River City is a four storey shopping centre on the banks of the Chao Phraya river. This is the place in Bangkok to buy art and antiquities, with the largest collection in South East Asia. As well as the antiques and art, not to mention other luxury products, this is a place to come and enjoy riverside dining and drinking. It also serves as a pier for no fewer than 8 different cruise boats.
There are 180 shops in River City, around 100 focusing on art and antiques. This is a good place if you want to find everything under one roof. The five floors contain the following:
1st Floor: Coffee shops, Thai and French restaurants, Jewelry shops, Leather shops, Silk shops, Tailors and Souvenir shops.
2nd Floor: River view restaurant, Jewelry shops, Silk shops, Tailors, Antiques
3rd Floor: Antiques, Art shops and decor
4th Floor: Antique & Auction house
5th Floor (roof top): River view cocktail bar (Balco Bar) and 1,000 sqm River City Bar-B-Que Corner
A word of warning in respect of the antique shops – not everything here is genuine. Some of the products on sale are reproductions and some of the items on sale are highly overpriced. Be careful before you part with your money and remember to bargain, even if a fixed price is advertised. Walk around and look at what is on offer before you make a purchasing decision. There are some really good items on offer but you need to search them out.
If you are a serious purchaser of art and antiques then the place to go is the 4th floor auction house. Auctions are held the first Saturday of every month. The items on sale are independently verified (no fakes here) and the auction house has a very good reputation: it has been in operation for over 25 years and more than 300 auctions have been held.
There are lots of different cruises on offer, at different times of the day. They start at 7.30am and departures run through to 8pm in the evening. The cruises range in duration from the evening dinner cruises of 2 hours to full day trips of 8 hours, such as the day cruise to Ayutthaya for 1,500 Thai Baht ($50).
River City is situated on Chareon Krung Road (soi 24) in China Town. The nearest mass transit stop is Hualampong MRT (metro) station. You could walk it in about 30 minutes to River City but there are a lot of roads to cross and the walk isn’t that scenic. I have done it and it wasn’t that pleasant.
A better way to get there is by boat. You can get the Chao Phraya Express Boat, the stop is Si Phraya Pier. You can also take the free River City shuttle boat. The shuttle boat makes the following stops: Sathron Pier (by Saphan Taksin skytrain stop), Mandarin Oriental Hotel, Shangri-La Hotel, Peninsula Hotel, Millenium Hilton Hotel and Royal River Hotel.