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The Best Parks in Bangkok


 

The word Bangkok usually conjures up images of a humid, crammed, concrete jungle that couldn’t be further away from the word ‘nature’ if it tried.

It is no secret that much of the existing greenery of Thailand’s capital city has been rapidly- diminishing for decades now. It may, in fact, seem sparse at a glance, especially to the legions of tourists visiting the region, but there are actually a surprising number of natural and green expanses once you delve a bit deeper into the city than the surface congestion that is ever-present.

The city has been introducing green initiatives for a number of years now, with still more planned future projects. This has been done mainly to combat worsening air pollution levels resulting from the high volumes of traffic, amongst other things, and is also an attempt to balance the continuous onslaught of over-development that the city suffers from.

In fact, as it stands, there are quite a few more established parks in the city of Bangkok than people may realise, and hopefully, this is on the increase due to re-development initiatives. In this article, we aim to cover some of the biggest, the best, the most established and the easiest-to-access parks, in the hope that it might prove a useful guide for anyone looking to grab a moment’s respite from the constant assault on the senses that is Bangkok.

 Rama IX Park (Suan Luang Phra Ram 9)

It seems logical enough to start with the biggest park when considering Bangkok’s green areas. Rama IX is surprisingly not that well known as a Bangkok park with visitors and even some locals. This may be related in some way to the park’s location, which is more than 10km from what might be considered the city centre region.

The park, which is named after one of the country’s most famous and beloved past kings, is home to some highly picturesque garden scenery, which includes a lake and both international and botanical sections of garden spanning almost 200 acres in total. The park is particularly stunning throughout December (the time of the late king’s birthday) when it is host to the Flower Festival.

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Other pursuits typical of any large park area can also be found in Rama IX, such as water sports in the form of small boat sailing and kayaking. Unlike many of the other parks in Bangkok, however, there is a small entrance fee of 10 baht to pay.

WHERE: CHALOEM PHRAKIAT RATCHAKAN THI 9 ROAD, NONG BON, PRAWET, BANGKOK 102500 (MRT RAMA 9)
WHEN: 5AM – 7PM

Wachirabenchathat Park (Suan Rot Fai/The Train Park)

About 50 acres smaller than the Rama 9 park, although still impressively huge, Wachirabenthachat Park which is much more well-known as The Train Park (Suan Rot Fai in Thai). This is one of a trio of 3 parks all situated next to each other in the Chatuchak district (details of the other two follow this description). The 3 parks together actually form the largest green area in the city of Bangkok.

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This particular park gets its name from the fact that it was once owned by the Thailand State Railway. Suan Rot Fai forms the basis of many a day out for families, couples, sightseers and tourists alike, many of whom share picnics, hire bicycles (there is also a children’s bicycle track situated next to a play area), or simply relax and take in the natural scenery.

There is also a butterfly garden, and this park, which provides easy access on foot to the two slightly smaller, but equally impressive neighbouring parks is one of the most popular in the capital. It is easy to access via both the BTS skytrain System and the MRT Subway.

WHERE: CHATUCHAK, BANGKOK 10900 (BTS/MRT MO CHIT/CHATUCHAK)
WHEN: 5AM – 8PM

Chatuchak Park

Possibly one of the busiest parks in Bangkok, Chatuchak Park is next to the main road with BTS and MRT stations right outside of it. Perhaps more prominently though, it is within very close proximity to the famous weekend market of the same name, making it a popular stop-off point for those who have already had their fair share of hustle and bustle.

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It is also likely to be the first park encountered out of the three which are closely situated, often making the first point of call for those that intent in taking in all three and making a day of it.

Loosely based upon New York’s Central Park in terms of layout and design, Chatuchak park has lakes, some with paddleboats, and a running perimeter of approximately 4km which makes it one of the prime locations for joggers at certain time of the day. There are no bicycles allowed in this particular park, which may account for its popularity with the joggers to some extent.

