Asiatique The Riverfront
“Asiatique The Riverfront” – a busting entertainment venue in the heart of Bangkok, with a prime location next to the Chao Phraya River. I had heard so much about this vibrant shopping, dining and entertainment destination that I just had to check it out for myself. And let me tell you, it(mo$tly) did not disappoint!
From the moment I stepped off the boat, I was transported into a world of glittering lights, delicious aromas, and endless entertainment. The vibe at Asiatique the riverfront is electric and full of character and soul. Unique souvenirs, sumptuous street food, a fun-filled night out, or a romantic dinner for two? Asiatique has got you covered.
History of Asiatique the Riverfront
History seems to big a big part of the culture at Asiatique the Riverfront- with the story of the former East Asiatic Shipping Docks being intertwined so closely with the branding for the now-upmarket destination.
So in a nutshell, here is everything you need to know about the history behind Asiatique the Riverfront.
The East Asiatic Shipping Company opened the port on the Chao Phraya River in 1984, during the reign of King Rama III. The first ever paved road in Bangkok was built leading to the dock- a sawmill and warehouses were built on-site next to the River.
Over the next 100 years, the port would grow into one of the largest trading giants of its time. At its peak, it would become the most important trading site in Siam(The former name of Thailand). Exotic goods and heavy machinery would be shipped to Siam throughout the 18th century. Arriving at this very dock.
The port closed in 1984. And it wasn’t until 2012 that the tourist destination as it’s known today opened. The site was refurbished into an up-scale dining and entertainment market. And the name was changed from Asiatic to Asiatique. Which is exactly what I’ll be covering in this post!
What Time to go to Asiatique the Riverfront
When is the best time to visit Asiatique the Riverfront? I had never been before and found myself asking this very question. I had assumed the evening was the best time to go because of two things, first, the most popular thing to do at Asiatique is to go out for an evening meal, so I naturally thought the best time to go would be around that time. Secondly, all of the photos I’d seen seemed to have been taken after dark.
According to the official page in 2023, Asiatique the night market is open from 4.00 PM until Midnight. Most of the attractions don’t open until 5.00 PM.
The first free shuttle boat from Sathorn Pier departs at 16.00 PM and the last returning boat is at 23.15 PM.
We decided to head over just before sunset so we could scope things out before it got too busy. Arriving around 5 or 6 PM is the best time to visit Asiatique the Riverfront.
Who is Asiatique The Riverfront For
Generally, you will not find the usual backpacker types at Asiatique the Riverfront. People here are not as outgoing as you’d usually encounter. This is something which really stood out to me on our visit to Asiatique the Riverfront, people are very reserved and unsociable.
Asiatique is a place designed to take money from higher-end tourists and outprice others. To give some perspective on the clientele Asiatique the Riverfront is trying to attract- there is a queue-jumping service for those arriving in ‘supercars’, (although I’m not sure who makes the final call on how super your car is) and rice boxes are sold at the market for 200 Baht, a laughable price.
But despite the higher prices at Asiatique, it’s still possible to check out the destination for free meaning you’ll find a bunch of window shoppers and budding photographers here too. (You’re pretty much guaranteed to get whacked in the face with a selfie stick at some point when visiting Asiatique the Riverfront)!
What Has Changed/Closed Down After Covid at Asiatique
I read a few other blogs and some TripAdvisor forums before setting off to Asiatique the Riverfront. And I found there have been some major changes here pre and post covid.
The Asiatique Riverfront boat is running on a reduced scale. In the past, there were departures every 15 minutes with two boats operating on the route. There are now departures every 30 minutes with a single boat going up and down. Which leads to long queues and chaos getting on the boat.
Most of the stalls at Asiatique have been shut down and stripped out. The market section is sadly no more. I would estimate that as little as 10-20% of the market stalls were open. The deeper you go into the Asiatique market the more it feels like an abandoned dock. This is the most notable change.
On top of the missing markets, both the Joe Louis Thai Puppet Show and the Muay Thai Knockout (Formerly Muay Thai Live) have both succumbed to the coronavirus lockdowns and were no longer found at Asiatique.
All that’s left of Asiatique the Riverfront, after covid- are the pricier restaurants and, the star of the show; the Ferris wheel.
