Koh Kret - Bangkok’s Car-Free Island
Bangkok without traffic
Picturing Bangkok without traffic seems like an outtake from a zombie movie, but this small island in the middle of the Chao Phraya River just north of the city is exactly that. Founded during the Thonburi era, it was settled by ethnic Mon people who were famed for their pottery and traditional Thai desserts, which are still a big attraction today. Bangkokians come here on weekends to escape the city and wander the small lanes along the riverfront, but if you come here during the week, you’ll have the place practically to yourself.
Relaxed, walkable day in Bangkok
Koh Kret is small enough to walk around (about 3.5 miles), and you can also rent bicycles on the island for a small fee. Attractions include several Mon-style temples, one even looks like the Leaning Tower of Pisa, tilted over the river as if it is about to fall in, and some small pottery villages. Don’t miss having a seafood meal at one of the restaurants perched on wooden planks over the water and wash down the catch of the day with a bottle from the island’s craft brewery. Chit Beer is run by one of Thailand’s renegade brewers who skirts the law that forbids the making craft beer but lately local authorities seem to be turning a blind eye to some brewers outside the city.
Travel Tip: The express ferry from Saphan Taksin Pier (connected to the BTS station of the same name) heads up to Koh Kret before 8am. Alternatively, you can hire a longtail boat to make the excursion, or else it’s best to grab a taxi. If city traffic is bad, take the BTS to Mo Chit and then get a cab from there.