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Khlongs (Bangkok’s Canals)

The khlongs, also known as klongs, the canals in Bangkok, Thailand, have played a significant role in the city’s history and transportation system.

Here’s some information about the Khlongs in Bangkok:

Historical Significance

Bangkok was historically known as the “Venice of the East” due to its intricate network of canals, which were once the primary means of transportation in the city.

These canals were used for various purposes, including trade, transportation, and irrigation.

Origin and Development

The khlongs in Bangkok were originally natural waterways formed due to the city’s location in a low-lying delta region with numerous rivers and water bodies.

Over time, these natural canals were expanded, dredged, and connected to create a comprehensive network of waterways.


In the past, the Khlongs were the main transportation arteries of Bangkok.

People used small boats and canoes to navigate the canals, and these waterways connected various parts of the city.

However, as the city modernized and roads were developed, the role of the khlongs as a primary mode of transportation diminished.


The canals in Bangkok suffered from pollution and neglect over the years.

Many were filled in to make way for roads and buildings, and sewage and waste disposal issues contributed to their decline.

The rapid urbanization of Bangkok led to the disappearance of many canals.

Revitalization Efforts

In recent years, efforts have been made to revive and rehabilitate some of the remaining canals in Bangkok.

These efforts aim to address water pollution, restore historical sites along the canals, and promote tourism and recreational activities on the water.

Khlong Tours

Today, tourists can still experience the charm of Bangkok’s remaining canals by taking Khlong boat tours.

These tours offer visitors a glimpse into the city’s historical past and a chance to explore quieter and more traditional parts of Bangkok, away from the bustling streets.

Notable Canals

Some famous canals in Bangkok include Khlong Saen Saeb, which connects the Chao Phraya River to the city’s eastern parts, and Khlong Bang Luang, known for its picturesque wooden houses and art galleries.

Floating Markets

The Damnoen Saduak floating market is one of the best-known floating markets in Thailand, located in Ratchaburi Province, not far from Bangkok.

It’s a popular tourist destination known for its vibrant and colorful atmosphere.

Cultural Significance

The canals have cultural and historical importance in Bangkok.

They are often featured in Thai literature, art, and folklore and continue to symbolize the city’s unique character.

In summary, the khlongs in Bangkok are a testament to the city’s rich history and served as its primary transportation system in the past.

While many have disappeared due to urbanization, efforts are being made to preserve and revitalize the remaining canals as part of Bangkok’s cultural heritage.

Khlongs (Bangkok's Canals)
Canals in BangkokDescription
Historical SignificanceIt was once known as the “Venice of the East” due to an intricate network of canals.
Origin and DevelopmentInitially, natural waterways expanded and connected over time.
TransportationHistorically, primary transportation arteries are now less prominent.
DeclinePollution, neglect, and urbanization led to the disappearance of many canals.
Revitalization EffortsOngoing efforts to rehabilitate and preserve remaining canals.
Khlong ToursTourist boat rides to explore canals and historical areas.
Cultural SignificanceIt was featured in Thai literature, art, and folklore, symbolizing Bangkok’s character.

The exact number of klongs in Bangkok is challenging to determine, but historically, there were hundreds of them. Many have been filled in or modified over time.

Klongs in Bangkok have been used historically for transportation, trade, irrigation, and drainage.

Today, some are still used for transportation and tourism.

In Thai, “klong” (คลอง) means “canal” or “waterway.”

The cost of a canal tour in Bangkok can vary depending on the type of tour, duration, and operator.

Prices typically range from a few hundred to several thousand Thai Baht.

You can find a tour here.


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