Bang Kra Jao is a verdant peninsula in an oxbow of the river, and it is a hidden gem that not many people, including life-long Bangkokians, know about. It offers a refreshing break from the concrete jungle and gives visitors a glimpse of what Bangkok may have looked like before modernity descended. Here, meandering paths lead through a lush wonderland of stilt houses, languid communities and fruit orchards.
This area is best explored by bike. You can bring your own or join a biking tour arranged by a company. If accompanied by children (older kids and teens will enjoy this more than young ones), the latter is a better option as a guide will accompany you and ensure that no one gets lost or hurt.
If you are feeling adventurous, get your bikes and head to any small pier along the river (such as off Narathiwas Road or the huge Klong Toey port) and flag down or engage a small boat operator to ferry you across — Bang Kra Jao is literally on the opposite bank.
Once you arrive, you’ll immediately notice that you’re a world away from Bangkok (actually, you’re technically in Samut Prakarn province, an hour or so drive from the city). Enjoy the bird calls, expanses of greenery and huge trees . Bike a bit and you’ll soon find a raised concrete path that snakes through the dank “jungle.” Here, the trees offer almost complete shade and the still, shallow waters below are filled with small fish and amphibians. The path takes you past the front door of small homes, temples and a public park bustling with weekend activity. There are also wonderful wet markets, which sell a variety of food and local produce.
Bang Kra Jao, Phra Pradaeng, Samut Prakan 10130