Bangkok is a fascinating city with many exotic attractions, but hardly a destination for tourists seeking a peaceful spot in the bosom of nature. At least up to now, especially with the introduction of cheap Thailand flights. Take the Skytrain from central Bangkok to Bangna BTS station and then a taxi, local minibus or even walk to Sangphawut Pier, near the Bangna Nok Temple. Join the locals on the ferry across the Chao Praya River and in a short while you enter another world.
This is Bang Krachao Island. Set in mangroves and palm trees, this island is the Green Lung of Bangkok. It’s probably the only remaining area of Bangkok where trees cover most of the ground. Here six small communities make a modest living from farming and ferrying people across the river’s grey waters. It has 200-year old Buddhist temples and a modern development that will also take you back 200 years. After a five minute walk from the ferry pier through papaya and coconut orchards you reach the Bangkok Tree House hotel.
Built from metal and bamboo, it evokes the style of Bangkok’s historic quarter. But it has modern eco credentials. All the wood is reclaimed and the bamboo is locally grown. The wall insulation is made of juice cartons while LED lighting is solar or wind powered. There are solar ovens in the kitchen. The hotel management is also doing its best to clean up the Chao Praya River. It clears one kilo of debris floating in the water for each booking it takes.
Insects and ladders
This hotel offers a holiday with nature and modern comfort. It has just 11 rooms in a curious quirk, all named after insects that are set in individual lodges, each built on three levels. The ground floor is like a huge bathroom. There is an outdoor bathing area on a wooden balcony that offers a choice of traditional shower or rain shower. The glass floor in the toilet provides a view of the ground six feet below. Don’t worry about privacy; there are plenty of bamboo blinds.
Walk up the ladder stairs to a spacious bedroom with a comfortable bed, wall screen computer and that all important air conditioning. Temperatures here can reach 35 degrees Celsius. This is where you can chill away from the humidity outdoors. Another ladder leads to the roof top. Here there are beds for sunbathing or for relaxing while watching the night sky. You can even sleep outdoors. Raised pathways link each bungalow to the swimming pool and restaurant. There are three choices of food available: pescatarian, vegetarian or vegan, – the menu is meat free – all grown locally and organically.
Walk or rent a bike to explore the surrounding land along miles of pathways built by locals through the lush vegetation. You will pass all kinds of houses built on many levels in the low land. Some of the residents even offer herbal joss sticks that help to keep the mosquitoes away at night. There are roadside restaurants offering traditional fare before you return to your modern, eco friendly and uniquely peaceful hotel.
Image courtesy Bangkok Treehouse Hotel