Looking for a great place to hop on the ol’ bicycle and get some fresh air over the weekend? Nicknamed the Green Lung, the Bang Krachao green space is located in the outskirt district of Phra Pradaeng, and is an absolutely fantastic place within the city limits to explore.
Nestled within a large bend in the Chao Phraya River, the Green Lung is appropriately named. Besides the fact that you’ll be filling your lungs with clean air, the whole area itself closely resembles a green lung when you look at it from above. Open up a satellite image of Bangkok and see if you can spot it.
How to get there
The best way to reach it is to take a boat (most likely a long-tail boat) across the river for THB10 per person. The boats moor around the piers near Wat Klong Toey Nok — a temple worth visiting for a moment and admiring in its own right.
Once you get to the other side, you’ll have a few bicycle shops to choose from. Most of them offer bicycle rentals for THB80-100 per day, and you’ll get a handy map of the area. The owners are all very friendly and will happily offer advice and assistance.
Be sure to bring along some form of ID to use as collateral (and some sunscreen or a hat wouldn’t be a bad idea either). Pick out a bike that suits you and off you go!
What to see
The Green Lung has the feel of a tiny country village. All the roads are small, and rarely see much traffic. There are no large buildings, as the whole area is a heritage site. Lining the streets you’ll see lovely little traditional wooden houses and shops dotted in and amongst the many palm trees and flowers.
You’ll also see some raised concrete paths that run off into the jungle from time to time on either side of the road. If you aren’t an experienced cyclist, you should definitely jump off your bicycle before venturing down one of these. They are only about a meter wide, quite high off the ground, and a lot of the times don’t have fences which makes them rather treacherous for the newbies. Of course, the experienced locals happily drive their motorcycles along these paths.
There are a few nearby locations of note that are also worth visiting. The closest place to check out is the Siamese Fighting Fish Gallery. If you are expecting these fish to be large and violent, then you might be in for a bit of a letdown as they are quite the opposite, though they are very colorful. The gallery is located below a traditional Thai stilt building in a large, well-maintained garden. There is plenty of shade and a good playground for children. Best of all, it’s completely free.
Also worth visiting are some of the quaint little local temples including: Wat Rat Rangsan, Wat Bang Kobua, and Wat Kong Kaew to name a few. All of these temples feature some beautiful architecture and colored glass work. Though it’s not specifically required, it’s always a good idea to dress somewhat respectfully when visiting temples.
If you’re willing to go a little farther afield, there’s the Bangkok Tree House, a gorgeous eco resort that caters to people really trying to become one with nature. With its walkways in the canopies, green walls, open platforms, and its huge windows, this place certainly has a wow factor. While a bit on the pricey side, the rooms are top-notch and if you are looking to spend a night in the area, and spend it in style, then you needn’t look any further.
The one place that definitely shouldn’t be missed is the Sri Nakhon Khuean Khan Park and Botanical Garden. It’s a beautiful, luscious park filled with well paved bike lanes and wooden walkways that weave their way through the dense forest and many water features. There are plenty of nice spots and viewpoints to park your bike and take a rest.
If you’re lucky, you might find someone selling fish food for THB10-15 a bag. There are a lot of large fish in the ponds as well as turtles and the occasional giant monitor lizard.
Like the fish gallery, this park is also free.
As with anywhere in Thailand, cheap, delicious food is never far away. If you happen to go on the weekend, be sure to head over to the local floating market — Talad Nam Bang Nam Peung. This is a large market full of wonderful things to eat and drink, souvenirs to peruse, and clothes to buy.
All the prices are extremely reasonable. As this is not a common place for tourists, you won’t have to deal with overpriced products, annoying scams, or pushy salespeople.
Other than that, there are plenty of branching pathways that lead to all kinds of interesting curiosities like a clay bed overrun with mudskippers, a strange, giant, old boat loading machine, or a little thatched hut that sells noodles for THB10 per bowl.
You won’t find the location for these places on the internet and I wouldn’t dream of ruining it for you. If you have the time, go explore and get lost in the Green Lung. You’ll be glad you did.