Our destination was Koh Kret, an island in the middle of the Chao Phraya River in the province of Nonthaburi, north of BangCock. Koh Kret is gaining popularity for its laid-back, countryside atmosphere and is best known for its pottery.
The ride on the river took about forty-five minutes. It was my first time to see the northern part of the Chao Phraya. The scenery is more sedate than the southern sections. We went down in the Nonthaburi pier and took a van to the jump off point to Koh Kret where we took a three-minute boat ride. I was quite surprised at the hordes of people who were going to island as well, indicating how popular it has become.
We started our trip at the local museum managed by the temple. The first floor displays samples of pottery of the island and the second floor is reserved for old, temple-related items such as Buddha images, paintings, and other stuff used during Buddhist celebrations (my knowledge on this matter is disappointingly limited).
We then wandered into the crammed inner alleys that are mainly lined by stalls of terracotta wares - candle holders, oil and incense burners, pots, sculptures, plates, mugs, etc. The craftsmanship varied considerably between stalls, so we chose to walk all the way to the of the alley before purchasing anything.
On both directions, we picked up various snacks and delicacies. L was particularly amazed by the deep-fried flowers and Nida Blanca gobbled on the cold refreshments.
Aside from the scrumptious food, the various crafts sold in the alley also attracted our attention. We ended up buying anklets, bags, and some scented creams. I also brought home an incense burner, an oil burner, and a couple of hand-crafted animal sculptures.
For lunch, we found a restaurant cantilevered over the river. The food was nothing remarkable but the cool river breeze definitely compensated for the lackluster lunch. Going back to the entrance of the alley, we stopped by a coffee shop that also served rice cakes. By then the heat was wearing us down.
We also realized that the number of people had increased since we arrived. It was indeed fortunate that we arrived much earlier. Still, despite the crowd, Koh Kret seems still far from becoming a characterless tourist destination (thank God it's not that very, very accessible from BKK). The area still has an authentic community spirit, and definitely unpretentious. The question is: how long would it take before crass commercialization, that defines most of the tourist areas in BKK, would swallow up Koh Kret?