You can take the Chao Phraya Express Boat to visit a wide variety of attractions in Bangkok, all near the Chao Phraya River, like Wat Arun, Wat Pho, the Grand Palace and China town.
While trying to walk to the pier (and feeling a bit lost) a Tuk Tuk driver told us we were heading the wrong way and offered to take us for 10 Baht. In our naiveté we forgot to ask for the specific pier we were heading to. We almost fell into our first tourist trap: the Tuk Tuk brought us to a pier where we could only board a long tail boat. A young woman tried to sell us a ticket for 1500 Baht. We refused and she knocked off 500 Baht, but we took the right decision to walk away. A long tail boat might have a bit more charm compared to the Chao Phraya Express Boat, but it’s probably not worth the extra money.
Eventually we found the right pier (which was literally 1 corner from where the Tuk Tuk driver tricked us) and even before we reached the office to buy a ticket, we were clamped by another two Thai guys trying to sell us a trip with a long tail boat. We kindly thanked them and bought a ticket for the Chao Phraya Tourist Boat: 40 Baht for 1 trip. There were also tickets available for unlimited use for one day (price: 150 Baht), but that didn’t seem necessary.
Our retour ticket only cost 14 Baht. We discovered there’s a difference between the Chao Phraya Tourist Boat (filled with tourists and everyone can sit) and the Chao Phraya Express Boat (cramped with people, mostly locals). On the first one a kind of tour guide informs you about the next pier and which attractions you can visit there. An unnecessary extra, as you can find this information on your map.
Conclusion: Take the Chao Phraya Express Boat to visit attractions along the Chao Phraya River. It may be a bit overcrowded at times, but you get where you want at a low price and a nice breeze is included for free. Do make sure you pay attention where you should get off, because the boat doesn’t wait.
And definitely don’t believe everything they tell you.