My Bangkok Day Trip for this week is two locations in Samut Prakan Province. Although you can still see the skyscrapers in Bangkok from these places, it is very unlikely that you will meet any other foreigner on this trip. However, be prepared to go off the beaten track a bit to an area where there are no roads or public transport. The day trip today is to Phra Chulalchomklao Fortress which protects the approach to the Chao Phraya River and Bangkok further upriver. The next stop is a temple which is surrounded by the sea at high tide due to land erosion. Click here for my map of the area.
It is possible to go to Phra Chulachomklao Fortress by public transport but the service is not very regular. From Phra Samut Chedi, there is a large songtaew and a bus that go to the fort. Obviously if you are driving it is much easier. I have marked the location on the map. Just follow the road to the end. The fort is on navy property so you will have to show some sort of identification at the checkpoint. But, it is free to enter the fort. There is a restaurant here as well alongside the river so you could easily spend 2-3 hours exploring the fort.
The main attraction here are the seven Armstrong guns which are still in good working order. The fortress was built in the 1890′s and the guns were fired only once in anger against the French in 1893. In addition to the guns, there is also a Navy ship that you are allowed to explore. From the bridge there are some fine views of the river and the Gulf of Thailand. If you are interested in nature then it is worthwhile to also explore the mangrove forest as there is an extensive boardwalk built above it. Near the car park with the vendors and in the mangroves you will probably see some monkeys that swim in the water hunting for food.
If you came by your own transport, then you need to drive back up Suksawat Road looking for a turning to Sakhla on your left. Alternatively, take a songtaew that is heading back to Phra Samut Chedi and nearly halfway get off at the turn-off for Sakhla. Wait for another songtaew going down this road. Halfway to Sakhla, you will see an archway across the road in the middle of no-where. A short distance later there is a bridge over a small river. Get off there and you will see on your right a pier where you can rent a boat. Tell them you want to go to Wat Khun Samut. The taxi boat will take about 10-15 minutes. Make sure that you get his number as you will need to ring him to pick you up!
I know this is a bit challenging but it is really worthwhile. You are now literally in the middle of nowhere and surrounded by shrimp farms. No roads at all. Walk south for about 30 minutes and you will reach a concrete walkway that will take you out into the sea. I have been here many times and I really love the place. The village chief also has homestay which is worth considering. We go here every year to volunteer teach in the local school. Many of the local people have moved their houses inland three or four times because of land erosion. The temple is the only building that is still standing. Out to sea you can spot the concrete water tanks at low tide and also the electricity poles that used to follow along the main road in town. Visit our website www.KhunSamut.com for more information and also our site for Samut Prakan at www.Paknam.com.
I hope you enjoyed this Bangkok Day Trip. I am out every weekend looking for new attractions. You can follow me live on Twitter @RichardBarrow where I post pictures as I travel. Also check out my moblog at www.MyThailandBlog.com which I post from my iPhone as I travel. You will find news and links about my next trip on my website at www.RichardBarrow.com