Since our guests are adventurous, outdoorsy sorts, I arranged for a half-day bicycle tour of the “Bangkok Jungle” through Spiceroads. Located just across the river from the Khlong Toei district (which includes the part of Sukhumvit Road that I live in), this jungle is just that – an isolated and undeveloped section of the larger metropolitan area. Joining us were a pair of expats, one American and the other British, who I know.
The reason that Phra Pradaeng, the green patch nearly encircled by the Chao Phraya River, has avoided development is that it is actually part of Samut Prakan province instead of Bangkok. Zoning laws were enacted to limit development in this section of the province. The area is often referred to as the “lungs of Bangkok” and includes a large public park.
Our starting point for the tour was a restaurant near the Thong Lo BTS Skytrain station. We rode through a little bit of city traffic, although mostly on back sois (alleys), and then through the slum area of Khlong Toei down near the port. Finally, we boarded a long-tail boat and left the city behind.
On the other side of the river, any sign of the hustle and bustle of the nation’s capital quickly melted away as we rode along small roads and elevated concrete paths through banana, coconut, and lychee plantations. Except for the occasional view of a skyscraper peeking over the horizon, you could easily forget where you were.
We had time for several breaks, seeing some of the local sites (which are limited), feeding the fish in the park, and trying a Thai snack of sticky rice and starchy bananas steamed in banana leaf.
Back at the pier as we waited for our boat, some local children swam in the edge of the river, showing off for us by performing ever more daring stunts. Here, a double flip into murky waters.
Back near our starting point, I peeked in the front gate of a complex that is usually closed. I don’t know what it is, but it looks almost like a shinto temple. Very beautiful.
That third pic looks like a beautiful and peaceful place to ride or walk. What is that building on the pier ?
Your guests are very fortunate. They get to go to places that are non-tourist traps.
I guess you could start a bicycle tour, may do pretty well for sure? I’ll be the first group to sign up!
I didn’t know about the jungle in the middle of the city! Looks like a great way to spend the day. I don’t know if I’d want to get any of that water on me… murky is being kind.
Whew… that’s a pretty long tour. The last picture, that temple reminds me a bit of the palace in Tokyo w/o the moat.
Wow, this post is fabulous! Do you have any more pictures you can share? It is wonderful to see a piece SE Asian forest that hasn’t been decimated by Agent Orange or B-52s. I also loved the playfulness that you caught of the kid flipping into the river!
I don’t know if I could take the tour but your photos make me want to try. It seems to be the only way to really see the countryside and people.
excellent bike tour through the jungle lungs
I really liked this one. Thanks for sharing your stories with us.
You are welcome.