Bangkok’s Best Hotels for River Festivals

by Hotels, Thailand

Not so long ago, almost everyone in Bangkok was living on or near the Chao Phraya River and the canals. The river still plays a starring role in some of the most beautiful festivals and events in Bangkok. Read on to find out more …


Royal Barge Procession: 12 December

Thailand’s Royal Barge Procession is a ceremony of both religious and royal significance going back almost 700 years. However it takes place rarely, marking only the most significant cultural and religious events. As the final procedure of the Coronation of King Rama X, the Royal Barge Procession will be held on December 12th. About 2,300 oarsmen will row over 50 barges along the river. Accompanied by music and barge-rowing chants. 

Where to Stay?

Riva Surya Hotel

The 68-room Riva Surya was an apartment building before it was converted into a luxurious urban oasis complete with colonial-era design elements. The outdoor swimming pool offers full views of the Chao Phraya River, and it’s less than five minutes’ walk to the pier to catch ferries to the city’s main historic sites. Guests at Riva Surya whose stay coincides with the above date will have the opportunity to witness this historic event.

Bangkok River Festival: 9 – 11 November

The Bangkok River Festival is dedicated to the mighty Chao Phraya River, which runs through Bangkok. The theme for this fifth edition of the festival is “the happy sound of water”. There’ll be all sorts of entertainment and activities alongside the river including with cultural shows, live music and delicious food stalls. A free shuttle boat service will runs between the different locations offering another way to experience Bangkok and its river.

Where to Stay?

Riva Arun Hotel

Riva Arun started life as a Chinese shophouse trading in brown sugar. It has been elegantly restored into a smart 25-room riverside hotel that incorporates Chino-colonial style with a modern minimalist twist. The iconic rooftop restaurant offers incredible views of Wat Arun, Wat Pho and the river. This sweet boutique hotel is within walking distance of the Flower Market, Wat Pho and the historic Maharaj riverside community.

Loy Krathong: 13 November

Taking place on 13 November, this is one of the most picturesque festivals in Bangkok. People gather around lakes, rivers and canals to pay their respects to the goddess of the water. Lotus-shaped krathongs decorated with flickering candles, flowers and incense are released onto the water. It is also believed that the drifting of the krathong ‘floats away’ anger and bad thoughts.

Where to Stay

Both Riva Arun and Riva Surya are great choices. But book soon as riverside hotels get booked up really quickly at this time of year.

The other alternative is to stay in a hotel with easy access to the skytrain station to avoid the gridlocked roads. 137 Pillars Suites & Residences offers free transport to the skytrain. Buy a ticket to Saphan Taksin station right next to the river and watch the festivities from there. Or why not head up to the rooftop Marble Bar for incredible views of the fireworks.