A charming area within the bounds of Bangkok is Phra Pradaeng, or “Green Lung”—a name which befits its rustic, laidback ambiance.  Time Magazine conferred on this place the honor of being the “Best Urban Oasis” in 2006—and for many good reasons.

 

A Quiet and Accessible Getaway

The amazing thing about Bangkok is that it offers the best of both worlds—a bustling city with all the amenities of the modern world and Phra Pradaeng, the tranquil spot anyone can conveniently hide away whenever one is hit with burnout from the chaotic city life.  And the wonder of it is that it’s not too far—in fact, it’s just 15 minutes away.  It’s literally just a step away yet the difference seems a world apart.  Time seems to stand still in Phra Pradaeng, and you are inclined to go slower, forget the rat race and just sit back to relax.  You can go rent a bike, ride a boat, get around in a man-powered rickshaw taxi, or just hike along and through lonely paths

 

A Nature Reserve

Phra Pradaeng is not called Green Lung without a reason.  The place is teeming with life—natural, tame life which thrives in abundance as if in thankful reward to the caring locals.  There is a large park with a bird hide and some other exotic flora and fauna you only saw in print.  Expect to see the most colorful and flimsy monarch butterflies you can find, snails as big as your fist, a dead serpent along the banks of the river and perhaps a gecko so big you’ll think it’s a crocodile.

 

Haven for Cyclists 

Cycling enthusiasts resort to Phra Pradaeng not just for the easy concrete trails which offer leisurely cycling, not just for the slithering dirt-roads which offer cycling challenge, not just for the bicycles-for-rent for just 100 bahts the whole day, but also for the sights and sounds along the way.  Stately palm trees waving as if in greeting, quaint birds with even quainter sounds, fragrant whiffs of wild flowers in bloom, and friendly locals who seem to have all the time in the world to be tour guides—these are added bonuses which await cyclists.  

 

Skyline View

Phra Pradaeng has a tower on which you can look out over Bangkok and see what many call to be the most stunning view of the city—a skyline hemmed in by trees and capped with that blue wonder we call sky.  Many have forgotten their troubles just by taking in that breathtakingly panoramic view.

 

Floating Market

Bangkok has a long-standing love affair with floating markets and Phra Pradaeng is no exception.  Talaat Nam Bang Nam Phun, literally meaning “Rare Honey Floating Market”, is a sweet, sweet rural fair of sorts where every edible thing in Thailand seems to be had, all for the taking.  A long stretch of riverside stores offer Thai fruits, vegetables and dishes which are so attractive they seem to have been painstakingly arranged just to impress.  

 

Clearly, Phra Pradaeng or Green Lung is a breath of fresh, pure, unadulterated air—right in the city, yet worlds away from the city.  It’s the perfect place to find peace, nature and harmony.