Author: Richard Barrow

Ban Sakhla

Drone photos of Ban Sakhla

Sakhla community is situated along the banks of Sapphasamit Canal which was the old highway between Samut Prakan and Samut Sakhon. The village dates back to the early Ayutthaya Period. Most villagers are fishermen and the town is surrounded by shrimp and crab ponds. In the past these were salt farms. Until recently, there was only one road to this community, but there is now a new road and bridge over Sapphasamit Canal.

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Wat Sakhla

Drone photos of Wat Sakhla

Wat Sakhla in Ban Sakhla dates back to the 1780’s during the reign of King Taksin. The landmark of this temple is the 26 meter high Leaning Stupa which was built in 1884. It is in the same style as the stupa in Wat Mahathat in Ayutthaya. These drone photos were taken during the annual worship fair during Visakha Bucha in May every year. Ban Sakhla is surrounded by fish and crab ponds and there are very few roads.

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Ban Sakhla

Ban Sakhla

PLACE: Ban Sakhla (สาขลา)
LOCATION: Na Kluea sub-district in Phra Samut Chedi District
GPS Coordinates: 13.544917, 100.501789

Along the shores of Sapphasamit Canal lays the large community of Sakhla whose origin can be dated back to the Sukhothai or early Ayutthaya Period. They had joined the Siamese troops in driving out the Burmese armies and their legendary victory gave rise to the name “Ban Sao Kla” (the brave ladies land) which later became “Sakhla”. Cork trees, mangroves, banyans, and other local trees make the scenery vibrant with their vivid colors. The town is surrounded by shrimp and crab ponds.

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Wat Khun Samut Chin

Wat Khun Samut Chin

This is an aerial photo of Ban Khun Samut Chin in Phra Samut Chedi district. In these photos you can clearly see how this community has been affected by land erosion. The main road through the village used to be across the bottom of this photo. This is the local temple. Everyone else has moved inland. Some families had to move two or three times. Only the monks refused to leave. They are now surrounded by water at high tide. To reach this temple, you have to walk along an elevated concrete walkway. In the background, you can see shrimp and fish farms. These used to be mangrove forests. Cutting them down directly caused the land erosion. As you can see some from the photos, they have started to replant mangroves to help stop any further erosion. They have also planted bamboo poles to help break the waves. From experiments, they found these to be better than concrete barriers.

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Ban Sakhla

Ban Sakhla

This is a google satellite image for Phra Samut Chedi district in Samut Prakan. The focus here is for Sakhla Village (บ้านสาขลา). As you can see, the majority of the Western side of the Chao Phraya River is a rural area, with many shrimp and fish farms. There are very few roads though some progress has been made on this in recent years. Sakhla now has a bridge over Sapphasamit Canal (4) which means you can now access from two different directions. Also marked are Ban Khun Samut Chin (2), Phra Chulachomklao Fort (3) and Paknam Market (5). You can actually take a boat from Paknam to Sakhla (see my blog here), but it doesn’t go often. Also visit Thailand Photo Map for a day trip that I did with some friends.

Sakhla Fishing Village - บ้านสาขลา

This is a closer image of Ban Sakhla. I have marked Wat Sakhla (1) which is the main attraction in this fishing village. In the southeast corner of the temple complex, there is a small bridge (2) that leads to the riverside market. There is a pier near the temple (3) where you can rent boats to explore the area. They also have a daily boat service to Paknam from here. The songtaew buses to and from Phra Samut Chedi leave from near the 7-Eleven (4). It’s worth exploring this village though you will probably be the only foreigners there.

Here is a direct link to Ban Sakhla on Google Maps if you want to explore this area yourself.

Forts in Samut Prakan

Maps of forts in Samut Prakan. There is only evidence left of six of these. I’ve also mapped places where you can see old canons.

Discovering Puchao Saming Phrai Fort

Puchao Saming Phrai Fort

One of the historical legacies of Samut Prakan Province are the Fortresses along the river from the Gulf of Thailand all the way up to Bangkok. At various times through history, going back as far as the Ayutthaya period, there has always been forts here of some description. Many fell into ruins during periods of peace but were built up again by succeeding monarchs. About 800 years ago, Phra Pradaeng used to be the first line of defence as the the coastline was in this area. However, over the years, the land extended further South and Phra Pradaeng lost its importance as a sea harbour. The first temples, in what is now Samut Prakan, were built in about 1350 A.D. Forts soon followed.

Puchao Saming Phrai Fort

In 1768, when King Taksin became the king after the fall of Ayutthaya, he order all of the bricks from the forts at Phra Pradaeng to be moved to Thonburi to build his new palace which practically obliterated the city. However, King Rama I saw the importance of the city as a fortress. In 1809 he commanded for the city to be rebuilt together with Wittayakom Fort alongside Latpho Shortcut Canal. This area is now under Bhumibol Bridge. King Rama II, in about 1815, continued with the building programme at Phra Pradaeng. He had five forts built on the West side of the river and three on the East side. A ninth fort was built about ten years later. At the same time, King Rama II changed the name of the city to Nakhon Khueankhan. He also brought 300 Mon men and their families here to man the forts.

