Skyrocketing gas prices are forcing many people to forego weekend outings and that's a shame, as some urban escapes don't require a car but energy of a different kind - like pedal power.
So strap on your helmet and steer your bike to Bangkok's southern 'burbs, where you'll find Bang Krachao, a green haven encircled by the river that's a popular haunt of biking buffs.
Spread over Samut Prakan's Phra Pradaeng district, between Sathorn Bridge and Pak Nam, Bang Krachao looks rather a giant kidney bean. The Chao Phya has acted as a natural fence and, up to now, has done much to keep the property developers away, so the mangroves and forestland have remained intact, offering an ideal escape from Bangkok without even leaving the capital
Every weekend, cyclists take a ferry across the Chao Phya to Bang Krachao then cycle slowly along tracks that crisscross the community and orchards of coconut palms, jackfruit and other tropical vegetation.
It's also rewarded to stop off at Wat Bang Krasorb and Wat Bang Nam Phueng Nok and admire the fine murals.
And when you get hungry, there's nowhere better for a pitstop than the Bang Nam Pheung floating market.
Every Saturday and Sunday, the riverside market springs to life, with hundred of food stalls selling everything from noodles to seafood BBQ. Gardener will also enjoy shopping various types of plants and flowers at very affordable prices.
Serene as it is surreal, it's hard to believe that Bang Krachao right next door to Bangkok one of the world's noisiest cities.
A world away
>> No bike, no problem. There are bicycles for hire at Bang Krachao. Call (089) 807 2501
>> You can cross the Chao Phya from three small piers: Bang Na, Klong Toei Nok and Chong Non Si