I really love living in Bangkok.
The action and energy of the city, the street food available at every corner, the markets, and motorbikes – Bangkok is fascinating.
However, sometimes I really love to escape the fast pace of the city, and try to get away from all the action.
The good new is, there are quite a few interesting places, located near Bangkok, like Samut Prakan or Khlong Lat Mayom, and though only a short distance from central Bangkok, you’ll feel like you’re in an entire different world.
Another short day trip from Bangkok, when you’re looking to escape the crowds and noise, is a visit to Bang Krachao (บางกระเจ้า).
Bang Krachao (บางกระเจ้า) is located in an area, actually in the province of Samut Prakan adjacent to Bangkok, known as Phra Pradaeng (พระประแดง); When you look at a Bangkok map, it’s the section where the Chao Phraya river snakes around like a horseshoe.
Bang Krachao (บางกระเจ้า) is the name used for the green lung inside the Chao Phraya horseshoe, which is a part of the greater area of Phra Pradaeng (พระประแดง).
Bang Krachao (บางกระเจ้า) was originally a place where a small population of Burmese Mon came when they settled in Thailand.
Today, the area remains, and is required to remain undeveloped commercially, in an effort preserve the nature and culture of the district.
No sky-rise buildings or commercial factories are allowed in Bang Krachao (บางกระเจ้า).
What to do at Bang Krachao (บางกระเจ้า)
Once you take the boat across the river and arrive to Bang Krachao (บางกระเจ้า), you’ll get dropped off at a little wooden dock and house. From there, you can probably find a motorbike taxi to take you somewhere you want to go, but the better option is to rent a bicycle (or bring your own).
Bicycles are available for 50 THB per hour, or 100 THB for the whole day.
I would recommend you go with 100 THB for the whole day – you never know what you’re going to come across while biking through Phra Phradaeng, and you just might be exploring longer than you think.
The bicycles are not the best of quality, but they aren’t too bad either, especially for $3 for the whole day.
As soon as you get on your bicycle and start pedaling, you’ll feel like you’re completely removed from the chaos of central Bangkok.
The small road is lined by a few motorbikes, from people who have parked for the day, and probably crossed over into Khlong Toey.
Lush green trees line both sides of the road, and while you still have to be careful of occasional motorbikes and cars, you can immediately feel the relaxation of nature.
Just about 1 kilometer into the bike ride from the pier, where you rent the bicycle, you’ll arrive at Sri Nakhon Khuan Khan Park.
One of the cool things about Sri Nakhon Khuan Khan Park is that over half of the area of the park is un-touched, just natural trees.
This makes it a decent bird sanctuary, and if you’re into bird watching, you’ll have a chance to see quite a few different species within the park.
Anyway, since I was cycling, the park makes a lovely little detour from the road, and a place to bike around for a few minutes, enjoy the beautiful gardens, and then head back to the road to keep exploring more of Bang Krachao.
I noticed these green covered canals throughout the park, and I couldn’t help thinking that they should be growing Nonthaburi durians there, but then again, maybe the minerals are not up to par.
The famous Nonthaburi durians are grown on mounds of mud and dirt, fueled by little mineral rich canals just like this. Unfortunately, no durian trees in sight.
Cycling on the narrow elevated walkways
Easily my personal favorite part of taking a day trip to Bang Krachao, is the opportunity to cycle on top of the network of elevated sidewalks.
Since much of Phra Pradaeng is subject to flooding, and even half of the peninsula is marshland most of the time, in order for people that live there to live, some have their homes built on stilts, and the walkways elevated, about 2 meters off the ground.
You do need a little bit of balance to bike down the elevated walkways in Bang Krachao, but it’s so much fun biking down these peaceful lanes, with forest spilling over on either side.
Bang Nam Pheung Floating Market
On Saturdays and Sundays, Phra Pradaeng is home to the Bang Nam Pheung floating market (ตลาดน้ำบางน้ำผึ้ง), which I wrote about previously here.
The market is somewhat of a local Bangkok tourist attraction, and every weekend, big crowds of Bangkokians show up to walk around, go on an outing with their families, and eat lots of delicious things.
You can go to Bang Krachao any day of the week, but if you go on a weekend, you’ll be able to visit the market, which is an extra bonus.
Food in Bang Krachao
When it comes to eating, no matter how remote you may feel, you’ll just about always find food to eat in Thailand.
When you’re biking around Bang Krachao, you’ll find a few small local restaurants; Stop in at any of them, have a refreshing beverage, and a bite to eat.
I saw many restaurants serving mostly dishes like kuay teow tom yum, among other noodle dishes. Again, if you go on a weekend, you’ll be able to find lots more food at Bang Nam Pheung Market.
On my latest visit to Bang Krachao, we stopped in for lunch at just a random street side restaurant with no name.
The restaurant had a fantastic atmosphere, shaded by big green trees, and sort of a makeshift restaurant – my kind of place.
They mainly served kuay teow tom yum (ก๋วยเตี๋ยวต้มยำ), but you could also order a few other dishes like pad see ew (ผัดซีอิ๊ว), and I’m personally a bigger rice fan, so I decided to go for the moo pad prik yuak (หมูผัดพริกหยวก pork fried with banana peppers) and a kai dao (ไข่ดาว fried egg) on the side.
It wasn’t anything food-spectacular, but it wasn’t bad, and it gave me some much needed energy after a few hours of biking.
Staying in Bang Krachao
I haven’t personally stayed anywhere in Bang Krachao, so I don’t have any personal tips or recommendations, but if you’re looking to get out of Bangkok for more than just a day trip, there are a number of home-stays and even eco style hotels located in the area.
It would be a great relaxing time to spend a night or two in Bangkok’s green lung to get some fresh air and enjoy the peace and quiet.
Here’s a video about visiting Bang Krachao:
(If you can’t see the video, watch it here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UlL_OZUMiHI)
Bangkok is an amazing city with so many things to see and activities to do.
One of the reasons I like Bangkok so much is that you can be in the middle of the chaos of the city one hour, and the next you can be cruising around Bangkok’s green lung on bicycle.
Bang Krachao (บางกระเจ้า) is a fantastic place to escape the rush of Bangkok, breath in some fresh air, get some exercise, and see the beauty of nature, the Chao Phraya river, swamps, canals, and finally enjoy the relaxed daily life in the area.
How to get to Bang Krachao
There are a couple of different ways to get to Bang Krachao from central Bangkok, one of them would be just by taking a taxi directly there. However, I’ll go over the steps for the method I normally take, and I think it’s the most direct, and fun way to get there.
- Take a taxi or bus (#47) to Wat Khlong Toey Nok (วัดคลองเตยนอก), in the Khlong Toey area of Bangkok. It’s just about 5 minutes from Asoke BTS / MRT.
- The taxi will probably drop you off at the gate of the temple (pictured), and you just walk through the entrance, and keep walking straight until you get to the river pier.
- At the pier, just say you want to cross over to Bang Krachao, and you’ll pay 10 THB, walk onto the dock and wait for the next boat to take you across.
- The boat will drop you off at the Bang Krachao dock, where you can rent a bicycle and continue on your relaxing day trip.