Keeping Bangkokians sane since 1920
Filled with broad trees, ponds, fields and all sorts of healthy activities, Lumpini Park is the closest that Bangkok comes to matching London's St James Park or New York's Central Park. Here’s how to enjoy every bit of this 142 acres of green in the heart of the city.
Named after the village where the Buddha was born in what's now Nepal, Lumpini Park—or Suan Lum to use the common Thai name—was established in the 1920s by King Rama VI. Canals, wealthy estates and fruit orchards rimmed the park back then, but it's now surrounded by tall buildings in a wealthy and conveniently located part of the city. Depicted gazing up Silom Road, a larger-than-life statue of Rama VI greets those who arrive through the main western gate.
Apart from an indoor fitness centre, swimming pool and tennis court that are only open to residents of Bangkok, Lumpini is entirely a free and open public space. It's large enough to find a quiet slice of green for a picnic but is also a great place to experience the pulse of Bangkok when the joggers and aerobics dancers emerge around sunset. In such a tightly packed and chaotic city, it's no wonder that so many Bangkokians seek daily relief in Lumpini.
Most travellers simply go for a stroll before lounging on the Bermuda grass or feeding the fish from atop one of the bridges. Those looking for more action could take a swan boat out for 40 baht; pump iron in an open-air gym; try out one of the free public fitness machines; work on that jump shot in a pick-up basketball game; calm the nerves with guided tai chi; join in the fitness dancers who work it out to upbeat Thai and Western music; or jog laps around the park's flat two-and-a-half kilometre loop. If you can bend and flip your body like Beckham, why not join in a rousing game of sepak takraw?
Those who choose to keep it leisurely can join the many dreamy eyed couples seated below the tamarind trees or beside the pond. On a walk you might come across a Northern Thai-style pavilion, Chinese-style pagoda and several contemporary sculptures. If visiting on a Sunday evening in dry season, you might be treated to a free jazz or classical music performance in either of two open-air auditoriums. With a large playground and plenty of space to run off steam, Lumpini is also a hit with kids (and parents).
Docile stray dogs and cats wander the park along with flocks of crows and a healthy population of monitor lizards that lurk in the ponds and occasionally saunter over the jogging lanes. Some of these grow to more than two metres long and can be startling, if not downright frightening, to those who aren't used to them, but they're generally harmless.
Lumpini Park is most active early in the morning and around dusk, with a nap under a tree being the only viable midday activity thanks to the heat. Stalls located near the western and northeastern entrances sell cold drinks and snacks, and small bags can be left with the attendants who staff bathroom facilities in all four corners of the park, for five baht. The bathrooms also come with 10-baht showers if you need a place to refresh before that train ride.
Sala Daeng BTS Station, Lumpini MRT Station and Silom MRT Station are all within a one- to five-minute from the park.
Address: Between Rama IV Rd, Ratchadamri Rd and Witthayu Rd, across from the east end of Silom Rd
Coordinates (for GPS): 100º32'27.16" E, 13º43'50.5" N
See position in Apple or Google Maps: Apple Maps | Google Maps
David Luekens first came to Thailand in 2005 when Thai friends from his former home of Burlington, Vermont led him on a life-changing trip. Based in Thailand since 2011, he spends much of his time eating in Bangkok street markets and island hopping the Andaman Sea.
These tours are provided by Travelfish partner GetYourGuide.
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