Text and Photos by David Nakayama, DET Corp Comms
Samutprakarn, Thailand, March 25, 2021– Before COVID, Thailand’s capital Bangkok was the world’s most popular destination city. But most visitors landing at Suvarnabhumi Airport have no idea they are actually in the province of Samutprakarn just south of the capital city.
Besides our lovely Delta Thailand headquarters, Samutprakarn has many historical, cultural and natural places of interest as the longtime gateway to Thailand.
So while waiting for travel to return, those of us at Delta Thailand can take a closer look at some off-the-beaten-path gems in our own neighborhood. In this almost unknown province, we can get a glimpse of what life was like for locals before the rush to modernization took hold of this land.
Historical Sites at the Mouth of the Chao Phraya River
Samut Prakarn was established around 1620 in the Ayutthaya period. Located at the mouth of the Chao Phraya River, it was a seaport for foreign sea trade with Thailand. After the capital moved to Bangkok, the area was fortified.
One such fort you can visit is the Chulachomklao Fortress established by King Rama V in 1893 to defend Siam against France’s colonial adventures. It is now a Naval History Park with seven Armstrong “disappearing” guns. You can also explore the pre-World War II warship H.T.M.S. Maeklong built for Siam in Japan.
Another site on the river is the 150-year-old Phra Samut Chedi temple which is one of the first temples that visitors to ancient Siam would see on their way up the Chao Phraya River. The white temple is usually quiet except during the annual temple fair in October. This event lasts nine days and nine nights and draws huge crowds to enjoy the beautiful lanterns and traditional entertainment. From the temple, you can walk across a footbridge to a small mangrove island on the river with another historic fortified gun battery.
Right outside the Bangpoo Industrial Estate, where we have our Delta Thailand head office, is the Bang Pu Recreation Center. This is a Thai army R&R center and conservation area for migratory coastal birds and mangrove wetlands. Here you can enjoy the views of the coastal wetlands, watch seabirds and crabs, and have some fresh seafood at a restaurant on the pier.
Ancient Market at the Intersection of Cultures and Canals
The Klong Suan 100 Year Market is at the border of Samutparkarn and Chachoengsao Province, where we have our Delta DC fan factory. In fact, you can cross a footbridge over a canal to go from one province to the next. Despite its name, the market is actually over 100 years old and has many old mom and pop style shops selling anything villagers need for their slow life.
You can also enjoy fresh grilled river prawns along the canal or stop in one of the ancient coffee shops to have a cup of traditional style coffee brewed and strained through a cloth bag. The market is a regular shopping and meeting spot for locals from the Muslim, Thai and Chinese communities who have lived together for over a century.
Slow Life at the Ban Sakhla Community
The coastal community of Ban Sakhla dates back to at least the Ayutthaya era and the quiet lanes and wood houses perched above the water make it a great example of how locals used to live decades ago.
Here you can meet and say hello to villagers mending nets, drying out fish or shrimp and making traditional crafts for the temple market. Besides the tranquil community, there are also mangroves and coconut plantations and a community temple called Wat Sakhla to stroll through.
The province of Samutprakarn is not only the air and sea gateway to Thailand, it also has its own rich culture and thriving traditions. We hope to meet you soon and learn more about our fascinating community together on your visit to DET.
Phra Chulachomklao Fort: https://paknam.com/tourist-attractions/chulachomklao-fort/
Phra Samut Chedi: https://paknam.com/tourist-attractions/phra-samut-chedi/
Klong Suan 100 Years Market: https://paknam.com/tourist-attractions/klong-suan-100-years-market/
About the Author (Editorial Team)
If content is king, there must be a kingmaker. And the universal theme in my favorite stories is our innate human desire for freedom. I have a master’s degree in Chinese education and experience spanning industries and countries. As the Comms guy at DET, I’m obsessed with the stories behind our products and people. Share your stories with me @ https://www.linkedin.com/in/yushi-david-nakayama/