Koh Kret Brewery and Pottery Village
Koh Kret is an amazing little island just north of Bangkok. It is located in the middle of the Chao Praya River which flows from Nakhon Sawan to Bangkok. It’s an unlikely place for an island, but definitely worth the half day trip from Bangkok.
Whether you want to explore the pottery village, go shopping at the riverside floating market, or relax with a tasty craft brew at Chit Beer, Koh Kret is a destination where you can really experience it all. You will get to experience Bangkok’s slow lifestyle along the river banks, and feel like you have really escaped the city for a bit.
Even better, Koh kret is just 30 minutes from Bangkok! So let’s get on with the details of what to do on Koh Kret.
History of Koh Kret
Koh Kret is an island in the Chao Praya River formed back in 1722. It was created when the existing canal was widened, providing a shorter route for transporting goods down the river to Bangkok. The new island bypass shortened the distance the boats had to travel by over 4 kilometres!
These days, many people living on Koh Kret are actually of the Mon ethnicity. This is the same ethnic background as those who constructed the Mon Bridge in Sangkhlaburi in the far east of Thailand.
Things to do on Koh Kret
Koh Kret is only a small community, however, you will be nicely surprised by how many things there are to do here. Whether you want to shop your way through a local market or chill by the river with a cold beer in hand, there’s something for you.
Shop at Koh Kret Floating Market
As you leave the ferry pier, start making your way around Koh Kret in a counterclockwise direction. Your first destination will be the riverside weekend market.
Some refer to it as a floating market, however, it’s not like the ones at Khlong Lat Mayom or Amphawa. The market at Koh Kret is not directly on the water but built along the outside of the island on the Chao Praya river. Nevertheless, it is a great place to explore.
You will find handmade pottery for sale such including; teacups, incense burners, plates, and hot pots. These handmade goods make great useable souvenirs to take home with you. You might need to get things wrapped well so they don’t break in your luggage though.
You will also find lots of Thai foods and odd looking deserts here. Don’t be afraid to try some off the weirder foods such as these green blobs. These are Pandan based noodles which are served soaked in sweetened condensed milk syrup. It is also worth trying khao chae (ข้าวแช่) in this small riverfront wooden store. Boiled rice comes soaked in an aromatic iced water soup. This is accompanied by a small assortment of dried fish condiments and Thai herbs.
Visit the Koh Kret Pottery Village
As you wander through the market you can veer off down the small alleyways. Some of these lead to homemade pottery businesses. Usually, an elderly man or woman sitting at a table crafting up handmade goods.
Here you can watch the locals create their pottery from scratch. They start by shaping the goods on the wheel, then carefully etch in patterns one stroke at a time. Finally, the goods are fired in the kiln out the back so that they are ready to use.
You can buy lots of different Thai pottery products such as coffee cups, plates, incense burners, vases, and hot-pot sets. I personally love the incense burners made to look like a small Thai hot-pot set, I’ve been using it at home almost every day for the past few years!
You really won’t find a cheaper place to buy Thai pottery anywhere in the world. Get shopping at the Koh Kret Pottery village and support the locals. Remember, all income goes directly to the families and cuts out the middle man, so you can actually see who you are benefiting.
Walk or Cycle Around Koh Kret
After the Koh Kret pottery village and floating market, you can follow the footpath around the island. The entire route around the island is 5km and takes about two hours to walk.
Along the way around Koh Kret, you will find small coffee shops, community farms, Buddhist temples, and traditional stilt houses built by the riverside. There are also locally run convenience stores where you can buy a bottle of cold water and snacks if needed.
There are no real roads or cars on Koh Kret, therefore you have 2 options of getting around; cycle or walk.
Cycling is quicker, and bicycles can be rented for about 100 THB (USD 4) near the ferry. I find it quite annoying to drag the bicycle through the busy floating market. I’ve only used a bicycle once before and will never do so again.
Walking is more tiring, but 5km really isn’t that far. If you get tired you easily can hop on the back of a motorcycle taxi at various points around the island. The motorbike taxi will take you just about anywhere on Koh Kret for 50 THB (USD 2) per person. it’s also quite safe as it is impossible to drive too fast on Koh Kret.
Relax at the Koh Kret Brewery (Chit Beer)
Once you’ve finished your journey around the island be sure to drop by Chit Beer, otherwise known as the Koh Kret Brewery.
The owner Chit brews his beers from Monday to Friday every week, only to have them entirely consumed during Saturday and Sunday. His beers have become so popular that he even runs beer brewing courses!
Brewing your own alcohol is actually illegal in Thailand. Something to do with Chang and Singha corporations having a monopoly over the market. However, this doesn’t stop Chit.
The Koh Kret Brewery is open weekends only as per our last visit. If you loved Chit Brewery then you will also love my favorite bars in Bangkok with live music!
Stay Overnight on the Island
Want to enjoy traditional Thailand a little longer? It’s also possible to stay overnight on Koh Kret in one of a few small homestays.
I have never done this, but have passed a few small wooden homestays which offer this. As you wander around the island keep an eye out for homestay signs then drop in to say hello.
How to get to Koh Kret from Bangkok
We got to Koh Kret using the Chao Praya Express followed by a taxi in the morning. We returned from Koh Kret to Bangkok by taxi to save some time.
Boat – The most interesting way to get to Koh Kret from Bangkok is by boat. First, take the Chao Praya Express from Saphan Taksin Pier to Nonthaburi pier (last stop), which takes about 1 hour. From Nonthaburi pier, you can take a longtail boat to Koh Kret. Be warned that these boats are often overpriced and a sucker for tourists. The better option is to get a taxi from Nonthaburi pier to Koh Kret costing less than 100 THB (USD 3).
Taxi – It is also possible to get to Koh Kret from Bangkok directly by taxi. This is probably the better option for returning home after a long day out. A taxi takes about 30-45 minutes and costs about 300 THB. Tip: ask the taxi driver to use the elevated expressway (tang duwan) to avoid the terrible Bangkok traffic.
Bus – Bus routes 104 and 166 will also get you from Bangkok to Koh Kret. Local Bangkok buses might be cheap, however, they are slow, hot, not air-conditioned and cramped. Take the bus if you want to save money, but you’ve been warned.
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