Samut Prakan ( 3 Headed Elephant temple ) is a province to the south east of Bangkok, which extends its branches to the center of the city. Apart from Bangkok airport which is located in the province, it has various attractions for all age groups including: the 3-headed elephant temple (Erawan Museum), the old town (Muang Boran),Phra Pradaeng the crocodile farm and zoo, the floating market (Bang Nampeung), the seagulls beach (Bang Poo), Bangkok’s green lung (Bang Krajao) and many more places to visit.
In Samut Prakan you’ll also find the biggest lying Buddha statue in Thailand – which is larger and more impressive than Wat Po in Wat Bang Phli Yai Krang.
This article will be dedicated to Phra Pradaeng – a district of Samut Prakan province, which is located at the very center of Bangkok, though in municipal terms, does not belong to the city.
Phra Pradaeng appears on the map (circled in pink as a branch of Samut Prakan which enters deep into Bangkok (5 minutes’ ride from Terminal 21 shopping center). It is surrounded by the Thai neighborhoods of Phra Kanong, Bang Na, Yanawa (where I live) and more.
Although Phra Pradaeng is located at the very center of the gigantic, busy city of Bangkok, the entire area offers a nature reserve surrounded by an urban jungle. Visiting Phra Pradaeng is like walking back in time, and finding a serene, rustic area, with parks and gardens, water canals and small villages.
Although while visiting the place, you are just minutes away from the beating heart of the busy metropolis, the shift is stunning and almost inconceivable. A complete opposite of Bangkok city – Phra Pradaeng offers a relaxed easy going atmosphere. There is no rush or sense of urgency, and you may be surprised to see the most popular vehicle in the region – bicycle rickshaw.
For those who wish to get away for a while from the city rush and business – Phra Pradaeng is the ideal destination. In a few minutes’ car ride or boat cruise, you’ll find yourself in an entirely different world – though you will still see Bangkok in the background.
I cannot stress this enough, as most tourists are unaware of this wonderful place, and how close it is to the city center. Usually, the only tourists here, are those who take the bicycle tours from one of the companies – so that after this article, you’ll know you can easily get there without a bike – simply by taking a taxi or a boat (which will cost you just 5 baht).
The vast majority of Phra Pradaeng is abundant with nature, parks and gardens. I have already described certain parts of the area in my article about Bangkok’s green lung, Bang Krajao, and the one about the authentic floating market Bang Nampeung.
You will also find in Phra Pradaeng an area which resembles a small town in the northern part of Thailand, which will make you completely forget that you are just minutes away from the busy sukhumvit.
Although most locals here are no English speakers, they’ll welcome you with their big smiles, seeing that the chances you’ll see tourists here are close to non.
That being said, you will certainly find here plenty of shops, boutiques, markets and stalls – all of them authentic. You can stroll around, enjoy the colorful markets and taste the delicious dishes around you – the selection is huge and the prices are low.
If you wish – take a bicycle rickshaw and ask the driver to drive you around the area. You should also tour the place by foot, stroll along the riverbank, around Phra Pradaeng pier. You’ll see Bangkok’s skyscrapers on the background, at the other side of the river. You can also watch the bridges, the river and the large ships passing by.
You will find Phra Pradaeng town right upon your arrival to Bang Kraja, Bangkok’s green lung. In a few minutes’ ride, you will find yourself surrounded by the abundant, wild flora of the area. In order to get back to the center of Bangkok, you don’t need to pass through the town again. Just cross the river in a boat from Bang Krajao pier to the opposite pier (Klong Toei Pier) and from there, take a 5 minutes’ taxi ride to the center of Bangkok (sukhumvit street and Terminal 21).
Directions – there are several ways to get to Phra Pradaeng: either by car (taxi) or by crossing the river with a boat.
By car: head south from sukhumvit-asoke intersection through Rama 3, then go up the huge Bhumibol bridge, where you can see the spectacular views of Bangkok. Get off the bridge by taking the left exist to Suksawat street, and in the next intersection take the left turn once more. You will then find yourself in the middle of Phra Pardeang town. The path allows you to get to the area from the southern side of Bangkok, which is farther from its center.
By boat: here you will enter from the northern side of Bangkok, closer to the center. Take a taxi to Klong Toei Pier, where you will find boats to the other side – of the Bang Krajao pier. It will cost you just 5 baht to take a boat with other passengers, or 20 baht if you prefer a private boat. Once you’ve crossed the river, you can take a Tuk-Tuk taxi which will take you to wherever you want in the area.
From Klong Toei pier, the access is only by foot or on bike, so if you want to use a motorbike, use Bang Na Pier.
On the picture to your left, you can see a group of cyclists crossing the river to Klong Toei pier.
FYI: TipTop Private Family Adventure Tours includes a visit to Bang Nampeung floating market in our Bangkok luxury tour programs.
As always – I have attached a clip/presentation with various pictures of the area…Enjoy!!