Bangkok was the first stop on this first trip to Southeast Asia. Early impressions are of an incredibly vibrant and crowded city, with gracious people (an estimated 8.5 million of them) and good transit.
We spent the afternoon of our second day in Lumpini Park, which is lovely. I think of it as this city’s equivalent (albeit smaller) to NYC’s Central Park.
You have highrises and intense traffic (as well as Bangkok’s own SkyTrain system) in the background, and tucked in the midst of it all is an oasis of serenity – trees and waterways in the midst of all the hustle and bustle – in the form of this park.
This photo, taken on our way out of the park, is one of my favourites of the day. Watch the toddler mastering the steps from one family member to another, and the pride and love on the grownups’ faces.
We saw, in no particular order, body builders, an outdoor barber at work, coconut vendors, colourful fitness equipment, a running route and a swimming pool (for which foreigners must first go to a hospital and have their good health certified before being admitted).
If you go, you won’t miss the massive monument to the King.
There are also sculptures such as this, installed in 1992 in honour of the Queen’s 60th birthday and known as A Mother’s Love …
… and temples and other buildings, snug in this city sanctuary.
First time visitors to the area will want to know that you should either bring your own tissues or be prepared to purchase a little packet when you enter the bathroom facilities. As is the case in many parks, you’ll be doing without hand soap unless you bring your own or some sanitizer.
Having said that, not many park facilities have lovely plants such as these in the entrance.
Strolling through the park, we also saw turtles, swan-shaped paddle boats, and snakefish. We also encountered a large lizard, some interesting birds, and more than a few wild cats – who seemed uninterested in the birds, who also displayed no fear of felines. Here’s a look at some of those creatures.