Not for the faint-hearted, or anyone with mobility difficulties, however if you are up for a bit of fun and adventure this is a speedy and cheap way to get around Bangkok.
Bangkok Canal Taxi Boats, or Khlong Saen Saep as it is known in Thai, run a distance of 18km from Bankapi to the North of Sukhumvit,then parallel to the Sukhumvit Road, through to Pratunam, past Siam Square and onto Wat Sa Ket (the Golden Mount). Tickets cost 10 to 20 baht depending on the distance and boats run from 5.30am to 8.30pm.
The reason I say this is not for the faint-hearted or people with mobility difficulties is the taxi boats can be an uncomfortable and smelly wet experience. It is a bit difficult getting on and off. There is a step up from the boats and they bob around in the water. Once you are in you shelter behind plastic sheeting occasionally getting damp with less than wholesome canal water when other boats pass.
However, this said there are upsides to using these boats, as 40,000 to 60,000 of the the locals do every day. They go where other transport systems, except buses which move at snail’s pace, don’t go. One failing of the sky train and the metro system is that it doesn’t go toward the Khao San area. The Khlong Saen Saep will take you to Wat Sa Ket,which is a hop skip and jump from the Khao San area. Also it’s fun and you get to see things you won’t see any other way. There are communities, historic bridges and wooden houses not visible from the road side. Like all the best travelling experiences, you have to put with the bad to get the good. Rewarding.
The Khlong Saen Saep has two lines, converging on the Pratunam Pier. The NIDA line has 24 stops and runs east from Pratunam. This is the line to take from Pratunam to get to Sukhumvit and onto Ramkhamkeng University to the north of Sukhumvit. The other line, the Golden Mount Line line, runs from Pratunam Pier through to the Golden Mount to the west, with 6 stops.
Here are some piers you might want to stop off at:
Phan Fa Pier: for the Golden Mount
Ban Krua Nua Pier: for the Jim Thompson House
Nan Nua Pier: for Sukhumvit soi 3
Thong Lo Pier: for Sukhumvit soi 38 and the RCA entertainment zone