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Parks of Bangkok
Thailand has an abundance of stunning nature throughout the country. It's national parks offer some of the most beautiful natural scenery in the world and Thailand's beaches are some of the most beautiful in the world. Bangkok is often described as a concrete jungle but I feel this tag is a little unfair. I have always been both amazed and impressed with the care and attention given to the displays between main roads and on sidewalks. There is always room for improvement and with pollution the way it is today, we should all make an effort to make a difference in anyway we can. I do feel Bangkok is always improving slowly but surely and my outlook for the future is definitely positive.
Just recently a green space recreational area called Chao Phraya Skypark has been installed on the Phra Pokklao bridge, click here for more information. This just goes to show that even in the most restricted and unlikeliest of places, we can improve the air that we all breath. coming from London I love a park; we are spoiled for choice in London with dozens of parks, gardens and squares of all sizes. Bangkok has some way to go to competing with the likes of London but I feel the parks presently on offer are of equal standard, just not so many.
Lumphini park, Bangkok's answer to New York's central park or London's Hyde Park....unfortunately just a lot smaller and extremely busy with joggers around jogging hours. centrally located in-between Chidlom and Silom, it broke ground in 1920 and was opened in 1925 as the first park of Bangkok. back then it was actually on the outskirts of Bangkok and was built on royal land commissioned by his majesty King Phra Mongkut Klao Chao Yu Hua or Rama vi. previously it was a museum and during ww2 the Japanese used it as a military camp; it has been used on many occasions as a place of protest. the name, 'lumphini', comes from, 'lumbini', which was the birthplace of buddha in nepal.'
the park exhibits a large lake to the centre with paths and roads running around the edges and crisscrossing the park itself. the park includes Bangkok's first public library and plays host to the Bangkok symphony orchestra's annual concert in the park. There is also a weekly Sunday western and Thai music festival from January to April. both events are really great and i highly recommend going, take a rug, a fan device and some bug spray!
Lumphini park is home to over 30 species of birds and is an excellent place for any bird spotter. a horde of joggers are forever present at dusk and dawn; I would advice going between these hours as they do tend to take over the place and the peace is slightly ruined. there are various outdoor free gyms but at the time of writing this due to covid-19, they are not open. There are a few restaurants or coffee shops sporadically throughout the park. there are some tennis courts opposite HSBC bank and the park wardens seem happy for you to play some badminton or other such games. There is a no smoking and a no pet policy in the park. parking is available but around jogging times, these can fill up and stay full very quickly.
Best features - annual concert, 'concert in the park', good location for jogging, outdoor free gyms, tennis, ease of access with the BTS Sala Deng and MRT Silom entrances at the south entrance, pedalo boats for hire, many species of trees, flowers and birds. no smoking and no pets allowed. Parking but will get busy before and after normal working hours.
Phuttamonthon (Buddhist) park
Oh sweet Phuttamonthon park, you blessed land of florinial (Yes, I just made that word up) beauty and total calm; with its nearly 16metre's tall Buddhist statue and 2500 rai (400 hectares) of lakes, gardens, jungle paths and botanical gardens; this my fellow Bangkokians is a park and a half. Located to the west of Bangkok, the park was commissioned in 1955 and inaugurated in 1957, which is 2500 in the Buddhist calendar. Unfortunately due to 'delays', the park was not finished until 1981 when the main Buddhist statue was raised into position. The statue was original designed by the famous Italian artist, Silpa Bhirasri, born Corrado Feroci in 1955. Silpa Bhirasri, though Italian by birth, is considered a Thai national treasure. Many describe him as the father of modern art in Thailand, he was instrumental in the founding of today's Silpakorn University, an absolute legend of a man. The Buddha statue is seen in the Leela attitude or walking Buddha; this represents Buddha walking back to earth.
The park itself has a massive lake with many Buddhist related structures throughout. Around the outer ring is where a lot of jogging takes place but there is a truly awesome route which you can take through a winding jungle like path which is usually very quiet with only a few stray dogs hanging loose. The park has a big and sometimes very noisy stray dog shelter and many dogs just hanging around. The dogs are usually quite reserved and I have a couple of friends who on occasion will walk with us for a while. There is a very kind and charitable man who rides around on a motorbike most evenings feeding meat. Please be careful of the dogs around the dog shelter, they are quite aggressive.
Cycling, jogging and small activities are allowed. I am assuming since they allow stray dogs to just hang around, that you can take your pet. I have seen a few cats on leads which is always an amusing sight...such retards. The park is fairly busy on Saturday's and Sunday's but it is so big, it never feels crowded. The park is filled with multiple species of flora and fauna; turtles, brown squirrels, monitor lizards, stray dogs, butterflies to name but a few. I think one of the reasons I love this place so much is you can totally forget you are even in Bangkok anymore. I find this important with the stresses that come with living in such a large and loud city.
Access to the park is probably best by car but you can get the train from Hua Lamphong or Thonburi to Sala ya station and then it will be a 40-50baht taxi ride. on a Sunday with minimal traffic, you could get the MRT blue line to Lak song and then the 84 bus down Phetkasem and up Sai 4. There is loads of parking so no need to worry about that. The park is open from 6am to 6.30pm which for me is a bit of a shame, I think this park could be amazing at night with a little more funding to repair the lights and keep them on for a few hours.
suan luang rama ix park
Saranrom palace park
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