To enjoy Thailand River cruises, you need to understand a little about the geography of Thailand and its river system. Some Thailand River cruises begin in Bangkok and lead along the Mekong River to destinations in Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia. You can also take a boat down the Kwai River, which flows through western Thailand. If you want to travel inland and focus on Bangkok, including the temples and sights north of the capital, a river cruise on the Chao Phraya River is another popular choice. With river cruise volume buys plus our low everyday prices you can save up to 50% versus the brochure price! Book your Thailand river cruise today with AffordableTours.com, your discounted river cruise headquarters.Thailand Travel Guide
|Jul 02, 2021||Avalon Waterways||Siem Reap||Bangkok||Hanoi||21||$6,579|
|Jul 02, 2021||Avalon Waterways||Siem Reap||Hanoi||Bangkok||19||$5,954|
|Jul 05, 2021||Avalon Waterways||Siem Reap||Ho Chi Minh||Bangkok||16||$5,064|
|Jul 09, 2021||Avalon Waterways||Siem Reap||Bangkok||Hanoi||21||$6,504|
|Jul 09, 2021||Avalon Waterways||Siem Reap||Hanoi||Bangkok||19||$5,959|
|Jul 12, 2021||Avalon Waterways||Siem Reap||Siem Reap||Bangkok||16||$4,974|
|Jul 16, 2021||Avalon Waterways||Siem Reap||Bangkok||Hanoi||21||$6,579|
|Jul 16, 2021||Avalon Waterways||Siem Reap||Hanoi||Bangkok||19||$5,954|
|Jul 19, 2021||Avalon Waterways||Siem Reap||Ho Chi Minh||Bangkok||16||$5,064|
|Jul 23, 2021||Avalon Waterways||Siem Reap||Bangkok||Hanoi||21||$6,504|
|Jul 23, 2021||Avalon Waterways||Siem Reap||Hanoi||Bangkok||19||$5,959|
|Jul 26, 2021||Avalon Waterways||Siem Reap||Siem Reap||Bangkok||16||$4,974|
|Jul 30, 2021||Avalon Waterways||Siem Reap||Bangkok||Hanoi||21||$6,579|
|Jul 30, 2021||Avalon Waterways||Siem Reap||Hanoi||Bangkok||19||$5,954|
|Jul 30, 2021||Scenic||Scenic Spirit||Hanoi||Bangkok||27||$10,890|
|Aug 02, 2021||Avalon Waterways||Siem Reap||Ho Chi Minh||Bangkok||16||$5,064|
|Aug 06, 2021||Avalon Waterways||Siem Reap||Bangkok||Hanoi||21||$6,504|
|Aug 06, 2021||Avalon Waterways||Saigon||Bangkok||Hanoi||21||$6,579|
|Aug 06, 2021||Avalon Waterways||Saigon||Hanoi||Bangkok||19||$5,954|
|Aug 06, 2021||Avalon Waterways||Siem Reap||Hanoi||Bangkok||19||$5,959|
|Aug 08, 2021||Scenic||Scenic Spirit||Ho Chi Minh City||Bangkok||18||$7,895|
|Aug 09, 2021||Avalon Waterways||Saigon||Ho Chi Minh||Bangkok||16||$5,064|
|Aug 09, 2021||Avalon Waterways||Siem Reap||Siem Reap||Bangkok||16||$4,974|
|Aug 13, 2021||Avalon Waterways||Siem Reap||Bangkok||Hanoi||21||$7,179|
|Aug 13, 2021||Avalon Waterways||Siem Reap||Hanoi||Bangkok||19||$6,554|
|Aug 13, 2021||Avalon Waterways||Saigon||Bangkok||Hanoi||21||$7,114|
|Aug 13, 2021||Avalon Waterways||Saigon||Hanoi||Bangkok||19||$6,569|
|Aug 16, 2021||Avalon Waterways||Saigon||Siem Reap||Bangkok||16||$5,584|
|Aug 16, 2021||Avalon Waterways||Siem Reap||Ho Chi Minh||Bangkok||16||$5,664|
|Aug 20, 2021||Avalon Waterways||Siem Reap||Bangkok||Hanoi||21||$7,114|
|Aug 20, 2021||Avalon Waterways||Saigon||Bangkok||Hanoi||21||$7,179|
|Aug 20, 2021||Avalon Waterways||Saigon||Hanoi||Bangkok||19||$6,554|
|Aug 20, 2021||Avalon Waterways||Siem Reap||Hanoi||Bangkok||19||$6,569|
|Aug 23, 2021||Avalon Waterways||Saigon||Ho Chi Minh||Bangkok||16||$5,664|
|Aug 23, 2021||Avalon Waterways||Siem Reap||Siem Reap||Bangkok||16||$5,584|
|Aug 27, 2021||Avalon Waterways||Siem Reap||Bangkok||Hanoi||21||$7,179|
|Aug 27, 2021||Avalon Waterways||Siem Reap||Hanoi||Bangkok||19||$6,554|
|Aug 27, 2021||Avalon Waterways||Saigon||Bangkok||Hanoi||21||$7,114|
|Aug 27, 2021||Avalon Waterways||Saigon||Hanoi||Bangkok||19||$6,569|
|Aug 27, 2021||Scenic||Scenic Spirit||Hanoi||Bangkok||27||$11,190|
Thailand Travel Guide
Thailand River Cruises Highlights
- Free meals from the beginning of the adventure until the end.