Puchao Saming Phrai Fort

The majority of these forts no longer exist and their exact location has been forgotten. Only Phlaeng Faifah Fort near Phra Pradaeng Municipal Office has been preserved as a city park. Others have been pulled down and built over. For the past few years I have been trying to locate the original position of these long lost forts and then go there to see if I could find any remaining evidence. Then not long ago I came across an old map of the Phra Pradaeng area which marked Puchaosamingphrai Fort on the East bank opposite the municipal hall. It was surrounded by a canal. I used this evidence to cross-check with Google Earth. I found the Southern side of the canal but not the Northern canal. However, on the satellite image, I could just make out something between two buildings that looked like it was ruins of some kind.


I drove over there at the weekend to check it out. From Sukhumwit Road I turned off onto Puchaosamingphrai Road which leads straight to the Chao Phraya River. This is where we used to have to cross the river by car ferry, but now they have built the two Bhumibol Bridges. Anyway, just before the car ferry I turned left towards Wat Laem and Phrapradaeng Hospital. I parked my car in the car park here alongside the river. Straight away I knew that I was in the right place as there were a dozen big guns lined up along the waterfront. After taking a few pictures here, I turned inland to look for what I thought were ruins on the satellite image. I was looking for a long snake-like building with a red roof. I eventually found it behind the buildings of the Rajapracha Samasai Institute.

Puchao Saming Phrai Fort

I have been exploring Samut Prakan for many years trying to discover something new or long lost. I know the ruins that I found here at the weekend were in the grounds of a medical institute so it wasn’t exactly a secret. But, it did take my breath away when I first caught sight of the ruins of Puchaosamingphrai Fort. I saw the wall first and then beyond that high up the remains of a wooden building that had collapsed. It looked very much like a lost city as it was now heavily overgrown and squatters had set up shacks around the base. Many of them had physical disabilities and some apparently even had leprosy. For them this was just a place to stay but for me it was an important link to the historical past of the province. It should be preserved for future generations.

Puchao Saming Phrai Fort

We explored around the ground level first. However, after an encounter with some vicious dogs we went around the back where we found some steps that took us to the top. From what I could tell, an artificial hill had been built and a brick building had been built on top. The wooden roof had collapsed but many of the wooden planks remained which is quite surprising. Many of the shutters on the windows were still there and a couple were banging in the wind. I wondered aloud whether it had been doing that for the last hundred years or ever since it had been abandoned. I looked in through some of the doors but the wooden floors had all collapsed. The place was obviously a death trap and probably home to numerous snakes. But, I was too excited not to pass up on this opportunity to step back in time like this. There are not that many historical ruins left in Samut Prakan.

Puchao Saming Phrai Fort

I have been working on a Map of Forts in Samut Prakan Province and I am happy that there are now six forts that still have evidence of their existence. There are about twenty more that have been lost to time. I doubt that I will find anything else but I will continue with my quest to find the long lost forts of Samut Prakan. Recently I have been reading many contemporary accounts of Samut Prakan written by foreigners nearly 200 years ago. They talk of places that are no longer marked on the maps. My next expeditions will be to find the mysterious “Red House” in Paknam and the village of Paklat upriver in Phra Pradaeng.

Tourist Attractions in Samut Prakan

This is a map of all of the tourist attractions that can be found in Samut Prakan province. Click on the links on the map to see more information.

Ancient Siam

13.539286, 100.622883

One of the main tourist attractions in Samut Prakan is Muang Boran. This is a historical park covering 200 acres and contains replicas of historically important structures in Thailand.


Ban Sakhla

13.544917, 100.501789

Ban Sakhla is an isolated community surrounded by shrimp and crab farms. There is an interesting temple and a canal side market.


Bang Nampheung Floating Market

13.680852, 100.574814

A good place to relax at the weekend is the floating market in the place called the “lungs of Bangkok”. Come here to have a brunch and buy handicrafts.


Bang Pu Seaside Resort

13.517322, 100.654956

Located along the coast is the popular pier where you can eat your evening meal in comfort. From October to March large flocks of seagulls pass through.


City Pillar Shrine

13.594082, 100.597670

The city pillar in Paknam is unusual because it is a combination of a Chinese Shrine and a Thai city pillar. It was built in 1822 by the command of King Rama II.


Crocodile Farm & Zoo

13.571924, 100.597496

The large Crocodile Farm is our most famous and popular tourist attraction. They have over 40,000 crocodiles on show including the largest captive crocodile.


