Bangkok is a noisy, smelly, colorful, tasty, erotic & exotic assault on the senses and I love it. But occasionally I need a break from it all, a moment of peace and quiet. On these days I head directly to the cinema or spa, or to my favorite outdoor oasis of calm, Lumpini Park.
Located in the very center of Bangkok, adjacent to the LGBT Silom Road district, Lumpini Park is a huge public green space featuring fountains, sculpture, gyms, playgrounds and regular events. Beautiful lakes and sculptured gardens welcome you to the park, serving as the perfect backdrop for a photo shoot.
The park attracts a variety of wildlife. Look up to spot various species of colorful birds. Look down and you’ll find friendly cats lazing around, happy for a tickle. Don’t be surprised if a giant turtle crosses your path.
Perhaps the most well-known of the park’s inhabitants are the enormous monitor lizards which cruise the lakes. In Thai culture they are seen as bad luck (calling someone a monitor lizard is a huge insult). I find them fascinating, like living dinosaurs. Growing as long as 9 foot, they are a little scary however they don’t mind a photo as long as you don’t venture too close.
No surprises for guessing that my favorite Lumpini Park wildlife is hot men. And there’s no better place to drool then at the open air gym, full of sweaty, topless muscular hunks. If you care to join them for a workout the price is only 20 baht ($0.6).
You can spend hours wandering Lumpini Park. Early morning or late afternoon makes for great people watching (and photography) with groups practicing Tai Chi, Yoga, Aerobics and other martial arts.
Pack a picnic and enjoy a relaxing meal under a shady tree or get out on the lake in your very own swan boat! There are various drink stalls dotted around the entrances to the park and also an open air restaurant located at the south-east corner, serving noodles during the day and all manner of Thai food in the evening.
Once you’re done with the park, a short walk will bring you to the Snake Farm which has a daily snake handling and venom milking demonstration. Or visit the Thai Red Cross Men’s Health Clinic, located outside the south-east corner of the park, which offers anonymous HIV testing (results in an hour). If the sun is setting, it would be almost rude not to enjoy a sunset cocktail at a rooftop bar – try Sofitel So or Cloud 47.
If you’re visiting in January then look out for the Tourism Authority of Thailand Festival featuring displays from all over Thailand. Sunday afternoons in December and January also feature free concerts by the Thai Symphony Orchestra. Or float your krathong in Lumpini Park during the beautiful Loi Krathong festival on November 15, 2016.
With direct access to the park from the BTS (Saladaeng Station) and MRT (Lumpini and Silom stations), Lumpini Park couldn’t be easier to get to. The park is open everyday from 5am until 9pm. It’s one of my favorite places to go in Bangkok and I’m sure you’ll enjoy the visit. Go Thai Be Free.