- The chance to cycle in the Thai countryside.
- Sunrise yoga sessions onboard your river cruise vessel.
- A visit to the Pak Khlong Flower Market.
- Onboard activities, such as Muay Thai demonstrations.
- Visits to Buddhist temples, the Bridge on the River Kwai, and Thai natural attractions.
- Award-winning cuisine made with locally sourced foods.
- A visit to Wat Arun (Temple of the Dawn).
- Transfer to a traditional long-tail boat to visit Thailand's various canals.
Thailand River Cruises Travel Tips
- The preferred river cruise season runs between November through March. These months prove to be ideal for visiting all parts of Thailand. The monsoon rains subside in November and the humidity starts to build in March, which can make sightseeing uncomfortable.
- Make sure all your travel documents are in order before you leave and that you can access them easily if needed.
- Only pack the clothes you need. You will be walking on uneven terrain as well as across inclines. Therefore, you need to wear sturdy and comfortable hiking or walking shoes. Your apparel should be casual yet conservative, and lightweight. Avoid wearing shorts or tank tops, as this type of clothing is not welcome in most religious complexes or temples. you must take off your shoes (Including socks) when visiting Buddhist temples.
- Beware of eating some of the foods or drinking beverages from street vendors, especially if the food is peeled fruit, raw vegetables, or undercooked seafood. Only drink water or a soft drink that is bottled or has been sealed. Also, always eat off your spoon – your fork should only be used to push food onto your spoon.
- Bring an antibiotic medicine with you to prevent intestinal distress, with the exception of ciprofloxacin. The antibiotic is resistant to most bugs in this region.
- Never talk about Thailand's king – at all. People in Thailand love their king, so any remarks may seem offensive. The Thai National Anthem plays each day at 8:00 am and 6:00 pm. If you are in a public place, show respect by stopping and standing until the music stops.
Thailand River Cruises Things To Do
The capital city of Thailand is known for its elaborate shrines, modern malls, floating markets, and network of waterways that flow from the Chao Phraya River. Therefore, it's the perfect place to set out on a river cruise journey.
Best Time To VisitAccording to U.S. News Travel, you will have the best travel experience from November through March, as winter is Bangkok's peak season. However, if you want to find the best river cruise travel deals, you will find them during October or April, both of which are the rainiest and hottest times of the year.
You Should KnowThe Rattanakosin Royal District is the base for Bangkok's Grand Palace and the ornate Wat Phra Kaew Temple. The Buddhist temple, Wat Pho, features a large reclining Buddha.
- Pak Khlong Flower Talat Market - Bangkok
Formerly a floating seafood market, the Pak Khlong Flower Talat Market is the largest wholesale flower market in Thailand. Today, you can find every flower imaginable in the fragrantly scented marketplace.
Best Time To VisitThe best time to see the market is just before or after midnight when the flower vendors pick up their blooms to sell in various Bangkok locations.
You Should KnowLocally grown flowers include jasmine, gerbera, orchids, chrysanthemum, lilies, and roses. Tulips are shipped from northern provinces, such as Loei and Chiang Rai. You can see the ancient art of Phuang Malai practiced at the market. This art involves treading a needle through tiny buds. Phuang Malai garlands are popular examples of this creative and ancient floral arrangement and art form.
- Wat Arun (Temple of the Dawn)
Rich with history, Wat Arun is one of the most venerated temples in Bangkok and Thailand. While visitors have to pay a small fee to get inside the temple, it is free to the Thai public. If you want to see a beautiful and panoramic view of Thailand, take the steep steps of the temple to the top.
