In the hustle, bustle and car exhaust of the big city, it can be easy to forget that we live so close to the ocean. A short drive down Sukhumwit from Bangkok brings you to Bang Pu (or Bang Poo) Seaside Resort. Apparently it was a popular weekend destination for Bangkokians in the 1970s. Today, the Resort is owned by the Thai army and is used as a rest and rehabilitation center for their soldiers. The grounds are open to the public and there are even bungalows available for rent on the seafront.
We were already in the area for the Ancient City Fun Run this past weekend so we headed to Bang Pu to get a little fresh air and see what there is to see.
Things to Do
The Sukta Pier extends out into the ocean and is the main attraction at the site. There is a restaurant at the end of the pier and plenty of space to get a good view of the ocean. The pier is popular among local families as a place to go in the late afternoon or early evening.
There is a WWF wildlife sanctuary near the pier and a footpath along the coastline which also has some birdwatching towers. As we had just ran a race that morning, we didn’t go on the nature walk this time, but would be fun to go back and explore. You could spend a few hours exploring the nature trails, but remember to pack water and stay hydrated!
Bang Pu Resort is famous for birdwatching. The best time to see the thousands of migratory seagulls that have made it famous is during the months between November and July. You can buy a small bag of food, or bring along some birdseed and you will feel as if you are part of the flock. The most common birds are brown-headed seagulls which come from Mongolia and Russia to escape the cold winters. There are also a variety of shorebirds that come out onto the mud flats during low tide. At the busiest times of year, it’s estimated that around 20,000 birds can be seen at one time.
When we arrived, the water level was up past the tree line at shore, but as we were leaving, the water had gone down significantly, revealing wide stretches of mud flats. Numerous shorebirds were out looking for a snack and hundreds of crabs and mud skippers could be seen in the mud. Miss C (age 2.5) thought the mud skippers were extra hilarious and I have to agree they are pretty funny looking!
Dining @ Bang Pu Resort
The restaurant on the pier is divided into two dining areas (East and West), so you can choose the view that suits you. The menu is Thai food, with a heavy focus on seafood. Even though we were the only foreigners present, the menu was in both Thai and English and the staff spoke decent English as well.
We ordered Crab Fried Rice, an Oyster Omelette and some steamed Mussels. Our entire bill was around 350 baht (~$10) including bottled water. Our giant plate of mussels was only 140 baht (around $5) and they were absolutely delicious.
Historical Significance of the Bang Pu Seaside Resort
The Bang Pu Seaside resort also has an interesting history. A little less than two hours after the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor, Hawaii in December of 1941, Japanese soldiers landed here at what is now the resort. Brave local civilians rushed to defend Thailand against the Japanese, but at the last minute, the two countries came to an agreement and were able to avoid conflict. A plaque stands at the site, acknowledging this important piece of history.
Best Time to Visit
Everything I read online said the best time to visit is in the late afternoon to experience the hundreds and hundreds of birds that flock here when the tide goes out. The temperature is cooler at this time of day, and the sunset over the Gulf of Thailand is gorgeous. However, we were already in the area with no intentions to wait around and got there just when it opened at 10am. I’d like to go back and see what the fuss is about during the afternoon, but if you are just looking for a little fresh air and a seaside view, then it will suffice any time of the day.
Was it worth the trip?
To be honest, I’m not sure I would make the trip out to Samut Prakan just to visit the Seaside Resort. However, if you are already in the area, it is a great place to enjoy a seaside meal. It would be a nice place to relax and enjoy dinner and the sunset after exploring nearby Ancient City (Muang Boran). We have a water-loving toddler in our family who could sit and watch the seagulls at this place for days (and she can’t do most things for more than a minute or two without being bored). There aren’t any special activities for children, but getting to experience nature is a special experience for kiddos like mine that spend most of their time in the city. For me, knowing the ocean is only 30 minutes away from our home in the big city of Bangkok is a comforting thought in any case.
How to get there and away
The resort sits right on Sukhumwit Road, southeast of downtown Bangkok. You can reach Bang Pu Resort by taxi or private car. The taxi fare would be around 300 baht from Bangkok. You can also get there by public bus or songthaew.