In a city where malls fill almost every need, finding green spaces in which to enjoy the gifts of Mother Nature might seem like a tall order. While skyscrapers and malls fill the Bangkok skyline, little slices of green paradise do exist in a city that is often lit by the blinding neon of billboards and the bright red of traffic lights.
Take a Walk in Chatuchak Park
Chatuchak district’s primary public park is impossible to miss. Accessible either by BTS Skytrain (Mo Chit station) or the MRT Subway (Phayon Yothin station), finding Chatuchak Park’s huge expanse of greenery is, quite literally, a walk in the park. Although popular for the weekend market nearby, Chatuchak Park offers an escape from the city and the bustle of bargain hunters who scour the market’s narrow stalls for inexpensive merchandise and/or cheap eats.
You can also access two adjacent parks, the Queen Sirikit Park and Wachirabenchatat Park, which both offer a haven of serenity and greenery amid the busy suburb of Chatuchak. A well-manicured garden, vast swathes of grass, and a small lake in the middle make this 120-hectare park an excellent choice for cleansing your weary senses. Jog, bike, or find a spot to sidle up next to your special someone, listen to some Sade, and your day is made.
Get Lost in Lumpini Park
Sathorn conjures images of posh hotels, swanky restaurants, and towering skyscrapers. In the middle of all that is the Lumpini Park, home to Bangkok’s fitness buffs, nature dwellers, and outdoors lovers.
Lumpini is a favorite among Bangkokians because of its central location, wide open spaces, and the abundance of recreational activities. In the afternoon, tights and spandex-wearing adults and some kids can be found swaying and kicking to upbeat Thai pop songs to work off a sweat. As you will come to know, maintaining a fitness regime in Bangkok isn’t too hard – fitness centers can be found anywhere with plenty of options to keep you in shape. Whether you’re into gyms, sports and activity clubs, or just in need of a green trail for walking or sprinting, parks like Lumpini is just one of several verdant spaces in Bangkok where you can indulge your active lifestyle and green-loving self.
Bike Around Bang Krachao
The lung-shaped island of Bang Krachao, which can be reached via ferry (it’s only six miles away from the decidedly un-green Silom district), is an ideal respite for your respiratory system because of the lack of pollution and the abundance of green spaces in which to breathe oxygen the way natured intended it to be inhaled. The best way to explore the area is by bike, so make sure to bring your own or rent one at one of the bike rental shops in the pier.
Bang Krachao is a lush piece of land that is unspoiled by big condos and shopping malls, mainly because the government has protected this island so that big real estate companies looking to take a chunk off this unspoiled island could be kept at bay – the sight of a 7-Eleven is almost shocking. In place of chain hotels and apartment complexes is the environment-friendly Bangkok Tree House, a boutique hotel, which sits serenely on the edge of the Chao Phraya River.
Set your sights on Sanam Luang
Unlike most parks in Bangkok, Sanam Luang doesn’t lend itself to recreational activities and outdoor Zumba classes. It functions as a venue for ceremonies, including as crematorium ground for members of the royal family. On normal days, the field is a pleasant spot to lay down a blanket, watch the sunset, or have a picnic. Like some of Bangkok’s underrated neighborhoods, Sanam Luang isn’t most people’s first choice. Its uninterrupted, wide green spaces, however, present an appealing alternative to some of the more crowded parks. It gets a little festive during kite flying season when kite flyers and spectators flock to the field to see the vast blue skies serve as a backdrop to colorful kites.
For those who can’t resist the allure of commercial centers, there’s Benjasiri Park, situated just next to the Emporium Mall. The park is minuscule compared to some of the larger ones around Bangkok. It is, however, a good alternative and a nice respite to the area’s highly commercialized surroundings, with two big malls comprising The EM District, close by.
Think of it as the mini-version of Lumpini Park. Benjasiri is an excellent substitute for those who live in the Sukhumvit area and don’t want to go too far to experience an oasis within the city. Also known as “The Queen’s Park”, Benjasiri Park has a basketball and sepaktakraw courts, a jogging path, and benches in which to watch the steady stream of Bangkokians that fill the park in the afternoon to do some aerobics, play sports, enjoy the children’s playground, use the outdoor workout equipment, or otherwise just sit and relax as the day comes to a close.