Chao Phraya River Bangkok

Bangkok's Chao Phraya River

The Chao Phraya River flows from its beginning at the confluence of the Ping and Nan rivers in Northern Thailand’s Nakhon Sawan province to the Gulf of Thailand. This 372km journey sees it pass through the heart of Bangkok along the way. Known as The River of Kings, this mighty waterway has long been woven into the cultural, social and economic tapestries of the Thai kingdom and its people.

The river drew early settlers with its fertile waters and surrounding countryside, before King Taksin - after the fall of Ayutthaya to the Burmese in 1767 - located his new capital on the waterway’s western banks in what today is known as Thonburi. Later, in 1782, King Rama I founded modern Bangkok on the eastern side of the river.

Today the Chao Phraya River continues to be the lifeblood of Bangkok and the lush countryside through which it winds on its epic trip. Thousands of commuters traverse the bustling waterway daily on ferries. Cargo barges edge their way along in both directions. Tourist boats whisk sightseers past intriguing riverside vistas made up of fascinating temples, colonial-looking civic buildings, luxury hotels, gleaming condominium towers and wooden houses on stilts all side by side.

All the while, raucous longtail boats zip this way and that, weaving their way through the river traffic before darting off into a side canal that will take them deep into the river communities that branch outward from the Chao Phraya.

So it is to behold the Chao Phraya River. A kaleidoscope of calm and chaos, of old and new, modern and traditional… everything that makes The River of Kings the storied waterway that it is.

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