Bangkok is an incredible city to visit, though if you’re like me, you might find you need to spend a little time in nature during your visit. Especially if you go during the busy season when the temples are elbow-to-elbow with tourists. In the middle of the concrete jungle of Bangkok is an oasis of nature that is peaceful and serene. There are a number of Bangkok parks to see, and Lumphini Park is the best one to visit. Here’s why.
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The Best of the Bangkok Parks: Lumphini Park
Lumphini Park, also called Lumpini Park, is a massive 142 acres right in the heart of Bangkok. Chances are if you’re going to Thailand, you’re going to visit Bangkok as it’s a top place to visit in Thailand. It’s covered in grass, trees, plants, and playgrounds and it’s beautifully maintained.
There are paths around the park that run almost a couple of miles (2.5 km) that meander through the park. A feature of the park is a large artificial lake where people can sit near and enjoy the views of the skyscrapers in the backdrop. Or, they can rent boats and paddle around this scenic small lake.
The park was founded in the 1920 and it’s a popular gathering spot for Bangkok residents. When you visit, you’ll see joggers and walkers, and biking is allowed from 10 to 3. You’ll also see small group classes of aerobics and yoga, people practicing tai chi, and families gathering for a picnic. There are a number of playgrounds in this park so it’s very family friendly.
You’ll see 9-to-5’ers taking a break in the park and retirees gathering under small ramadas and slowly making their way around the park. There are lots of birds and you may see some other small animals as well. There are a lot of places to see in Bangkok and Lumphini Park is a place I recommend visiting when you’re there.
History of Lumphini Park
Lumphini Park was established in the 1920s by King Rama VI. It was built on the royal property and original was a museum of natural resources. After World War I, it was reconstructed into the first Bangkok park. It was named for Lumbini, which is the birthplace of the Buddha in Nepal. Originally this location was on the outskirts of the city though today it’s in the center of the main business district.
The park went through a number of changes over the years. During World War II it was used as a Japanese army camp. Though typically, it has been a public space that the residents of Bangkok enjoy using.
My Visit to Lumphini Park
After spending a day trying to navigate the maze of people at the Grand Palace and some of the other famous Bangkok Temples, I have to admit I was a bit worn out. They are stunning and worth seeing—don’t get me wrong, but they were so clogged with people that the experience was overwhelming.
I woke the next day with the feeling that I could be very happy just staying in my room. Well, that’s not at all like me while on a grand adventure, so I decided I need to change my plans and spend some time in nature. I did a quick online search and learned there was a massive park not too far from my hotel. Voila! I decided to take an Uber there to avoid more large numbers of people and arrived at the main entrance.
There is a metro station conveniently right next to the entrance, which I used when I left to go to my next destination. But for now, I was going to explore the park and enjoy some time in nature in Bangkok’s version of New York City’s Central Park.
I entered in what I believe is the main entrance which features a large statue of King Rama IV who established the park in the 1920s. Right away, I felt my blood pressure drop and I felt so much more relaxed than I had been since entering Bangkok. Here, I heard the sound of many birds chirping, squirrels running around, and the sweet sound of nothing. There are a number of sculptures throughout the park, some interesting areas with plantings, and a number of buildings used for various purposes.
My Wonderful Experience in Lumphini Park
I wandered the park for a while taking in the gorgeous greenery and the lake. I realized after around an hour that I forgot to bring my water bottle and was thirsty, so I started looking around for a place to buy some water. When I first entered the park, there was a cart selling some drinks and snacks but I wasn’t in that area. And with my sense of direction, I had no clue how to get back there.
I came upon a ramada of sorts in a picnic area with a covered top and saw some people underneath with what looked to be like food and drinks. Great! I thought, and figured it was a vendor selling things as a person was set up to one side and there were benches on the other.
I walked up and said hello in Thai, and asked if I could purchase water. My Thai stopped at hello, so I took some money out and pantomimed drinking from a bottle. He nodded vigorously and seated me at one of the benches then offered me a Chinese tea. Too late, I realized that this was not a vendor at all but a group having a picnic!
