Koh Kret ? What’s that ? Most heard of Koh Samui and Koh Phi Phi (Koh , by the way, means “island” in Thai language). So what Koh Kret ? Funny thing was , when I asked my Bangkok hotel concierge for more information on Koh Kret (which I pronounced as in Queen’s English as Koh Kret..sounding like Crept)..he gave me a “constipated” facial expression. Upon showing him a tourist map…he went “OOOoooooo….Koh Kat…Hmmm… I know Koh Kat…but no go before ah”….(so that’s how they pronounce Kret in Thai… sounds like “Cat”).
What a way to start my Koh Kret adventure… fortunately , I have already done a “cursory” research, throw out the “????” out of my psyche and just tell my travel mate ” Let’s go ,mate,…the road will show itself”… so began my day trip to Koh Kret…(Maps and travel advisory have all listed the island in varied spelling – Kred or Kret. It’s all the same)
How the island came about ?
The island dates only to 1722, when a canal was constructed as a shortcut to bypass a bend in the ox-bow lake of the Chao Phraya river, at the Om Kret branch . After several widening, the section cut off and eventually became separated from the mainland. The island continues to serve as a refuge to the Mon tribes who dominated central Thailand between the 6th and 10th centuries and due to the isolation of Koh Kret from the rest of their northern counterparts has in turn created a unique branch of the Mon’s lineage, with it’s own unique foods, handicrafts (as in the red clay pottery) and culture. The time at Koh Kret seems to creeps at snail pace…leaving the Bangkok mainland cacophony behind. And yes…the locals appears more friendly and genuine. It’s sort of a Bangkok’s equivalent of Singapore’s Pulau Ubin, without a Chek Jawa though.
Ferry service between Koh Kret and the main land… just a few minutes each way. Just 2B (payable when you alighted at the island). No charge for departure. The island in the background is Koh Kret.
Direction to Koh Kret
One way to reach Ko Kret is to take the once-weekly Chao Phraya Express, which leaves the Central Pier (BTS Saphan Taksin) every Sunday at 9.00am and visits a number of attractions before returning at 3.30pm. The cost of the cruise and guided tour is 300 baht (lunch not included).
Koh Kret essentially “comes alive” during weekends. But should you prefer to visit the island on a weekday, which feels like a ghost town, then try my way : 1) Take the BTS, alight at the Mochit station (this is the station you will alight when you visit Chattuchak Weekend Market). From there, take a 20-25 min taxi ride (about 150-200B). Just tell the taxi driver “Sawadee khrup…yak pai Koh Kat khrub” or just say “Koh Kat (pronounce as Call Cat) ” to minimise misunderstanding .. lol (^__^)
Wat Sanam Neua…. the taxi will stop at this temple. From here, the path to ferry pier is just at the back of the temple..
The jetty at Pak Kret.… average waiting is brisk…once the ferry fills up and no one else is in sight at the jetty, it will just leave for Koh Kret and vice versa…
The island ferry… just about a min or so journey (each way), and you are done.
Map of Koh Kret … really small island. Takes about 2 hours to cover the entire island on foot.
Idyllic ambience pervades Koh Kret, especially on weekdays… Sort of like S’pore Ubin island. Rustic, unhurried, way behind the hustle & bustle of Bangkok.
A group of mainland high school children at Koh Kret town centre, visiting the island after school hours.
A brush with local culture….childhood memories are made of this…boy boy girl girl outing..lol
Koh Kret main and only public transport…motorbike taxi…
The local Mon tribes skill at pottery is famous in Thailand. They typically use red clay for their craft.
Local Mon tribe unique snack… wanted to buy a packet for tasting but the snack chef was coughing regularly when I was taking this picture..so had to abort the idea…
Sort of pandan flavoured sweet sticky rice snack…
Sweet crackers snack unique to the Mon tribes…
Local Mon tribe snack lady chef….
The island main directory signpost…
A symbol of any laid-back kampung settlement… alarm clock , pest control (eats ants), perhaps provides eggs (of course from the queens)….
Huge Buddha statue just across Koh Kret … certainly an awesome sight
Cosy riverfront dining…. and yes…the prices are pocket friendly…
Chill out…. you are at Koh Kret…
Round the island boat ride can be arranged….
Lovely floral & fauna at the island…..
Amazingly beautiful flowers at the riverfront cafe entrance..
A typical household door sign at the island…befitting the relax island atmosphere…it was here I heard beautiful piano music echoing through the breezy air. I thought initially it was from a music CD… I was wrong…it was a local girl practising on her Yamaha… really talented.
Wishing tree…. lots of wishes here…..hope they’re answered.
Yours truly, (pic my travel mate)….getting the best angles…so that we can all share in the journey.
I hope my pictures might give readers some ideas what they can expect at Koh Kret. It is another world much different compared to Bangkok, with the rustic charm of a laid back village. You will see wooden shacks propped against palm trees and the occasional run-down temple slowly crumbling. Hence the main attraction is just walking around, browsing the merchandise in the many pottery shop, having a light snack or meal by the riverfront. Precious moments…wouldn’t you say ? The island main celebration annually:
- Mon Songkran Festival at Ko Kret, Amphoe Pak Kret, one week after April 13 with a caravan and shows of traditional Mon playing and entertainment
- Mon classical Dance Dating back long time ago, the traditional Mon dancing accompanied by the Mon gamelan remains till today as an invaluable heritage to the descendants of Mon at Pak Kret, Phra Pradaeng and Pathum Thani.
Do check out Koh Kret in future should you have the time. You might like to view Bruno Silva’s video on the island : http://youtu.be/s_xlf1fOZ-4 .