Visiting Bangkok with kids is so much fun! Reason for a second post on this fab city. This time the focus is on bikes… We’ll take you for a ride! Find out more in this post about cycling through Bangkok.
Just when I thought Bangkok couldn’t surprise me any more than it already had, I stumbled over cycling in Bang Krachao. The Green Lung of Bangkok is an oasis of greenery, village life and mangrove forest to give this city-worn family a breath of fresh air – well, relatively speaking. Bang Krachao ticked all the boxes. The splash of green in the middle of the hustle and bustle of Bangkok meant that we could recharge a little.
How to get there
While it is only twenty minutes from Bangkok, there are a couple of options to reach there. For tried, tested and loads of fun – according to this family here is our how-to-get-there: Grab or tuk-tuk to Klong Toey pier at Wat Klong Toey Nok. This is only 20 minutes from Sukhumvit (traffic dependent). Alternatively, take a train to Bang Na and then a taxi to Wat Bang Na Nork Pier. Also getting there via the long boat across the Chao Praya River is fantastic, if somewhat nail biting.
The long boat that crosses the river to get to Bang Krachao was referred to as a ‘ferry’. We found this to be a very loose term for the little boat that powers across the large river. Stepping into the boat itself was a little hair raising. The boat people are helpful though and patient, so we felt like we were in good hands.
The journey only takes about 5 or 10 minutes. The deft at which the women steer the boat amid giant barges and strong currents, to land at the little jetty was nothing short of awesome for this landlubber. Be warned, if you are close to the front of the boat you get a good spray of Bangkok water. It may be a good idea to keep sunglasses on and mouths closed.
Once we reached the pier we were greeted and ushered to our bike hire – all packaged together, as was our return journey. Please don’t be concerned about this, the Thai people are so gentle and respectful that we did not feel harangued or harassed. All up it cost THB 80 per person, approx. RM10. We were given bikes, locks, water, advice and a map to help us navigate the area. It was not much use to us, as we got a bit lost a couple of times. But the area is small and people are happy to point you in the right direction.
Tip – If you take a Grab taxi, they will drop you in the port beside Wat Klong Toey Nok. From there you follow the road to the pier. However, we discovered with the help of a local another entrance which lead to our bike hire. As this is a weekend trip, there is usually one or two locals there, who are ready to point you in the right direction. I think this is a community affair. We followed their lead and are glad we did.
You have a choice of either cycling the relatively quiet roads or take the raised concrete paths that wind through the mangroves, villages and little canals. We did both. Do be careful if you have little kids, since the paths are without barriers on either side. They probably won’t hurt themselves if they fall, since there is quite a bit of swampy water around in which to land. Also, you will meet other cyclists and the odd motor bike (scooter) on these paths, but again, it also seems to work and follows a natural progression.
For other cycling options in Bangkok read our post Bangkok with kids.
What’s to see?
Apart from the natural environment there are Buddhist temples, a large shrine to Ganesh, a fantastic local market as well as little coffee shops dotted throughout Bang Krachao. There are plenty of places to refresh with smoothies and/or a half decent cup of coffee. Oddly enough there is, purportedly, the largest Siamese fighting fish (Betta fish) gallery in the world right there in Bang Kracho. It was closed the day we were there, but if you are interested in Betta fish this might be worth a look.
The local market sells everything from clothing to beautiful local food, but is only open in the weekends. It’s really worth a look. The locals are very friendly and are happy for you to try things and equally so for you to ask questions and take photos. Getting to the market is a bit scary on the bikes, if you are not used to a lot of traffic. Care is needed for the little ones, but Thai drivers are generally very accommodating to cyclists. There is bike parking at the market, so no need to worry about what to do with your bikes. Go early in the morning to beat the heat, and stop for an early lunch at the restaurant just across the road from the market. The food was piping hot, delicious and super fresh. And if you need to go, toilets are relatively easy to find throughout at most restaurants. At the end of the day, return your bikes, take the ferry back and either grab a Grab or hail a tuk-tuk.
If you want to get out of the city for the night, there is a range of accommodation in Bang Krachao. We didn’t stay, but looking at some reviews on Booking.com there seems to be some pretty good accommodation. Perhaps something to think about if you are looking for a bit more of a green experience while in Bangkok.
Can’t get enough of Thailand? Opt for a glamping experience in the beautiful area of Kanchanaburi! It’s a three hours drive north of Bangkok. Read our review here.