Ko Kret (also Koh Kred) is an island in the Chao Phraya River, 20 km north of Bangkok, Thailand.
he island dates only to 1722, when a canal was constructed as a shortcut to bypass a bend in the Om Kret branch of the Chao Phraya river. As the canal was widened several times, the section cut off eventually became a separate island. The island continues to serve as a refuge to the Mon tribes who dominated central Thailand between the 6th and 10th centuries and have retained a distinct identity in their flavor of Buddhism and, particularly at Ko Kret, their pottery.
The easiest way to reach Ko Kret is to take the once-weekly Chao Phraya Express Ko Kret tour, which leaves the Central Pier (BTS Saphan Taksin) every Sunday at 09:00 and visits a number of attractions before returning at 15:30. The cost of the cruise and guided tour is 300 baht (no lunch). Many other companies also offer similar tours, often just as a stop on a longer upriver trip to Ayutthaya.
Wat Poramaiyikawat, at the north-east corner right next to the ferry landing. The main temple on the island, this old monastery is constructed in Mon (Burmese) style and is a focal point of Thailand's small Mon community: both the scriptures and the daily prayers here are in Mon. The ubosoth is decorated in Italian marble brought in by King Rama V, and a wooden pagoda near the pier houses the remains of one of the abbots. The white, Burmese-style stupa, modeled on Phra Tat Chedi Mutao in Hongsawadi, Myanmar, is said to contain the Buddha's relics.
Wat Poramaiyikawat Museum, tel. +66-25845120, open Mon-Fri 9 AM-4 PM. Next to the temple, this small museum displays various interesting items such as votive tablets, crystal ware, porcelains including ‘hem’, a master piece of art made by Colonel Chatwat Ngamniyom. Some say that Hem must be created by Mon who had an inspiration from the coffin of the Lord Buddha. Dried remains will be put in the normal hem coffin but the hem of monks is different with a tiny window where the body can be seen from outside.
Wat Chimplu Suttahawat is on the east coast, about 1 km south of the ferry landing and a good point to turn around if you're not planning to make the full circuit. The temple has a beautiful small chapel in a very good condition.
Phra Wiharn. This is the venue where the 9.5 metres long reclining Buddha of the late Ayutthaya period is enshrined. The edifice’s outside is decorated with King Rama V’s emblem. Nonthaburi’s Buddha image named ‘Phra Nonthamunin’ enshrined here behind Phra Wiharn was formed in the late Ayutthaya period. Besides, a charming marble Buddha image offered to King Rama V by a Burmese named Sang Sew Sun is placed in front of the Viharn. Opened daily from 9AM to 4PM.
Wat Sao Tong Thong. This long-dated temple used to be called ‘Wat Suan Mak’ is the site of Amphoe Pak Kret’s first primary school. Behind the chapel, the tallest pagoda of Pak Kret was constructed in the Ayutthaya style. Inside the chapel, the gorgeous ceiling paintings finely decorate the edifice. Another name of the temple in Mon is ‘Pia Arlart’.
Wat Phai Lom. This monastery built in the late Ayutthaya period and called by Mon people ‘Pia To’ has a charming chapel.
Kwan Aman Pottery Museum. This pottery museum is notable for its large collection of the distinctive ancient Mon design ceramics (see Buy beloew). Mon people have always been skillful in pottery since their settlement in the delta of Irawadi River. Later, at the time of Mon’s installation to Thailand during the Thonburi era, pottery has become since then Nonthaburi’s oldest handicraft and symbol with the notably beautiful characteristic Mon design. Opened every day from 9AM. to 5PM. For more information, please call 0 2584 5086, 0 2583 4134.