Koh Kret also known as Ko Kred, is an island in the Chao Phraya River, 20 km north of Bangkok in Nonthaburi Province.
The island dates back to 1722, when a canal was constructed as a shortcut to bypass a bend in the Om Kret branch of the Chao Phraya river.
The island continues to serve as a refuge to the Mon tribes who dominated central Thailand between the 6th and 10th centuries and have retained a distinct identity in their flavor of Buddhism and their distinctive pottery.
The island is roughly square in shape, each side measuring about 2 km, and a path runs around the entire island. The walk at a pleasant pace takes an hour and a half or two hours.
Koh Kret is another world compared to Bangkok and much of it retains the air of a rustic village, with wooden shacks propped against palm trees and the occasional dilapidated temple slowly crumbling. Hence the main attraction is just walking around, browsing the merchandise in the many pottery shops.
Wat Poramai Yikawat is the main temple on the island. There are several white marble pagodas carved in the Mon style and a small museum showcasing the temple's treasury.
Ko Kret is renowned above all as a center for kwan arman style of Mon pottery, which is just baked unglazed red clay carved with intricate patterns. This is regarded as the most beautiful of all unglazed pottery available in Thailand.
Prices for the simplest and smallest pots start from as low as 5 baht a piece, but can go up to hundreds or even thousands of baht for large ornate pieces. Particularly popular among visitors are candle and incense holders with ornate patterns of holes to let the smoke or light out, averaging around 200 baht.
There are about twenty pottery workshops on the island and you will see many kilns as you walk around, where you can watch the potter at work, carving the intricate designs with remarkable speed and accuracy.
Thai and Mon snacks and desserts are plentiful, making your stroll that much more enjoyable. Favourites include Khao Cher, Tod mun pla nor gala and Mon tempura.
A number of stalls also serve chaa yen or iced tea and other drinks in red clay cups with carrying handles, which you can keep as a souvenir for a few baht extra.