About the Bangkok River Cruise
The Bangkok River Cruise, was, surprisingly a pleasant experience. Signing up for the cruise I had low expectations. I envisioned absolute carnage– crowds of Indian and Chinese tourists fighting over the buffet and plates of food stacked to the heavens. But the reality was actually a much more peaceful and enjoyable trip.
We booked with Chao Phraya Princess Cruise who were excellent hosts. This post will be a complete guide and review of the Bangkok Dinner Cruise- everything you could possibly want to know answered right here!
What is The Bangkok Dinner Cruise
In short, the Bangkok Dinner Cruise is an open-top boat which slowly cruises up and down the Chao Phraya River. Dinner is served on board and the cost is relatively low. It’s an affordable activity with mid-range pricing, making the Bangkok River Cruise one of the more popular activities to do in Bangkok.
While sailing along the Chao Phraya River there is live entertainment, a bar, and an international buffet. Eating your dinner while taking in the river views is a memorable experience and all from the best seat in the house.
How Much is The Bangkok Dinner Cruise
How much does the Bangkok River Cruise Cost? We ended up booking twice and paying way more than we should have for our cruise, but I’ll get to that in a moment! The ticket prices should range from anywhere between 900 Thai Baht to 1,800 Thai Baht, varying between different operators. The price includes unlimited food from the buffet, so you can eat as much as you want.
How Long Does The Bangkok Dinner Cruise Last
The Bangkok River Cruise lasts for two hours. Most companies leave from the Asiatique Riverfront Pier, but others leave from the pier at the Icon Siam Shopping Mall.
Our boat left from Asiatique and sailed up the Chao Phraya River passing landmarks such as the Grand Palace, the Icon Siam Mall, the Rama VIII Golden Bridge and Wat Arun Temple. After an hour of sailing the boat pulled a U-Turn to head back along the same route.
Where Can You Book Tickets For The Bangkok Dinner Cruise
The Bangkok Dinner Cruise is mostly booked on Klook or GetYourGuide.
We booked our Bangkok Dinner Cruise tickets through Klook, but when we arrived, we found out that the outdoor seating we wanted wasn’t available.
Since I didn’t want to sit inside, we bailed on our Klook reservation and booked with a different operator as a walk-in customer instead.
We ended up with the best seats on the boat, and I’m glad we made the switch.
In hindsight, I wish we had just booked in person from the start, as there were over ten operators on the dock with open seats and seat layout maps that allowed us to choose our preferred seating. We made our last-minute booking on Asiatique Pier with less than 20 minutes before the boat left.
This meant we ended up paying for two Bangkok Dinner Cruises, which cost 1,200 Baht each through Klook, as well as two new tickets for 1,500 Baht each. Despite the extra cost, sitting outside was a much nicer experience and I don’t regret it at all. It would have been better if Klook had given us the option to choose our seats or at least, which deck to sit on before we booked.
I’m still waiting to see if Klook will refund me for our original reservation. I don’t have high hopes.
What Food Is There on a Bangkok Dinner Cruise
The food is the main reason we were on the boat and it did not disappoint! I had fasted throughout the entire day in anticipation of the buffet dinner. I was starving upon boarding the cruise, and the dinner was laid out, and ready, from the moment the boat left the dock.
We boarded the boat and were shown to our seats (top deck at the front of the boat). With a glass of punch waiting as a welcome drink, we settled in.
The waiters offered a drinks menu and filled our water glasses. We could purchase alcoholic drinks for an additional cost. After that, we helped ourselves to the buffet food which was laid out as the centrepiece in the middle of the boat. I ate so much.
The dinner cruise was a seafood lover’s paradise there was a vast selection of foods. Unfortunately, as I do not eat seafood I was unable to enjoy the Fried Squid, Shrimp Phad Thai, King Prawns, Salmon, Sushi Rolls and Muscles- my girlfriend on the other hand- ate enough for the boat of us!
I had already eaten two full plates of food before noticing that they also had Rib Eye Steaks with peppercorn sauce on the buffet. ****. How did it take me three trips to spot that?
With an already full stomach, I somehow manage to make space for a full steak dinner with a side of potatoes, rice and vegetables. It was a battle for the ages – me vs. my stomach – but I emerged victorious, like a true champion of the buffet.
Dessert was a difficult choice too- choosing one was impossible. So I settled on a Creme Brule, dark chocolate mousse, toffee cake and a fruit salad.
The food on the Bangkok Dinner Cruise was plentiful and continuously restocked throughout the entire cruise. The chefs made sure to top up any offerings that were running low, and the buffet remained open for the full two hours we were on the boat. However, it was sad to see so much leftover food going to waste, and I hope the cruise companies have plans in place to support homeless charities and prevent wastage.
