The Chao Phraya river runs through Bangkok and it's a short bus journey to the mouth of the river to see the 'island' with Phra Chulachomklao fortress, a pagoda, a training ship, a gun museum and even some wild monkeys in this unusual day trip!
It's not really an island more a difficult to get to part of the west bank. Part of the charm of the day out is to go down the left bank and catch the ferry.
I found the number 25 bus ran from Sukhumvit all the way down to the mouth of the river. Regular buses cost about 8 baht for any distance, this one was a free government bus. The Skytrain runs to On Nut and you can switch to a bus there and avoid the traffic.
Get off the bus around latitude 13.5950, longitude 100.598, and walk across to the market that surrounds the dock.
Once in the market, the boat terminal is at the far end, it costs 3.5 baht per person. At low tide, the water is shallow and fast and you cross on the small fast narrow boat.
Once there, the first thing to see is the pagoda and temple. If you're familiar with the Buddhist rituals, I offer a flower, and a burning candle to Buddha, then gild the statues with some gold coloured metal leaf. It was windy, I couldn't get the candle to stay alight, but at least the leaf stuck properly.
A quick meal, cruncky pork with rice and coke at the port, 41 baht. (about 1 euro, $1.30).
Next a look around and a bus. The buses go around two main routes, one takes you to a temple, the one I took takes you to the maritime museum. You have to ask which bus is which, and they don't speak English, but at 8 baht a trip, it's no pain if you catch the wrong one. Hop in the back, pay the conductor.
King Number 5's statue overlooks the base surrounded by gardens.
The flowers are from the garden behind the statue, this red flower is 'Dok Khaem'. We grow these in schools and on teachers day, this flower is given to the teacher as an offering. Some people believe it gives children success in their studies.
Training Ship HTMS Maeklong is now firmly sunk into concrete and is open to the public, make a donation on entry, I donated 20 baht but feel free to donate more!
I caught the navy exercising, but the chant is difficult to understand, I think they were singing about being drunk fighters and the hot weather.
At the end of the jetty the river was out, but I filmed some fish walking in the mud on their fins.
Take a look around here, you'll find a gun museum, and if you follow the monkey whoop sounds, the place is full of wild monkeys and unfortunately packs of domestic dogs too that chase the monkeys and scare the visitors. It's not fun when a dozen or so hunting dogs come after you, but fortunately they were more interested in the monkeys. There's some of the cutest baby monkeys, nar-lak.
The blue bus comes every half hour, but leave before 6pm or you'll miss the last one. Catch the boat back and head back to Bangkok, the buses are confusing here, but I caught a 25 bus on the first street just outside the market and changed back to the skytrain at On Nut.
Finally, here's a link to a Google Earth file of the trip: Phra Chulachomklao fort daytrip