Spending Time with my New Friends
The man spoke some English and said they go every day and meet to walk then to eat lunch. He introduced me to the group and pointed out a man that was 92-years old! He looked amazing! As I looked around, I saw most of them were silver-haired, though not all. And they were quite intrigued by the silly American who came to ask for water!
Another kind man kept filling my little tea cup that was the size of a shot glass and gave me something wrapped in wax paper. He said it was sweet and that I should try it. It was covered in what I thought was powdered sugar but it tasted of flour, which was interesting. I took a bite and it was sticky and very sweet. Almost the texture of a caramel.
I spent close to an hour with this group that ranged from maybe their 30s to 92. One woman told me about her visit to the United States and New York City and what she thought. Some of the others shared travel experiences and asked me about mine in Bangkok and Thailand. Once I got over my embarrassment, it was a truly incredible experience.
I was traveling solo and I always welcome opportunities to connect with people, and this was an experience like I had never had before. To be so welcomed by a group of people when I was rudely interrupting their private gathering. However, they were so gracious, kind, and helpful. I think it was a fun and novel experience for them as well and they expressed reluctance when I left to continue my explorations, now no longer thirsty thanks to my new friends.
Things to do in Lumphini Park
One of the draws of going to Lumphini park is to enjoy the massive green space in the center of the city. And, of course, to visit one of the largest and most popular Bangkok parks. There are a number of things to do in the park.
Concerts in the Park
There are a number of concerts offered in the gardens in the park. The Royal Bangkok Symphony Orchestra provides free concerts towards the end of January and in February at the Bthirombhakdi Stage. Many people will bring a picnic or hire one of the small boats on the lake to enjoy it. Sometimes you’ll find other small jazz performances as well.
Wander the Miles of Trails
There are trails throughout the park, some of which are paved. They meander through the many different gardens and areas so you can explore the different parts of this massive park. Enjoy the various gardens including a number of brightly colored ornamental gardens that are quite beautiful.
Explore the Various Structures
There are a number of pavilions and ornamental gazebos with architecture in the Thai and Chinese styles. They not only offer shade from the hot Bangkok sun, but they are quite beautiful to look at.
There is also a number of community buildings in the park, like a cultural center called Lumphini hall and a public library. Additionally, you will see a clock tower and some administrative buildings around the property.
Go Birding or Searching for Animals
There are a number of colorful birds living in the park in addition to the many pigeons that you’d expect to see in any city. You’ll especially find them around the ornamental trees and flowers. You’ll see a number of squirrels as well, playing and foraging for food. There are also a number of lizards including Varanus Salvatore and the water monitor. The monitors can get quite large and like to enjoy the sun around the lake.
As well as the ubiquitous feral pigeons to be found in most cities, many fairly tame and colorful birds live in the park among the ornamental trees and flowers. Squirrels are also common rummaging for food on the ground and climbing the trees. If you have an interest in such things, you can spend a pleasant few hours discovering the wildlife and the plants.
Go Boating on the Lake
The lake is certainly one of the top features of Lumphini Park. You can rent paddleboats to get out on the water or have a picnic by the lake. You can also just lay around on the grass around the lake and enjoy the peaceful environment.
there are also a number of children’s playgrounds throughout the park. And if you want an adult playground of sorts, there is a basketball court and an outdoor gym. There are a number of classes offered as well for aerobics, and you can sometimes find other classes like yoga and tai chi.
if you’re looking for a place to get lost in nature in the middle of the concrete jungle of Bangkok, Lumphini Park is the place to go. When I think back to my time in Bangkok, I think of my experience in Lumphini Park. Sure, I think of the amazing temples as well, but it was my wonderful connection to a truly kind group of people that stands out as one of the highlights on my visit.
Lumphini Park is located at Rama IV Rd, Lumphini, Pathum Wan District, Bangkok 10330, Thailand. It’s open daily from 5:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. There are MRT train stops right next to the park, and you can take go to either the Lumphini or Silom Stations, depending on where you are in the park.
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