Ko Kret

Ko Kret (also Koh Kred) is an island in the Chao Phraya River, 20 km north of Bangkok, Thailand.

Understand

A simple house in Village 1

The island dates only to 1722, when a canal was constructed as a shortcut to bypass a bend in the Om Kret branch of the Chao Phraya river. As the canal was widened several times, the section cut off eventually became a separate island. The island continues to serve as a refuge to the Mon tribes who dominated central Thailand between the 6th and 10th centuries and have retained a distinct identity in their flavour of Buddhism and, particularly at Ko Kret, their pottery.

Get in

The easiest way to reach Ko Kret is to take the once-weekly Chao Phraya Express, which leaves the Central Pier (BTS Saphan Taksin) every Sunday at 09:00 and visits a number of attractions before returning at 15:30. The cost of the cruise and guided tour is 300 baht (no lunch). Many other companies also offer similar tours, often just as a stop on a longer upriver trip to Ayutthaya.

Independent travel to Ko Kret is a little more challenging. The easiest option is to take public bus 166 from Victory Monument (at the footbridge's end) or bus 505 from Central World to the end of the line in the Pak Kret market. From there, you have to walk about 500 m (or take a motorbike taxi/samlor) towards the river to the ferry pier, which is located behind Wat Sanam Neua.

More fun, though, is to arrive by boat. If you're willing to get up at the crack of dawn, the Chao Phraya "green flag" express boat offers a direct service from BTS Saphan Taksin to Pak Kret (Pier N33), but during peak hours only. Boats run every 15-20 min in both directions from 06:15-08:00, and again from 15:30-18:00, with no service on Sundays. The trip costs 20 baht and takes just over an hour.

Outside peak hours, the closest you can get is Nonthaburi pier, the last stop (Pier N30) of the normal Chao Phraya Express Boat. From here, the options are:

Getting back is more interesting still, the easy way out again being the river taxi, plenty of which lounge about near the pier. If not, take the ferry back to Wat Sanam Neua, then take a moto or samlor out of the soi (5 baht) to the main street. From here you can easily grab a taxi back to the pier, or try your luck with the many buses, minibuses and songthaews heading back to central Nonthaburi and Bangkok. The pier you want to return to is Tha Nam Nonburi or simply Tha Nam Chao Phya in Thai (Chao Phraya Pier).

Get around

Compared to getting in, getting around is easy. The most popular option is your feet. The island is roughly square in shape, each side measuring about 2 km, and a path runs around the entire island. The walk at a pleasant pace takes about 1.5–2 hours. Other options are renting a bicycle from the company located in Moo 6. From the 2 baht ferry crossing make your way counter-clockwise around the island about 200 m. At about the same point, which is near the end of the tourist area, motorcycle taxis wait to take people around. If you walk and get tired, you can proceed down one of the paths leading out to piers by the river. From these local piers, you can flag down a small water-taxi. These miniature versions of the famous Thai long-tailed boats will zip you around the island and back to the Pak Kret pier on the mainland if you like. Prices are reasonable, maybe 20 baht per person for a group of four and the ride warrants a Disneyland "E" ticket, but better know how to swim as life vests are not included. Also do not expect to use English with the boatman.

You can also rent a bicycle at couple of places (for example in Village #1), yet do not expect to find one with a seat for small children.

Sightseeing boats that do a loop of the island (see itinerary below) leave the pier every hour from 09:00-17:00, costing 50 baht/person. There is also the possibility of renting a boat at the price of 500-4,000 baht depending on the distance and the size of the boat. It will take around 1.5 hr for the whole trip. For more information, contact Wat Poramaiyikawat Pier at +66 2 5845012.

While the locals speak little English, there are useful multilingual maps of the island near the ferry pier and at a couple other points around the island. There are occasional distance signposts along the footpath, and most sights around the island have been labelled in English.

Itinerary

A sample one-day Ko Kret tour:

  1. Take the ferry from Wat Sanam Nua to Wat Poramaiyikawat Pier to worship Nonthaburi’s Buddha image then take a look around Rama V Museum.
  2. Walk from Wat Poramaiyikawat to Moo 6 and Moo 7, enjoy the walking tour and the shopping of various style of pottery then visit the museum of Kwan Aman Pottery.
  3. Drifting along the river from Wat Sao Thong Thong Pier to Ko Wat Yai Sawang Arom in Tambon Om Kret. Feed the fish in front of the temple. In addition, various kinds of aquatic animals are reserved in this area. Before leaving, don’t forget to taste the sweet scented coconuts which are on sale here.
  4. Go downstream to the south then turn right to Khlong Bang Bua Thong or Khlong Khanom Wan admiring the beautiful scenery of the Dessert Village and shopping sweetmeats as souvenirs.
  5. Drifting back to the mouth of the canal where the chimney of the first brick kiln of Thailand can been seen. Pass Ban Kret Trakan, then head north for Wat Chim Phli Pier and shop for agricultural products. Carry on with the walking tour starting from Wat Chim Phli to the Assembly of Pottery Craft. Take a look at the demonstration of how to make a pottery and end the tour with shopping for porcelains before getting back to Wat Klang Kret by ferry.

See

Visitors can watch as the spinners make clay pots

Do

Ko Kret is another world compared to Bangkok and much of it retains the air of a rustic village, with wooden shacks propped against palm trees and the occasional dilapidated temple slowly crumbling. Hence the main attraction is just walking around, browsing the merchandise in the many pottery shops.

Buy

Pottery for sale

Ko Kret is renowned above all as a centre for kwan aman, a style of Mon pottery, which is fundamentally just baked unglazed red clay carved with intricate patterns. Prices for the simplest and smallest pots start from 5 baht, but can go up to hundreds or even thousands of baht for large ornate pieces. Particularly popular among visitors are candle and incense holders with ornate patterns of holes to let the smoke or light out, costing around 200 baht.

There are around 20 pottery workshops on the island and you will see many kilns as you walk around, but the primary shopping districts (perhaps too grandiose a word) are the imaginatively named:

Eat & Drink

Sleep

There are only a few simple places to stay on the island. Most visitors visit the island as a day trip from Bangkok.

Budget

Mid-range

Go next

This article is issued from Wikivoyage - version of the Thursday, February 25, 2016. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.