Dirty and dangerous… but also handy, vibrant and exhilarating. With ornate Italian Barocco bridges and river boats that resemble gondolas on steroids, Khlong Saen Saeb is the closest to the Venice of the East you’ll find in central Bangkok. Stretching west to east across the map of Bangkok, Khlong Saen Saeb begins in the Old City, near the Mahakhan Fortress at the end of Ratchadamnoen Road, and runs all the way to Chachoengsao Province, where it ends by flowing into the Bang Pa Kong River. It cuts through central areas like Phayathai, Pratunam, Chitlom, Nana, Asok Road, Thonglor and Ekkamai, running parallel to Phetchaburi and New Phetchaburi Roads, before turning up Ramkhamhaeng Road and on to Bangkapi.
There are two lines – the western line (terminating at Golden Mount) and the eastern line (terminating at Wat Si Bunrueang, near the National Institute of Development Administration). The interchange, at Pratunam pier, feels seamless and tickets are valid on both lines. This route guide features the most useful or interesting stops along the 18km long route which serves Khlong Saen Saeb, including what can be found at each one.
While busy during rush hour, it’s convenient for shopping, sightseeing. There are temples, markets, old simple wooden houses and interesting bridges en route, and it is possible to walk along the banks in many places. Simply wave them down and wait patiently for two helmeted deckhands to jump ashore, ropes in hand for fastening. Be warned though: rush-hours are busy and falling in could prove fatal.
Areas Served by the River Buses
Siam. A shopping haven. Find everything from street fashion to top-end designer labels, luxury goods and even sports cars at the range of shopping malls all located in the same area: MBK, Siam Paragon, Siam Discover, Siam Square and Siam Centre. To get here, hop off at Saphan Hua Chang Pier.
Pratunam. Another shopping haven, for those on a tight budget or in search of something totally off-the-wall. Find all your accessories from Platinum Market, Platinum Fashion Mall, or hit Pantip Plaza for cheap computer equipment. To get here, hop off at Pratunam Central Pier.
Ratchaprasong. From luxury hotels to high street fashion and malls, Ratchaprasong has it all. Other highlights include the Erawan shrine and gourmet eateries along Lang Suan Road. To get here, hop off at Chidlom Pier.