It so happened that my friend and I stayed at Pinnacle Lumpinee Hotel near Rama IV Road, and this hotel is located quite near to Lumpini Park, Bangkok's most famous park.
From the map above (click to enlarge), you can see the giant green lung which is Lumpini Park. (sometimes spelt as Lumphini). The hotel where we stayed is at the right bottom corner. Can you spot it?
If you notice, Pinnacle Lumpinee Hotel is rather near to Malaysia Hotel which is also quite famous. It is also very near to Lumpinee Boxing Stadium and the Lumpini MRT Station. I'll share more about the hotel in my next post.
Although the 5-star Dusit Thani Hotel where I stayed during one of my previous trips is even nearer to Lumpini Park - it's just directly opposite! (refer to map) - I did not get the chance to visit the park that time. So I had to make sure that I visit it during this trip!
See the view of Lumpini Park from my Dusit Thani Hotel room during my previous stay in Bangkok HERE.
So on my second day in Bangkok, I woke up early for breakfast at my hotel and then proceeded to put on my jogging shoes. To get to Lumpini Park from my hotel, I had to cross the overhead bridge to the other side of the Rama IV Road.
The photo above was taken from the bridge. Rama IV Road is quite a busy road with lots of cars! Once I am on the other side of the road, all I need to do is to walk straight all the way to reach Lumpini Park!
Oh, by the way, I was walking alone that morning. My friend did not join me - he was still at the hotel room sleeping! He was not keen to go jogging on his holidays. Guess I can't blame him as not everyone is as crazy as me!
But honestly, jogging was just an excuse for me to visit the park. I had actually wanted to see what the locals do at Lumpini Park for the longest time.
My friend and I had planned to go to Terminal 21 Shopping Mall (which I have blogged about in previous posts - Read HERE) at 10am that day.
It was only 8am when I left my hotel, so that gave me ample time to walk to Lumpini Park, jog around, perhaps snap some photos, walk back to my hotel and take a nice shower before we start our itinerary for the day.
The above is the map and directory of Lumpini Park. (Click to enlarge).
Perhaps you may want to click on this online map instead - it's more colorful and easier on the eyes : )
I was actually quite amazed when I read the directory. The park has - you better believe this! - a public library, a food court, a school, a radio station, a dance hall, a swimming pool, a body building open gym, a tennis court, a glass house, an elderly centre, a youth centre, a nursery and a floating island!
I started my jog but ended up mostly walking as I wanted to take pictures of the scenery and activities in the park. I passed by a group of people doing tai chi.
Next to this group of people was a Clock Tower.
Beautiful patterns on the wall of the Clock Tower base.
From what I heard, Lumpini Park is Thailand's first public park and was named after Lumbini, the birthplace of the Buddha in Nepal. It was actually founded by King Rama VI in 1925. A statue of the King stands at the southwestern entrance to the park. I took a photo of it last time and posted it HERE.
As I jogged, I passed by a Chinese Pavilion.
I decided to drop by and take a picture of the ceiling inside the pavilion.
A closer shot of the carvings on the ceiling wall.
There is a huge man-made lake in this park, where you can go for a boat ride. I like the view from here. So calm and serene.
In fact, the whole park with its greenery and lake was a direct contrast to the concrete jungle of Bangkok. It's an ideal place to escape from the hustle and bustle of the city. To the people in Bangkok, Lumpini Park is probably similar to what Central Park is to the New Yorkers.
But what is that object in the middle of the lake? Let me enlarge the picture.
Do you know what that is?
I think there's even a monument in the park with a similar structure on top.
Any Thais reading this can tell me what that object is?
View of the monument from the front.
I saw a row of duck-shaped boats on the lake. I would love to go for a boat ride, but the thought of doing that all alone puts me off immediately. Haha!
I guess not many people were riding those pedal boats that morning as it was a working day. Probably there would be more people doing so in the evenings or during weekends.
I resumed my jogging and then I saw this in the distance. Is that a wind turbine or something?
There were a few of them at the park and you can see the blades turning when it's windy. Perhaps the park generates its own electricity from these wind turbines?
Soon, I passed by a yellow colour building. If I'm not mistaken, this must be the Public Library.
Unfortunately, it was not opened yet - still too early in the morning - so I did not get the chance to enter the library.
I jogged towards what was termed a 'floating island'. It was simply a small land in the middle of the lake. Took a picture of this fountain as I left the island.
Not very sure what building this is but it looks nice. Perhaps the dance hall?
Then I came across an open gym with muscular guys doing their body building workouts. I was too shy to take pictures of them, but I was quite amazed with the variety of activities and facilities in this park!
I can just imagine how lively and interesting it would be during the evenings or weekends. Apart from joggers of all ages, you will probably see senior citizens doing Tai Chi, young people playing tennis, ladies dancing to music, aerobic classes, children running around, and bodybuilders strutting their stuff too! Wow!
Soon, it was time for me to finish up my last lap. As I was about to leave the park, I came across an unusual structure which looks like a tortoise shell surrounded by eggs!
This is actually a memorial sculpture called Sagittarius. It's in celebration of the auspicious occasion of His Majesty The King's 80th birthday and the 120th Anniversary of the Japan - Thailand diplomatic relations.
The concept of the sculpture was derived from His Majesty the King Bhumibol Adulyadej of Thailand's birthday on December 5th, 1927 and Emperor Akihito of Japan's birthday on December 23rd, 1933, in reflection of their shared Sagittarius zodiac.
The Sagittarius sculpture is an expression of time agelessness, and a belief in the connection of humans and the constellations in this mysterious Universe, as well as the everlasting relationship between Thailand and Japan.
I am glad I visited Lumpini Park during my Bangkok trip. If you ever go to Bangkok, do make it a point to visit this park even if you are just there just for people watching.
The park is easily accessible via the BTS Skytrain or the MRT. Nearest stations are Sala Daeng BTS Station or Lumpini and Silom MRT Stations.