is the Bangkok Noi Canal Boat Tour. Rather than book it through a tour company, which is prohibitively expensive, I always arrange a boat tour around Bangkok’s Noi’s canals myself. Bangkok Noi is one of the oldest areas of Bangkok and technically means “Small Bangkok”. It’s a hidden area, full of small canals or ‘klongs’, traditional wooden Thai riverside houses and old temples. On a hot day in Bangkok, there’s nothing more fun than taking the Bangkok Noi Canal Boat Tour and here’s how to do it.
Where To Go To Arrange a Bangkok Noi Canal Boat Tour – The Bangkok Noi Canal Boat Tours can be arranged from specific piers along the Chao Praya River. The best and easiest way to arrange one is to take the sky train to Saphan Taksin station and take the Chao Praya River boat north up the river to Tha Chang Pier. At Tha Chang, as soon as you get off the boat, you’ll see several stalls set up offering Bangkok Noi Canal Boat Tours. Speak to a couple of salespeople to find out how much hiring a long-tailed boat for a couple of hours is and, as they’re all pretty much the same, take the one with the lowest price.
How Much is a Bangkok Noi Canal Boat Tour – Of course, like in any country where people are dealing with tourists, the canal boat operators will try to get the highest price possible. They will either charge for the boat per hour, with most tours taking at least two hours, or per person for the larger boats.
The last time I arranged a Bangkok Noi Canal Boat Tour, we paid the longtailed boat driver 700 baht for the boat and I gave him 100 baht tip once we’d finished. For a total of 800 baht ($27 or $13.50 each) we had the boat for three hours and were taken to four different places, where the boat driver dropped us off and waited for us to finish before coming back to the boat and continuing on the tour.
Where Will You Go and What Will You See? – Our Bangkok Noi Canal Boat Tour, at our request, started out going north on the river to the Royal Barge Museum to see the Thai Royal Family’s ceremonial boats. At the museum, the boat driver dropped us off outside the front gate, then tied up his boat and lay back to take a nap while we toured the museum. When we were finished, we got back on the boat and continued on to one of Bangkok Noi’s old temples.
At the temple, we spent 15 minutes touring the grounds and the temple and taking photographs, then back on the boat for another cruise through Bangkok’s canals. Our third stop was an orchid farm, where we learned all about how orchids are grown, what types of orchids are the most common and the most expensive and were allowed to walk through the farm to see the different types of flowers.
Our fourth destination was through the Bangkok Noi Floating Market, where we got to see up close and personal all the market vendors on their boats, going from stop to stop selling noodles, flowers, fruit, hats and every Thai product imaginable.
For our final stop, instead of returning to Tha Chang pier, we asked the boat driver to drop us off across the river at Wat Arun, the famous Temple of the Dawn, where we toured the grounds, climbed one of the ancient chedis and took photos, before taking a 3 baht (8 cent) ferry back across the river to a restaurant for lunch.
There are slight variations on this theme. Just choose which canal route you want to take when booking the tour.
What to Take on the Bangkok Noi Boat Tour – Sunscreen is vital, as it’s very hot out on the open water. Also wear a hat and make sure, if you have short sleeves or bare shoulders, you take something to cover them with.
Other than that, you only need a small amount of cash for any snacks or drinks you might buy at one of the various stops, 100 baht entrance fee for the Royal Barge Museum and, of course, your camera. You’ll get some gorgeous photos.
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