As the saying goes: ‘A Sunday well-spent brings a week of content,’ thus you should think twice about how to spend your Sundays! You could get away from the crowded urban malls and head for Bang Krachao – Bangkok’s verdant oasis – for a perfect Sunday excursion.
Surrounded by the Chao Phraya river and with only one inland approach, Bang Krachao is usually referred to as an island. Access is by boat, and cycling is the most popular way to explore Bang Krachao. Bicycles are available for rent at many spots, so there’s no excuse not to! Cycling past the lush green trees running parallel along the track and into the inner area will make any hectic state of mind melt away, and spending a day on a bike is a good health activity.
You can take a breathe from cycling for a while at Bang Nam Phueng Floating Market during the morning (it closes by early afternoon). Better called a riverside market, it is home to a variety of food stalls with rows of low tables set along the riverbank. Try local delicacies and unusual fruits like Pink Guava or Fak Kao. Besides making your stomach content, you can enjoy shopping for appealing locally-made items at this stop. This enclave is different from other floating markets with its charming little walkway and canopy of greenery throughout the market.
Nearby, you’ll find Wat Bang Nam Phueng Nok – a Buddhist monastery worth stopping at. Walk past the newer buildings and discover the old chapels with their classic charm. Despite their long existence, the delicate beauty of the temple’s door and wall paintings are still evident. Hop on your bike and take the Green Road along the canal. This road, which is painted green and follows a verdant and shady grove, will rejuvenate your body and soul.
The Siamese Fighting Fish Gallery is recommended for your next stop, even if you are not a fan of Betta fish. You’ll see a wide variety of stunning Siamese fighting fish inside the group of traditional Thai-style buildings and also learn about their unique qualities, and the role of fish within nature, from the easy-to-understand exhibition.
One of the highlights of Bang Krachao is the pristine Sri Nakhon Khuen Khan Park, which makes you understand why Bang Krachao is nicknamed ‘the green lung of Bangkok’. Originally built to provide fresh air for local and neighbouring residents, it now attracts families and friends from far distances. The park has numerous huge trees with shadows, enchanting wooden bridges. A watchtower rises high in the middle of the park, from where you have a bird-eye’s view of the lush park and can spot birds sitting in the treetops. This is a natural verdant oasis to be enjoyed by all, with an outdoor gym for sportspeople, a sylvan track for bikers, and an ecological spot for birders and twitchers. After enjoying your ride, take a seat in one of the wood pavilions. Breathe deeply and listen to the sounds of nature.
All these wonderful things, believe it or not, lie only a few kilometres away from the buzzing city centre and so it will take only one Sunday, or one weekend, to feel its benefits for your health and spirits. Just jump onto a ferry over to Bang Krachao, place your feet on the pedals and then keep your balance