ODDS are on that, at some point during your time living in Bangkok, you’ve visited – or still regularly spend time in – Lumpini Park. An oasis of green in an ocean of grey, it’s hard not to be attracted to it. But no matter how many times you’ve pounded around its 2.5km running track, peddled a swan boat on the man-made lake, or lost 12 litres of sweat in a free-for-all communal aerobics session, you’ve likely missed one of the park’s finest assets – the excellent Lumpini Youth Center & Sports Club.
While almost all of the signage is in Thai, the staff speaks limited English, and the center has the word “Youth” in its title, expats of any age are still welcome to join as members – and doing so will just cost you just B40 for the year (it’s even cheaper for kids).
Your B40 membership fee includes access to the gym, changing rooms and footsall/basketball pitches (simply turn up and ask to join a game). Swimming and tennis are available for a small fee, as are music lessons and art and crafts activities (conducted in Thai).
Granted, if you speak limited Thai you won’t be able to use the Center to its full potential, but even if you simply use the shower facilities after a run in the park you’re definitely getting more than your money’s worth.
Annual membership for adults is B40 (no dual pricing here). To sign up, simply head to the center with two recent photographs (passport size), your passport, and a photocopy of your passport’s identification page, as well as a photocopy of the page showing your current visa. Sometimes the staff may also ask to see a signed medical certificate showing you have a clean bill of health (although we managed to sign up for a membership without one).