After a morning visit to Nonthaburi market, I discover that there are only early morning and late afternoon boats between Nonthaburi and Ko Kret. The taxi driver makes the ride probably the most hilarious one I ever took, and when I reach a small pier behind the Wat Sanam Nua temple and jump on a small boat. It only takes a few minutes to cross the river, before I can step on Ko Kret. Created in 1722 after a canal was dug to create a shortcut in the Chao Phraya river, it has developed into a small Mon community. Indeed, the moment I step on the pier, Bangkok seems very far away. I am here on a weekday, and therefore find the island almost without visitors, and many shops and stalls closed. I start my exploration at the northeastern tip of the island, at Wat Poramai Yikawat, the most prominent temple of Ko Kret, built in Mon style; Mon are an ethnic group from Burma.
The first part of the complex to explore is the leaning stupa, right on the riverfront - I have seen it already from the boat that took me to Ko Kret. It is a curious structure, surrounded by flags, decorated by a red cloth. Next to it, I find a hall with Buddha statues, plastered with pieces of gold paper. A little further, the main temple, which unfortunately is under reconstruction. Behind it, a white stupa, with a marble Buddha statue in a small alcove. A little further: a reclining Buddha, completely golden. When I walk towards the south, I come across a large school, and kids saluting me. I now start my exploration of the rest of the island. I follow the concrete path leading south, through the village. Houses on stilts, houses with artsy details, small canals leading off the Chao Phraya river, bridges, boats, but: almost no people. It is very quiet indeed.
When I arrive at Wat Chim Plee Sutthawat, I get into the compound to explore this richly decorated and colourful temple. I climb a bell tower which offers views over the monastery, where orange robes hang to dry while the monks enjoy lunch. There are more temples before I follow the causeway leading west, towards the interior of the island. Ponds filled with lotus flowers, rustic houses, hamlets where people congregate to talk under one of the big trees, small altars with statuettes: the interior of Ko Kret is as peaceful as you can imagine. When I reach the northern side of the island, I notice a little more people around, take a rest at the riverfront directly opposite a huge golden Buddha just across the river, before visiting Wat Phai Lom. In the garden leading to the temple, I see two big, golden hamsa, a kind of goose, which I see again near the temple itself. Behind, I find a brilliant golden stupa. From the temple, it is a short walk back to the eastern side of the island, where I catch the boat back to the opposite side of the river after a most relaxing and enjoyable exploration on Ko Kret.
Around the World in 80 Clicks
Personal travel impressions both in words and images from Ko Kret (Thailand). Clicking on the pictures enlarges them and enables you to send the picture as a free e-card or download it for personal use, for instance, on your weblog. Or click on the map above to visit more places close to Ko Kret. Read more about this site.