The island of Koh Kret was actually created in 1722 and was the by product from the construction of a canal that was built in order to shorten pre existing shipping routes. As time went by, and the canal was widened this landmass (measuring 2km long by 1km wide) eventually formed the island as we know it today.
Its inhabitants are predominantly Mon, an ethnic Burmese group who settled (mainly) in Pak Kret and Samut Prakarn in what was then Siam many hundreds of years ago and a trip to the island offers an intriguing glimpse into their lives.
We hired bikes for just 40 THB at a small stall next to the pier when we arrived as although it is easily seen on foot, the bikes are a lovely way to travel the small island.
One of our first stops was at a pottery workshop – Koh kret is famed for its intricate terracotta craftsmanship and it was interesting to watch them at work.
It is a pleasant and easy ride around the island although as you are actually cycling on raised pathways I was initially a bit nervous about taking some of the corners and was relieved to make it back without falling into the Klong or crashing!
The Mons people were also amongst the earliest inhabitants of South East Asia and through their long-term trade with India (Dating back to around 400 BC) they were responsible for the introduction of Theravada Buddhism to Burma and Thailand as well as other neighbouring countries. As a result, there are several beautiful temples on the island including Wat Sao Thung Thong where you can see a couple of beautiful Ayutthaya style Chedis and the “leaning tower” of Wat Poramaiyikawat which was our last stop before returning home.
The island is also home to a small tourist market where you can buy local snacks, clothes, pottery and more, all priced far more cheaply than your usual Bangkok market stalls if you are in the mood for shopping.
Koh Kret is a wonderful day trip from Bangkok, I really felt like I was a million miles away and I know I will definitely add this to future itineries when I have guests visiting from oversees.
To get to Koh Kret: We took the local boat from Saphan Taksin to Nonthonburi (Pier 30) where we took a songthaew (local minibus) to Pak Kret (the number 32 bus also goes there) You then take the Koh Kret ferry from the pier behind Wat Sanam Neua.
It is possible to take a direct boat from Saphan Taksin during peak morning rush hour (before 8am) or you could hire a private river taxi if you had a small group and didn’t mind paying a bit more – our whole journey from Bangkok to Koh Kret cost less than 25 THB each (65 THB if you include the bike hire) though so weigh up your options first!