Lumphini Park is Bangkok’s premier open green space covering 142 acres of prime real estate in the heart of the city. The parkland was royal property until it was donated to the city in the 1920s by King Rama VI for use by the people and was developed into a public park. Named after the Buddha’s birthplace in Nepal, it’s surrounded by the skyscrapers, embassies, upmarket condos and five-star hotels of the Sathorn, Ratchadamri, Witthayu and Rama IV Roads. Home to unlimited fresh air and a multitude of healthy activities it’s a great place to escape the heat and hustle and bustle of the city.
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Benjasiri Park is located on busy Sukhumvit Road next to the Emporium shopping mall and surrounded by tall buildings. It’s only a small park but is very popular and always busy with people looking for a quiet, peaceful place to relax and escape from the hustle and bustle of downtown Bangkok.
There are two main gates to the park on Sukhumvit road with a small pond featuring a fountain. There is a fountain show three times a day at 06.00, 12.00 and 19.00. In the center of the park is a large lake with another fountain. The lake contains many large fish and turtles which can be fed with bread that can be purchased at the refreshment kiosks. There are also many squirrels living in the park so take some nuts if you want to make some new friends.
A walking and jogging track runs around the park and there are several small gardens, plenty of trees and many benches and shady areas for relaxing.
Other facilities include a kids’ playground, aerobic exercise equipment, a skateboard arena and sports facilities including a basketball court and an outdoor full-size swimming pool. The swimming pool is open daily from 10.30 to 20.00. Overseas visitors can use the pool by buying a membership for 50 baht and paying a daily fee of 15 baht. You will need your passport.
The park also features 12 contemporary art sculptures by famous Thai artists including a large gold coin featuring an image of Queen Sirikit.
Location: Sukhumvit Road, between Soi 22 & 24.
Opening Hours: 05.00-21.00
Getting There: BTS Phrom Phong Station (exit 6).
Benjakiti Park is located on the site of a former tobacco factory next to the Queen Sirikit National Convention Center. The park is next to an MRT station and a 10-minute walk from Sukhumvit road and the Asoke intersection. The park has many flower gardens that blossom with different plants all year long.
At the center of the park is Lake Rajada where you can hire swan pedal boats while the surrounding park has both cycling, jogging and walking paths which completely circle the park and are very popular with walkers, joggers, and cyclists. Bicycles can be hired for 50 baht an hour at a booth next to the swan boat rental.
At the back outer edge of the park is a forest area with trees from all over Thailand. There is also an aerobic exercise area with a variety of machines which are free to use, a skateboard ramp and a kids’ playground. There is also a Buddhist shrine, fountains, an amphitheater and many sculptures dotted around the park.
The park is quiet in the daytime and is best visited in the late afternoon and is a great place to watch the sun go down set against the surrounding downtown skyline. The Retro Cafe is a bar/restaurant in the Queen Sirikit Center and has a terrace overlooking the park with live music in the evenings.
Location: Ratchadaphisek Road.
Opening Hours: 05.00-20.00 daily.
Getting There: MRT Queen Sirikit National Convention Center Station (exit 3).
Saranrom Park was built by Rama IV in 1866 when it was a garden of Saranrom Palace and later became a palace zoo. The zoo was later relocated to Dusit and eventually, the gardens became a public park. The small grounds are quiet and peaceful in the daytime with flower gardens, a small lake with large fish, an ornate fountain, a Chinese shrine, and some nice shady gazebos. There are also some small traditional Thai houses that once housed foreign dignitaries visiting the palace.
In the early evening, the park gets busy with locals doing healthy activities such as aerobics, yoga, jogging, and sports such as takraw. There is also aerobic exercise, table tennis, and weightlifting facilities. Saranrom is a good place to relax and take a break after sightseeing at the Grand Palace and Wat Pho which are both opposite the park. There are usually some vendors outside the main gate selling drinks and snacks.
Location: At the intersection of Sanamchai, Rachini, and Charoen Krung roads. (behind Wat Pho & the Grand Palace).
Opening Hours: 05.00-20.00
Getting There: Boat: Chaophraya Express Boat to Tha Tien Pier (N8). Walk through the pier market, cross the road and walk up Thai Wang road with Wat Pho to your right till you reach Sanamchai road. The park is just across the road.
Santicha Prakan Park is a small riverside park beside the Chao Phraya river on Phra Athit road in the backpacker district of Banglamphu a short walk from Khaosan road. Formerly a sugar factory the park is a pleasant relaxing place with a traditional style pavilion, shady seating and great views of the river. In the evenings, there are occasional open-air theatre performances and live music.
The main feature of the park is the Phra Sumen Fort which was built in 1783 to defend against a river invasion. It was originally one of 14 such forts and is now one of only two remaining. The fort is not open to the public but can be viewed from the outside and is attractively lit up at night. Note that the park has a no alcohol and no smoking policy.
Location: Phra Athit Road, Banglamphu.
District: Khaosan Road
Opening Hours: 05.00-21.00
Getting There: The park is a short walk from Khaosan Road.