Lumpini Park is a 140+ acre oasis of tranquility in the heart of bustling Bangkok. The park was established after WWI by King Rama VI, and there is a statue of him at the southern entrance near Silom Road (picture on left).
This park is a very short walk from our apartment and from inside the park there are exquisite views of many of Bangkok’s signature buildings. The park itself contains a music shell where the Bangkok Symphony offers free, open air concerts from December through February. It also has a smaller gazebo where a youth symphony was performing this afternoon.
For those in search of exercise, the park has a couple of miles of biking and jogging paths, a health park where various pieces of cardio-equipment are available, and a weight-lifting area that is open to all. The park has several permanent buildings including a large exhibition hall (where the first Bangkok Motor Show was held in 1979), a youth center, an elderly center, and a facility called the Home of Hope where homeless children can go for help. Young people can play basketball and soccer at the youth center and there is an outdoor pool right next to it so that they can escape the heat.
The park contains a lake and several small canals. The waterways are full of fish, turtles, and lizards. Many people feed the fish that swarm just below the surface of the water near the bridges. While it is difficult to see the fish clearly since they swarm so quickly to the food, they looked like pretty large catfish to me. Paddle boats are available to rent, but most people seemed quite content simply sitting in the shade.
The absolute highlight of the trip, however, was finding the large lizards that swim in the water and sun themselves on the nearby banks. These are not your run-of-the-mill chameleons or iguanas; these animals, called water monitors, are big. They can grow to be 9 to 10 feet long and weigh up to 90 pounds. While the ones we saw today were not this large, they were big enough and their serious-looking claws quickly convinced me that I had no need to be pedaling around THEIR lake in a paddle boat!
Kop Khun Krab.
© 2011 Kurt Brown. All rights reserved.