Bangkok’s largest urban park provides guests and residents alike with an escape to nature, right in the centre of a bustling and vibrant cityscape.
Everyone has heard of New York’s Central Park, the 843-acre oasis in the middle of Manhattan. Very few however are aware of Bangkok’s Lumpini Park; a 142-acre green space in the heart of the bustling Thai Capital. Named after the birthplace of Buddha in Nepal, Lumpini Park serves as the green lung of Bangkok and a place of rest and respite for many living in the city. With curated lawns, bodies of water and flora and fauna, Lumpini Park is the escape to nature craved by many. It certainly lives up to its role as being the green lung of the city.
During your trip to Bangkok, take an afternoon out of your busy schedule and join the locals in Lumpini Park. Take a walk or jog, or simply sit under a tree and watch the world go by inside this natural oasis in the Thai capital.
How to get to Lumpini Park
Located very centrally in Bangkok, the luscious natural environment of Lumpini Park is encircled by chrome and glass hotels and office buildings on all sides. The stunning backdrop of glimmering towers and the horizon of the Bangkok skyline creates an immense sense of contrast here between nature and modern architecture. Down a few levels from the Bangkok skyscrapers, Lumpini Park is also enclosed by a wall. Scattered arounds its walls are six gates which are open to the public from 4.30am to 9pm. If you’re wondering how to get to Lumpini Park, the main gate to the southwest of the park is within close walking distance from Silom MRT station.
The history of Lumpini Park
Bustling with 8 million people, the city of Bangkok today cherishes and very much relies on the existence of its green spaces for adding a share of tranquility and nature to the urban jungle. Yet the history of Lumpini Park has been somewhat colourful and its uses, diverse. Commissioned in 1925, the park was established on a royal residence and used for leisure purposes. Shortly after this, the park was operated as a Japanese army camp during WW2 when Thailand was invaded by Japanese forces in 1941. Finally, the park returned to its original state as a recreational space in 1954 and is the largest park in the city.
What to do in Lumpini Park
Nestled within the city and encapsulated by high walls, Lumpini park today is first and foremost a place of peace and quiet, cut off from the spirited and energetic cityscape. Glossy lakes, walking trails, sculpted lawns and an iconic bamboo garden all shine and thrive inside its walls. You could describe Lumpini Park as the hidden emerald gem of the city. Visitors to Bangkok enjoy the potential for excellent photography at this gorgeous green treasure. An ancient Chinese clocktower and paddleboats gliding across the ornate lakes add an extra layer of total tranquility and calmness. Local people practicing Tai Chi in all corners of the park amongst the trees in the early hours of the morning will put you at ease. It’s the polar opposite to the world outside its walls.
There are also a number of things to do in Lumpini Park aside from soaking up the calmness. A swimming pool, open-air gym, a basketball court and tennis courts, as well as children’s playgrounds offer Bangkok residents the opportunity to exercise outdoors. Also scattered around the park are food carts where you can opt to try some local snacks. At midday, the hustle and bustle of those buying food on their lunch break creates a wonderfully vibrant atmosphere. What’s more, from February until April, Lumpini park hosts Music in the Park and invites a series of musicians to provide concerts. Held in the Palm Garden on Sunday afternoons, this is an absolutely delightful way to spend some down time in the city.
Lumpini Park lizards, found across the extensive green space, are also a famous feature of the Bangkok park. These giant monitor lizards dwelling inside the walls of the park aren’t dangerous but can however grow up to ten feet long. Frightening yet absolutely fascinating to observe, the lizards are an integral part of the ecosystem inside the park and clean up the dead fish, birds, and other creatures. This is certainly one striking way in which the Bangkok park differs from that of Central Park in the US.
With most Asian capital cities increasing in size yearly, the topic of green cities has become incredibly relevant in recent years. Rapidly-expanding urban areas have seen a huge reduction in parks and green spaces in Asian cities in the last few decades. Important for sustainable urban development as well as the wellbeing of residents, green urban spaces are key in ensuring sustainable futures. Absorbing CO2 and helping combat global warming, filtering air impurities and reducing human stress are just a few of the benefits of urban green spaces in cities.
What with 15,000 people visiting Lumpini Park each day, it is clear that residents and visitors alike revel in the fresh air and luscious greenery of the park. Fortunately, Bangkok has recently pushed green projects further up its agenda. This has included the connection of Lumpini Park with nearby Benchasiri Park by a green walkway and bicycle lane.
On your next trip to Bangkok make sure that you head to Lumpini Park and visit the heart of calmness and tranquility in the middle of the spirited city. Experience for yourself the natural serenity of Bangkok’s largest green space and share your afternoon with lizards and locals. Meandering along the trails through the soothing park after a weekend in the city, you’ll soon realise the true value of all things green in a bustling Asian city.