10 Aug 2013

Koh Kred, the meander that wanted to become island

Last week I moved to a new condo and started working at a new place, though I haven't left Bangkok, city that I plan to keep on walking and capturing for a while longer. I will need a bit of time to adjust to both beginnings, but the perspectives ahead are motivating, and I really feel this is going to be a great year, full of new people and experiences. As part of the "preparation week" at my school, all the teachers were invited to join a 1-day-trip to get to know each other before the start of the school year and the arrival of the students, next week. The place chosen was a small island in a meander of Chao Phraya River, a few kilometers north of central Bangkok: Koh Kred (also spelled as Ko Kret).

The bridge, GH3 + Lumix G X Vario 35-100mm

Rebuilding I, GH3 + Lumix G X Vario 35-100mm

Rebuilding II, GH3 + Lumix G X Vario 35-100mm

Koh Kred was simply a meander in the Chao Phraya River, but some 300 years ago a canal was dug to save the long curve and what started being just a shortcut, grew in width and ended up creating an island. Its size is not very big, but it accommodates a few small villages where most of the inhabitants belong to the Mon people, a community with a long history who live in different areas of Thailand since centuries ago.

Lady with straw hat I, GH3 + Lumix G X Vario 35-100mm

Lady with straw hat II, GH3 + Lumix G X Vario 35-100mm

Lady with straw hat III, GH3 + Lumix G X Vario 35-100mm

Koh Kred survives due mainly to 2 industries: rural activities, such as agriculture and fishing, and tourism, as it has become a usual spot for local tourism during the weekends, thanks to its deserts and other food specialities that are very appreciated by Thais. There are also a few temples and even a leaning Chedi for those who want to visit some cultural landmarks. However, for me, the most interesting aspect of the island was strolling leisurely the narrow roads, observing how people live their routines in a relaxing, unstressed way.

Pushing, GH3 + Lumix G X Vario 35-100mm

Lunch time, GH3 + Lumix G X Vario 35-100mm

The bait, GH3 + Lumix G X Vario 35-100mm

Today, Friday afternoon, there were not many tourists, so I could just walk around at my own pace, and stop whenever I wanted to take a picture, observe the people performing their daily tasks, and even practice my limited Thai with some friendly villagers. Suddenly I realized I was alone, when I was supposed to be socializing with my new colleagues, but we were going to have dinner all together in a few hours, so I could make up for this small lapse then.

Hungry I, GH3 + Lumix G X Vario 35-100mm

Hungry II, GH3 + Lumix G X Vario 35-100mm

The atmosphere is very peaceful at the island, all the roads are very narrow, spacious only for a motorcycle or a cart, so there are not many cars around; everybody in the island gets around by foot, bicycle or motorbike, and this sets the rhythm for all the activities that happen there: no hurries, but plenty of smiles.

Private matters, GH3 + Lumix G X Vario 35-100mm

Public matters, GH3 + Lumix G X Vario 35-100mm

Getting lost in the labyrinth of narrow, winding alleyways makes you feel like you have stepped back in time a few decades, when houses were made of wood and built on top of pillars, when vegetable gardens were the main income of a family, when doors were always open and all neighbors knew one another, when the community was as important as oneself. Eventually, signs of modernity have made its way inside the island, but it pretty much remains still a rural environment today.

Kitchen in the open, GH3 + Lumix G X Vario 35-100mm

Old and new, GH3 + Lumix G X Vario 35-100mm

Before sunset, all of us reunited again at the pier; some small groups had been wandering around the food stalls, trying the local specialities, others had been more adventurous and had been exploring the neighborhoods, while others had been spending their time talking with the new colleagues or visiting the temples. I spent my last minutes in the island enjoying the elegant and delicate flight of a group of butterflies searching for nectar, an exercise on precision and beauty that granted me a lucky shot, perfect to close the visit.

 Small shrine, GH3 + Lumix G X Vario 35-100mm

Mid-flight, GH3 + Lumix G X Vario 35-100mm

We took a last boat ride to the other river shore and, after a few minutes' van ride, we reached the resort where we would have dinner in an hour. It was drizzling, so most of the people preferred to sit indoors to enjoy a drink before dinner, but the resort was located at a very beautiful environment, and it was simply too tempting for me to ignore it. Thanks to the weather sealing of the camera, I could walk around the gardens unconcerned, and the small raindrops conferred the vegetation a lush glow that made it look even more beautiful.

Forgotten pottery, GH3 + Lumix G X Vario 35-100mm

Drizzle magic, GH3 + Lumix G X Vario 35-100mm

Family gathering, GH3 + Lumix G X Vario 35-100mm

If this get-together is any indication of what is to come this year, I'm very much eager to welcome it!


  1. Sigue enseñando tu mundo con tus excelentes trabajos.
    Un saludo.