Pottery Village - Koh Kret
Some very highly skilled potters here - and fast too !!!
Koh Kret - A day trip escape from busy Bangkok
Koh Kret is about 1.25 hours by the express boat away from the madness of Bankok's traffic and hectic lifestyle. Koh Kret is a small island mainly inhabited by the Mon people working in their pottery villages or selling souvenirs. You can get to Koh Kret independently by catching a bus and taking a couple of boat rides, hiring a longtail boat from the last express boat stop at the Nonthaburi Pier or Spice Roads
have a bike tour which I would like to try next time I visit Bangkok. The Chao Phraya Express Boat also have a tour every Sunday leaving the Sathorn Pier at 10.00 am and returning around 4.45 pm for 299 baht.
The Sunday express boat option suited my schedule and after a late night I had slept in and rushed to catch the BTS Skytrain from Chong Nonsi to the Saphan Taskin Skyway Station arriving at the Sathorn Pier at 9.40 am to purchase my ticket from the Chao Phrayer Express Boat office. You get a numbered seat and there were about fifty other tourists on the cruise. First stop was Wat Chalempakiet, another impressive
temple and very nice gardens near the river with the most amazing sight being the tens of thousands of huge catfish near the pier being fed by tourists and locals. I took a nice photo of a father spending some quality time with his young son feeding the fish near the water's edge.
At about 12.15 we stopped at Baan Kanom (House of Thai Sweets) on the riverside for a cheap and good quality Thai lunch, sweet making displays and purchasing from the huge range of colourful and tasty Thai sweets. By 1.30 pm we arrived at Koh Kret which you would not know is an island without previous knowledge although you can see one side of the surrounding river near the landmark Stupa on the left hand side of the pier. The island was a busy place today with a Thai public holiday the next day so there were thousands of tourists and locals enjoying a Sunday afternoon at Koh Kret. We were given a map of places of interest and how to find our way to the pier for our return to Bangkok at 3.00 pm. The island is most famous for blood-red, Mon-style pottery called ‘Hai’
The Sathorn Pier
Buy your cruise tickets at the office here - The express boats leave on the left side of the office.
and the pottery produced here is regarded as the most beautiful of all unglazed, hand-made pottery available in Thailand.
I went in the opposite direction that was shown on the map, checking out the small museum before walking along the riverside down the narrow lanes until I reached the Pottery Villages and the quieter part of the island. Watching the potters in action was amazing as they are so quick to make a large work of art in minutes from a small slab of clay. There were heaps of souvenir and pottery shops and some fortune tellers chanting in their small houses, all adding to the atmosphere of the visit. I walked further and finally was alone before stumbling across a guy carving the decorations on a small piece of pottery with his kids playing in the yard - he let me take some pics of him working and it was nice to be away from all the other tourists for a few minutes.
I only had 1.5 hours at Koh Kret so it was back to following the directions on my map before walking through the OTOP Village and it's hundreds of shops and it was not
From the Chao Phraya river
I love crusing this river - one of the many huge hotels you will see
much fun trying to walk through the large crowd here today. I finally reached the pier and had a look through the Pailom Temple with it's fun disco lights surrounding the Buddha image before boarding the boat for the cruise back to Bangkok. Most people slept on the way back after a very enjoyable day on the Chao Phraya river.
The cruise was very good and next time I visit Bangkok I will do the Spice Roads bike tour and cycle the 5700 metres around the island on a quieter day of the week. It is also possible to walk around the island in about two hours and there are no roads or traffic to worry about, just narrow lanes, some motorcycle taxis and a great insight into traditional Mon living near Bangkok.
Click on the pics if you want a larger view and select next to see all the pictures.
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