Having been to China I thought I’d seen the worst of pollution and air quality, however Bangkok is definitely a contender. On my travels I’m slowly realising just how much we are damaging our planet, there are just too many of us!
But I’m not here today to rant, I’m here to share a place, that when in Bangkok, let’s you escape the fumes and traffic.
Bang Krachao (aka “green lung” of Bangkok) was suggested to us by our hostel hosts who have so far given us some great suggestions on how to explore Bangkok the Thai way, rather than the typical touristy way. It’s an artificial island formed by a bend in the Chao Phraya river and a canal. The whole island has cycle paths and there is very little traffic allowing you to explore the temples, tree houses, markets and parks at your own pace by bike.
To get to the island we got on bus 47 from Silom Road (6.5 baht each approx 15p) to the last stop near the Bang Krachao pier. From the pier we picked out our bikes and hopped on a little ferry that took us to the island. The ferry there and back and bike hire for a whole day costs 80 baht per person (approx £1.88).
The lady who gave us our bikes provided us with a printed map and highlighted a route for us to take where we would see the best bits the island has to offer. Once we got off the ferry we followed her route towards the park, past Ganesh and to the floating market (only open on weekends, we visited on a Saturday).
Once we’d sufficiently mooched around the market we got back on our bikes and headed to a restaurant the lady had suggested to us. It was a little off the beaten track, a kind of hut in the middle of some jungle. Our hostel host had told us that on the island we should try the papaya salad (but not to have it spicy… it’d be way too hot). Lucky for us it was on the menu and it was absolutely delicious. Very refreshing, especially after a couple of hours cycling in 30-odd degree heat.
After lunch we headed past a sweet smelling incense factory to check out the only hotel on the island which labels itself as ‘green’. The Bangkok Tree House is very special. Set on the river and literally a bamboo tree house, the hotel prides itself on being sustainable. For instance (and this is just a snippet of some of the things they do) they grow organic veg on their roof and walls, only hire locals in walking distance to the hotel, are powered by wind and solar, remove one kilo of rubbish from the river for every booking they make and insulate their walls with plastic bottles. It would of been tempting to book a night there, the rooms looked amazing. However, it’s a little bit out of our backpacking price range.
Despite Bangkok’s skyline being the backdrop to Bang Krachao, you manage to feel far removed from the rickety motorbikes and buses that are spitting out exhaust fumes, it’s a place you can properly chill out and explore. No wonder it is called the ‘green lung’ of Bangkok. It really does provide a breathe of fresh air away from the city.
We’ve been in Bangkok for eight days now and have had some real fun, our day on Bang Krachao was probably my favourite. Tomorrow we catch the train to Kanchanaburi. I’m really looking forward to not being in a big city and to be able to experience some of Thailand’s nature. Again, if you have any hints on what to do in Kanchanaburi, drop me a message!
Hope all’s well back at home.