Lumpini Park is often referred to as the outdoor playground of Bangkok. Attracting people of all ages it is a fascinating place to observe Bangkok residents, and visitors, as they enjoy the tranquility of this peaceful oasis in the heart of the city.
The area that Lumpini Park now occupies was once known as ‘Saladaeng Field’. At that time it was on the outskirts of Bangkok, a suburban district surrounded by fruit orchards and paddy fields. It was an area that wealthy Bangkok residents desired to live.
King Rama VI donated the land to the nation and renamed it Lumpini, after Buddha’s birthplace in Nepal (The birthplace of Buddha is actually spelled as ‘Lumbini’). The original intention was that the land would be used as an exhibition area or museum for Thai crafts, but that goal was never fulfilled.
In 1925 the area was transformed into the first, and still today the largest public parks in Bangkok, that covers an area of 360 rai (142 acres). King Rama VI statue was erected at the main entrance facing Silom Road to commemorate his kindness to the nation.
With the rapid growth of the city, Lumpini Park is now part of the busy commercial district of Bangkok. Surrounded and overlooked by city skyscrapers, expensive condominiums, luxury five-star hotels and a multitude of corporate headquarters; it still remains an area where Bangkok residents wish to live.
As soon as you enter Lumpini Park, with its large man-made lake surrounded by an abundance of green grass and trees, you will realise why it is the perfect retreat for some peace and quiet, fresh air and a healthy dose of nature.
Leaving the noise and chaos of the city behind, you can stroll along the shaded paths that are surrounded by an array of flora and fauna from across Thailand.
You will definitely encounter some its famous inhabitants, the water monitor lizards. Lumpini Park is home to hundreds, if not thousands, of these seemingly harmless reptiles. They often climb out of the cool water of the lake to sunbathe on the lush grass verges.
Exactly why these reptiles inhabit this park in the city center is not clear. It has been suggested that they are the ancestors of the original inhabitants of the area when Lumpini Park was known as ‘Saladaeng Field’.
It is a Thai belief that when you see one of these lizards, you should take out your wallet and open it; this will then bring you good fortune!
As well as strolling around the park there are numerous outdoor leisure activities that are available for everyone.
Along the perimeter path, which measures over 2.5 Km, you will see many people of all ages jogging, walking or cycling. There are many classes practicing Tai Chi and yoga, sometimes you will see individuals practicing on their own as they enjoy the peaceful surroundings.
During the day, and particularly over the weekend, you will see wise elders relaxing in the shade of one of the many pavilions. Meeting with friends and casually chatting they also play various board games such as ‘Mark Horse’, a Thai game that is similar to Checkers.
During the early evening, there are many energetic aerobic workout sessions that are frequented by the surrounding office workers. Also, if you are bored of watching the TV in your gym, you can watch life pass by as you pump iron in one of the open-air gyms.
Lumpini Park is also a great venue for children. Apart from connecting with nature, there are playgrounds that they can explore and enjoy. There is also plenty of space for families to find a quiet spot to enjoy a nice picnic.
The most popular time to visit Lumpini Park is during the cooler hours of the early morning and evening. Whether you are looking for some physical activity, a peaceful time to contemplate, or a place to relax and enjoy the fresh air and nature, then Lumpini Park is worth a visit as it has something for everyone.
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