As crowded as Bangkok, Thailand may seem, its multiple parks offer a relaxing respite from the masses. Lumpini Park, Queen’s Park, Romaneenart Park, and Santichaiprakan Park are welcome alternate realities from Bangkok’s hectic outside activity.
Lumpini Park offers a variety of physical activity, including but not limited to rowing, weight lifting, paddling, jogging, basketball, and tennis. Visitors can rent a pedal or rowboat on one of the park’s two artificial lakes. Weight lifting is also an option on Lumpini’s miniature muscle beach.
King Rama VI funded Lumpini Park’s creation on royal property in 1925 to help spur Thailand’s ailing post-World War I economy. The park features a series of gardens, nature habitats, community buildings, and historic monuments. Lumpini’s bird watching course is a sanctuary to more than 30 different bird species who feed off of the abundant food its trees provide. Lumpini Park also features a palm garden, a bamboo garden and a forest park. There is a Chinese-style gazebo, built to celebrate the king’s 72nd birthday. Also situated on the grounds is the Sri Thai Doem Food Center, which sells food and drinks daily from 4:30 to 10:00.
From February to April, the Palm Garden holds the yearly Concert in the Park festival on Sundays from 4:30 PM to 8:00 PM. The event showcases the Bangkok Symphony Orchestra, as well as other Thai and Western groups. Lumpini Park is ideal for disabled individuals, as Smiling Sun Ground has a slope path for wheelchairs and a disability-oriented playground.
Lumpini Park is located on the north side of Rama IV Road, near where Silom Road intersects with Rama. Reaching the park is easy – just take the Bangkok Mass Transit System Skytrain to the Saladaeng station or the Silom Subway Station. Lumpini Park has free admission, and is open from 4:30 AM to 9:00 PM. Bicycling is permitted from 10 to 3 PM. Dogs and smoking are not allowed.
Queen’s Park, also known as Benjasiri, is a tribute to the Queen's birthday. The Queen was famous for her environmental efforts, reflected by the fact that 20% of Queen's Park is a water garden, enabling it to act as a flood prevention measure. Queen's Park is nicknamed the "Park of Sculptures" for its 18 creations, ranging from "Kird" (Birth) to "Wua" (The Cow). Benjasiri also features a sculpture called "Hansa" (Ecstasy), containing a jumping, musical fountain. There are three hour-long shows per day, at 6:00 AM, 12:00 PM, and 6:00 PM. Benjasiri also offers roller skating and swimming.
Romaneenart Park is also an environmentally conscious location, per the Queen's stipulations. It contains a polluted water treatment system to cleanse the waste from the Sapantan canal. The clean water is then used to water trees. Open from 5:00 AM to 9:00 PM daily, Romaneenart Park is registered as a historical site, located on Siripong Road in the Samranrat sub-district of Bangkok. The historical section of Romaneenart Park features European-style Thai architecture popular during the reign of King Rama IV. A Corrections museum, open from 8:30 AM to 4:30 PM Tuesday to Saturday, chronicles the history of the park as a prior prison. Of course, the usual recreational park activities take place in the Health Plaza, which offers exercise equipment as well as roller skating, basketball, and more.
Santichaiprakan Park is between historical Fort Phra Sumen and the Chao Phraya River, directly across the Phra Athit Road. King Rama I constructed Fort Phra Sumen to protect the old city area of Bangkok in 1783, and it is one of only two remaining forts in Bangkok today. A stunning riverfront view exists across the park’s length, backed by the Rama VIII suspension bridge. Santichaiprakan also features a pavilion in the Thai style, a mangrove tree, a variety of sculptures, and a numerous shady benches.
Lumpini Park, Queen’s Park, Romaneenart Park, and Santichaiprakan Park are some of the most popular parks in Bangkok. Famous for their beauty and historical value, each of these locations provides a relaxing, informative Thai experience.