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Chao Phraya Express River Bus

The Bangkok River Bus or Express Boat system is one of the great public transport systems of the city, similar in many ways to the River Bus system in Venice it consists of Express Boats that go up and down the Chao Phraya river.

The river bus stops are typically floating pontoons, low in the water, that allow the bus to pull up directly beside the stop to allow passengers to board and alight. As with any bus the river busses stop only for a few moments, and then they are off again. Typically a bus sailor will jump off the bus onto the pontoon and tie up with one rope to secure the bus while passengers get on and off.

A guard posted on the pier ensures that passengers do not wait there as it is considered dangerous, you are only allowed on the pontoon pier when the river bus has arrived.

Tickets can be purchased from the larger piers, and shown to the conductress when you board the bus. On smaller piers with no ticket office you can board the bus directly and buy a ticket once on-board.

When finished they unhook the rope and jump on the bus just as it sets off, in a daring leap that seems as though they should get wet sometimes, but they never do. As transport professional making hundreds of stops a day they are well experienced.

As visitors however please take care of your footing and ensure you alight from the bus safely.

Not to be confused with River Taxis, or long tail boats, which are for individual hires. Nor to be confused with River Crossing boats which, as the name implies, only shuttle back and forth from one bank to the other.

The River of Thailand

The river stretches from the north all the way into the Gulf of Thailand, with the Chulachomklao Fort being placed near the end where it joins with the sea.

Starting quietly in the hinterlands the river is formed from the confluence of two smaller rivers, the Ping and the Nan. Together at Nakhon Sawan (also called Pak Nam Pho) they come together quietly in a rual setting some 200km north of Bangkok.

Due to the winding course of the river it takes almost 350km for it to reach the city and the sea.

Many tributaries and canals intersect the alluvial plain that is created by the Chao Phraya river, and the Tha Chin river which starts from it and runs parallel into the sea.

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