Skyscrapers shadowing the city, fun and colorful night life, big and modern shopping malls offering promotions every now and then and hundreds of restaurants with local and international menus. This is Bangkok. A highly urbanized city.
But if you are living and working for years in this one of the top choice tourist destination in Asia, you will feel later (or sooner) amidst this modern city is an exhausting environment. Noise and air pollution, heavy traffic and influx of tourists are the common factors why you feel tired and decide to stay home, and somehow it made you realized that the lively Bangkok can be boring too. You are bored seeing the same views, scenes and repeating itinerary.
I, myself feel bored too. Since it is a long weekend, I have thought of traveling to a different place which is completely the opposite of Bangkok. I often do one day-trip outside the city mostly by train but long travel hours with the hot weather is not fine this time.
Bang Krachao came into my mind, as first suggested before by my colleague. Unknown to many, this hidden gem exists and not in the outskirts, just within Bangkok. The National Parks is nestled in the island of Bang Krachao, lies South of Bangkok and Phra Pradaeng District, Samutprakhan. A haven to different flora which describes Thailand being a tropical country. Dubbed as the Green Lung of Bangkok and from my research, the island is like a shape of a human lung and the presence of the green living things hence coined the name.
Feels Like Back Home
My escapade started with a bit of nostalgic.
Since I arrived here in Bangkok way back in 2011, this is my first time to ride again this popular traditional means of transportation back home which I rented for 50 Baht. Yes, there are bikes for rent you can choose and you need to bike to paint the island red. The friendly owner will give you a map as your complete guide in touring the island.
If you grow up in the countryside, you will surely feel you are home- as you will see from your very own eyes the adjectives of the rural life. Small roads and no heavy traffic. Even there are modern houses of the affluent, you will still find old wooden houses built just along the road surrounded with big trees and flowers planted as fence. Smiling face of locals, some fishing on the canals, some just sitting, talking on a tiny house we called it back home as waiting sheds. Some doing small business to make ends meet like selling barbecues, beverages and small grocery stores. Yes, you will not get hungry and thirsty while biking.
Different faunas are found everywhere. Nipa Palms, coconut trees endowed with bunch of fruits ready to harvest, big trunk of trees with umbrella like stems providing little shades from the sun, really, I felt I was in my province.
Sri Nakhon Khuean Khan Park and Botanical Garden
The main attraction and you should not miss visiting and the entrance is free. Officially opened in 1997, an ideal place not only for biking (with its miles of cycling path) but ideal to spend quality time with family or friends. The Garden is planted with different species of trees that makes it shady, you can have picnic at the park or simply laid back and feel the fresh air of the countryside. I bet, you will love to take an afternoon nap. Or just sit on the bench under the tree and read your favorite novel. The Garden is a great place too for photo enthusiasts. Blossomed colorful flowers of different species and century old trees with hanging bushes and vines which are all perfect subjects. Plus, the wooden bridge that connect between lakes or the small cement bike/walkway built to explore the wide mangrove plantation which is also an ideal location for photo shoots.
Not only the Park is good for biking and hiking, it has also a Bird Watching Tower where you will get the chance to view colorful rare bird species but with your patience to wait for them to hop unto barks of trees and with your telescope (yes, bring your own). Aside from this purpose, you will see the top view of real, luscious, vast green of Bangkok plus a dose of unpolluted air. A cool place to rest for a while.
Wat Bang Nam Pheung Nok
An added attraction located near the main Pier. The white, red and gold colors painted on big temples with amazing designs that even you have seen many times this kind of worship structure, still, will make you stop and take your photo. Never forget the Statue of Big smiling Buddha found outside the temple. The size will surely amaze you.
Other Attractions while in the Island that I have yet to explore, so this trip deserves a comeback:
- Siamese Fish Gallery
- Talad Nam Bang Nam Peung
- Bangkok Tree House
Overall, the visit is so worthy to spend time. The peaceful community, the breath of fresh air and your chance to mingle again with mother nature is indeed, all priceless. Good for the mind and body. I highly recommend.
How to Get Here the Easiest and Cheapest Way
Take BTS then get off at Bangna then proceed to Exit 2. Walk few steps going to Wat Bang na nai then take motorbike for 20 Baht or take Taxi to Bangna Pier. Cross the Chao Phraya River by Barge for 10 minutes and pay 4 Baht to enter the island. At the entrance, you will see Bikes for rent at 50.00 per day. A map as your guide to tour around the island is provided.
Best Time to Explore
As early as 7 am as the hot weather will make you weak.
What to Bring