Thailand is dotted with tiny fishing villages built straight on the water. They just add poles and then their houses. Ban Phe south of Bangkok shows you what a Thai fishing village built on poles is like.
We wanted to see what Thai village life on poles is like and spent an afternoon in Ban Phe wandering through its streets. In this post I will show you the village.
Drying fish at Ban Phe, fishing village built on poles
The seaside part of Ban Phe is built on poles rising from the sea. This is the area where local fishermen live with their families, and they also process their fish here.
The traditional and easiest way is to simply dry the fish in the hot sun. Much of Ban Phe fish is still handled this way.
Living in a village built on poles
Then they sell the fish in the street and the local markets. Here’s dried seafood on sale in front of the poled village:
Dry seafood for sale in Ban Phe, Thai fishing village on poles
The rest of the village is not on poles. In this inland part of Ban Phe they have normal streets, squares and markets and so on, whatever ordinary Thai village life needs. As for example brushes, baskets and brooms:
Thai village life, a Ban Phe brush seller
So where in Thailand is this village exactly?
Fishing Village Ban Phe on the Map
The map shows the location of Ban Phe. To see where Bangkok is and the distance from there, zoom out the map a little bit.
Driving time between Bangkok and Ban Phe is two to three hours depending on the traffic and Bangkok’s international airport is a bit closer.
The location of Ban Phe, Thailand on the map
Ban Phe’s central location to the bay makes its a transport hub. It’s the port where ferries to Ko Samet, the holiday island, and other Gulf of Thailand islands leave.
For this reason there are tourists coming and going, and a lot of passenger traffic at times. Yet most of the sea traffic is still performed by fishing vessels.
Fishing boats docked in Ban Phe, Thai fishing village built on poles
So in this kind of vessels Ban Phe fishermen sail the seas. Old, wooden ships in many colors, as in Thailand they just love colors.
Ban Phe harbor views
Processing Fish on Poles
Life in Thailand: living by the water
When the fishing boats return from the sea, all catch must be prepared. This is the time when fishermen’s wives hand out a helping hand. They hang the fish on nets to let them dry and from that very moment the sun starts its work.
Sun-dried fish in Ban Phe, Thailand
Below you can see the places where the families work. It’s much like at any working place, all equipment being close at hand:
Fishing village on poles: processing fish
So these Thai families live their life on poles, drying fish in their backyards.
Ban Phe, a Bangkok Bay fishing village built on poles
Selling the Fish
A busy street in Ban Phe, Thailand
Fish and all kind of seafood as well as other local produce change owners in the street market. What you don’t get here you don’t need.
Fresh seafood directly from the sea
Some more views of Ban Phe shopping streets:
Shopping in Ban Phe, Thailand
The sellers carry their items in traditional ways. This local farmer was carrying eggs:
Thai village life: carrying eggs in baskets
The village has many kinds of commercial activity:
Look at this! Should we have some bananas?
So we bought some bananas from this lady. Locally grown and super good!
The Thai Way of Carrying Loads
Rice on board
So much happens in Thai villages. All people are carrying something and many of them have impressive loads.
Why make transport more difficult than this? Just load it on your vessel and drive:
Typical Thai trucks in traffic
This truck almost looks like a tropical bird. In Thailand they use colors when painting trucks.
Thai Village Life: Locals on Wheels
Village life in Thailand: Ban Phe motor traffic
So many people in this little village are on wheels and they all drive with full speed . Like always in Thailand, many people sit on the same bike, even whole families.
Bike riding in a Thai village
Kid,s too, have their own little bikes as they, too, have, to get around in the ever growing village::
The little Thai fishing village keeps growing
So this was Ban Phe, on one hand a typical Thai fishing village and on the other the gateway to the popular holiday island Ko Samet.
How to Get from Bangkok to Ban Phe
Taking a taxi from Bangkok to Ban Phe
We came from Bangkok Airport from where we took a taxi, but there are other alternatives to travel as well. Check out my Ko Samet article for information on how to get from Bangkok to Ban Phe and Ko Samet:
Ferries from Ban Phe to Ko Samet
Taking the ferry from Ban Phe to Ko Samet
Ko Samet and Ban Phe are linked with regular ferries that leave each hour or so. There are many ferry lines and they leave from different Ban Phe piers and take you different parts of Ko Samet.
For Ko Samet ferry timetables and itineraries check out the Samet Travel website.
As we didn’t have these timetables yet, our Ko Samet ferry trip was not the easiest. We simply took the first Ko Samet ferry without checking which side of the island it was going to. That specific ferry turned out to be booked for a Japanese group and took them to their beach hotel that was a pretty long way from ours.
So there was no other way than start walking along the coastal rainforest path that connects Ko Samet beaches. So we got a new experience, to walk kilometers in the thick jungle using our phones as lamps to see where to step. Then, finally we got to our hotel.
You can read about the sights of Ko Samet here.
Taking the ferry to Ko Samet, Thailand
Many Ko Samet hotel beaches are shallow and big ferries don’t get ashore. This makes that passengers have to change to smaller boats that take them as long as they can, and passengers walk the remainig five or ten meters in the water.