Monday, November 28, 2011

Welcome to the Jungle: Phra Phradaeng, Bangkok's "Green Lung"

While researching Bangkok's waterway transit, I came across some descriptions of this hidden world just across the river from southern Bangkok. I read that there were anacondas and other jungle creatures lurking beneath the raised concrete walkways that span this very undeveloped peninsula, and that it is a popular bike tour destination. SOLD.

It was actually kind of tricky to get there, as there isn't much in the way of indication on the maps as to where the piers are. There is even less information about the peninsula itself, as you'll see from my Google Maps route.

I didn't see any anacondas, but what I did see was a fascinating part of greater Bangkok that even many Bangkokians do not know about and have never visited. Much of the peninsula/island is inaccessible to four-wheeled vehicles, and as a result you end up traversing these raised concrete walkways that cross canals and marshland between palm plantations and straight up jungle. It's kind of a nature preserve but also a sleepy suburban community.

You can take your own bike (if you do, I recommend leaving from the Bang Na pier, which I've marked on the map) or rent one, if you take the skiff from the Khlong Toei pier, also marked more or less on the map. That's a location you'll probably have to ask your way to, as I did, unless you have access to a radically more detailed map than I had. Some pictures to give you an idea of what this place was like:

There are water buffaloes around that bend, I was soon to discover.
Romantic bicycle walkway shot
Rickshaw central, near the floating market and temple complex
Taking a break from ferrying people around the peninsula
King of all he can see
Leaving Phra Phradaeng on the boat to Bang Na
Map of the whole journey, with these images mapped and some extra ones:

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