Alcoholic Drinks on the Bangkok Dinner Cruise
“After eating non-stop for an hour on the Bangkok Dinner Cruise, we were already feeling the food coma setting in. Our stomachs were full to the point that- I wasn’t sure if I would be able to walk off the boat. So, we decided to take a break and headed to the onboard bar.
We ordered a Mai Tai cocktail and a neat whisky for a total of 360THB. Sipping our drinks, we were able to relax and enjoy the rest of the cruise while taking in the breathtaking views of Bangkok at night.”
Choosing The Best Seats on a Bangkok Dinner Cruise
Our Bangkok Dinner Cruise boat had two decks, while some companies had three. If you’re planning to take the cruise, I highly recommend sitting on the top deck for the best experience. The lower deck(s) are enclosed with windows, and it feels like sitting in a cheap restaurant on land. It’s air-conditioned, but it lacks the open-air experience and stunning views of the top deck.
Our seats were on the top deck of the boat, right at the front we had epic views while eating our dinner.
After over indulging on all the delicious food on the Bangkok Dinner Cruise, we were ready to relax with a glass of whisky. But our chill vibes were quickly interrupted by a swarm of guests from the lower cabins who decided that the top deck was the perfect photo op. Suddenly, our prime seats were no longer so prime, and we found ourselves in the middle of a photo-taking free-for-all. It was surreal to watch the total disrespect for personal space. One lady even lost her table while at the buffet, to a couple who decided to strike a pose! Talk about rude. This was the one and the only thing that brought the cruise down a notch.
Entertainment on The Bangkok Dinner Cruise
The entertainment on the Bangkok Dinner Cruise was a mixed bag. While we were initially excited to see the saxophone player setting up, we were surprised when the singer started a live karaoke performance of Gangnam Style during dinner. The entertainment was cheesy and loud, reminiscent of a children’s disco, but most of the guests seemed to enjoy it and all-in-all it was fun.
Which Bangkok River Cruise is The Best
There are currently 11 companies operating Bangkok Dinner Cruises on the Chao Phraya River! Each operator has multiple boats and these boats travel up and down the Chao Phraya River in convoy. There is no shortage of Dinner Cruise Boats in Bangkok.
There are departures every 15 minutes between 6:00 PM and 8:00 PM from Asiatique Pier, and Icon Siam Pier.
But Which Chao Prahay River Cruise is Best? We did the Dinner Cruise with Chao Phraya Princess, who I would totally recommend. We had no problems with them, the staff on the ground and the boat were so friendly, the boat was nice and the food was even better. So I’d say that Chao Phraya Princess has the best dinner cruise in Bangkok, for those reasons. Although there doesn’t seem to be much difference between the (countless)other competitors.
Chao Phraya River Dinner Cruise Companies:
This is a list of all the companies that currently run the dinner cruise on the Chao Phraya River. The prices are for seats on the open-top deck, but seats inside the boat are usually about 200 Baht cheaper.
- Chao Phraya Princess (1,500 THB)
This is the dinner cruise which we took and I would highly recommend it.
- Royal Princess Cruise (1,000 THB)
We booked with this company in advance but later switched our reservation to the Chao Phraya Princess due to lack of seating- we were pleased to have switched last minute.
- Chao Phraya Cruise – (900 THB)
Probably the best value-for-money choice for a Bangkok Dinner Cruise- online reviews are mostly positive.
- Alangka Cruise – (1,100THB)
A smaller operator with only one ship. Another good choice for a Bangkok Dinner Cruise.
- Vela Cruise – (1,200 THB)
One of the first dinner cruises to depart, before sunset around 6:00 PM.
- River Star Princess Chao Phraya Cruise (1,500 THB)
Entertainment includes traditional Thai Dancers and the food caters to a western palate.
- White Orchid Dinner Cruise (900 THB)
The most famous river cruise in Bangkok and the largest boat. There are three decks on the ship.
- Wonderful Pearl Cruise (1,600 THB)
The most iconic ship on the Chao Phraya River, the pink illuminations can be seen from far and wide.
- Meridian Cruise (700 THB)
The cheapest dinner cruise you’ll find in Bangkok. Cheap doesn’t always mean best.
- Smile Riverside Dinner Cruise (1,200 THB)
Multiple departure times from Icon Siam and Asiatiqute.
- Horizon Dinner Cruise (1,700 THB)
The only Bangkok Dinner Cruise to leave from the Shangri-La hotel.
Private Dinner Cruise on the Chao Phraya River
It is worth noting that the Bangkok Dinner Cruise can be done as a private experience too. The cost to charter an entire boat with dinner for two hours is 18,000 Thai Baht. If your group is ten people or more the cost is actually the same as booking onto the regular cruise! You can book a private dinner cruise on the Chao Phraya River here.