One of the most ambitious plans for a tourist attraction in Samut Prakan Province is the 139 meter high tower that will give fine views of the Gulf of Thailand. The plan for the tower has been around for a while and for the past few years it seems it had been put on hold. About three years ago we attended the foundation stone ceremony. Work was to have been started straight away. However, the only thing that has been completed so far is the car park and surrounding fence. Now it looks like work on the tower will be moving forward in early 2010 with a finishing date of 2012. Mr. Amnuay Rassamitat, the Chief Executive of the PAO, recently told the media that the delay was partly due to structural reasons as they wanted to revise the plans to make the tower more earthquake proof.
The Paknam Observation Tower is being built in the grounds of the old prison in Amphoe Muang. The location, on Sukhumwit Road, is close to the City Hall and the Chao Phraya River. The tower will house museums and a library and will be surrounded by a park. There will be a museum about Samut Prakan and also a discovery museum for children. Mr. Amnuay Rassamitat said that the tower was originally a joint project between the administration of the provincial office and the city office. However, he said that the tower would now be built under the responsibility of the city mayor. A budget of 415 million baht has already been approved with a further 62.2 million baht coming from the local municipality. It is expected to take two years to build.
This is a satellite image showing Paknam Prison in 2002 and the present site of the Paknam Tower. The prisoners had already been moved out by this time to a new prison in Klong Dan sub-district.
This shows the old prison in 2003. At this stage the buildings inside had already been bulldozed leaving only the surrounding wall.
This is now the old prison in 2005. The area has mainly been cleared leaving only the watchtowers and short stretches of wall.
In 2007, Khun Watana, amongst other dignitaries, attended a ceremony for the blessing of the foundation stone. Everyone thought that the tower would now be built.
This is the site in 2009. The front entrance, a monument and a car park are the only things that have been built so far. The tower was never started.
This is how the site of the prison looks in 2009 in a satellite image. Sukhumwit road is to the top. You can clearly see the entrance at the top and the white footpaths. You should also be able to work out the round area where the tower should eventually be built. We will bring you updates next year but obviously we are not holding our breath on this.