Best Time To VisitThe best time to see Wat Arun is from November to January. Visit in the morning when things are quieter.
You Should KnowWhile the temple is over 300 years old, five prangs (towers) were built during the 19th century. One central towner, or prang, stands in the middle of four smaller prangs. The temple is designed in the Khmer style, which typically features a steep stairway – steps that can be regarded as a "highway to heaven. The temple is adorned with tiny pieces of Chinese porcelain, colored glass, and seashells. The use of porcelain is intended to make the temple glisten in the sunlight. The temple is the last stop for the Royal Barge Procession, an event of both royal and religious import that has been held during the past 700 years.
Ayutthaya, north of Bangkok, was once the capital of Siam. It was a prosperous trading port from 1350 until 1767 when the Burmese took control. Ayutthaya Historical Park now represents the ruins of the old city. The archaeological site features monasteries, Buddhist temples, and palaces. The Chao Phraya River meets the Pa Sak River and the Lopburi River at this site.
Best Time To VisitUsually, the best time to see Ayutthaya is from November to January, when it does not rain as much and the air is not as humid. Usually, Ayutthaya is pretty hot and humid year-round, but the humidity tapers off in the winter.
You Should KnowElephant rides are offered around Ayutthaya Historical Park that allows you to see the ruins. The rides last about 25 minutes. Built in 1387, Wat Phu Khao Thong is located in northwest Ayutthaya. Later, in 1569, when the Burmese captured Ayutthaya, the Burmese king had a chedi or pyramid added to the temple to celebrate his victory over the Siamese. In the Ayutthaya Historical Park, Wat Phra Sri Sanphet sits next to the Grand Palace and Viharn Phra Mongkolbopit, an impressive structure that features a seated Buddha made of bronze.
- Bang Pa-In Palace
Close to Ayutthaya and Bangkok, Bang Pa-In Palace rests along the Chao Praya River. This summer palace of Thailand's kings dates back to the 1600s – before Bangkok was established as Thailand's capital. While the buildings were not used for a long period, the complex was revived by King Mongkut, or Rama IV, in the 1800s.
Best Time To VisitIt is best to see the palace and its grounds from November through January when it is not as rainy or humid.
You Should KnowWithin the inner complex of the palace is a building built by the Chinese and gifted to Thailand's King Chulalongkorn (Rama V) in 1889. You must take your shoes off before you can enter and visit the building. The interior is lacquered in ebony and red. The Varobhas Birmarn residence sits just outside the inner palace. Three rooms are featured for public view – a formal throne room, a sitting room, and a state dining room. To gain access to the building visitors must be properly dressed. Women must wear skirts and men must wear slacks – not shorts.
- Uthai Thani
Uthai Thani is located on the Sakae Krang River, a short distance upstream from the Chao Phraya River. Stopping in Uthai Thani serves as a nice introduction to northern Thailand as you continue to move farther north in the country. Popular sites include the local market and the magnificent Wat Tasung, a Buddhist meditation center.
Best Time To VisitBecause Uthai Thani is home to nature preserves and outdoor activities, it is best to see the town and province from November through January, a time of the year when it rains less.
You Should KnowWat Tasung, the Glass Temple, is known for its hall of glasses. The tropical forest preserve of the Huai Khaeng Wildlife Sanctuary is home to tigers.
- Chiang Mai
If you choose to extend your trip farther north, you will want to visit the city of Chiang Mai, which is located accessed from the Chao Phraya River through the connecting stream of the Ping River system. Chiang Mai is the largest city in northern Thailand as well as the capital of the Chiang Mai province. The city serves as a home to hundreds of Buddhist temples.
Best Time To VisitSet your sights for seeing Chiang Mai in November through January when the weather is fairer for traveling.
You Should KnowChiang Mai was founded in 1296. At that time, it was the capital of the Lanna Kingdom and remained so until 1558. The Old City is a historical center that is the base for famous Buddhist temples, such as Wat Phra Singh, which was built in the 1300s, and Wat Chedi Luang, which was constructed in the 15th century. Both temples feature ornately carved red serpents. Climb the 306 steps to the golden Chedi of the most famous temple in Chiang Mai, Wat Phra That Doi Suthep. You can also get to the top of the temple by taking a lift. This is the ideal spot to view Chiang Mai and the surrounding area.
- The Golden Triangle
You have gone as far as you can go on an inland Thailand River cruise if you reach the Golden Triangle. The Golden Triangle represents the point in northern Thailand where Thailand, Myanmar, and Laos meet. This site can be reached from Bangkok or from another direction if you choose a river cruise along the Mekong River.
