Probably the most famous and popular park in Bangkok is Lumphini. For many years I have been meaning to go there to take a look around. I have passed it many times when driving along Rama IV road. Near Chulalongkorn Hospital, there is a flyover and as you drive past you can look down to the prominent King Rama VI statue and the park beyond. Many times I wanted to stop but didn’t know where I could park. Now, with the coming of the Metro, visiting the park has become that much easier. Before, you had to walk up from Sala Daeng Sky Train Station. Now, the the underground train, called MRT, has two convenient stops. When I went to explore the park the other day, I got out at Si Lom Station, walked through the park, then got back onto the underground train at Lumphini Station.
The large park used to be called Saladaeng field and was the property of King Rama VI. In 1925, the king donated the land to the public to be used as a park and fair ground. He named it Lumphini after the birthplace of the Lord Buddha. In the middle of the park is a large lake where you can rent paddle boats for 40 baht for thirty minutes. It was extremely pleasant walking through the park. Hard to believe that I was in the middle of a bustling city. It wasn’t really that crowded. Some people were having a picnic by the lake. Others sleeping or feeding the birds. The park is a good place for exercise. I saw quite a few joggers and there is even a fitness area where you can lift weights. Early in the morning is apparently the busiest time when people come to work out in the relative coolness of the day. Scattered around the park are some pavilions. In one a couple were practicing ballroom dancing. In another, four youths were training for traditional sword fighting.
If you feel like a break from the traffic jams, noise and pollution, then consider going to Lumphini Park for a breath of fresh air. A word of warning to smokers. It is against the law to smoke in the park and there is a 2,000 baht fine.
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