Just as in England, the canals, roads and railways of Thailand have
tended to follow a similar course. About 50km (30 miles) from the
center of Bangkok is Khlong Suan, a small hamlet surrounded by rice
fields, but with a quite famous old market dating from the time of
King Rama V. The hamlet lies on highway 3001 from Bangkok to
Chachoengsao, which for many miles tracks both the Canal, Khlong
Prawet Burirom, and the Eastern Railway Line - the canal came first
of course and the road last.
The video below is from a longtail trip along this canal, but at the
The market is semi-covered and stretches for some 400 meters along
the south bank of the canal. On the opposite bank are a Mosque
(Masjid Al Wawatoniya) and a Buddhist Temple, Wat Khlong Suan: in the Central Plains
of Thailand, Buddhists and Muslims have lived peacably together for
centuries, both faiths following, and setting up their settlements
along, the course of the canals.
A peaceful canal-side hamlet near
The bridges which connect the market to the religious compounds are
simple but spectacular - like two opposing wooden step-ladders,
joining at a 30 degree angle, but with a flat bit at the top
connecting the two.
Ladder Bridge at Khlong Suan, Wat and Mosque in the Background
In the Market all sorts of traditional foods and desserts are on
offer, Thai Coffee Houses, the inevitable souvenir shops (Soaps,
Pots, Decorative Wotnots etc.), and several simple eating houses,
many of which overhang the canal.
Good Spot for a Bowl of Noodles and a Quiet
Khlong Prawet Burirom (Khlong Phrakhanong)
was one of the great arterial waterways of the pre-automobile era
in Thailand. It runs from The Chao Phraya River at Khlong Toei near
Bangkok's Port Eastwards to the Bang Phakong River near
Chachoengsao, a distance of some 55km. It is still used by boat
services, but only from Phrakhanong Bridge on Sukhumwit Road to
Srinakharin Rd. Passage further east is in any case blocked by the
water gates near Prawet.
According to the Tourism Authority of Thailand, in the 1920's,
Boat Services ran from Central Bangkok near Pratunam Market to
Khlong Suan at weekends courtesy of a certain "Nai Loet"
(Mr. Loet). William Warren in his book Bangkok
reveals that this was Lert
Seresthaputra, a Chinese entrepreneur who owned a trading company
and ferry boat service and bought land around Wireless Road near
the San Saep Canal. "Nai Loet" is immortalised in Central
Bangkok, under a different English spelling, in Nailert Park, Soi
Nailert and other well-known places around Wireless Road.
Passenger services still run along Khlong San Saep from Phan Fa
(Phra Sumen Fort) in central Bangkok way out to Bang Kapi, North
East of Bangkok. The passenger boats must have used one of the
short canals which link Khlong San Saep with Khlong Prawet Burirom.
Take the Bangkok - Chonburi expressway (Highway 7) past the New
Airport. Leave at Onnut-Lad Krabang intersection, 8 km after the
Airport exit and head East for 16km on Onnut Lad-Krabang Rd, highway