OPENED in 2004 in honour of Queen Sirikit’s 72nd birthday, this 130-rai (approximately 21 hectares) park, built on what was once the Tobacco Monopoly, boasts a 2km walkway that attracts a fair number of morning and evening joggers around the lake (where you can go for a cruise on a pedal-powered swan boat). The park also has a dedicated bicycle lane completely removed from the pedestrian lane, so no chance of any unfortunate collisions. Bikes of all sizes can be rented for B40 per hour. Other facilities include playgrounds, a skateboard/freestyle bicycle ramp, a meditation area, and exercise zones.
Ratchadaphisek Rd. (Located next to the Queen Sirikit National Convention Center) Open daily 5am-8pm.
NEW York has Central Park; Bangkok has Lumphini. While The Big Apple’s green space may beat Bangkok’s for sheer size, our inner-city lung offers plenty of room for walking, running, relaxing, and dozing off under trees – just watch out for the monitor lizards clambering in and out of the ponds; we’ve heard they find exposed toes particularly tasty.
The park opens early with a free-for-all aerobics session (another is held at 6pm), and it caters well for fitness fanatics thanks to its 2.5km running track (cycling is permitted from 3pm-10pm) and excellent Lumphini Youth Center Sports Club, which has a swimming pool, tennis courts, gym, and futsal pitches, and offers annual membership at just B100 (take your work permit). Visitors to the park can also rent paddleboats on the large central lake at B30 for 30 mins, and sometimes capture impromptu performances by practicing bands. The best time for music, though, is in December, when the park’s Palm Garden becomes the site for the annual Concert in the Park classical music festival.
Pathum Wan (next to Silom BTS and MRT stations).
Open daily 4.30am-9pm
OFFERING a breezy respite from the din and heat of nearby Chatuchak Weekend Market, this well-maintained park is decorated with sculptures from six Asian countries and boasts a large central pond teeming with fish. Watch them in action from one of the bridges, or get a closer look by renting a boat. The park’s Train Museum (open Sat and Sun from 7am-4pm) features an exhibition on the history of railways and automobiles in Thailand.
Kampaengphet 1 Rd (Chatuchak Park MRT or Mochit BTS).
Open daily 4.30am-9pm.
SURROUNDED by the Grand Palace, Royal Cemetery, and Wat Pho, Saranrom Park has regal links (it was built in 1866 by King Rama IV as part of Saranrom Palace, located in the east of the Grand Palace) and its royal status shines through in its beautifully manicured landscape, nicely designed pond, and on-site architecture, including an old pavilion, a European-style fountain, and Chao Mae Takhien Tong Shrine (a former Chinese tower). Overall, it’s a great place to drop by if you want to take a break from sightseeing in the area.
Located near the intersection of Charoenkrung and Rachini Roads
(diagonally opposite Wat Pho near the Grand Palace). Open daily 5am-9pm
Suan Luang Rama IX Park
THE largest green space in Bangkok also happens to be our favourite. Developed to commemorate H.M. the King’s 5th Cycle Birthday Anniversary in 1987, the park isn’t centrally located, but getting here doesn’t take too much effort (expect around a 30 mins taxi journey from Siam) and the leafy rewards are more than worth your time. Arrive early and spend the morning exploring the beautiful botanical garden as well as gardens inspired by different countries (including an American garden in a large futuristic dome, reminiscent of the Nevada desert, populated with cacti). Then settle down by the large central lake with a good book and an ice cream and relax in noise-free bliss.
Soi Mu Ban Seri Villa Khrongkan 2, Nong Bon, Prawet. Open daily
5am-6pm. Admission: B10
OPENED in 1992 to commemorate the 60th birthday of Her Majesty Queen Sirikit, this compact, lovingly maintained park may not be the quietest on our list (it’s located next to The Emporium Shopping Mall, and Sukhumvit Road runs along its entire frontage) but its lush trees muffle the din of the surrounding streets just enough to provide a relaxing ambience. Wander around the park’s central lake and you’ll spy no less than 18 contemporary scultpures, the biggest of which is a giant coin embossed with an image of the queen. Other facilities include a volleyball and basketball court, roller-skating zone, children’s playground, and a swimming pool. A Musical Fountain Show runs three times daily (6am-7am; 12pm-1pm; and 6pm-7pm).
Sukhumvit Rd. Khlong Toei District (near Phrom Phong BTS station)
Open daily 5am-9pm
Suan Rot Fai Park
A FORMER golf course that was recently transformed into a public urban landscape, this large park to the north of Chatuchak Weekend Market is perfect for cyclists. A 3km track weaves throughout the park and has a dedicated bike lane. Don’t have a bike? No problem. You can rent one from as little as B20 per day, depending on the model. You don’t just need to saddle up to enjoy what’s on offer here though. The park also has a large lake where you can rent canoes and peddle boats (B50 per hour), stations where you can rent mats to sit on (B20); sports courts, playgrounds, a driving range (50 balls for B80), and even a butterfly garden and insectarium (open Tues-Sun 8.30am-4.30pm).
Kamphaeng Phet 3 Rd. (Mo Chit BTS, or Chatuchak Park MRT). Open daily 5am-9pm.