As I have written in a guide to Bangkok Chao Phraya Boat, there are two main types of boat which are Express Boat and Tourist Boat. In this post, I will tell you the different between these boats and also tell you whether the tourist boat is worth the price.
The different between Express Boat and Tourist Boat
The Express Boat has 4 lines: no flag, green flag, orange flag, and yellow flag. Each line has its own route and operating time. All lines pass the major tourist attraction places, but only orange flag runs every day. The others run only on weekdays at specific times. The boat stops at every pier along the river.
The tourist boat has only one line and uses blue flag. It stops only 8 major piers which are close to famous attractions starting from Sathorn Pier or Central Pier which is connected with the BTS Skytrain at Saphan Taksin Station and ending at Phra Arthit Pier. The tourist boat has a tour guide giving you information in English language throughout the route, and runs daily from 9.30 to 16.00.
Should I buy a tourist boat ticket?
Currently the ticket price for express boat is 15 baht for orange flag boat, and 10-32 baht for the others depending on distance, while a tourist boat ticket cost 150 baht for unlimited service per day and cost 40 baht for one way pass.
To answer the question, I would say it depends.
The tourist boat is more expensive than the express boat. In case you do not know where to go and want a guide tour, tourist boat unlimited trips can be your choice. I do not recommend tourist boat one way pass; it is too expensive.
Well, if you know where you want to go and you do not want to hop on/off for the whole day, I recommend the express boat.
I personally like taking the express boat more because usually I would spend few hours at each attraction place and could not get on and off several times within one day.
Below is a video from TenFace, a boutique hotel in Bangkok, showing you how the tourist boat looks like and what you will see when you are taking the boat. Anyway, please bear in mind that this video was taken since 2008, so the information such as prices is not updated anymore.
Hope the information helps