Perpahs things will change as tourism continues to grow in Bangkok- stayed tuned.
How Much are tickets for Asiatique the Riverfront
Tickets for Asiatique the Riverfront are F.O.C. Fee-of-charge. Free Free Free. But don’t let that trick you because nothing else is free (ok actually the boat to get there is free too), but… don’t let that trick you either!
Asiatique the Riverfront is one of the most expensive places in Bangkok, or in Thailand for that matter. Prices are inflated for tourists with markups of about 300 per cent.
But it is possible to visit Asiatique the Riverfront completely free too. Providing you’ve eaten beforehand and just want to have a look around, take some pictures and hang out for a while.
How to Get to Asiatique Riverfront
There are two choices for getting to Asiatique the Riverfront.
The first choice is to arrive by road- Taxi, Grab, Tuk-Tuk, Rent-a-Car etc., etc. However, the traffic on the approach to Asiatique looked like a nightmare to deal with. Especially if you’re visiting in the early evening which is the peak time for Bangkok’s road network to become heavily congested with traffic. Evidently, I don’t recommend this choice.
The second, which is the best way- how to get to Asiatique the Riverfront is to use the Bangkok BTS Skytrain + Free River Boat. Which is exactly what we chose to do. Navigating this public transport system is really easy, but there’s a full guide to the Bangkok BTS Train here just encase.
We rode the BTS Train to Saphan Taksin Station (S6) on the Sukhumvit Line. Saphan Taksin Station connects with Sathorn Pier, which is where the free boat leaves from. Tickets are free for the riverboat and there is no check-in. When you arrive at Sathorn Pier walk all the way to the end and you’ll see the sign for the Asiatique Boat- there is a small waiting area too. The boat from Sathorn Pier to Asiatique the Riverfront takes around 10 to 15 minutes.
The downside of the boat being free is the commotion that entails when boarding. Hoards of people all bunched around trying to board the boat- if the queue is too long there’s a chance you’ll have to wait 30 minutes for the next departure.
What Things are There to do at Asiatique the Riverfront
There are a handful of activities which can be found at Asiatique the Riverfront. The Puppet Show and Muay Thai have been closed down. But the best itinerary for Asiatique is still to enjoy a nice meal on the riverfront before riding the Ferris Wheel to get the best views of the city and the Chao Phraya River.
Asiatique the Riverfront Ferris Wheel 🎡
The Ferris Wheel at Asiatique the Riverfront is the star of the show. Cleverly Named “Asiatique Sky“. It can be seen from the riverbank as you approach. Asiatique Sky is the tallest Ferris wheel in Thailand, standing at 60 Meters tall.
The Gondolas seat six people and tickets can be brought for an entire car or per person. TIP: it’s far cheaper to buy six individual tickets with the hopes you are seated together.
Here are the prices for ‘How Much does the Asiatique Ferris Wheel Cost’ (2023)
|Asiatique Ferris Wheel Ticket||Price|
|Adults (Thai/Foreign)||500 THB|
|Children (Under 120cm)||200 THB|
|Seniors (Over 60 Years)||300 THB|
|Private Gondola (1-6 Pax)||5,000 THB|
The Haunted House and Carosel at Asiatique
Right next door to the Ferris Wheel there are some small fairground rides. A Classic Ghost Train / Haunted House and a 1970s Carousel Ride.
The Ghost Train is probably one of the cheapest things to do at Asiatique, it is a children’s ride, really. But the low price point in comparison to everything else meant that we saw a lot of ‘backpackers’ choosing to ride it. The same goes for the Carousel Ride.
Massage and Fish Foot Spa
Need a little relaxation at Asiatique? Right next to the Calypso Cabaret Show, there is a massage parlour and a ‘fish foot spa’.
Sirimahannop Tall Ship
I wasn’t sure whether to include the Sirimahannop Tall Ship as something to do at Asiatique the Riverfront or somewhere to eat- because technically it’s both! The Ship is permanently moored at the Asiatique Dock, on the Chao Prahaya River. It’s a novel dinner experience where you can eat a meal on the open-top deck of the ship.