Best Time To VisitVisit the Golden Triangle during the winter months of November to January, as you can more easily get rained on during other times of the year.
You Should KnowThis area is the center for poppy growing and cultivation in Thailand. Sop Ruak, which is the center of the Golden Triangle, is the site where you can view the border of the three countries – Thailand, Myanmar, and Laos.
- The Grand Palace in Bangkok
If you do not visit any other Bangkok attraction, you need to, at least, see the Grand Palace if this is your first river cruise and trip to Thailand. The Grand Palace represents a complex of buildings that are situated in the middle of Bangkok. An official residence of royalty since 1782, the structure was used by the royal government and king until 1925.
Best Time To VisitIf you want to explore the palace with fewer crowds, try to pay a visit early in the morning.
You Should KnowWhat you pay to get into the Grand Palace can also help you gain entry to the Bang Pa-In Palace in Ayutthaya, Thailand, and the Sanam Chandra Palace in Nakhon Pathom, Thailand. You can also use your ticket to see the Samakhom Throne Hall in Bangkok.
- Wat Pho – Temple of the Reclining Buddha (Bangkok)
Before you set out on your River Kwai adventure, you also want to see Wat Pho if you have time. The Buddhist temple is located south of the Grand Palace on Rattanakosin Island. The temple's official moniker is Wat Phra Chetuphon Wimon Mangkhalaram Rajwaramahawihan. It is also referred to as the Temple of the Reclining Buddha.
Best Time To VisitTo truly appreciate Wat Pho, it is best to get up really early and visit the temple around 5:30 a.m. You will get ahead of the crowds and can enjoy the temple at a quiet hour.
You Should KnowWat Pho is considered one of the top Buddhist temples in Thailand. The complex features the most pagodas in Thailand – 99 to be exact. The temple is the oldest and biggest Buddhist temple in Bangkok. The temple is home to Thailand's largest Buddha as well as the country's largest reclining Buddha.
- Phra Pathom Chedi
On your way to see the sights of Kanchanaburi, you will usually stop off to visit the Phra Pathom Chedi in the town of Nakhon Pathom, an important temple and stupa in Thailand. Stupas hold the remains or feature the relics of the people who have been enlightened by Buddhism.
Best Time To VisitVisits during November through March mean you can enjoy your travels with less humidity and oppressive heat.
You Should KnowThe structure is recognized as the world's tallest stupa or chedi. It towers just over 415 feet from the base to the top of its orange roof. The attraction marks the place where Buddhism was first introduced to the Thai people.
- Bridge on the River Kwai - Kanchanaburi
Also known as the Death Railway Bridge, the Bridge on the River Kwai is the most popular historical landmark in Kanchanaburi. The bridge was built by U.S., Dutch, Australian, and British POWs during the Second World War, and is part of the Thai-Burmese Railway.
Best Time To VisitVisit the attraction from November to March when the humidity and temperatures tend to be more agreeable.
You Should KnowThe site marks the spot where scores of prisoners of war died because of the horrific conditions they endured building the Thai-Burmese railway. You can ride a train across the bridge, which still has some of the former railway intact. Vendors have set up market stalls around the attraction selling local foods and souvenirs.
- Thailand Burma Railway Center/Kanchanaburi War Cemetery
You can get more insights about the construction of the Bridge over the River Kwai by visiting the Thailand Burma Railway Center and the adjacent Kanchanaburi War Cemetery. After visiting the exhibits at the center, take a walk through the well-manicured Kanchanaburi War Cemetery.
Best Time To VisitSchedule a trip from November to March when the climate is better for traveling.
You Should KnowThe railway center and museum feature artifacts, videos, personal accounts, and photos related to the building of the Death Railway. Also called the Don-Rak War Cemetery, the Kanchanaburi Cemetery serves as the final resting ground for 7,000 Dutch, Australian, and British POWs who died during the building of the Death Railway. The number represents only a fraction of the men who died toiling under harsh and unbearable conditions.
- Hellfire Pass and Memorial Museum
Hellfire Pass represents a 1,640-foot portion of rock dug out manually be POWs to pave the trail for the Death Railway. Today, you can walk the old railway track into the rainforest and visit a museum that commemorates those who died during the digging operation.
Best Time To VisitPlan your journey from November to March to beat higher temperatures or increased humidity.
