Ko Kret (เกาะเกร็ด) is a small man-made island in Chao Phraya River in Nonthaburi Province. The island is located 20 kilometers north of Bangkok. Ko Kret was created by digging a canal between two curves of Chao Phraya River. There are no major roads and, of course, no cars on the island. As Ko Kret is a bit out of the way, there are not many foreign tourists but lots of locals on the island so you can get a good glimpse of how Thai and Mon people live there.
Ko Kret’s community retains much of traditional Mon culture as it is inhabited by the minority of Mon hill tribe people, who came down from Burma and emigrated to live at Ko Kret island during the reign of King Taksin after the sacking of Ayutthaya. Therefore, you will see Burmese influence in food, clothes, houses, and temples.
Temples in Ko Kret
Ko Kret has been growing since the Ayutthaya period which is considered to be one of the most glorious eras of Thai history. It can be witnessed from the art in most of temples.
Wat Poramaiyikawas or Wat Pak-Ao is the largest temple in Ko Kret, located just behind the ferry pier. The most remarkable signature of this temple is a leaning 10-meter high Mon-style chedi. Many visitors can attend ceremonies and to witness resident monks chanting in the Mon language and many scriptures being written in Mon.
Wat Sao Thong Thong housing the late Ayutthaya-style chedi can be found on the northern side of the island.
Wat Phai Lom is also located on the northern side of Ko Kret. The temple features a golden chedi modeled after Yangon's Shwedagon Pagoda.
Wat Chimphli Sutthawat, formerly known as Wat Pa Fai, is the temple that dates back to the mid-Ayutthaya period. The small, boat-shaped ordination hall contains a number of Buddha images and Buddha relics. At the entrance of the temple grounds you can see a pair of Chinese “rock giants”.
The Dessert Canal or Khlong Khanom Wan is the local market in Ko Kret where you can buy almost everything you would expect from Thai market, with an exceptional variety of traditional Thai desserts such as Thong Yhip, Thong Yhod, Foi Thong, and many others. They have the demonstration of dessert making process for the visitors as well.
Pak Kret OTOP Market
OTOP Market is a food market near the ferry pier in Ko Kret. The market contains almost everything you would expect from a local market in Thailand. The prices here are considerably lower than in touristy areas.
Food at Ko Kret
Ko Kret has a wide selection of food. There are many vendors selling snacks and desserts all around the island, and riverside restaurants offering to try a Mon style food. Thod Man Nor Kala which is a spicy fish cake with a local vegetable similar to galangal is definitely the highlight of food at Ko Kret.
You can get a better idea about Ko Kret food highlights here: What to Eat at Ko Kret?
Ko Kret is famous for the traditional Mon-style pottery and earthenware, called Kwan Aman. There is a number of fascinating pottery villages you can visit and watch a demonstration of the art of pottery in the process. At some places they even give you an opportunity to make your own pottery. You'll see many stalls selling different kinds of terracotta and earthenware products at good prices.
More information about a visit to one of Ko Kret's pottery villages can be found here: Pottery Village at Ko Kret.
Traveling around Ko Kret
Ko Kret is a small island. All the main attractions are close to the pier so you can easily walk. A long walk around the island takes about 2hrs as you can use a 6 kilometers long path that circles the island. If you are tired, you can stop by at the cafe or food shops along the path way.
You can rent a bicycle and cycle along the narrow flat roads and paths around the island. Bicycles are available for rent at the main pier near Wat Poramaiyikawas and cost about 40-50 baht. The thing to remember is that the cars are not allowed on the island so you can have the entire road for yourself. However, in some places, like the main market, you won’t be able to avoid pedestrians and will need to stop and walk with your bicycle instead.
By Boat Ride around the Island
There is a long tail boat tour at Wat Poramaiyikawas. The tour brings you to the Dessert house, temples and Batik house. On weekdays they operate only one trip around the island at 13.00 while on weekends and holidays there are several boat trips from 10.00 to 16.00. Boat ride around Ko Kret costs 70 baht per person and takes 1 hour 30 mins. You can take a private boat for 500-800 baht/ 8 person.
How to get there
1. Take the Chao Phraya "Green flag" Express Boat from Saphan Taksin Pier (Sathorn or Central Pier) to Pak Kret (pier N33). Then walk to Wat Sanam Neua Temple, and take a ferry across the river to Ko Kret. The fare is 2 baht each way.
Note that the Chao Phraya "Green flag" Express Boat operates on weekdays and during peak hours only.
- Pak Kret Pier to Sathorn Pier, 06.10 - 08.10, every 15 mins
- Sathorn Pier to Pak Kret Pier, 16.05 - 18.05, every 20 mins
2. Take the Chao Phraya "Orange flag” or “Yellow flag” Express Boat to Nonthaburi Pier (N30), take a minivan or Public Bus No. 32 from there to Pak Kret, then head to the ferry pier behind Wat Sanam Neua Temple.
Take a Public Bus to the bus stop at Pak Kret and walk to Wat Sanam Neua temple, then take a ferry across the river to Ko Kret (2 Baht).
- Bus No. 52 from Chatuchak Park
- Bus No. 33 from Sanam Luang
- Bus No. 104, 166 from Victory Monument
Taking a Taxi is the most convenient option. You can take a taxi from Bangkok to Pak Kret and stop at Wat Sanam Neua temple. From Wat Sanam Neua temple take a ferry across the river to Ko Kret (2 Baht, 2 mins).