Chatuchak is equally popular for those wishing to relax from the bustle of the city, who may include couples, families, picnickers, tourists and such like.  Its location, accessibility and neighbouring attractions easily make Chatuchak Park one of the best in Bangkok, although by no means the biggest, at around 60 acres.

WHERE: CHATUCHAK, BANGKOK 10900 (BTS/MRT MO CHIT/CHATUCHAK)
WHEN: 5AM – 8PM

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Queen Sirikit Park

Queen Sirikit Park is in many ways the hidden gem amongst the trio in the Chatuchak district. This may be because a lot of people don’t tend to know about it as it is behind, and slightly to the left of, the other two more well-known ones (if approaching from the main road where the BTS station is located). Somewhat surprisingly though in light of that, is the fact that this park is almost 20 acres larger than the neighbouring Chatuchak Park.

Sirikit Park is, however, directly opposite to the other shopping attraction in the area – JJ Mall, which is an indoor, air-conditioned affair appreciated by those who have had enough of the bustling humidity of the weekend market. Many of these shoppers mistake the outer perimeter of the park as being that of Chatuchak Park, and so end up giving it a miss.

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Queen Sirikit Park is the most exotic in terms of the flowers and gardens on offer, with its stunning array of colourful blooms, expertly manicured hedges and surrounding lawns, trees, shrubs and bushes. It also has several lakes to relax around and is probably the quietest of the 3 parks in the area.

WHERE: CHATUCHAK, BANGKOK 10900 (BTS MO CHIT/MRT Chatuchak)
WHEN: 5AM – 7PM

Lumpini Park

Lumpini is one of the most well-known and populated parks in what might be called the city centre, or downtown area of Bangkok. Situated in the heart of the urban business district that also contains much of Bangkok’s tourist attractions in terms of nightlife and eateries, Lumpini Park is another Bangkok green area that bears more than a little resemblance to Central Park.

The park is certainly one of the busiest in the city, attracting locals and tourists alike who turn up to jog, walk, cycle, or simply get a daily dose of natural scenery and slightly improved air quality.

Lumpini is also home to a reasonably-sized population of some of the largest monitor lizards in the city’s parks (which are sometimes mistaken for crocodiles by many an unwitting visitor).

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At more than 140 acres in size, this Bangkok park is actually the third-largest in the city and has an expansive, lush, tropical range of greenery and waterscapes, offset by high-rise office buildings and condominiums.

One of the lakes has the obligatory paddle boat which is a great way to check out the monitor lizards lazing under the bridge and near the riverbanks and trying to escape the heat of the sun. This park is also accessible directly from the MRT subway, and the BTS stop is just a few minutes from the main entrance across the busy road.

WHERE: THANON WITTHAYU, LUMPINI, PATHUM WAN, BANGKOK, 10330 (MRT LUMPINI/BTS SALA DAENG)
WHEN: 5AM – 9PM

Benjasiri Park

Benjasiri is another Bangkok ‘Park in the city’ in that it is situated in another popular city centre area – in fact, it is right next to two of the city’s most-frequented ‘high-end’ shopping malls, Emporium and Emquartier. The park is actually overlooked by the Emporium centre and is conveniently just a few minutes’ walks from the BTS Skytrain station at Phrom Pong, close to the Thonglor district on the Sukhumvit Road.

Also known as ‘The Queen’s Park’ (although not to be confused with the Queen Sirikit Park at Chatuchak), Benjasiri has a huge lake in the middle with a water fountain that comes to life just as the evening starts to draw in.

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This is also a place where active urbanites can drop in for a jog, roller-skate, or play tennis and basketball. Notably, though, this park does have quite a bit less shade than the others mentioned so far, so it can be a bit much in the mid-afternoon sun as many a jogger with the best intentions has found out.

Still, a welcome respite from the other surroundings on the Sukhumvit Road which are heavy on the concrete and shopping malls, so worth remembering if you are heading to that area to do a spot of mall-trawling.

WHERE: KHLONG TOEI, BANGKOK (BTS PROM PONG)
WHEN: 5AM – 9PM