The Green Lung of Bangkok
Phra Pradaeng, Bangkok, 2013-12-15 12:00 by Laerke
Last weekend we decided to take a trip to “Bangkok’s Green Lung” it is a place we have wanted to go probably since we moved here almost two years ago. We just somehow never really got around to it. But with our departure from Bangkok looming we decided it was now or never!
This “green lung” is filled with coconut groves, old teak houses, Buddhist temples and lots of bike-friendly elevated sidewalks snaking through the jungle: this is Phra Pradaeng, a government-protected oasis of green that the mighty Chao Phraya River wraps around. And the air feels a lot fresher on this side!


This lush “lung” is all the more remarkable because it is just across the river from Bangkok. The contrast between Phra Pradaeng and the concrete jungle on the opposite bank could not be more striking. Downtown Bangkok’s central Silom business district is only about 10km away.

The boat that ferried us across – here looking towards the Bangkok side
A typical Thai spirit house we came across down a quiet side street

We jumped on a small longtail boat from Klong Toey Port’s rows of gritty, busy docks and industrial complexes – 10 baht per person. Upon alighting at Bang Krachao on the other side of the river we were immediately greeted by an older Thai man who offered bicycles for rent, 100baht per bike and then you have it for the whole day. There was no deposit or leaving you driver’s license, nope here the honesty system prevails and we just paid and set off.

Pic Pic

It is easy to get lost in the maze of elevated paths and mud roads that slither through the forests and villages. But the area is so small that in a matter of minutes you end up either back where you started or on a slightly bigger road where it is easy to regain you sense of direction. We headed down interesting looking side roads and down the elevated concrete boardwalks the area is most know for – it is beautiful to ride down these narrow paths and a bit adrenaline inducing to try to keep the bike ON said narrow path!


The area is enclosed on three sides by the river, and packed with coconut trees and villages. It is really rural and has a very small-town feel, if it hadn’t been for the occasional skyscraper peeking up over the treeline we could’ve easily forgotten that we were surrounded by urban sprawl.


All this cycling had us working up an appetite, so we headed to the “floating” market (only open on weekends I believe). This is Phra Pradaeng’s most popular spot. The name is a bit misleading though, as with the exception of the odd boat or two serving up some noodles, the market is actually located on raised concrete walkways. But “floating market” does sound better than “concrete walkway market” :) Here we unexpectedly ran into a group of friends from Bangkok and we enjoyed lunch together sitting at low tables munching on satay, phat thai, tod man pla and slurping manao soda. Good stuff!


If you enjoy bike riding and want to escape the busy, congested streets of Bangkok for a day you should definitely head to Phra Pradaeng. There are no major sights but it is a fun way to spend a day surrounded by nature.