Surrounded by Bangkok’s busy urban life lies a gorgeous green oasis: Bang Krachao. This island, located in the mighty Chao Praya river is Bangkok’s best kept secret. Here you will find nothing but coconuts, little villages, jungle, buddhist temples and cycling paths. Cycle with us and discover this hidden gem.
Paul Mueller is a friendly American expat cyclist who has been living on the island for many years. He knows Bang Krachao on its thumb. In September 2012 he started running bicycle tours and since then his tours have been featured in a number of publications (including the NY times). Of course, we decided to join him on the bicycle.
The tour started at the hotel and we were immediately confronted with one of the narrow, elevated wooden bicycle paths that were spread across the island. The corners of the paths were sharp and sudden. Despite our Dutch cycle skills we didn’t feel at ease. When Paul explained that a very small percentage of the tourists fall off the elevated path because they cut their corners too short, we felt even more uncomfortable and decided to slow down a bit.
Paul was a vivid storyteller and his love for the island was a returning element in every single story. He took us through small peaceful villages where the Bangkok citylife felt miles away. He showed us temples, some of them influenced by the Mon culture that is still thriving on this island. We passed the Bang Nam Phuen Floating Market (closed when we were there) and cycled through a fairly new constructed park, a popular place for families to gather in the evenings. However, much of the cycle tour was on wooden ‘bridges’ through tropical forest with those beautiful typical ‘jungle sounds’.
He also told us about the troublesome landdealing on the island. Although, part of the island is government protected, some pieces of a ground are sold by residents to big developers. Since, the island is slowly becoming more popular these developers smell their chance. The island is a haven for Bangkok cyclists and of course an attractive and peaceful location for tourists.
On Bang Krachao, tourism is still developing. Besides the ecofriendly Bangkok Tree House Hotel there are no other accommodation possibilities. However, Paul told us that there are some home stay options on the island. Also, the first coffeebars have popped-up. And there’s a 7-eleven!
However, for now Bang Krachao remains a lovely laidback option in Bangkok. And I would recommend to visit it when there. Paul Muiller is more than happy to show you around and give you Bang Krachao tips!
How to get to Bang Krachao Island?
You can visit Bang Krachao by boat from the Silom business district. Catch the MRT to Klong Toei and from there you can get a taxi to the Klong Toei Pier. At this pier you can get a longtailboat to the island (takes about five minutes). There are also suppose to be boats from Bang Na and Chong Nonsee.
What to do on Bang Krachao Island? – 5 tips from BoB
Tip 1. Join a bicycle tour of go by yourself.
If you’re interested in the bicycle tour of Paul you can contact him on mad_muiller[at]yahoo.com or you can contact the Bangkok Tree House Hotel stay[at]bangkoktreehouse.com. There are some other bicycle tours running (we can also recommend Follow Me Bangkok Tours) . If you want to go by yourself, there is good map in the Bangkok Tree House Hotel. There are also multiple bicycle rental places on the island.
Tip 2. Go on a firefly tour with a local boat.
Bang Krachao is probably not the best firefly spot in the world, but we did see a fair amount of them. These flickering little insects are a unique sight. A firefly tour is about 30THB per person.
Tip 3. Enjoy an amazing view on Bangkok’s city centre.
From the island you have an amazing view on Bangkok’s business district and it’s harbor.
Tip 4. Visit the Bang Nam Phuen Floating Market.
This market (which is only partly floating to be honest) is only open weekends and well worth a visit.
Tip 5. Visit Bang Krachao’s temples.
Visit the old mon-influenced temples. Most of the ‘wats’ (Thai word for temple) can be found around the Bang Namphung Floating Market.
Have you been to Bang Krachao?
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