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Bangkok is for gluttons. There are practically as many food stalls as people. And with the reliable public transportation and cheap motorbikes, you can keep your heart beating at a leisurely low rate. If you need a day to get yourself back on a healthy track, here are some suggestions.
06:00: Though Bangkok may feel like a city that never sleeps, millions are tucked away in their beds by nightfall and arise in the early hours of the morning.
Head to Suan Rot Fai (north of the greater Chatuchak Park, open 04:30-21:00) and take a run or a stroll along a stretch of green. Also consider Lumpini Park near the Sala Deang BTS, or Benjasiri Park (Queen’s Park) near the Phrom Pong BTS. If it’s smack in the middle of hot season, from March to May, wake up even earlier to beat the heat.
09:00: If you’re feeling ambitious, jog down Phahonyotin Road to Banana Family Park in Ari — it’s around three kilometres from Chatuchak Park, or you can take the BTS from Mo Chit to Ari, and then walk. At this healthy haven, munch on the vegetarian spring rolls, fresh sauteed vegetables, or fruit som tam and grab a bottle of diluted wheatgrass juice.
If you’re coming from another side of town, Ethos near Khao San Road, open at 9:00, or Rasayana Retreat: Living Food Café in Phrom Pong, open at 10:00, also make great healthy morning pick-me-ups.
12:00: Get a two-hour Thai full body massage. Throw in a facial or Thai herbal compress if you feel like you deserve an extra reward after your run. For a reliable massage in a hi-so ambiance, try Health Land Spa, with seven locations in Bangkok alone, including Asok and Sathorn. Book ahead of time to avoid a wait.
15:00: All that hard work in the spa means you’ll have worked up an appetite. Go to a Gourmet Market or Villa Market, which are often connected to malls, and check out their salad bar or produce section, where they will have pre-packaged salads. The bar I frequent the most in Bangkok is the salad bar at the Gourmet Market in the ground level of Siam Paragon. If you are strategic with the weight of your vegetables, you won’t spend more than 100 baht, and you can get the dressing on the side. Just a warning: Gourmet Market is filled with delicious sweet goodies that are unavoidable to walk by on your way to the salad bar. Be strong! Take a walk around the mall to help your digestion.
17:00: As evening falls, it’s time for another workout. Gyms like True Fitness and Fitness First require memberships to attend classes, but you can bargain with them for a one-day or three-day trial membership, sometimes even for free. Hinting that you are considering living in Bangkok long-term will help the free part. For a drop-in yoga class with no strings attached, Yoga Elements in Chit Lom and Absolute Yoga, with multiple locations, both hold great classes. The hot yoga at Absolute Yoga is a guaranteed workout, and Yoga Elements is better to get your zen on.
19:00: Treat yourself to a delicious vegetarian dinner at the cafeteria in Tops Supermarket, attached to Robinson Department Store in Asok. Open from 09:00-21:00 and adjacent to the bakery of Tops, you’ll see a sign that says “Walee Vegetarian Food”. Opt for the brown rice with two sides for 40 baht. Pay first at the ticket counter, where you will receive tickets in five and 20 baht denominations. When you are done, return to the counter to refund any tickets you have not used.
You have just completed a healthy day in Bangkok. Reward yourself with some fresh-squeezed beetroot, apple, carrot and celery juice for 60 baht at Tops.
By Emma Rosenberg
Last updated on 9th March, 2015.