Mar 07 2012
For an easy day trip out of the city with a dose of culture, head to Ko Kret; just don’t expect the white sandy beaches of Ko Phi Phi or Ko Samui. A rustic island on the Chao Praya River, Ko Kret is home to a community of Mon people and is famed for its handcrafted pottery. Like many unique cultural sites turned tourist destinations, Ko Kret can feel somewhat like a mini-Chatuchak market, existing only to satisfy the consumer urges of those passing through. But it still has charm, and is easily accessible from the centre of Bangkok. Here’s how to get to Ko Kret from central Bangkok.
The easiest and priciest way to make the trip is on a river cruise — these run on Sundays. The Chao Phraya Express Boat offers an informative cruise that stops in Ko Kret and multiple historic wats priced at 550 baht per person. The Thai River Cruise also offers tour packages, which include visits to other sites such as the Grand Palace along the way (for approximately 2,300 baht per person). Many other boat companies have similar itineraries — the men aggresively touting at Central Pier near the Saphan Taksin BTS will be more than happy to give you more information. Arrive no later than 08:30 to choose your company and reserve a spot.
The quickest way to get to Ko Kret is to take the BTS to Victory Monument, then get off and walk towards the buses on the west side of the monument. Take the expressway bus 166, which will take you approximately 30-40 minutes (19 baht). Ask the bus driver to notify you when you reach Ko Kret. When you get off, walk for two minutes towards the pier, located behind Wat Sanam Neua. From there, take an eye-blink of a boat ride across the river to Ko Kret (2 baht).
If you are not in a rush and need a little nature for your retinas, the long, scenic route is to take the Chao Praya Express boat (just jump on the boat and pay once you are on — do not opt for a tourist ticket) to the very end of the line, Nonthaburi. From there, you can take the 32, 51 or 104 bus to the pier (19 baht), where you can catch the small boat to cross the river to Ko Kret (2 baht). If you don’t speak Thai, come with some key phrases written down in case you lose your way. Otherwise, you can negotiate a longtail boat from Nonthaburi itself, though be prepared to put your bargaining face on. Allow a good three hours to get there, and consider the second option for the way back!
For a pottery excursion closer to home, visit the alms bowls at Bangkok’s Baan Baat, or for a full-day of pottery ask the river cruise organisers at Saphan Taksin to take you to both Baan Baat and Ko Kret.
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