Chatuchak Park: Oasis in a Concrete JunglePosted: April 24, 2011
Alongside the traffic-congested Phahonyothin Road, Chatuchak Park offers Bangkok residents quiet respite from the manic pace of urban living. With the BTS (skytrain) and MRT (underground) directly in front of the park, it’s a doddle to get there and attracts large crowds on the weekend who come to take a brief rest from their bartering bonanza in nearby Chatuchak Market.
If you’re looking for a quiet place to read that second-hand book from Dasa Book Café, Chatuchak Park has plenty of shaded areas where you can escape from the sun and watch the world go by. The park’s central feature is its artificial lake, which stretches along the entire length of the park and makes for a great place to feed fish or even the occasional turtle. Peddle boats can be rented for a small price and offer the perfect opportunity to take your sweetheart on the lake and confess your undying love (puke).
The park is frequented by an eclectic crowd and you will see Thai families sitting in the shade eating Som Tum Mamuang (spicy mango salad), while farangs try their best to look farang, and lay semi-naked in the baking sun trying to catch a sun burn. Health fanatics don their headbands and looks of steely determination, as they try to postpone the inevitable by keeping fit on the parks tarmac tracks while weightlifters congregate at the bench press to compare each others pecs.
A children’s playground is located near to the south entrance of the park and is great for keeping the little ones entertained while you do boring grown-up things, like read news papers or talk about last year’s vacation in Kuala Lumpur.
If you’re feeling peckish while at the park, Kampaeng Phet Road 3 is lined with noodle stalls, where you can sit down on wee plastic chairs and eat with chopsticks in the open air. Ice cream vendors occasionally walk through the park selling ice cream with rice in it. Yes, I said rice. Actually, the ice cream rice is rather delicious. Failing all that, run to the BTS and grab a bag of Iced Bismarcks from Dunkin’ Donuts.
The north of the park is where you will find the beautiful flower gardens and is the best place to escape the hustle and bustle of the busy lakeside area. The numerous bridges spanning the lake offer great vantage points for watching fish or taking that “here-I-am-in-Chatuchak-Park” pic to show off to your “friends” on Facebook.
Chatuchak Park is a great place to stop off and unwind from a frenetic day in the labyrinth that is Chatuchak Market, take time to acquaint yourself with all the souvenirs you recently had forced upon you, watch the Bangkok sun drop behind the skyline of concrete tower blocks and breathe the smog-filled air. Ahh, Bangkok . . what a perfect way to spend the day.