Lumpini Park, Bangkok’s first public park, was opened by King Rama VI in 1925 – you can find his statue at the main gates. It was named after Lumbini, the famed birthplace of the Buddha in Nepal. The Bangkok park offers huge, natural open grounds of lush, shaded greenery and peaceful lakes.
You will find a serious amount of Bangkokians snoozing on the lawns and benches around Lumpini park but on the other hand, exercise is greatly encouraged within it’s walls – the sheer size of the park makes it very popular with runners and great for cycling in Bangkok (although cycling is only officially allowed between 10 am and 3pm). You can even find an outdoor gym full of hulking Bangkok locals benching tyres on rusty bars as well as other random exercise equipment throughout the park grounds.
The large old trees that line the paths in Lumpini park make it a refreshing stop in Bangkok to cool off in the shade. There are many open areas to stop and rest or have a picnic but there are also more interesting displays such as the Palm Garden – an array of gigantic, tropical trees; the Chinese pagoda – set amongst an arrangement of flowers, overlooking the stillness of the lake; the lake island hidden amongst it’s many palms and floral displays.
To the locals of Bangkok, Lumpini park is more than just a display of flora and fauna, it also has a library, school, social club, homeless centre and a youth centre which offers sports activities like tennis, swimming and basketball. On the last Sunday of every month from around 7.00 until 9.00am, local monks hold Buddhist Sermons; During February to April, the palm garden hosts live music from 16.30 every Sunday. Pedal boats and rowing boats are available for rent for 30 baht per half hour. If you can wake the boat guy up anyway.
There are currently, as of 2013, building works being undertaken around parts of Lumpini Park which make it a little less peaceful and calm as it could be. The maze-like roads that wind through the park are also used by a surprisingly large number of trucks, either construction related or just garden maintenance related (e.g. they use one fire engine-looking truck to water all the foliage around the Bangkok park). Lumpini park is so big though that it is possible to escape these disturbances – For a more calm and peaceful park in Bangkok though, it may be worth checking Benjakiti Park.
How to get to Lumpini Park
You can either take the MRT Subway to Lumpini and follow signs within the station to the park, or you can take the BTS Sky Train to Sala Deng and follow signs from there to the MRT.