The Loop in the River

The loop in the Cho Phraya River

A few months back, I told you about a visit I made to a unique area close to Bangkok that seemed to be stuck in time. A large loop in the Chao Phraya River and a shortcut canal has virtually made this area an island. Indeed you can only enter it by bridge or by boat. Despite its closeness to Bangkok (see picture above) the area has hardly been developed at all. There are still many isolated communities surrounded by palm trees and banana plantations. There are no high-raised buildings. There are no factories.  More importantly, 7–Eleven hasn’t arrived. Well, not yet. They are starting to creep in from the opening in the loop.

I had been meaning to go back to explore the area more thoroughly, so I was really excited last week to receive an invitation from Steve and his wife Jit to come and visit them in Bangkrachao. Steve has been a regular reader of our Thai Blogs for a while and he knew of my interest in this area. Steve and Jit are on a six month sabbatical from their work in Alaska. They have been building a house on her family’s property and it was now ready to move in. Their house borders the Sri Nakhon Khuankun Park which I visited last time. In the first picture, you can just make out the large green area of the park towards the top.

Sri Nakhon Khuankun Park

When I arrived at the park, I gave Steve a call as arranged. He told me to wait by the inner gate and not the one by the road. I was curious about this as I thought we were going to his house first. Then a few minutes later he came walking out of the park with his wife. Apparently there isn’t any road access to his community yet and they have to enter through the park. However, this is not such a bad thing. How many people do you know who have a large beautiful park on their doorstep? Not that they need it. As you can see in the picture above, their community, to the north of the park, is surrounded by palm trees and banana plantations. There are interesting and quiet walk along the narrow paths in just about every direction.

One of the paths around the community

This picture shows one of the main paths through this community. Jit told me that there were about 50 families living here. Some houses were next door to each other and some were more isolated as they were surrounded by small banana plantations. Steve told me to be careful of falling coconuts. Outside one of the houses, a group of people were busy making some candy. Jit explained to me that the whole community had been helping for the last few days to make this dessert. They were planning on using the candy to make merit to mark the end of the Rains Retreat early next month. Jit introduced me to her uncle who was busy ripping open a coconut. She then introduced me to various other relations including her father. At this point I decided to ask her what percent of the villagers were related to her. She didn’t seem to understand my question. So I asked her, how many people in the community were related to her. She replied, everyone!

Making candy

It was really nice having Jit show me around as she was very knowledgeable about what was going on. She told me that the chewy candy they were making was made from peanuts, popped corn, sesame seeds, sugar cane juice and plain white sugar. It tasted really nice. True to Thai tradition, as soon as I had said how good it was, she gave me a whole bag full! Nearby, a steamer was busy cooking another delicious dessert which I will tell you about another day! After a brief stop for a delicious meal, we then set off on foot to the local jetty to explore the river by boat. I will tell you about this trip in part two.

 

In the meantime, visit Steve’s blogs:

http://wanderinginthailand.blogspot.com/

5 responses to “The Loop in the River

  1. Richard-This is an amzing place -a lung for the city -I hope the developers don’t follow “7-eleven” and destroy it.

  2. In and around my City of Sydney, there are many pockets or green, that have been left natural and have been turned into National Parks protected and preserved by law. I think it is good to have areas close to big populations that are left natural for every one to enjoy. I would like to see this area preserved by law and not developed any further. I’m also wondering, what percentage of this land is in private ownership and what percentage is nationally owned, as if it is privately owned, I think one day it will all be gone to development.

  3. As a side note, if you notice one the first image, the ‘canal’ is in the narrowest section of land between the two lengths of the river.

    See that tan colored spot that appears much lighter in color. That is the very end of the MEGA Bridge that is being constructed. It has had so much media attention it’s simply amazing.

    There is a link to a panoramic view of it below.
    http://2bangkok.com/2bangkok/Bridge/wongwein/041120/megabridgepana.jpg

  4. Well it connects to the Mega bridge anyway. That particular section is the Industrial Ring Road Project. That in itself is going to be quite a feat.

    The project consists of the construction of 12 km of elevated highway, 4 to 12 lanes wide, and two bridges, each about 700m long over the Chao Praya River.

    Formwork ranges from simple forms for foundation work to 14 meter high V-parts mounted on columns of more than 15 meter high.

    But looking at the shade of brown that the image is, I am afraid it maybe is a bit out of date.

  5. Yes, i have done a couple of previous blogs on this mega bridge with photos. You can see here:

    http://www.thai-blogs.com/index.php?blog=5&title=bangkok_s_mega_bridge_updates&more=1&c=1&tb=1&pb=1

    http://www.thai-blogs.com/index.php?blog=5&title=the_mega_bridge&more=1&c=1&tb=1&pb=1

    The canal is now full of water. I will update with new pictures soon. Also, some pictures of the Industrial Ring Road project as it cuts through Samut Prakan.