The taste of fresh, refreshing orange juice doesn’t come much better than what it does from Sudkate in the district of Bang Khun Thian. It’s a very pleasant place to sit outside and be able to breathe the fresh air and listen to silence, even the flutter of the multitude of butterflies doesn’t interfere with the stillness, it just adds to the enjoyment of nature. If you are lucky enough you might even spot a snake – I saw one here about six months ago, not that it worried me.
So, I left my apartment bound for Bang Khun Thian, the only district in the province of Bangkok that has a coastline. Not that you will see much except the remnants of a once large mangrove forest.
I cycled down Soi 27, which is a rather interesting soi. A corridor of small businesses and shacks: tiny hair salons, eating places, and shops selling drinks and a whiff of dry root that seems to linger. There always seems to be a dog sleeping in the passageway, which doesn’t really give you much room to navigate around them, owing to the narrowness of the soi.
At the other end of this small but narrow soi, there are some steps that take you over the Khlong Phasicharoen; one of the many khlongs in this part of Bangkok.
At the other side, there is a temple complex and at the far side is the Thoet Thai Road. This is an old road dating back to King Taksin times, during the period when Thonburi was a Kingdom between 1768 – 1782.
Thoet Thai Road led me to the Bang Khae Road, a slightly better road but busier. At least it allowed me to gain a bit more speed. Eventually, after cycling along Bang Khae Road and onto the opposing Bang Bon 1 Road, I hit the Ekkachai Road. This was by far the busiest road I was going to venture on to, as it takes traffic out towards the Rama II Road and on towards Samut Sakhon.
There is a busy market within this vicinity so one has to be aware of the darting tuck-tuck shooting off in all directions. At times this road can be quite manic. But I was aware that my duration on this road was going to be a short one.
Soon, I was turning left onto the Bang Khun Thian Road. This is a good road for a cyclist, once you have passed the Rama II Road and the ring-road. Since this is mainly a straight road and not too busy, it has become popular with cyclist especially in the evening and at weekends.
Since coming to Thailand in 2009, I have witnessed virtually an explosion in cycling, especially with the middle classes. No longer is a bicycle looked upon as being a kid’s toy, out there are some beautiful bicycles and some very keen cyclists.
Along this road there was also a ‘Bike Inn Box’ shop, I presume it was a cycle shop.
Along this road there are some interesting things to see, one of the most significant is a shrine designed like a warship just off from the road. It’s wonderfully designed complete with: anchors, a gun mount, instead of the bridge, there is a Mondop with a spired roof, which is the beautiful shrine. This shrine has multiple roof tiers in blue and white. The bargeboards are in gold with the lamyong being very decorative.
Some have said that it is a shrine for Prince of Chumphon. The Prince of Chumphon who was the 28th child of King Chulalongkorn. He spent his early years in England, studying naval warfare.
When he returned to Siam to take up his duties in the Royal Siamese Navy, his contributions were immense. Helping in the advancement and modernisation of the navy.
In honour of his contribution, the Prince was proclaimed as the ‘Father of the Royal Thai Navy.’
The further south I cycled the more tranquil it became with lakes and khlongs, the road rises for the khlongs and in many places, there are alternative cycle routes diverting you away from the narrow single lane carriageway bridges.
There are many great beauty spots here. With traces of mangrove forests, but no sign of Siamese Crocodile, they have been driven to virtual extinction here in South-East Asia.
What’s in plentiful supply though, is the array of restaurants along this stretch. These are generally stilted above the water, selling copious amounts of delicious and no doubt spicy fish dishes. These are popular eating places.
Something gives me the impression that this road has had a major face-lift in recent times. Not only does it have cycle lanes, but the roadside salas are different to those on many other roads, being made of steel rather than of wood.
Eventually, I hit the Coffee point at Sudkate in Bang Khun Thian. As usual, the owner recognised me and was more than willing to serve me. Today being a Monday it was quiet, but normally at the weekend, it is full of cyclists raving about where they’ve been or where their cycle passions are going to take them.
Today, I ordered breakfast comprising of sausages, egg, toast and orange juice. I could have had tomato but decided against that. The orange juice here is wonderful, ice cold, fresh and scrumptious, something to die for. I ordered two; one for now and one for later.
The beauty regarding this place is that the staff are extremely friendly, it’s very clean and the service is excellent. I have never left feeling that I have been short-changed. It’s a happy place and the cyclist that I come across here are always friendly and pleasant. It is a place that I would recommend anybody to visit. At the side of the Coffee Point there is a place where you can park your car, so if you don’t feel like cycling all this way, you could put your bike in the car and drive here. The sea view is only about 5km if that and there is a very nice restaurant there too.