You Should KnowThe museum was set up by the Australian government to honor allied POWs. The wearing of headsets is highly recommended for using multimedia exhibits. It takes about two to three hours of walking through the rainforest to get to the museum, so you don't want to go during the rainy season (from July to October).
- Erawan National Park
After visiting the sobering attractions of the Kwai River bridge and Hell Fire Pass, you will be ready to find some solace in a natural preserve, such as Erawan National Park. The green and lush jungle park is home to Erawan Water Falls and features an abundance of interesting plants and animals.
BEST TIME TO VISITSince you will be hiking on varied terrains, it is best to visit the park during November of December. At that time the humidity is not as severe and you don't have to worry about the wet weather that dominates the area from July to October.
YOU SHOULD KNOWThe seven-tiered Erawan Falls is set against a backdrop of jungle greenery and limestone rocks. You can hike up to the top of the falls while enjoying the shade. Some of the animals in the park include cobras, gibbon monkeys, and elephants. If you have extra time, visit the Tham Phra That Cave. Four caverns in the cave show off stalagmites and stalactites.
Thailand River Cruises When To Visit
When you consider river cruise travel in Southeast Asia, it is quite different than cruising in a place, such as Europe. Unlike Europe, the best time to see Thailand is from November through January, or in the winter months. That is because, during this time, you won't get hit as much by the rain, which can be a steady event when you travel through the country during other times of the year.
However, you usually will receive the best river cruise prices if you go between October and April. Even though it is extremely hot and humid, and it rains on and off during this time, you will be rewarded with fewer crowds. For anyone wanting to really save money and go during the rainy season of July to October, be aware that the rain starts tapering off in October. So, you will be harder hit with rain showers in July. Usually, the showers last about two hours before the sun comes out to quickly dry things up. Therefore, you need to weigh your options and consider what works the best for you personally and financially.
If you are traveling from Bangkok and returning to the capital, you may want to avoid traveling from March to the end of September. This is the time when monsoon winds and rains usually hit this part of the country. In some years, the monsoon season has lasted as long as mid-November.
Thailand River Cruises Frequently Asked Questions
- What Are Thailand River Cruises?
Thailand river cruises generally last from four to seven days, if you go on an inland trip, or they can feature travel to other countries, such as South Vietnam, Laos, and/or Cambodia. If you take a river cruise along the Mekong River, you will usually start in Bangkok and travel to other countries. Chao Phraya river cruises or Kwai River cruises generally cover the country of Thailand.
- What’s Included on Thai River Cruises?
While you can buy all-inclusive Thai river cruises that travel out of Bangkok and lead to other South East Asian ports, you can also customize your river cruise experience and travel solely in Thailand. Both river cruise offerings provide all meals, luxury accommodations, and Wi-Fi.
- What are Kwai River Cruises?
The Kwai River is located in western Thailand. Therefore, this river cruise mainly focuses on visiting sites in the departure city of Bangkok and exploring the sites of Kanchanaburi. Most of the sites in Kanchanaburi are related to historic World War II activities.
- What’s Included on Kwai River Cruises?
If you purchase an all-inclusive river cruise, you will get all your meals free, including beverages, such as coffee, tea, beer, or wine. Enjoy valet and butler services as well. Wi-Fi and Internet access are generally featured, and you can choose from guided or escorted tour options.
- How Much Do Thailand River Cruises Cost?
If you customize your river cruise experience, the journey can become quite pricey, especially if you want to see remote villages or ports on your trip. Expect to pay $11,000 per person to as much as $30,000 per person, depending on when you travel. If you wish to take a pre-packaged, all-inclusive tour that covers other cities and countries, such as Saigon, Vietnam or Luang Prabang, Laos, the price is about one-fifth that amount or around $6,000 per person.
- What’s the Best River Cruise for a Thai River Cruise?
If you take a Kwai River cruise or choose to sail on the Chao Phraya River, you need to contact a river cruise company that offers customized travel, Avalon Waterways is the best choice for journeying inside and outside of Thailand. Get the best river cruise for your money by choosing to go during a drier time of the year, such as November. Even if you have to pay more, you will have a better opportunity to see the sights and attractions and take part in more activities.
- How Much Do Kwai River Cruises Cost?
Because Kwai River cruises are more specialized, you will spend more money than what you would spend on packages on river cruise lines, such as Viking River Cruises or Avalon Waterways. For example, if you share a cabin with someone and go during a more preferable time, such as November, you will usually spend around $48,000 per person when you share a cabin on a river cruise trip of 4 days.
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