Koh Kret from Bangkok by Keys.me and Asiaroom
If you find yourself at a loose end in Bangkok and are not sure where to head to next, then check out Koh Kret. A small island village in the Chao Phraya River located just 20 kilometers from central Bangkok.
Reaching Koh Kret from Bangkok is as simple as taking the 'Green flag' ferry from BTS Saphan Taksin to Pak Kret pier. The trip will take around an hour and costs just 20 Baht. Bear in mind that the ferry only operates from 6 am to 8 am and then from 3.30pm to 6 pm, during these times a ferry departs every 15 minutes.
Koh Kret is a man-made island that was created in the 18th Century when a canal was created to bypass a bend in the river and shorten the journey time to the then capital city, Ayutthaya. Inhabited almost exclusively by the mon people who originated from the Lanna Kingdom which is now Northern Thailand, the island holds on to some ancient traditions and is in stark contrast to the bustling metropolitan city of Bangkok.
The first thing you will notice as you approach Koh Kret is the leaning chedi (stupa) that contains a relic chamber of Buddha, and this is probably the most famous piece of architecture on the island.
As you step onto the island you almost feel as though you are deep in rural Thailand. The Mon people that inhabit the island are cheerful and eager to sell you their wares which range from traditional pottery to authentic Mon cuisine. While the parents are hard at work, you can oftentimes see the Mon children leaping into the river to cool off from the heat of the day with their friends.
A unique delicacy that is a must for every visitor to try is DokMai Toht. These beautifully crisp and colourful flowers are deep fried and served in bowls made from banana leaves and served with a selection of sweet and savoury dipping sauces.
After you have eaten you should try an iced coffee from any of the many vendors in the vicinity. Made from freshly brewed beans and mixed with condensed milk, the coffee is then poured over ice and served in an earthenware pot which you can keep as a souvenir.
Getting around is easy. You can opt to walk, hire a bicycle or hire a moped taxi driver to escort you around the sights that the island has to offer. The best way to experience the island is by foot as it allows you to take in the sights and sounds properly. As a rough estimate it will take around 2-3 hours to walk the entire island and explore all it has to offer.
As you make your way around the island you feel as though you have been transported back in time. The small road leads you through tropical landscapes and the neighborhoods of the locals where you can watch the people going about their daily routines. Palm trees dominate the skyline and if you're lucky you may see the occasional monitor lizard darting across the road.
The scenery that the island offers is at times breathtaking. Colourful flowers adorn the sides of walls and buildings, temples appear and disappear from view as you wander along, and it remains unspoiled by traffic. There are no cars on the island, but take care as you walk because you could easily be knocked down by a bicycle or scooter.
Koh kret is stunningly beautiful. The people are genuine and happy and there is so much history to be discovered on this tranquil little island. It is well worth dedicating a day to visit this little slice of Thailand, I guarantee that you won't be disappointed if you do.
Entry to the island is free. If you make your way to Koh Kret by Taxi or Bus you can take a 5 minute boat ride to the island from Pak Kret Pier. Reaching Pak Kret by Taxi is easy and takes around 40 minutes from Central Bangkok and costing in the region of 180 –220 Baht.
If you are taking the ferry service from Bangkok, make your way to Saphan Taksin BTS station. This can be reached by taking the sky train to Siam Paragon station and changing onto the Silom line. The pier is located just beneath Saphan Thaksin station.
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