A good way to explore an area is by using Google Earth. I have personally discovered some interesting places by analysing satellite images. So, I was really pleased to hear that Google had updated the satellite images for a large part of Samut Prakan Province. This gives me an opportunity now to write a “then and now” piece comparing images between 2002 and 2009. This first one is the old Paknam Prison in 2002. The inmates had already been moved out by this time though the bulldozers hadn’t come in yet to pull down the buildings.
This second image shows what it looks like now. As you can see all of the buildings have now been removed. The plan was to start building a 139 meter high tower on this plot of land. The foundation stone ceremony was conducted back in 2007 but all they have done since is build the car park and a few paths.
This next image from 2002 shows the area around the newly constructed giant three-headed elephant at The Erawan Museum. It is about 50 meters high which is the equivalent of a 15 storey building. At that time, it dominated the landscape.
Things have changed dramatically for the elephant. As you can see from this picture it is now penned in by the Kanchanapisek Outer Ring Road. It still stands tall but it has more competition now.
This is the waterfront in Paknam at the City Hall in 2002. When this image was taken they had just started to extend the waterfront. The lawn and trees had been bulldozed and you can see at the bottom of the picture they had already made the first extension out over the water.
This is how the waterfront looks now. Although it is nice to have more space, it really doesn’t look finished and is more of a concrete monstrosity than a rest area. I miss the shade from the trees.
This is Khun Samut Chin temple. As you can see, back in 2002 it was already cut off from the mainland due to land erosion. To the north of the temple you can just work see a raised wooden walkway which is the only access.
In 2009 the temple is still surrounded by the sea but there has been some major changes. For a start there is now a more permanent concrete walkway to the mainland. There is also a stone wall around the circumference of the temple and the breakwater to the south of the temple has been extended.
This is a stretch of the Old Sukhumwit Road which is running along the coastline of the Gulf of Thailand. North is to the right of this picture and that is the direction where you will find the newly built Suvarnabhumi Airport.
This is what it looks like this year. They have been constructing a 15 kilometer long drainage canal from the area around the airport to the Gulf of Thailand. What they are building here is a pumping station that will force the water over an aqueduct, 12 meters above Sukhumwit Road, and out into the Gulf.