Last Sunday we’ve been to Ko Kret (some spell it Ko Kred), an island in Chao Phraya River, just a few kilometers North of Bangkok in Nonthaburi Province. I had heard about it in a Google Earth forum, but it is actually also mentioned in Lonely Planet’s Guide book about Bangkok, as I found out later. Actually, the island looks as if it was created by the construction of a canal to shortcut the river, but I’m not sure if this is the case.

An island in the middle of Chao Phraya River? That sounded interesting, so I wanted to know more.

RainWe had planned to travel there by boat, but then some of my girlfriends’ friends wanted to join, so we realised it would be easier to meet at one of the friends’ house in Pak Kret near the island. We went there by taxi, which was almost 200 baht. Our departure to the island had to be delayed because of heavy rain in the late morning, which wouldn’t stop, but after a while we decided to go anyway.

Arriving at the river, it was still pouring profoundly. November is dry season, eh?? The road looked more like a lake. When the rain got lighter, we started walking to the pier, but Wat Paramaiyikawatthen one stepped into a deep hole (at least 40 cm) in the middle of the street which had been obscured by the murky water. She lost her shoes in that hole, but one local guy found them again and returned them to us. That’s why Thai people wear plastic flip-flops.

Finally we took the ferry across the river (2B per person) at Wat Paramaiyikawat, a temple. Next to the temple, there is a small village called the OTOP Pottery Village, where all sorts of nice things are sold. Instead of walking through though, we got into a longtail boat first PB135058and took a trip around the island, because it was still raining. Most of the houses we saw during this trip were built on stilts. You would think this kind of house would look old and rotten, and most of them do, but there are a few houses which look very big and nice. The most astonishing thing to be seen is a large propeller plane. I have no idea what it’s function is, but it looks in pretty good shape.

Thai DessertsWhen we were roughly halfway around the island, we stopped for a lunch break at a small restaurant where you can observe the production of Thai desserts. The tourist version of the Chao Phraya Express Boat stops there, so it’s a little touristy, but despite this it’s quite interesting, plus their Thai food was also good.

SpeeeeedAfter lunch our spirits had risen since the sun had come out and chased away the rain, so we continued the boat trip. Apart from a large mosque at the bank of the river, there was not much more to be seen. We soon reached the canal again, where we were overtaken by two young Thais in their Jet-Skis. Later the boat driver offered to stop at a temple and feed some large fish, but we were not that interested and declined the offer.

PB135162Soon after this we arrived back at the starting point of our tour and we started strolling through the Pottery Village. The houses look cute and there’s just a narrow path passing lots of small shops and restaurants (or better snack shops). You can get a wide range of products such as pottery, scented candles, leatherware, rattan products, etc. The highlight seems to be a “magic” shop where the owner sells and explains a few simple tricks.

Quiet EntranceThe line of shops ends after 800 m. At this point, there is a pier and a bike rental shop. Quite frankly, their bikes suck, mine was so small I almost hit my chin with my own knees and it sounded as if a whole barrel of oil was necessary to stop the shrieking. But then again, they were good enough to go around the island and they were just 20B per hour or 40B per day. We signed up for one day, even though it was 15 h already. Good service, by the way, we could leave our (significant number of…) shopping bags at the shop.

Jungle SnookerCycling on Ko Kret is beautiful. Once you’ve left the Pottery Village, you hardly meet any people or hear any noises. Sometimes a motorcycle speeds past, or you can hear the ear-battering noise of a speed-boat on the nearby river. Apart from that, nothing but rice fields, peaceful houses, trees and water. Oh, I should mention that Snooker pub just outside the Pottery Village which seems to be the favourite hang-out spot for the local youths.

Pretty GardenSpirit HouseThe path is easy for cycling, flat concrete, mostly 2 meters wide. The only problems are a few bridges which are hard to cross on a bike which doesn’t sport a gearshift, but apart from that it’s fine. Arriving back in the village, some parts of the path get very narrow again, so when the shops start popping up, you better get off the bike and push.

We ended the day shopping. Unfortunately, it was too late to take the boat back to Bangkok, so we took a taxi. It’s amazing how a 30 minute ride in a car can take you from the peaceful countryside into the chaotic hell of Bangkok.

One more thing: thanks to Jarurote for e-mailing me tons of information!!!