There are not too many places in Bangkok where cyclists can go with their bicycle and feel safe. It is true that the BMA have built more cycling lanes around the city but many of these are either blocked by parked cars or are being used by motorcyclists. I know we shouldn’t complain as they are at least making an effort to make Bangkok a haven for cyclists. Indeed, the Bangkok Governor has been very supportive of the monthly Car Free Sunday events that have been taking place over the last three months. He has even promised more cycle lanes. With more people taking to the roads each month on bicycles, I hope in the future that Bangkok will become safer for cyclists.
I have tried cycling at some of the parks in Bangkok but the majority don’t allow bicycle or they restrict the hours which you can use them. So, I was really pleased to find out about Suan Rot Fai, or The Railway Park, which is a cyclists paradise in the heart of Bangkok. The park covers an area of about 150 acres and used to be part of a golf course belonging to the State Railway of Thailand. I was there for the first time at the weekend and it was great to see so many people out enjoying themselves cycling around the track. The main route around the park is about three kilometers long, but there are a number of interconnecting tracks. The place is almost big enough to get lost for a short while.
One of the best things about Suan Rot Fai is that it is very family friendly. In fact, when I was there at the weekend there were many youngsters cycling around. Some of them were obviously with their friends and others were with their family. Cycling is not the only activity as there is plenty to see for nature lovers such as the botanical gardens and there are also bird watching opportunities. I also spotted a Butterfly Garden which I will check out next time. In addition, there are a couple of play areas with swings and slides as well as a swimming pool. I also spotted a basketball court where the hoops were lower than normal . Another popular activity seemed to be eating a picnic on the grass in the shade of a tree. All very nice and I think I will be going back soon with Nong Grace.
Suan Rot Fai is very close to Chatuchak Weekend Market. I went there on the BTS and got off at Mo Chit. You can take your bicycle on the sky train for free. Just make sure that you travel outside rush hour and use the end carriage. From the BTS station you head North-West through Chatuchak Park (see map). Incidentally, you cannot ride your bike in this park. The Suan Rot Fai is open from 5 a.m. to 9 p.m. I don’t recommend being there at night as there isn’t enough lighting and it could be dangerous. If you don’t have your own bike you can rent one for as little as 20 Baht for the day at a row of shops outside the Northern gate. There are also many food stalls here if you want to buy something for your picnic.