Hiking in Bangkok…wait, what? Introducing the Green Lung of Bangkok!
Hiking in Bangkok: The Best Activity You’ve Never Heard Of!
It’s never the first thing that springs to mind when you think of being a tourist in Thailand’s capital, but hiking in Bangkok is actually a beautiful and rewarding experience. The city isn’t all grit and urban landscape; there are also some pockets of stunning open space and you’ll be surprised at what scenery you come across if you get out on your own two feet. Here are our three favorite places to hike in and around the city.
Prapadaeng is often described as the green lung of Bangkok. Located just across the river from the main urban center, it’s still a residential district but comes without the usual crowds and traffic. Start by taking a boat across the river from the Bang Na or Khlong Toey boat stations, and head towards Bang Krachao park.
There’s a network of walkways here for you to follow so you can just enjoy stretching out your legs and diving deep into this green neighborhood. Watch out for bicycles whizzing past- bike here is also a popular activity here! Every now and again you’ll come across a small hill so make sure you power up those to make it feel like you’ve done a bit of exercise.
Our favorite thing to do here is to strike off sideways on the small tracks that lead into the jungle areas. Some of them are dead ends, some of them loop round to different walkways and some of them end at small houses, but it doesn’t really matter. It’s an adventure either way and the pleasure is in the journey here.
Next up is an island located just outside the city center and populated by the local Mon people. The river forms a barrier between Ko Kret and the rest of Bangkok, so you really feel like you’ve escaped to somewhere a bit special. The paths here are unpaved and the atmosphere decidedly rural; there’s no set route that you should take but if you fancy a run then head for the one paved path that winds around the island. It’s 5km long so a few laps should tire you out!
The nice thing about Ko Kret is that you can soak up a bit of culture while you’re hiking. The Mon people are famous for their beautiful ceramics, so check out their handmade pots and plates as you go. Most of the island is uninhabited though so don’t worry about solitude, you’ll find plenty of that here. To access Ko Kret, take the BTS to Saphan Taksin and catch the fast boat across the river (look out for the green flag so you know you’re on the right one).
Nam Pha Pa Yai
We’ve looked at a couple of nice walks within the city limits, so let’s finish with something a little more strenuous. Nam Pha Pa Yai camp is about an hour’s drive from Bangkok but is worth the journey, as it’s a beautiful and wild place that’s tailor-made for hiking. The area is characterized by limestone cliffs, jagged rocks and lush, lush jungle. Rock climbers flock here to test themselves on the 200 different routes up the sheer rock faces but you don’t need to grab a harness to enjoy what Nam Pha has to offer.
The central camp area has some information available about where to hike so that’s a good place to start. If you get absorbed in the local atmosphere and feel like staying a bit longer then you can rent a tent for a crazy low amount of baht and sleep overnight- a full set-up including sleeping bag should set you back less than $5!
Make sure you turn up with good sturdy shoes rather than flip flops, and tell someone where you’re going as this is wild country and people do get lost here. To get here by private vehicle head north out of Bangkok on the Viphavadi Rangsit Freeway, exiting to the right at Saraburi. Public transport is limited so your best bet is to grab a bunch of buddies and hire a car or red truck together.
Hiking in Bangkok is a great for the body and the soul.
Spend any amount of time in the capital and you’ll soon find that it can be an intense experience. Taking a bit of time away from the intimidating crowds to do a bit of hiking is a great way to clear your mind, exercise your body and relax. Grab your shoes and your sun cream and go explore!