Outdoor activities with a healthy dose of curiosity, brought to you by Laure Latham
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Bangkok may not seem like an obvious candidate for cycling with kids in a jungle but thanks to years of conservation efforts, the city includes a massive and relatively unspoilt tropical jungle. There, crazy traffic and pollution are mostly an afterthought. People live in wooden houses on stilts and decorate their spirit houses with flowers from their garden. You can safely ride bicycles with your family and ride on elevated pathways through lush countryside. It is my girls’ favorite place to ride bicycles in Bangkok and visiting the food market at the end definitely hit the right notes with kids as you can find refreshing ice creams with typically Thai flavors.
In this video, I am sharing a day cycling with kids in Bangkok’s secret jungle.
I’ve taken this trip three or four times and I still get lost in the maze of canal-side pathways, but it’s still as enjoyable as ever. On my first visit, my youngest was five years old and sat sideways on a cushion strapped to the rear rack, as there were no child seats at the time. Things have greatly improved and tourists with families are spoiled for choice when choosing a bicycle to rent for the day. Big bikes, small bikes, folding bikes, kids’ bikes–the selection proves that the jungle now has a healthy fan base. I’ve also taken my uncle and aunt, my brother, friends and kids of friends. As you see, this excursion is for all the family and for your adventurous friends too!
For me, the best part of exploring Bang Krachao is that it’s a place that doesn’t require a tour guide to be enjoyed. You can do it on your own, at your own place and on your own schedule. You can stop by a food stand, decide to check out Bangkok Tree House, an eco-hotel on the river, or avoid big roads to stick to quieter lanes. If your kids need a water or a snack break, it’s all up to you and what your family prefers. It removes a lot of the pressure of visiting Bangkok on tight schedules and it’s also a heathy active way to see another side of the city. If you prefer some guidance with local insights, TripAdvisor is a great source for cycling tour companies.
When you look for it, you need to know that Bang Krachao also goes by the name of Phra Pradaeng, Phra Pradaeng being the name of the district in Samut Prakarn province. It’s confusing when the same place has two names but here it is.
You can access it
Click on the link below to download a map with a rough layout of what the peninsula looks like. In between marked roads, you’ll find a lot of unmarked pathways. Those are the ones interesting to explore.
The Bang Nam Phueng Floating Market is a popular destination at weekends, the Thai Fighting Fish Gallery has a cafe (and nice garden) and Bangkok Tree House features a restaurant (Reflect) with locally-sourced organic Thai food. In addition to these two options, you will find food stalls along paved roads and you can picnic on the lawn at Sri Nakhon Khuen Khan Park.
Despite its relatively sheltered status, Bang Krachao is threatened by new real estate projects. When last I was there, I noticed crude layouts for new (and wide) roads, precursors of more urban planning at work. I also noticed many new Thai-style McMansions. It would be a shame for this green paradise to be destroyed by corporate greed (once again).
If you feel inclined to add your voice to the Big Trees Project to help preserve this unique jungle in Bangkok, please check out their Facebook Page or talk to your friends about Bang Krachao so that local authorities realize how unique this area is for tourists. If anything, money is a great motivation to do (or not do) things and a thriving tourism business in a city jungle sure beats new suburbs.
I hope that this has inspired you to go cycling with your kids in Bangkok and that you will enjoy exploring Bang Krachao.