Koh Kret Island in Nonthaburi is a great day-trip from Bangkok for those who want to check out real old school Thai life and escape the very packed touristy areas while being in a place also tourist friendly.
It’s a small community and home to many Thai pottery shops, temples, and a few piers that you an visit to soak up the views of the Chao Praya River. Koh Kret is easily accessible by a short ferry ride over the river and only cost 2-5 bahts each way, depending on the time of day you decide to go. It’s well worth the visit when you’re in Bangkok.
Koh Kret History
Koh Kret is not a natural island, it was formed in 1722, during the construction of a canal, now known as the Om Kret river (see map above).
As the canal was widened a number of times, it eventually cup off a chunk of land, and formed what is today known as Koh Kret. If you’re a good swimmer, you might be able to swim to the other side of the river, but it’s still pretty wide!
The island was settled by Mon people from central Thailand, and many people living on the island now are still Mon. Thai dialect is the same as those who speaks Thai in Bangkok.
How to get to Koh Kret:
Getting to Koh Kret is relatively easy and there are a few ways to get there.
How I got to Koh Kret was being driven by a local Thai friend who parked her car at a temple called Wat Sanam Neua (Here on Google Maps) for 30 bahts. An attendant will collect the fee at the gate before you enter the parking lot. After parking, head towards the backside of the temple where there is a pier to wait for a ferry to take you over to Koh Kret. It only cost 2 to 5 bahts, depending on time of day.
First, take the Chao Praya Express from Sathorn (Taksin) Pier (here) to Nonthaburi pier (last stop), which takes about 1 hour. Look out for the YELLOW FLAG boat which goes to Nonthaburi Pier (N30 stop)
From Nonthaburi pier, you have an option to take a longtail boat to Koh Kret. Be warned that these boats are often overpriced and a tourist trap. The better option is to get a taxi from Nonthaburi pier to Koh Kret costing less than 100 THB (USD 3).
A little heads up. At your starting Sathron (Taksin) Pier, you’ll see fancy stalls where they sell you an all-day pass for 200 bahts or one-way tickets for 60 bahts. These are a tourist trap and most people avoid it, unless you’re REALLY planning on riding the boats all-day. You can go anywhere for about 9 – 32 bahts one-way, with average of 20 bahts. Go to the left side pier to ride the cheaper boats.
It is also possible to get to Koh Kret from Bangkok directly by taxi. This is probably the better option for returning home after a long day out. A taxi takes about 30-45 minutes and costs about 300 THB.
Tip: ask the taxi driver to use the elevated expressway (tang duwan) to avoid the terrible Bangkok traffic.
Bus routes 104 and 166 will also get you from Bangkok to Koh Kret. Local Bangkok buses might be cheap, however, they are slower, hot, not air-conditioned and can be cramped. Taking the bus can save you money though!
Things to do on Koh Kret
Koh Kret is a small community, however, you will be nicely surprised by how many things there are to do here. Whether you want to shop your way through a local market or chill by the river with a cold drink in hand, there’s something for you.
Shop at Koh Kret Floating Market
As you leave the ferry pier, start making your way around Koh Kret in a counterclockwise direction. Your first destination will be the riverside weekend market.
Some refer to it as a floating market, however, it’s not like the ones at Khlong Lat Mayom or Amphawa. The market at Koh Kret is not directly on the water but built along the outside of the island on the Chao Praya river.
You will find handmade pottery for sale such as: teacups, incense burners, plates, and hot pots. These handmade goods make great useable souvenirs to take home with you.
You will also find lots of Thai foods and odd looking deserts here. Don’t be afraid to try some off the weirder foods such as these green blobs. These are Pandan based noodles which are served soaked in sweetened condensed milk syrup.
It is also worth trying khao chae in this small riverfront wooden store. Boiled rice comes soaked in an aromatic rose water iced soup and is accompanied by a small assortment of dried fish condiments and Thai herbs. It’s a refreshing dish to cool off from the heat.
Visit the Koh Kret Pottery Village
As you wander through the market you can veer off down the small alleyways with some leading to homemade pottery businesses.
Here you can watch the locals create their pottery from scratch. They start by shaping the goods on the wheel, then carefully etch in patterns one stroke at a time. Finally, the goods are fired in the kiln out the back so that they are ready to use.
You can buy lots of different Thai pottery products such as coffee cups, plates, incense burners, vases, and hot-pot sets. I personally love the incense burners made to look like a small Thai hot-pot set.
You really won’t find a cheaper place to buy Thai pottery anywhere. Get shopping at the Koh Kret Pottery village and support the locals. Remember, all income goes directly to the families and cuts out the middle man, so you can actually see who you are benefiting.
Walk or Cycle Around Koh Kret
Along the way around Koh Kret, you will find small coffee shops, community farms, Buddhist temples, and traditional stilt houses built by the riverside. There are also locally run convenience stores where you can buy a bottle of cold water and snacks if needed.
There are no real roads or cars on Koh Kret, therefore you have 2 options of getting around; cycle or walk.
Cycling is quicker, and bicycles can be rented for about 100THB near the ferry or 50 THB if you go in a little deeper within the market. It can be a little annoying to drag the bicycle through the busy floating market if you rent it right at the pier, so I suggest you walk through the market first! Biking the entire island is a lot of fun and you can see much more local things as leave the market area.
Walking is more tiring because of the heat and distance, but is doable if you’re really gamed. It’ll take about 2 hours to complete the 5km round. If you get tired you easily can hop on the back of a motorcycle taxi at various points around the island. The motorbike taxi will take you just about anywhere on Koh Kret for 50 THB (USD 2) per person. it’s also quite safe as it is impossible to drive too fast on Koh Kret.
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