Bang Krajao – The Green Lung of Bangkok

Most tourists can hardly believe it – but just a few minutes away from the center of Bangkok, a short drive from Sukhumvit and Silom skyscrapers, you’ll discover an ‘oasis’ named Bang Krajao – Bangkok’s giant green lung. The area is filled with nature, parks and orchards, lush and colorful plants of all sorts, lakes and water canals, walking trails, flowers and butterflies, singing birds and lots of peace and quiet… even a lovely, authentic floating market can be found there.

The place is called – Bang Krajao บางกระเจ้า and constitutes Bangkok’s giant green lung. Tourists from many countries have already started to discover this enchanting place, but most of them are exploring it as part of the bicycle tours run by many companies around Bangkok.

Even the tourists who do reach the area throughout these tours, are usually unaware of its name, location or how to get to the place independently. Moreover, tourists who have consulted a map and do know where the area is located, and even some of Bangkok’s old-time residents – do not know how to reach it. There are many easy ways to reach the area from different directions, either by car or by boat, but the process requires thorough acquaintance with Bangkok and its river path, its twists and turns.

Most Bang Krajao websites either belong to the bicycle tour operators or contain a nice description of the place, yet lack directions and means to get there. Therefore, I’ve decided to lead the way and post elaborate directions to the place – which will help you get there independently. These explanations will be detailed in a separate, designated article.

On a personal note, Bang Krajao is not only close to my heart, but also physically close to my residence; I watch the area every day from my balcony, as my apartment is located on the riverbank, right in front of the area.

Here I should point out that some of the tourists know Ko Kret, the “Island” on the Chaopraya River, which is also full of nature. It might be by chance or an act of god, but Ko Kret is located right next to my place of work at Nonthaburi.

The island of Ko Kret (which is reviewed in a separate article), is less attractive, less interesting, considerably farther away and unfortunately, was severely damaged in floods a couple of years ago; it is still being restored.

As you can see in the attached map, the Chaopraya River creates a giant loop which penetrates the very center of Bangkok. For your convenience, I have marked the area by writing its name in the middle.

Formally and administratively – Bang Krajao area belongs to Phra Pradaeng district in Samut Prakan Province, yet practically speaking, the green lung is located at the heart of Bangkok, less than 5 minutes from the Sukhumvit/Asoke intersection (where the famous Terminal 21 Shopping Center is located).

Until the 70’s, Bang Krajao was a godforsaken area, and its name didn’t even appear on maps. In 1977, the Thai government decided to preserve the nature in the area, and turn it into Bangkok’s green lung.

Using a budget of tens of millions of dollars, various facilities were built, including parks and special wood and concrete riding trails, designated for bikes and motorcycles only. A lot of money was invested in building unique guarding walls and dams, to prevent floods, and although people work and live in the area, the local construction laws are very strict. It is prohibited to build more than 2 floors up, and the building is restricted to low density.

To this day, Bang Krajao area contains a few villages, and the whole area is named after one of them. The Thai government also invested funds in the local residents, guided and encouraged them to develop gardens, orchards and handcraft workshops, in order to create work places and improve the local livelihood.

The touristic aspect was also taken into consideration, and several resorts were established in the place, including Home Stay, attracting many Thai people, and in recent years, quite a few tourists as well.

Bang Nampeung Floating Market – during Bang Krajao’s makeover, a small floating market which served local villagers, has completely changed, and became a large, impressive floating market called – Talat Nam Bang Nampeung.

The revived market offers a lot of shops and boutiques, stalls and restaurants.        Every weekend, the market is filled with crowds of Bangkok residents who come to shop and taste a variety of local cuisines, special treats and desserts, and enjoy the unique atmosphere. In recent years, the market became a popular destination among tourists as well. You can read more about Bang Nampeung in my article dedicated to the floating market.

Sri Nakhon Khuen Khan Park – inside Bang Krajao, lies one of the most beautiful and delightful parks of Bangkok. Many lakes, blooming gardens, giant trees and small bridges, as well as unwinding trails surrounded by nature, have made Sri Nakhon Khuen Khan a real, natural gem in the city.

You can stroll through the park, take a boat ride, or a bicycle tour (as you can see in the picture, various bicycle tours reach the place).

This article may come as a complete surprise for many of you – all of the sudden, a large area, filled with nature and activities emerges right in the middle of Bangkok, and only a few even knew it exists.

So we’ve strolled through the local trails, enjoyed a few delights in the floating market, bought a couple of souvenirs and handcrafts, took a boat ride in one of the lakes, rode a bike, what more could we possibly want? Perhaps a horse and carriage ride? It’s definitely an option! And if all of this wasn’t enough, and you’re suddenly in the mood to go see a Betta Fish habitat, you’ll also find it here, at Bang Krajao… in between the activities you can indulge in a Thai massage, which you will find in the market place.

Only one detail is left uncovered, how can you reach the area independently?

Arriving at Bang Krajao since many people, both local residents and tourists contacted me, expressing difficulties in finding the area, I’ve decided to post an article dedicated specifically to reaching Bang Krajao and Bang Nampeung Floating Market.

Here is the link to the article à Bang Nampeung Floating Market – Directions and Tips.

Important notice – the various tour programs offered by TipTop-Travel Private Family Adventure Tours will soon be posted on the website, and of course, Bang Krajao area will be included.

I am well aware of the fact that not too many tourists wish to spend a whole day riding bike, especially when it’s particularly warm and/or rainy in Thailand. Therefore, I’ve created a special tour to the area that combines a lovely ride in an air-conditioned vehicle, with an option for short bicycle tours in suitable areas, according to the tourists’ desires.

Additionally, the Bang Krajao area can definitely be combined with other attractions in Samut Prakan, such as the Three Headed Elephant Temple, the Crocodile Farm and Zoo, the Old City (Muang Boran) and more.

FYI: TipTop Private Family Adventure Tours includes Bang Krajao area in its Bangkok tour programs.

Dr. David
Thailand-Expert : Thailand Travel Guide
“TipTop Travel” : Thailand Private Family Adventure Tours