Day trip to the Koh San Chao canal community in Bangkok

Today I visited the isolated Koh San Chao community in Taling Chan district of Bangkok for their annual worship festival. It is centered around Wat Champa, an Ayutthaya period temple, and surrounded by two canals Khlong Bang Ramat and Khlong Ban Sai. The best time to visit is at the weekend, though it is not easy if you don’t have your own transportation. However, there is a boat tour from Khlong Lat Mayom floating market and I’ve also been here before on a day trip with HiveSters. The following photos were posted live on social media during my day trip today.

Trip date: 21st April 2018

Map of the Koh San Chao community in Taling Chan district of Bangkok. There are no roads here. Just canals and pathways. If you come to visit, park your car at Wat Champa. Map: https://goo.gl/maps/hbv71ZPkw1m

Our first stop in the Koh San Chao community in Bangkok is Wat Champa, which dates back to the Ayutthaya period. It is decorated with Chinese porcelain and stucco art on the gables. Map: https://goo.gl/maps/XEuALC7zUSp

Breakfast this morning was Khao Tom, a rice soup with shrimp and crispy tofu.

Buddhist merit making this morning in the Koh San Chao community. This is an annual event that takes place at the Chao Pho Shui shrine. Map: https://goo.gl/maps/5oMMxaBoY5R2

Ban Wangchan is a beautiful Thai-style house belonging to Khun Thaweesak and his family. At the weekend he opens the compound to visitors which then becomes a kind of living museum. Map: https://goo.gl/maps/ZWogwtkyuwy

The Chao Pho Shui shrine is important to everyone in the Koh San Chao community. The shrine has been here more than a hundred years guarding the intersection of two canals. Shui is a Chinese word for water. Map: https://goo.gl/maps/tQ9oime3xET2

One of the traditional handicrafts in the Koh San Chao community is the carving of banana trunks. In the past they were used during funerals. This one also has a naga serpent carved from a pumpkin.

Our next stop in the Koh San Chao community in Bangkok is a house where they make a Thai dessert called Foi Thong, which is sweet golden treads made of egg yolk. It seems quite easy to make and in fact if you like, they will let you try.

Our next stop in the Koh San Chao community is Ban Khrueng Hom (บ้านเครื่องหอม ชุมชนเกาะศาลเจ้า) where you can try your hand at making decorative garlands made from scented powder. Map: https://goo.gl/maps/88fooe9gejt

Our final stop in the Koh San Chao community is Ban Chak San where they weave dried pandanas palm leaves to make decorative items for the house and for ceremonies. I had a go but it’s not as easy as they make it look.

There are special activities in Koh San Chao community (เกาะศาลเจ้า) all this weekend including demonstrations of local art and craft, food and Thai dance. This is an annual event that takes place after the Songkran festival.

The Koh San Chao community in Bangkok is relatively isolated. There are no roads here. The paths are only just wide enough for motorcycles. The postman, noodle vendor and even the garbage collectors all get around by boat.

If you don’t have your own transportation, you can visit the Koh San Chao community on a boat tour from Khlong Latmayom Floating Market for about 60 Baht. These operate every weekend. Map: https://goo.gl/maps/fpXeeeSEMY82

From Koh San Chao we went on a boat trip to Uncle Niyom’s Orchid Farm in Taling Chan district of Bangkok. You can also go here on a boat tour from Lat Mayom Floating Market. A bunch of cut orchids is only 10 Baht. Map: https://goo.gl/maps/3hZ4VyKehaQ2

A late lunch at Lat Mayom Floating Market in the western outskirts of Bangkok. Open every weekend. Best to come here early before it gets crowded. This is one of my favorite riverside markets despite the crowds. Map: https://goo.gl/maps/edhdiuQ6ta62

If you’re interested in collectibles from past generations then you should visit Suksasom Museum (พิพิธภัณฑ์สุขสะสม) in Thawi Watthana district of Bangkok. Open every day except Wednesdays from 10:30am-6pm. Entrance fee is 100B/50B. Map: https://goo.gl/maps/faJ3hMTLsAF2

Suksasom Museum has over 300,000 collectibles ranging from toys, clocks, cooking utensils, and radios to replicas of real shops and even a classroom. It is a fascinating look into Thailand of yesteryear.

That’s a wrap on my day trip to the Koh San Chao community near Wat Champa in Taling Chan district of Bangkok. I hope you enjoyed my photos and I’ve inspired you to visit.

8 comments

  1. Sandy Kinvig. Ms says:

    I will be inn Bangkok in September and would love to go to Koh SAN Chao..but as I’m a lone traveller Hivsters charge would be £150 which is too much. I thought of taking the BTS to Bangwa and then a taxi to the floating market at Lat Mayom and join the boat trip…do you stay in the boat or do they let you get off to walk around the community…any advice would be appreciated

  2. Peter says:

    Thank you for writing about the Koh San Chao community in BKK. Also the lovely pictures. I hope to visit the community on my next visit to Bangkok 🙂

  3. Hi Richard,
    I met you about a month or so back at the Ministry of Education. I organise the Bangkok English Speakers Lunch Group. Would you mind if I joined you on a few of your trips? You know the city so well and it would help me plan some more great adventures.

  4. Ali says:

    Thank you very much Richard. I really enjoyed reading your blog and will visit next time I visit Bangkok. Your blog is a treasure trove of wonderful photos and writing.

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