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.
This is a google map of our route. Orange is the way down and yellow is the way back. I found the orange route more scenic but it is more challenging as many of the paths are more suitable for walking than cycling. This is due to the soft earth and precarious planks. The route back was much easier. An alternative is to rent a boat from the pier that I have marked on the map. Make sure you make a note of his phone number if you want to return the same way. The starting point on this map is the point on the main road where we completed the loop. This is the road between Phra Samut Chedi and Ban Sakhla. If you brought your car, you could park it near here. However, we cycled all the way here from the other side of the rive. I am working on a google map of Cycle Routes in Samut Prakan which you might be interested in visiting.
I live in Paknam which is where I started my cycling trip. However, the two Pauls cycled down from BTS Bearing. Their journey took about 30 minutes along Sukhumwit Road. In a year or so, BTS Samut Prakan will open and it will make it easier to go on cycle trips here. Our meeting point was Paknam Market where we paid 10 Baht each to take our bicycles across to the other side of the river to Phra Samut Chedi. From here we left the pier and turned left on the main road. A short distance later we turned left onto Suksawat road. After we crossed the wide Sapphasamit Canal, we turned right for the road to Ban Sakhla. If you had kept on going, you would have reached Phra Chulachomklao Fort. There is a 7-Eleven at this intersection and it is a good idea to top up with water. There won’t be any more convenience stores.
This is the road that goes between Suksawat road and Ban Sakhla. This used to be a dirt track when I first started to explore this area about 15 years ago. It is now paved all the way to Sakhla. There are a few other new roads now, but not many. It doesn’t take long to leave the built up areas and then all you will see on both sides of the road are large ponds for rearing shrimp, crab, shellfish and fish. Just before an archway across the road, there is a turning on the left. This is the starting point that I marked on the map. If you continue on the main road a short distance to a bridge, you can rent a boat down to Ban Khun Samut Chin.
This is the end of the road for us. They had built a bridge in recent years, but it suddenly ends like this on the other side. I am not sure if they intend to continue further. Here we turned left and then right and headed to that house that you can see in the distance.
This is that house. It looks abandoned. When I saw this on the satellite image I thought it would be difficult to get round. But luckily no-one was at home.
The views here were certainly beautiful, but it was hard going on this soft earth. It was dry, but it wasn’t very compacted. No motorbikes come this way and so it was hard going for us. In some places it was easier to walk. Obviously, if there has been heavy rain, this route would most likely be impassable. Make sure you take plenty of water. You will need it for this stretch.
This is the first village that we found. Again, it is an isolated village as there are no roads around here. There are tracks for walking, though some people use boats to get around. At the point where there is a bridge, we found a shop that sold us some bottles of Pepsi at a fair price. I couldn’t take any pictures as they were gambling. But, they were very friendly and after we had chatted for a while they offered us some cold water for free. Much appreciated.
I flew my drone at this village, and also the next one where we stopped for lunch at Ban Khun Samut Chin homestay. Visit the Aerial Photos page for these drone pictures and more.
From the satellite image, it looked like we had an easy run between the two villages on an elevated concrete walkway. But, in reality, there were sections where we had to walk the plank. Some were fine but others were a bit dodgy. As I had my drone and camera equipment with me, I had to be extra careful. I presume it is like this to allow boats to pass.
This is the first and main homestay at Ban Khun Samut Chin. I haven’t actually stayed here yet. I keep meaning to come for the weekend. However, it is often full up. It is very popular. I will try and make an effort during the next school holidays.
This is our seafood lunch at the homestay. I am not sure if they normally prepare meals for outside guests. However, they did this meal for us as I have been coming here for many years. They treat me like family every time I come here and they always feed me and any guest I bring. Really nice people. To stay here the night costs 600 Baht per person which includes three meals and activities. Call 086-5675296 or 085-0200024 for more information. There is a small museum here with artifacts that have been found in the mud such as pottery and fishing equipment.
The path through the village and then out to Wat Khun Samut Chin is very easy. The first part is dirt that has been well trodden down. Then nearer the temple there is an elevated concrete walkway. This is the final stretch that goes out to the temple. On either side are mangroves and the sea. There is no other way to walk there.
We finally reached our destination by bicycle. There may be other routes, but I think we chose the best and easiest way. If you are here at the weekend there is a shop that will sell you bottled water as well as cook you some food. We were there on a weekday and were able to fill up on water from a cooler at the temple. But, like I said before, there are no guarantees that you will find anywhere to buy water along this route. So, come prepared.
The Standing Buddha at Wat Khun Samut Chin which is seemingly pushing the waves back. The monks here have refused to relocate and had to build a sea wall around the temple. See my aerial photos of the temple which clearly shows how it is surrounded by water.
This is looking out so sea from the temple. The concrete water tank that you can see at low tide belongs to the school. They have now moved further inland. However, during high tide, their playground is now under water. They will probably have to move again. I have volunteered to teach English at this school three or four times so far.
This is a new elevated concrete walkway that goes between the temple and the pier. If you didn’t want to cycle back home, you could go to the pier and call a boat. However, we decided to continue on our loop. This is now the yellow line on the map at the top of this page. About halfway up here we turned left.
Some stretches of this elevated walkway were quite good. Others were in need of repair and we had to tread carefully.
We also had to get off to walk the plank as none of us wanted to risk falling into the water. Unless you use this track often, you never know what these planks are like. Better safe than sorry.
At one point we hit an area that was being developed. At first I thought there were going to build a housing estate. But, on closer inspection, they were just digging more ponds for shrimp farming. As the ponds were dry we were able to cross to the other side. Hopefully in the future, when they fill them up with water, they will extend the bridge.
From this point onwards it was easy going. There had been many trucks going up and down here and so the earth was very compact. We did wonder if they would build a proper road here in the future. That would be nice in some ways to have easy access. But then again, if you start building roads, you are going to change the reason that we all love this place. Once it becomes very touristy it will never be the same again.
The last photo is of the ferry boat leaving Phra Samut Chedi and heading back to the other side of the river to Paknam Market. Let me know in the comments below if you have done this route or if you have suggestions of other cycling trips around Samut Prakan.