Saturday, February 6, 2010

And we almost ended up in Phuket

*Note: Koh Kret and Phuket, though their names may sound alike, there's a very big difference between the two. One is a tropical island paradise that's a 14 hour drive from Bangkok and the other is a river island reachable from Nonthaburi within minutes. Can you guess which ones which? Or which one we were trying to get to for our day trip? *

In order to take full advantage of our time left in Thailand some of us girls decided to try to knock all the places off our Thialand "to see" lists in the remaining weeks we have until we fly back to America. Bridget had never been to Koh Kret (aka Pottery Island) so she asked if I would want to go with her this weekend since we're staying in Nichada (an expat community closer to the Island than our school is). Although I had been before and it wasn't too exciting the first time I thought hey why not. So that afternoon we went out to the street and got a taxi. As I slid into the backseat I told the driver "By Koh Kret." I knew we would be in a for a rough time when I saw the confused look on his face. So I repeated it and again, alas, he was still confused but he motioned us in, muttering to himself "koh Kret, Koh Kret, Koh Kret" as he whipped out his cellphone and dialed a friends number. When the friend picked up he muttered something about farang and then handed the phone to me. I greated the anonymous friend and they asked me where I wanted to go so I told her "Koh Kret," "Oh you want to go to Pattaya" she replied, "No, Koh Kret," "Oh Phuket," "No, Koh Kret," "Oh Pattaya.....Phuket," this was getting frustrating. Since we were obviously packed incredibly light there's no way he could think we were heading to Phuket. I handed the phone back to our driver and pulled out my own phone to call our administrator Esther, hopeing she would be able to help us get to the right place. It was a prefect plan. When he hung up the phone with Esther he finally had a look on his face that seemed something like understanding so we just let him go on and trusted he would get us to the right place. At least he seemed to be going in the right direction.
Now this story would probably be much more interesting had we ended up somewhere wrong and random, sorry to disappoint because with that little bit of help he got us exactly where we needed to go, The Pa Kret PIer (Tanam Pa Kret). Having never been to the Pa Kret Pier before we had to wander a bit before we figured out where to go and what boat to get on. For 10 Baht each we were able to take a long boat ride over to the island. Thankfully I brought my scarf because when the boat started to pick up speed, river water was flying in our faces. Who knows what diseases are in that mess.

Now, let me tell you a little bit about Pottery Island. It's definitely a tourist stop but I get a great impression that it's Thai tourists, not foreigners that visit the island, although you do see a few random Farang (foreigners) now and then. The island itself is fairly small. You could walk around the whole thing in an hour or so if you wanted but most visitors stay along the western path, and because it is so small there are no cars, tuk tuks or any other type of motor vehicle so it offers a welcomed break from the chaotic world in the city.
Our long boat driver dropped Bridget and I off at a pier closer to the middle of the island rather than the end where most other visitors are left. At first we were a little confused and had to gain our bearings but then it all came back to me and we headed off in the right direction. To get a name like Pottery Island, obviously the people here must specialize in pots and other items made of clay . While, during my first visit I remembered visiting a "factory," and seeing some beautiful carved pots for sale here and there, I didn't see much more pottery presence on the island, but, since my first visit they've gotten some new and genius ideas. Like putting drinks in pots instead of cups. That's right, for the same price as a big gulp at 7-11 you can get your Pepsi in a carved clay pot complete with rope handle. Just watch out, it's a bit heavy. Prefer a cartoon character like Doremon over traditional? They've got that too. And what about if you want ice cream instead? Also covered. The coconut ice cream venders all have little clay dishes you can enjoy your icy treat in. Forget cheesy souvenir cups from Disneyland, I want a clay pot from pottery island!
We spent the rest the afternoon walking around, making friends with a wooden dinosaur, eating some good food and of course taking pictures. We were there for about 3 hours and that was more than enough time. It wasn't boring and we enjoyed ourselves.
So is Pottery Island (Koh Kret) worth a visit? I think so. Don't expect a lot of exciting activities but if you want to have a relaxing day where you can truly get into the culture head to Pottery Island because you won't be disappointed.

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