In 1925, King Rama VI donated over 100 acres of royal land to create a much-needed park within Bangkok. Walking through the main gate, you may notice his statue which still welcomes guests as they enter. Named for Buddha’s birthplace in Nepal, Lumphini Park is now one of very few treasured pieces of open land in the heart of Bangkok.
This is a great place for people-watching, as it attracts everyone from high-flying business men to students enjoying the sunshine. There is an impressive amount of wildlife too, from wild and escaped birds through to the impressive-looking monitor lizards which patrol the tarmac. They’re perfectly friendly, but please don’t feed them as this can encourage them to attack!
First thing in the morning, the place comes alive with people getting in a spot of tai chi or yoga before work. All around, joggers pound the pavements and cyclists whizz past, making the most of the extensive network of pathways. If you fancy shaking off the cobwebs, there is a free daily aerobics class before sunset and an outdoor gym where you can bench-press tyres and more traditional weights alongside the local fitness fanatics.
Alternatively, pick a shady spot and relax amongst the flowers or have a picnic by the Chinese pagoda. If you don’t fancy bringing your own food, head for the stalls in the park’s southwest corner. For a few baht, you can sample local specialities such as jim joom or pad thai.
Locally nicknamed the ‘Lung of Bangkok’, the park offers a rare respite where you can find tranquillity and shade. Smoking is forbidden throughout the park to keep the air as clean as possible, so you really can breathe deeply and relax. The park is normally busy and full of chatter, but if you find yourself there at 8 am and 6 pm each day you’ll hear the whole place fall silent whilst the national anthem is played.
The park closes at night, so be sure to head over during the day. The nearest MRT stations are Lumphini and Si Lom, both of which will bring you out just a few minutes away.