Jon Arnold Images Ltd / Alamy
Ashley Niedringhaus
August 19, 2014

Despite the city’s massive population boom of the past 10 years, Bangkok has done a remarkably good job of preserving its lush, green spaces. Tourists can enjoy jogging trails, take bikes for a spin, rent swan-shaped paddleboats, or simply escape into nature in these public spaces, all while experiencing a taste of the day-to-day life of Bangkok residents. Take a short walk in any of these five city parks, and you’ll be treated to scenes of brightly colored tropical flowers, but don’t be surprised if you cross paths with one of the large monitor lizards that call the area home. Many of the parks on this list also have small food stands for snacks, but if it’s a proper picnic you’re seeking, grab street food from a nearby vendor and take it to go. Most takeaway food is served in plastic bags, so ask for small containers to divvy up your portions.  

Phuttamonthon

This large, peaceful park located 45-minutes outside the city is home to a 52-foot tall statue of Buddha and includes sites memorializing the four main events in Buddha’s life. Tree-lined roads, grassy areas and large ponds make this a perfect picnic spot. You can even rent bikes and buy food once you’re there. 

Lumphini Park

Located in the heart of Bangkok, this massive park played host to the protests that rocked the city from late 2013 until early 2014. Political demonstrations aside, this leafy oasis is a prime spot for people watching in the morning and a peaceful retreat from the busy city in the afternoon. Paddleboats that look like swans are available to rent and monitor lizards are a common sight. 

Benjakiti Park

Visitors looking for a jogging path will be pleased to find the six-mile track around Benjakiti Park’s lake. With a separate bike lane to help avoid collisions and views of downtown’s skyline, it’s a favorite of local runners. Plus, the park’s central location near the Asok BTS makes it easily accessible. 

Sri Nakhon Khuean Khan Park and Botanical Garden

In the center of Bang Kachao, a massive “green lung” not far from the city’s center, is this large park and botanic garden. Thanks to the pancake-flat landscape of Bangkok, riding a bike here is an easy activity for anyone, even families with pint-sized tourists. No need to bring your own two-wheeler; on-site rentals are available. 

Sanam Luang

This open field and public gathering space just outside the Grand Palace was previously used as a crematorium space for kings, queens, and other high-ranking members of the royal family. Today, it’s an ideal spot to rest your feet after an afternoon of temple hopping. Plus, the people watching here is top-notch.

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