Located just 29 km from Bangkok, The Naval History Park at Phra Chulachomklao Fort is a great day trip. It is located on the west bank of the Chao Phraya River on the Gulf of Thailand.
Entry to the park is free, and you can easily spend several hours exploring. The hours of operation are 8:00 AM to 6:00 PM daily. Points of interest include the Phra Chulachomklao Fort with its Armstrong disappearing guns, the Franco-Siamese War of 1893 museum located under the large King Rama V (King Chulachomklao) statue, the Royal Thai Navy HTMS Maeklong warship, the mangrove nature walk, and the delicious seafood restaurant.
Completed in 1893, the Phra Chulachomklao Fort was constructed at the mouth of the Chao Phraya River to protect Siam from European nations seeking to colonize countries in South East Asia.
At the time of its construction, the Phra Chulachomklao Fort was the most modern fort in Siam. It was considered state of the art for the period and comparable to Western defensive structures.
The highlight of the fort are the seven Armstrong BL 6 inch guns on hydropneumatic disappearing carriages. The guns are hidden in their bunkers until they are lifted up by hydropneumatics at the moment of firing and then lowered to their base by the recoil after the shot. The guns are fully functional, and they were used to fire a seven gun salute to celebrate their 105th anniversary in 1998.
Under the statue is the air-conditioned Franco-Siamese War of 1893 museum with information about the military conflict with France.
The museum highlights the July 1893 Paknam Incident during which the seven Armstrong guns located in the fort were used against French ships. As a result of the Paknam Incident, the Siamese formally surrendered all territory east of the River Mekong (Laos) to the French while maintaining their independence.
Preserved in concrete, the HTMS Maeklong is a fascinating open-air museum. The HTMS Maeklong was commissioned in 1937 and was in service for 60 years, including duty as a royal ship for King Rama IX.
The elevated Mangrove Walk is relaxing and scenic. There are shaded places for you to sit and enjoy the sights and sounds of nature. Parts of the walk are currently under construction, but much is still open for exploring.
If you want to see some monkeys, you will find them in the outdoor gun museum behind the restrooms! They approached us very quickly, but left us alone when we ignored them. We are always very cautious around monkeys because they can be aggressive. We never feed monkeys, we keep our distance, and we avoid eye contact.
The Tay Reu Luang Mae Klong Seafood restaurant is very popular and a great place to grab lunch.
The food was served quickly, was very reasonably priced, and it was delicious!
We had a great time at The Naval History Park at Phra Chulachomklao Fort! It exceeded our expectations, and we learned more about Thailand’s fascinating history. We will return soon for another delicious meal at Tay Reu Luang Mae Klong!
The best two options are to drive or to take a taxi.
If you have a car or motorcycle, drive south on Suksawat road. At the end of the road you will find a military checkpoint and the entrance into the park.
GPS is very helpful but it may try to route you to the ferry pier in Pak Nam (ours did). You will want to get on the west side of the river before following your GPS if you encounter this. Always combine a map or road atlas with your GPS!
To take public transportation, use Bus 20 which will take you to the military checkpoint entrance. You will have a moderately long walk to the fort.
Military Checkpoint / Bus Stop @ 13.540761,100.572951
Naval History Park at Chulachomklao Fortress @ 13.538334,100.582960
You can copy and paste the latitude and longitude into Google Earth, your browser, or into your GPS.
*Disclaimer- ALWAYS verify locations, transportation routes, GPS coordinates, etc. Errors are made, routes changed, sometimes we are just plain wrong. No one knows what you like more than you. If the trip is worth doing, it is worth doing right! Do your homework.