Watching the Chao Phraya leisurely float by, one wonders where does the River of Kings go? Where do all the boats go that travel up and down the waterways?
So far, I have neither found a ferry boat (or other) that would go all the way to the mouth of the Chao Phraya river and the Gulf of Thailand nor a bus (bus routes and schedules are a big mystery for me, still).
When inquiring, a Thai friend told me that Thai people would only rent a boat to navigate this part of the river in order to distribute their ancestors’ ashes. Ahh ok, thank you. This concluded my search for a rental boat.
The next best thing is to explore this part of the country by car. According to Google, there are very few tiny roads. My best travel friend Lonely Planet and the German Reise Know-How were very quiet about this area. At the bookshops, the research unfolding any map of Greater Bangkok revealed the same: small roads that end in the middle of nowhere.
So, there is only one way to find out – drive down and see for ourselves. Leaving Bangkok behind by way of the Bhumibol bridges I + II, the ports of Amphoe Phra Pradaeng and on the other side of the river Amphoe Muang Samut Prakan come up quickly. There is only one road going south, lined with the usual shop houses, stores, restaurants etc.. However, what is so surprising is getting out of the metropolis Bangkok and within a few minutes you are in Thailand’s countryside.
About 30 minutes later, we reached the end of the road at the Navy station of Chulachomklao Fort. A little unsure if we are allowed to continue on as there is check-point manned by Navy personnel, but they waved us through smiling.
Literally at the end of the road, aside from a dockyard and a Navy hospital, a museum on an old Navy ship, a restaurant and a statue mark this significant point in Thailand’s geography.
It is beautifully serene (a little hot), laid back and sports amazing views of the mouth of the river and the Gulf of Thailand.