With both Bangkok and the provinces surrounding it so densely populated you would think it is difficult to find any location that is both deserted and spooky at the same time. This is one such place where I went to explore at the weekend. It is very close to Bang Nampheung Floating Market but this place was like a ghost town. Literally. The road leading to this abandoned building was indistinct. The big iron gates were open. A guard post in the middle of the road was covered in foliage and I didn’t spot it at first. There were no signs giving a name to this place nor any indication as to what to expect.
This location first came to my attention about a year ago while exploring the province using Google Earth. As you can see from this satellite image, the lake is such a distinct shape. It was obviously man-made. It has been on my places to visit for a long time. As I was taking some people to visit the Bang Nampheung Floating Market at the weekend I thought it would be a good idea to do some exploring. The approach road is from the top right of this picture. You can even see the guardhouse in the middle of the road making it like a roundabout.
I parked my car and walked across the long grass to reach the building alongside the lake. I guess I should have been more worried about snakes but whenever I do exploring like this, the first thing that pops into my head are marijuana fields and farmers with shotguns! You can blame The Beach movie for that. The building itself is a puzzle. At first I thought that it was a private house. However, on the ground floor there were a number of rooms that were obviously public toilets. My second guess was then either a hotel or a restaurant. It looks like it had never been completed. Maybe they ran out of money. Now nature is taking it over. This would be a great location for a ghost movie.
From the abandoned building I continued walking around the lake towards what looked like a kind of short lighthouse. It was obviously part of the same development as it had the same roof tiles. From the satellite image it looked like that there was a kind of water gate or sluice gate at that end to allow water to enter the lake. However, when I got there I could see that it was more of a lock gate which allowed the passage of boats to and from the lake to the Chao Phraya River. It was quite extensive with three gates in total. At each end of the locks there were even traffic lights! As there was no-one around I climbed to the top of the tower to get a better view.
At the top I found a control panel for the lock gates. There were also two monitors as it wasn’t easy to look down to the gates themselves. However, there was a good view out towards the lake (see above picture) and the other way towards the river. In the lake you can see some pillars in the water. Maybe this was going to be a restaurant over the water. Most of the control panel and the monitors had been stripped bear by scavengers. This was obviously quite a set up. But, if the building was a restaurant, why go to all this trouble to allow boats to come and go? They could have just done a jetty at the river. It all seems a bit over the top. Not surprising that they ran out of money. If anyone has any ideas then please post them in the comments. I have posted some more and bigger pictures over at the ThailandQA forums. More information on Samut Prakan can be found at our Paknam.com website.