The Perfect Day Trip: Exploring the Natural Beauty and Cultural Heritage of Samut Prakan
We all need to take a break every now and then. Whether its from work or school, a short trip outside of the hectic city life always give us the time to recharge of mind and body and keep us happy. While finding peace somewhere far away might not be feasible in a day, let us take you on “The Perfect Day Trip” to the city of Pak Nam in Samut Prakan province and you’ll see that paradise might be just a day’s trip away.
Samut Prakan is one of the central provinces in Thailand and also part of the Bangkok Metropolitan Region. It is located at the mouth of Chao Praya River on the Gulf of Thailand, causing some locals to call the province “Pak Nam”, Thai for “mouth of the river”. Its history dates back to the Ayutthaya period when it was used as the sea port of Siam. Now, it is home to countless historical and cultural sites including the museums, forts, temples, and even a crocodile farm!
Aside from all the notable historical sites, Samut Prakan is filled with interesting places that are worth exploring at least once in your life. For starters, here 7 recommended locales you should stop by on your day trip to get to best out of Samut Prakan province and Pak Nam city.
Bang Nam Phueng Floating Market
Get up early and make sure not to overeat for breakfast because your first stop of the trip will be Bang Nam Phueng Floating Market. This riverside market stretching over a span of 2 kilometers is located in an unusual loop of the Chao Phraya river called the “Green Lung of Bangkok”, one of the few areas still covered with vegetation despite being so close to town. Contrast to the touristy Damnoen Saduak or Amphawa; Bang Nam Pheung is a real local market with a lot of interesting food and sweets to try, including boat noodles, fried mussel pancakes, mortar-toasted pastry, unusual local fruits, gold egg yolks, and coconut ice cream.
After you’ve had your fill, take some time to explore all the little shops for dated toys, a few minutes of relaxing Thai massage, and local souvenirs like fish-scale flowers and herbal incense sticks. One of the many charms of Bang Nam Phueng Floating Market are the heart-warming smiles of the local vendors all around that will definitely make your visit a memorable one.
Sri Nakorn Kuen Khan Park
Located just 4 kilometers from Bang Nam Phueng Floating Market is Sri Nakorn Kuen Khan Park, a peaceful spot filled with an endless variety of greenery and . Opened back in 2003, this relatively quiet medium-sized park attracts quite a number cyclists and bird watchers throughout the year. We recommend renting a bike as you enter and take a joyride through all the natural beauty, while filling your lungs with all the fresh air you can take. One of the landmarks that you can’t miss is the “Bird Watching Tower” built in the middle of the most overgrown part of the park. Aside from bird watching, the 3-story tower provides a lovely view of the surrounding area and a good place to wind down from all the walking and cycling with some cool natural breeze. Don’t for get to stop by the lake-side pavilions as you exit to feed the fishes and take some pictures to show your friends back at home.
Next, it’s time to move out of Phra Pradaeng district and move into the seaside area of Bang Pu for lunch. Decorated with colorful ceramic tiles and charming patterns, Sailom Bangpu restaurant provides us with reasonably-priced fresh seafood and an impressive view of the Gulf of Thailand. Unlike your usual seaside restaurants, Sailom Bangpu brings in technology to provide you with a unique dining experience. Simply scan the QR code provided on the tissue box and you’ll be redirected to the online menu where you can place your order and provide your preferences with a click of a button. Aside from being able to view your the service in real-time, you also get an extra 5% if you use the QR Code, so be sure to charge up your smartphones ahead of time!
Before heading to the next attraction, why not stop by for a coffee break after lunch? Right next door to the restaurant above is Sailom Gallery, an enchanting cafe loaded with fascinating ceramic products, including bowls, pots, mugs, and plates, all lined up along the walls and on every table. Freshly made coffee, snacks, and juices like the refreshing Passion Fruit-Lavender (95 THB) are all served in those ceramics as well. And, just like any gallery, you can choose to purchase home your favorite tableware as well. If you have time, be sure to join their ceramics class and try your hand at making one yourself!
Just 2 kilometers from the cafe is the ever so famous Ancient City, one of the most popular tourist destinations. After over 10 years of national exploration and construction, the vast mass of land was transformed into a sanctuary for Thailand’s world-renowned heritage, culture, and art to live on for future generations. Local schools often set up field trips to study all the beautiful temples, palaces, and sanctuaries that bear historical significance to the country. While most structures are creative reconstructions of historical sites that no longer exist, a few sites were made from actual remains of original, including The Old Market Town and chapels from Wat Sa-Moeng in Chiang Mai, Wat Chiang Khong in Chiang Rai, and Wat Phrao in Tak. With over 300 acres of land, we recommend renting a bike or using their golf cart and tram services. You can also drive your car up to certain viewpoints if you’re limited on time. Regular entrance costs 350 THB, but after 4 pm the price is discounted to 175 THB.
Bang Pu Recreation Center
You haven’t made it to Samut Prakan if you haven’t been to the Bang Pu Recreation Center. This seaside structure has been around for over 80 years and remains the top places for both locals and tourists to unwind, enjoy the weather, feed seagulls, and watch the sunset adorned with the majestic view of the ocean. We recommend that you take a walk on the smaller bridges along the side of the pier through coastal mangrove forests for a whole different experience. If you are interested, you can also drop by the “Bang Pu Nature Education Center” and the “Memorial of World War II In East Asia” that is located near the free car park. There are also resorts nearby for those of you who, at this point, might’ve decided to remain in Samut Prakan for another day.
As you near the end of the pier, you’ll come up to a restaurant called “Sala Sukjai” that is known for having more than fresh seafood. You can choose to be seated either indoors with live music and entertainment or outdoors with the beautiful seaside view and cool ocean breeze. While waiting for your food, you can take a stroll along the balcony at the back of the restaurant and snap a few pictures of the stunning coastline and the open view of Gulf of Thailand. If you happen to make it here on a Saturday, you will have a chance to join in on the open dance floor inside the restaurant. You’ll often see the local elderly people dress up for the occasion as well, a heart-warming spectacle to say the least.
For some of us a day passes by in a heartbeat, why not use it with some of the people you care about the most? Being just an hour drive away from Bangkok, Samut Prakan is one of the best destinations to go for a perfect day trip. Aside from the places we mentioned above, there are still a whole lot of activities the province of Samut Prakan and the city of Pak Nam has to offer. No need to wait for a long weekend or a national holiday, just hit up your friends and family this coming weekend and you can be on your way to explore all the natural beauty, cultural heritage, and fresh seafood!