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Koh Kred (Ko Kret), Thailand

Koh Kred (Ko Kret), Thailand

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Published by M.G. Edwards
Story about a trip to Koh Kred Island near Bangkok, Thailand. September 3, 2011.
Story about a trip to Koh Kred Island near Bangkok, Thailand. September 3, 2011.

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Published by: M.G. Edwards on Sep 21, 2011
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12/04/2011

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© 2011 Brilliance Press. All rights reserved.
-1-
OH
RED
(K 
O
RET
)
By M.G. Edwards
September 3, 2011My family and I recently moved toBangkok, Thailand. Our inaugural outingtook us to Koh Kred, also known as Ko Kret,an island in the Chao Phraya River in thePak Kret district of greater Bangkok. It wasa fun but wet adventure.Created in 1722 when the Thais builtthe Khlong Lat Kret navigation channel,Koh Kred is the home of a popular form of terracotta pottery known as Monam Lai Wichit and a peaceful atmosphere far from the buzz of nearby Bangkok. A Buddhist temple, Wat Paramaiyikawatworawihan, dominates the northeasternpart of the island and features a uniquepagoda, Chedi Mutao, that leans over theriver as if inspired by the Tower of Pisa. Thetemple (
wat 
) is one of several dotting theisland influenced by the Mon (Raman), andethnic group that preceded the Thais in theChao Phraya delta region and flourishes between the 6
th
and 10
th
centuries A.D. (Theother temples on the island are WatPhailom, Wat Saotongthong and WatChimphi.) The Mon, who are prevalent
among the island’s inhabitants, run many 
 pottery and souvenir shops and stalls in Ko
Kret’s markets. One village on the easternside of the island known locally as the “KohKred Pottery Village” is supported by theThai government’s “
One Tambon One
Product” (OTOP) local entrepreneurship
program
. (A “tambon” is an administrative
subdistrict. OTOP-style programs arepopular in Asia.) We took a ferry from the western bank of the Chao Phraya River to theisland at Wat Sanamnau. We should have known what lay ahead after wadingthrough muddy waters that washed over the ferry gangway. Flooding on the ChaoPhraya River had raised the water level a meter higher than normal,foreshadowing a soggy visit to Koh Kred. Ferry operators overloaded the boat with tourists, whose weight caused the boat to list and elicited startled gasps from
 
© 2011 Brilliance Press. All rights reserved.
-2-trepid Western and Thai passengers. I surveyed the river as the bloated woodenferry struggled to cross over to the island. The river was swollen and churned brown with silt and debris floating fromupstream. The lush green landscape fed by heavy rainfall was interspersed with ramblerhouses bedecked with orange Asian tilescrowding either side of the river. A few moremeters of floodwater would have submergedthe entire area in a murky soup.The boat dumped us on a metalgangway superheated by the morning sun.Barefoot from traipsing through the water at
 Wat Sanamnau, I did an involuntary “hot,hot, hot!” dance on the pier until the crowds subsided and let me pass to shore
, where I could put on my shoes. My family and I wandered briefly through the WatParamaiyikawatworawihan temple groundsas the sun beat down on us. I admired themixture of ornate Buddhist architecture withtraces of Mon influence most apparent infacades of some wooden structures.Snapping photos and video, we stopped toenjoy somedeliciouscoconut icecream before wandering into the covered market.(The ice cream was a concoction of vanilla ice cream,sticky rice, and processed coconut milk.)Stalls turned to shops in a covered areaflanking the north side of the island. We browsed thestores but did not buy much. I purchased an over-the-
top faux Thai “silk” shirt for a few dollars whi
le my  wife sampled and bought delicate Thai desserts madefrom boiled egg yolk and other confections. Ourdisinterested son bumped along with us and zeroed inon some items he thought might make good
toys, but the shops at Koh Kred didn’t
makemany products appealing to young boys. As we walked along an elevated corridor abouttwo feet above ground, we noticed that water had flooded shops with floors atground level. The shop owners did not seemto mind standing or sitting in water and were more preoccupied with making salesto the few visitors who had braved the
 
© 2011 Brilliance Press. All rights reserved.
-3-flooding. Accustomed to the flooding, the vendorstended displayed their wares on tables in standing wateras if it did not exist! Some of the wealthier shop ownersinstalled raised flooring that helped keep their storesdry.The water level rosehigher the farther we walked and flooded themarket on Koh Kred. Weassumed the corridor where we were walking wouldreclaim the high ground andpressed on with bare feet, wading through the wateruntil we reached dry groundagain. I enjoyed the exotic feel of wading throughfloodwater; my son and wife did not share my enthusiasm and fretted over whether critters lurkedin the water waiting to nip their toes or infiltratetheir bodies. I was reassured by the flowing water that it did not carry waterbornediseases common in stagnant cesspools. Just to be safe, I gave my son a piggy  back ride through the water, much to his relief. We crossed two more flooded areas. Again on dry land, we dried our feet and put on our shoes. Thefloodwater was a novelty but distracted us fromshopping in the market, a sentiment likely shared by other visitors around us judging by the empty shops with nary a shopper.Performers dressed in ethnicThai garb entertained anonexistent crowd at a smalloutdoor theater. The waterheld their potential audienceat bay. Water overtook thecorridor again, and we wadedinto it one more time. The flooding was more extensivehere. We wandered through the flooded corridor for afew minutes vainly searching for dry land, but none was in sight. My wife and I decided to turn around andhead for lunch instead. We had had enough of thesubmerged market! We stopped at a riverside restaurant on stilts jutting into the Chao PhrayaRiver. Delicious Thai food simmering in trays wafted from a small counter in themiddle of the restaurant. I played it safe and ordered pad Thai, the quintessentialThai dish; my son ate his usual fried rice with shrimp; and my wife chose pad see

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