If you look at the satellite map of Thailand there's a pier, not far from Bangkok, at the mouth of the Chao Praya river, in Samut Prakan. Time to go explore!
View Piers of Bangkok in a larger map
Bang Pu Pier & Seaside Resort, quite simply it's a long concrete pier with restaurants at the end, a place to feed the birds and a nature walk. I'm glad we have these, I love sea air in my lungs, to be away from the traffic, but I want colour and life and this place has none of these, so lets cut this blog entry short and go home.
Here's the pier:
Here's a bemused gull, not impressed by the chicken fat I'm throwing for him:
View of the view point at the end of the pier:
Fine lets, go home.... hang on... just a minute, I spy a pier a little further round the coast. What if there are piers all the way along this coast? I could go explore pier to pier and see what each is used for!
So I head back to the main road, and hop on a bus and head down the road. The lady conductor doesn't know about the other pier, she can take me as far as the water gate for the river, that's quite interesting. So I head there.
She's right too, there is a canal that runs along the road, a wide canal too, and it's full of natural debris. They drain out the canal to the sea here, and rake up the debris to use for composting. Interesting, but bite sized interesting, not full course meal interesting. I want to go find a pier!
Across from this station, I caught up with the bus again, this is where they turn, at this fisherman's village. My ears pricked up, a fisherman's village?? Of course, the gate lets water out to sea, which means there's a river here and maybe even a harbour! I decide to walk, it's great walking in these small villages, they're full of life, full of shops selling food and this one is full of people with bags of fish they've just caught from the canal.
I love this place, it's all friendly, as you follow the river, small fishing boats are moored up. Everywhere children playing and adults repairing boats and selling wares. I walk all the way down, sometimes the houses are so close you feel like you're walking through someones back garden, but I persist.
Finally I get to the sea, only one problem, I'm on the wrong side of the river! NO! I have to back track to the bridge, cross over then walk all the way down the other side. No matter, I pass a house sun drying fish, which I buy.
One back out to the sea, found it! The next pier, it's wooden and well made and best of all, I can go to the end, and stick my feet in the sea! The day is getting late, it's now 3.30, it gets dark here between 6pm and 7pm, and there is no twilight, it's light, then it's dark, and taking a photograph at sunset requires a high speed camera!
So I head home, the bus conductor suggests an evening market on the way, opposite a giant gold Buddha statue, to buy some food, so I stop there. The car park is flooded and everyone's jumping over water, but nobody minds.
Chicken, stuffed with herbs, roasted in a large clay pot with a charcoal burner in the middle, all for 120 Baht, what could be a better end to the day! I'll tell you what could be better, barbecued salted fish with herbs 90 baht for the largest, and baby shrimp cakes, twenty baht for 4. Tonight I feast.