Scenic waterway to get makeover

Scenic waterway to get makeover

Klong Phadung Krung Kasem's winding route past markets and historical sites ideal for revamp

Klong Phadung Krung Kasem has undergone a major face-lift, but City Hall still has a raft of landscape improvements in store for the 5-kilometre-long canal to make it part of a scenic tourist destination in the capital. Somchai Poomlard
Klong Phadung Krung Kasem has undergone a major face-lift, but City Hall still has a raft of landscape improvements in store for the 5-kilometre-long canal to make it part of a scenic tourist destination in the capital. Somchai Poomlard

Since the end of 2020, Klong Phadung Krung Kasem has seen a number of improvements, in particular the introduction of electric passenger boats along the Thewet Market Pier to Hua Lamphong Pier stretch.

Around February of 2022, landscape improvements will start along just over a kilometre of the banks of the canal in Hua Lamphong from Kasasuk to Charoen Sawat intersections, with the aim of making the area an attraction for both residents and tourists.

Klong Phadung Krung Kasem is a 5-kilometre-long canal that run through the heart of Bangkok from the northern end at the Chao Phraya River at Thewet to the southern end at Si Phraya.

The completed renovation will create a clean environment for passenger boats and floating markets to bring back a semblance of life along the canals back to Bangkokians.

In 2014, Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha first spoke to the governor of Bangkok at the time, MR Sukhumbhand Paribatra, of his plans to open a free passenger route along the route in September of 2019.

As part of Gen Prayut's initiative, the city converted from using diesel boats to electric ones. The seven electric boats contain 30 seats and were commissioned at a cost of 117 million baht.

Currently, there are 11 piers along Klong Phadung Krung Kasem. Before the pandemic, an average of 1,000 passengers a day travelled along this route but that number has halved over the past 18 months.

Sakchai Boonma, deputy governor of Bangkok, said that Prime Minister Prayut remarked on improvements that could be made during his recent visit.

"The PM said that this canal should be developed into a scenic tourist destination, because there are many historical places to visit along the route. Therefore, the canal banks need to be improved to be more attractive to tourists," Mr Sakchai said.

"The Department of Public Works, Bangkok Metropolitan Administration, is the main operator of this project."

"The fifth section of the route, from Kasatsuek Intersection to Charoen Sawat Intersection, will be under construction for the initial phase of the project. The budget is around 99 million baht, and the city is currently in the process of hiring a contractor which will be settled by August. The renovation is expected to be finished by February 2022, taking around 180 days to build." he said.

Mr Sakchai said that the landscape improvements will include the widening of piers along the canal, lighting improvements, CCTV cameras, expanding the banks to create a small park, and a running path.

He pointed out that the canal provides convenient access to Thewet Market, local flower markets and Thewarat Kunchorn Worawihan temple.

Furthermore, the century-old Bang Khun Phrom Palace, a former residence of the late Prince Paripat Sukhumphan, is situated around the canal route. Today, the Bank of Thailand is located on the site.

Along the route there is the equestrian statue of King Chulalongkorn and Wat Benchamabophit, which is also known as "The Marble Temple", Mr Sakchai pointed.

"Moreover, the route is also an administrative centre where Government House and various ministries are located," he added.

"Once the initial stage of landscape improvement is completed, we plan on adding light and sound systems at night. Inspired by foreign countries, we can use the Hua Lamphong building as a backdrop for spotlights to be projected onto the building and a voice-over to explain the history," said the deputy governor.

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