Erawan Museum

13.629111, 100.589228

The biggest landmark in Samut Prakan is the giant three-headed elephant which is believed to be the largest elephant in the world.


Khun Samut Chin

13.507098, 100.531188

People in the Khun Samut Chin community have moved their houses inland numerous times due to land erosion. Only the monks refused to move.


Klong Suan 100 Year Old Market

13.662428, 100.953862

This old market a has recently been rediscovered by local tourists. A great place to relax and eat with you family or to take pictures of an authentic slice of old Thailand.


Naval Museum

13.609385, 100.595278

The museum exhibits historical information on the Royal Thai Navy and major naval battles.


Phi Sua Samut Fort

13.595494, 100.587549

This fortress is on an island in the Chao Phraya River opposite the city hall. There are three surviving Armstrong guns here on display.


Phlaeng Faifa Fort

13.657226, 100.532761

There used to be many forts protecting the approach to Bangkok. This one in Phra Pradaeng is one of the few that remains in relatively good condition.


Phra Chulachomklao Fort

13.538183, 100.583383

Guarding the estuary and approach to Bangkok is this still working fort that is over 100 years old. There is also a navy training ship which you can board and explore.


Phra Samut Chedi

13.600380, 100.586837

The popular name for this pagoda is ‘Phra Chedi Klang Nam’ and it is the symbol of the province. There is an annual temple fair here for nine days and nine nights during October.


Siamese Fighting Fish Gallery

13.700126, 100.562837

The only Siamese Fighting Fish Gallery in the world is situated on the Bangkachao Peninsula.


Sri Nakhon Khuean Khan Park

13.696934, 100.563736

Sri Nakhon Khuean Khan Park and Botanical Garden is an oasis for city people wanting to experience nature, the local way of life and escaping Bangkok’s chaos.


Taco Lake

13.625919, 100.710265

Wakeboarding for sports lovers on this large lake.


Thamma Katanyu Foundation

13.538899, 100.627816

Thamma Katanyu Foundation was built in 1991 and is decorated with auspicious animal statues according to Chinese belief and lifestyle. There is a popular Lantern Festival here every year.


Wat Asokaram

13.547697, 100.607474

This is a famous temple for people who want to practice mediation. There is also a mangrove boardwalk down to the Gulf of Thailand. You can see mud skippers and monitor lizards.


Wat Bang Phli Yai Klang

13.608395, 100.704631

The largest Reclining Buddha in Thailand is at Wat Bang Phli Yai Klang. It is 53 metres long and inside you can even see a shrine for the heart.


Wat Bang Phli Yai Nai

13.604310, 100.711732

This temple is highly revered by local people as it enshrines the Luangpho To Buddha image. During October every year there is a popular festival parade along the canal.


Thai Food Menu 31

Red Curry with Roasted Duck

The red curry with roasted duck (kaeng pet bet yang) is my favourite version of the red curry. I don’t often get a chance to eat it outside of restaurants. The downside of street food is that there is usually more bones than meat. But this dish was all duck and only cost 40 baht. Pretty good value for money. What you can see in the picture is the roasted duck, plum tomatoes, eggplant peas, basil leaves and kaffir lime leaves. It also has coconut milk and is seasoned with fish sauce and palm sugar. It is actually quite easy to make as long as someone else has prepared your curry paste. You can buy this down the market or even at supermarkets like Big C and Tesco Lotus. This curry paste has ground galangal, lemon grass, red shallots and garlic amongst other ingredients. Make sure you don’t miss this highlight. It is also nice with pineapple chunks.

Stems of Waterlily (tom kati sai bua)

Fish lovers might like this healthy dish. It consists of sai bua (the stems of the waterlily) cooked in coconut milk with shallots. The fish is usually a mackerel like pla tu that is seasoned with fish sauce, tamarind paste and sugar. I am afraid it is not a favourite of mine though it only cost 34 baht. A little over $1.

Stir fried chicken and chinese chives

This is a tasty dish that looks simple to cook. I might give it a go this weekend. The two main ingredients are the chicken pieces and Chinese chives. It is cooked in a seasoning of fish sauce, light soy sauce and oyster sauce. All good kitchens should have these ingredients. Add some water if it drys out during cooking. This was only 35 baht.

Red Glutinous Rice (khao niew daeng)

This is a popular dish popular during the Songkran festival. The main ingredients are sticky rice, palm sugar and sesame seeds. It is a bit tough to eat and is a bit like caramel. It reminds me of another Thai dessert called kalamae. This one was only 20 baht.

Flower Shaped Candy (khanom dowk lamduan)

This is like a cross between a cookie and candy. It is very sweet so don’t eat too many at once. The dough is made from wheat flour, egg yolk, castor sugar and vegetable oil. You knead this mixture into small balls which you then shape into flowers. It is then baked in an oven for about 15 minutes. This cost us 35 baht.

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