Bhumibol Bridge 1 & 2 (สะพานภูมิพล) is part of the 13 km long Industrial Ring Road connecting southern Bangkok with Samut Prakan Province. The bridge crosses the Chao Phraya River twice, with two cable-stayed spans of lengths of 702 m and 582 m supported by two diamond-shaped pylons 173 m and 164 m high. Where the two spans meet, another road rises to join them at a free-flowing interchange suspended 50 metres above the ground. The bridge first opened for traffic on 20 September 2006.
Sri Nakhon Khuean Khan Park and Botanical Garden is located in Bang Kachao sub-district of Samut Prakan Province. The park was established as a place for people to relax and exercise. It also acts as a way to educate people on plant species and wildlife. It is an excellent oasis for people to escape the concrete jungle of nearby Bangkok. The park is only a short hop by boat over the Chao Phraya River.
The best walks and cycle rides are the ones where you can escape the hustle and bustle of the city. One way of doing this in Samut Prakan is to do the Gulf of Thailand route which is 11.6 kms one way. You can either return the same way or come back along Sukhumwit Road. I first did this route back in 2009 (see blog here). At that time it was only suitable for walking. However, they have now paved much of this coastal route. Though, please be aware, with storms hitting the coastline, there is no guarantee that the path will still be in a good condition.
One of my favourite destinations in Samut Prakan is Ban Khun Samut Chin. This is an isolated community along the coast that has moved numerous times due to land erosion. The only people that refused to move were the monks at Wat Khun Samut Chin. The temple is now surrounded by the sea and is only accessible by an elevated walkway. I first visited this community about nine years ago in 2007. It’s not easy to reach there as there are no roads. You have to rent a boat and then walk about two kilometers. But, the effort is certainly worth it. Although I have now been many times, I had never been all the way by bicycle before. This was the challenge when I set off there recently with two cycling friends. It wasn’t an easy route, and certainly you need to be fit and able. Plus you must take plenty of water and food too. But, it was well worth the effort.
The Royal Thai Naval Academy (โรงเรียนนายเรือ) was established by His Majesty the King Chulalongkorn (Rama V) in 1898. He officially opened the Academy on 20 November 1906. Originally located on the royal yacht Maha Chakri and some other boats donated by H.M. the King, the Academy later moved to Wangderm Palace in Thonburi (in the compound of the present headquarters of the Royal Thai Navy), then to Sattahip, and finally ended up at its current location in Samut Prakan in 1952.
Samut Prakan means “ocean fortress” and it was built to protect the approach to Bangkok. One of the few remaining forts left is Phi Sua Samut Fort. It is situated on an island on the Chao Phraya River which is probably one of the reasons it is still in good condition. Other forts have long since been pulled down. At the Northern end of the island there is a bridge from the mainland. As well as exploring the fort, you can go along a boardwalk to visit hundreds of fruit bats in the trees.