It’s an expensive activity, but the prices are not ‘unreasonable’, you are paying for a six-course meal- fine dining with a view. Reservations need to be booked in advance, either on the website or by email, contact details can be found here.
The rate is around 7,000 – 10,000 Thai Baht for a couple. Around $200 USD.
The Calypso Cabaret Show at Asiatique the Riverfront
The Calypso Cabaret Show reopened after the covid shutdowns in December 2023. Since then there have been daily performances again, starting at 19.30 PM. Cabaret Shows are a fun thing to do in Thailand. On this occasion, we opted to skip it- because we had been to see the Chiang Mai Cabaret Show a few weeks beforehand.
Best Restaurants at Asiatique
Ok here’s the honest truth- we didn’t eat at any of the restaurants on the Asiatique docks. We felt outpriced and it felt like a massive waste of money. But two restaurants stood out to us as being the best at Asiatique the Riverfront. I can’t speak for the quality of the food but the location facing the river and the buzzing atmosphere surrounding them is what made these places stand out.
TIP: For a light snack there are a few food vendors selling ballpark-type snacks, corndogs, hotdogs and the like in front of the ferris wheel- these sell for about 100 Baht.
Happy Fish Restaurant – ($$$)
The Happy Fish restaurant is hard to miss. In Warehouse 8 and directly underneath the famous ‘Asiatique the Riverfront Sign’ it’s one of the first restaurants to be seen as you exit the boat onto the dock. Although the place is usually crowded and the location of this restaurant is epic. Many tourists have bashed the joint on TripAdvisor with claims of poor service, bad value for money and bland dishes.
Wine I Love You Restaurant – ($$)
Wine I Love you is one of the most popular restaurants on the Asiatique Dock- there is chilled-out live music that can be heard all around. The open-air seating has the best views over the Chao Prayah River. There is a set three-course menu here for 1,300 Baht a person, which in all honestly is not that bad compared to prices in other restaurants.
Asiatique Street Food Market – ($$$$)
The street food market at Asiatique resembles any other outdoor food court that you would find in Bangkok. The street market is small with around 15 stalls. But while the market might be small in size, the prices are huge.
Laughable- 200 Baht for a small box of Fried Rice. The same meal could be found at any other market in Bangkok for 30 – 50 Baht.
Bla Bla Bali Bar – ($$)
This is the spot to head to if you just want to grab a drink. This cute bar was our favourite food and drink spot at Asiatique the Riverfront. Tucked away in a quiet corner you can sit for a while and admire the city views. There is a more peaceful atmosphere and chilled-out vibe. Drink prices are reasonable (for the location).
KFC @ Asiatique the Riverfront – ($)
The saviour! I rarely eat fast food or western food in Thailand. I love Thai food too much, the taste is incredible, the variety of dishes is vast and the prices are affordable- often cheaper than cooking at home. The opposite is true at Asiatique, the Riverfront. KFC is the cheapest place on the market! 555. We settled for a 4-piece bucket of fried chicken with a side of fries each, a drink and we split a box of popcorn chicken. My stomach didn’t thank me. But my wallet did. Our meal at KFC cost the same for two people as that one portion of rice would have cost from the market.
So that’s about all there is to know in preparation for a visit to Asiatique the Riverfront. There is a nice vibe in the air and a nice atmosphere. It kind of resembles a late ’90s carnival feeling with neon lighting all around.
It’s defiantly worth a visit on a trip to Bangkok. It can be totally free if you want. But don’t expect eating out here to be the same price as in the rest of Thailand.
Have you been to Asiatique the Riverfront? Let me know what you thought in the comments!
🌐 Official Website for Asiatique the Riverfront: https://www.asiatiquethailand.com/en/home
Where to Next:
Here are some other posts about Bangkok which might be of interest- for somewhere a little quieter than Asiatique, or for a spot to chill out during the daytime Lumini Park in Central Bangkok is the best place. You can ride there using the BTS Skytrain. Or if you’re feeling more adventurous and want to avoid the classic tourist destinations then the Airplane Graveyard in Bangkok might be up your street. Fancy a change from city life? Krabi is just a short hop away with plenty of islands to visit like Koh Libong– the province is an ocean lovers fantasy. Find out how you can travel from Bangkok to Krabi here.