River life in the Paknam area

The city where I live is called Paknam (hence the name of my company Paknam Web). Paknam has been around for hundreds of years and used to serve as the point of entry for all visitors to Thailand. Ships had to offload their guns here before proceeding upriver to Bangkok. Paknam also had a customs house for foreign tourists. Even Anna (the infamous school teacher from the movie “The King and I”) mentioned in her book passing through Paknam on her way to the palace in Bangkok. In 1819, the city was enlarged and fortified. It was also renamed as Samut Prakan.

Today, Paknam is only a district of a much bigger city. We live in Tambon Paknam. The name of my school is Sriwittayapaknam. Despite the name change, many people around Thailand still call our city Paknam. The word Paknam translates as “river mouth”. This is because we are very close to the estuary that runs into the Gulf of Thailand. This morning, I took some visitors on a boat trip from Paknam Market to the river mouth. I thought I would share with you some of the pictures.

The first two pictures show two examples of boats found on the Chao Phraya River. The one on the left is a fishing boat. There are quite a few fishing jettys along the river here. If you go to the market at the right time you will see the boats coming in. The fish are cleaned and sorted on the jetty and then sold straight away. The picture on the right shows some of the private boats in a dry dock. You don’t see many luxurious boats like this here compared to places like Phuket. I have always dreamed of buying a boat. I guess they would be expensive. I’ll have to start saving my pennies.

These next two pictures are here just to show you two different sized boats that share the same shipping lane. I wonder who gets right of way?

We are now at the river mouth which took about 30 minutes to get here. This is part of Chulachomklao Fortress. This was built in 1893 in order to protect the approach to Bangkok. The guns here only fired in anger once. And that was against the French in the same year! The ship is H.T.M.S. Maeklong which used to be a training ship and is now permanently moored at this site. On the right is a crane in a private port. You can see that they are offloading some containers. The main port is further up river towards Bangkok.

The last two pictures were taken along a canal branching off the Chao Phraya River. There are several fishing villages along here and you can see many fishing boats tied up on both sides. There are also a few old temples. Somewhere up this way is an old community in a place called Sa Kla. We didn’t have time today as we only hired the boat for two hours. We have already decided that we will return tomorrow by car and try to explore this area a bit more.

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