You can’t turn around these days without seeing another building rising. But when we lose green spaces, we lose a bit of ourselves. In fact, studies have shown that going outside can help reduce depression, improve sleep, improve breathing, and even improve vision. As a countermeasure to the bustling cities all around us, many cities and countries have taken matters into their own hands by creating more green spaces and parks for residents and tourists to visit. There, they can commune with nature, get some fresh air, and marvel at the architecture of these urban oases.
Thailand is no exception. Several architectural marvels have been created in Bangkok, much of which can be attributed to the city’s Bangkok250 initiative, which was created to make Bangkok more liveable by the city’s 250th anniversary in 2032. This, along with the Green Bangkok 2030 project to expand green spaces within Bangkok city, will create a dramatic shift in the amount of public space available to Thai citizens in the near future. (Thailand is certainly taking sustainability seriously went it comes to tourism as well
In celebration of National Walk to A Park Day, here are just a few of Bangkok’s parks and a little background about how they came to be.
Photo Credit: PanoramicStudio
Chulalongkorn University Centenary Park
Designed by Landprocess and N7A Architects, Chulalongkorn University Centenary Park is a little slice of heaven situated on Chulalongkorn University’s campus in Bangkok. Created to commemorate the University’s 100th anniversary, the park is an ecological marvel with the specific goal of offsetting the water crisis that faces Bangkok.
The city, which happens to be flat, is vulnerable to rising sea levels, rainwater, and flooding due to the loss of green spaces over the years. Chulalongkorn University Centenary Park aims to change that with a flood-proof park for a flood-prone city. By harnessing the power of gravity, the park is able to sustainably collect, treat and hold water to reduce urban flood risks in the surrounding areas of Bangkok. Sitting on a 3-degree gradual incline, Centenary Park was designed with several ecological components, consisting of a green roof, wetlands, detention lawns, and a retention pond, leaving not one drop of rainwater wasted. The rain and runoff are pulled down and collected through the park‘s topography to generate a complete water circulation system.
Chulalongkorn University Centenary Park is part of a more significant initiative by Chulalongkorn University to go green. Its designers even convinced the University to expand the bicycle and pedestrian walkways leading to the park, eliminating some roadways surrounding the expansive green space. Chulalongkorn University Centenary Park is worth a trip for a genuinely visitor-friendly park in Bangkok.
Benjasiri Park was designed in 1992 to commemorate the 60th birthday of HM Queen Sirikit. Full of lush greenery, Benjasiri park is known as the Park of Sculptures, but it isn’t just the artificial marvels that make this park so attractive to guests. Benjasiri is centrally located in Bangkok, and easily accessible via BTS, and other public transport. It is definitely a hotspot for locals as far as Bangkok parks go, but it is also growing in popularity with tourists due to its location in proximity to major attractions throughout the city. Benjasiri also hosts an array of pop-up events, from food, to art, to musical entertainment.
Benjasiri Park is home to not just a wide variety of plant life, but it’s also become an urban dwelling for animals such as birds, turtles, squirrels, and even lizards.
Guests to Benjasiri Park have no shortage of activities to partake in, with many sports and fitness activities available, including yoga, basketball, jogging, and even playground equipment for the children. Next door to the park is a public swimming pool that can be utilized by visitors with the proper documentation.
Bang Krachao has earned the nickname Bangkok’s “green lung” due to its vast air-filtering green space. Accessible via boat on the river near Wat Khlong Toey Nok Temple, this isolated park is in Bangkok, but a far cry from the city life most are used to.
Dotted with temples, the island park is travelable by bicycle and offers plenty of sights for tourists to see while enjoying the beauty of this natural environment. Home to ponds, lakes, and botanical gardens, Bang Krachao has no shortage of greenery to explore. For those looking for a bit of a modern touch, there are several restaurants and a weekend floating market to explore.
Lumphini Park has been affectionately dubbed Bangkok’s Central Park. The first public park in Bangkok, Lumphini Park boasts a beautiful lake and an abundance of greenery. The park is used by locals for yoga, tai chi, and other fitness activities, and quaint swan boats glide visitors across the tranquil waters. Benches abound here, so it’s nice to start the day at one of Lumphini’s many food stalls to grab a bite before resting to catch a glimpse of the wild birds or lizards within the park. This Bangkok park is also home to occasional concerts and social gatherings.
Suan Luang Rama IX Park
Suan Luang Rama IX Park is Bangkok’s largest park. At more than 200 acres, it is the largest green space in Bangkok. Though it does charge an admission fee of 10 baht, the park is valuable for what you’ll see when you step inside. Botanical gardens representing gardens from around the world (think Japan, Italy, and America) dot the vast landscape, and the sports centre includes a swimming pool and tennis courts. The musical pavilion and large lawn in front is used as an outdoor stage for various performances. The lawn is also used as a marketplace for ornamental plants during the ‘Magnificent Plants that Beautify the Suan Luang Rama IX Flowers Festival ‘ held in early December.
Benjakitti Forest Park
Benjakitti Forest Park is the newest park in Bangkok. Created on what used to be tobacco processing plants, the park now boasts thousands of new trees and is home to many wild birds, which draw a loyal crowd of bird watchers. An estimated 12k visitors frequent the park daily, and its small ponds help clean wastewater from local communities.
So this National Walk To A Park Day, if you happen to be in Bangkok, you can’t go wrong when you pick any of these wondrous green parks to walk to and through.