Lumphini Park is where tourists and locals come to relax on the lawns and get a break from the busy Bangkok traffic. See the locals practice tai chi and play on the grass or take in a free concert.
King Rama VI acknowledged the need for a green public space in the 1920s. He dedicated 142 acres (57 hectares) of royal land to a park in what is now the central business district of Sathon. He named it after the birthplace of Buddha in Nepal.
If you come from Bangkok’s city center, with its concrete buildings, busy streets, bustling temples and cacophony of sounds, the “Lung of Bangkok” really feels like a place where you can breathe deeply. With its palm groves, orchids and an artificial lake, Lumphini Park offers many sights to help you recharge.
Arrive just after dawn, however, and you’ll find the park is a hive of activity, with joggers, locals practicing their tai chi, yoga and sword dancing on the lawns. If you feel like working up a sweat, there is an outdoor gym. Just before sunset, you can join a free open-air aerobics class. Just remember that at 8 a.m. and 6 p.m., the entire park comes to a standstill to listen to the national anthem as it plays from loudspeakers.
When you have worked up an appetite, head to the stalls near the Rama VI statue at the southwest entrance. You can order pad thai (thick noodles) or a jim joom (hot pot), among other Thai food. The weekend fresh market offers even more treats. Keep an eye out for the giant monitor lizards that patrol the grounds, but don’t be tempted to feed them. This is not allowed because they can attack.
Lumphini Park is public but closes during the night. Two metro stops, Lumphini and Si Lom, are within easy walking distance. Note that the park is a non-smoking zone. If you like classical music, check the schedule of the seasonal Concert in the Park series to see if you can catch a performance on a Sunday afternoon.