Bangkok's "Green Lung" of Bang Krachao seems to be getting quite popular, at least in terms of blog mentions. Billed as a respite from the city chaos, it is a neighborhood well within the city limits, that thankfully hasn't been developed. It sits south of the river's oxbow and the only land access point is to the South West, the opposite side to where we live. So making it even more interesting is the fact would get to it by boat.
I followed Mark Wien's directions to the letter. Taxi to Khlong Toei temple, walk past the temple to the pier, pay the tiny old lady 5 bhat, and hop on a longboat. That boat drops you off at a rickety pier that doubles as a bike rental shop. We haggled a bit over who got which dodgy bike, which seat was the least crap, and which bike squeaked in the least ear splitting way. Stephanie lost that one, she rode alongside us all day sounding like a distressed dolphin.
A beautifully shitty hand-drawn-then-photocopied map was our oracle for the afternoon. First stop was the Sri Nakhon Kuean Khan Park, manicured, signposted and full of relaxing families, bird-watching towers and boardwalks.
There's a hipster hotel/restaurant on the river here called the Bangkok Treehouse. It is lauded as being sustainable, eco-friendly, cool all the trappings of a millennial magnet. Finding it was another story. Because of the low-lying or possibly ancient nature of this area, access to homes is limited to narrow elevated concrete pathways. So main road, 2 lanes no problem. Anything smaller is half of Mike's wingspan and has a barrier on one side (how do they decide which side to protect you from?). As a road (not mountain) cyclist, staying calm and straight on these little strips of rock was unnerving. Corners were very worrying. Signposts were useless. We followed our noses and some rudimentary Thai until we found a cool pile of cubes that made up the hotel.
Back to safety on the main road, we followed the crowds that were parking alongside a Khlong. Following our noses, we found a charming little floating market where we had a few bowls of 20 bhat noodles and 100 bhat sunglasses.