Yesterday, I told you how I drove down to visit the Beach in Bangkok. It wasn’t really a beach in the traditional sense. There was no sand to play in and you wouldn’t want to swim in the muddy water. However, a boat ride along a canal in the mangrove forest was really refreshing and a good way to beat the summer temperatures.
After I had returned from my boat trip I got chatting with the security guard in the car park. I asked him first if it was possible to drive all the way to Samut Prakan. He assured me that you could. I then asked him if it was possible to drive down to the coast and he said no, “mai teung” meaning the road didn’t reach there. It turned out he was wrong on both counts!
I think I was only driving for about 10 minutes and then I was off the map! The road wasn’t that good. A bit broken up in places and I had to weave in order to find a smooth surface. In the end I just followed the path of the songtaew drivers. They go up and down here all day so I am sure they knew where to go for the smoothest drive.
Judging by the number of large seafood restaurants on both sides of the road, I would say that they would get a lot of people coming down here at the weekend. Though not by coaches yet as the road is pretty rough. Another five minutes or so I reached a t-junction with no road signs saying what was where. In theory, if I turned left I would end up in Samut Prakan. Turn right I would end up in Samut Sakhon. I could see a temple to my left and decided to go and investigate that first. It was marked on my map but there was no roads marked. Just after the temple there was a brand new bridge and a good road, but it only lasted 50 metres before I hit a pile of dirt! That was the end of the road. I guess when the security guard said I could go to Samut Prakan he meant the province! I turned around and headed back the other way.
Five minutes later I reached another parking lot full of cars with a sign saying “ta reua tee neung” which means “the number one jetty”. I pulled in to investigate. Another sign by the river announced that tickets cost only 40 baht for adults and 20 baht for children. However, this wasn’t a tour. The boats left here at 30 minute intervals to that restaurant I had seen earlier on the coastline. Apparently it only took 15 minutes from here. Even though it was cheaper here, I am glad I had gone on my longer tour.
I decided to keep driving. By this time I was back on the map. I could see that the road now went straight to Samut Sakhon. I have never explored that city but I would save it for another time. It was now mid-afternoon. I hadn’t finished exploring this area. I was trying to find a road or track that would take me south towards the sea. Judging by the map, the road was running parallel to the sea by about 4 kms. Eventually I found a turn off. I followed it for a while over a few bridges. After a while, the road suddenly became narrower and then became dirt track. I saw some people up ahead on motorcycles so I guessed it must be going somewhere. I finally parked the car and then just kept walking south along a narrow track. Five minutes later I saw a welcome view. It looked like there was a small estuary here with fishing boats on either side. And straight ahead was the sea! I had made it!
I walked through a small mangrove forest and came out on a muddy beach. There was quite a large number of people here. Some were on the shoreline and others were wading through the knee high mud. I asked one of the guys what he was looking for. He said his friend was looking for crabs under the rocks and that he was looking for shellfish. He showed me that there was two different kinds. You can see his “catch” in the photo below. He said some of his other friends were wading through the mud. Can you see the bamboo polls stuck in the mud? If you go and look closely you can see oyster shells stuck to the side. I took his word for it. I didn’t want to investigate! I asked if he was going to sell what he had caught but he said they would probably eat it themselves. It was the weekend and they had only come here for a bit of fun.
I am glad I had managed to find the sea. It had made the trip more worthwhile. Now I had been here, it wouldn’t be too much of an effort to come again. It was only about 55 kms door to door and had taken just over an hour and a half. I think there is more to explore and see in this area. But, I will save it for the next time I have a guest. This trip was really like sending an advance party. I think later this week I will do some more exploring by boat, but this time closer to home! There are still quite a few unanswered questions about the coastline along Samut Prakan.