Award-winning poet Gary Snyder once said “Nature is not a place to visit. It is home”. And if the pandemic has taught us anything, it’s just how much nature is vital to our physical and mental well-being. One of the busiest—and congested—capital cities globally, Bangkok is evolving to accommodate its citizenry who have discovered the healing power of nature. So, while you technically can’t go forest bathing in Bangkok, you can still find plenty of green spaces to immerse yourself in nature and feel at home.
Chao Phraya Sky Park
Reflecting this new mindset is this park that turned an unused 280-metre rail bridge into Thailand’s first ‘garden bridge’. Spanning the Chao Phraya River, it connects Bangkok to its sister city Thonburi. The trees are still young, but it’s a walk worth taking. Among the trees are the makok (or water olive), which legend has it, is what Bangkok is named after.
Rama IX Park
The largest park in the city, it was built to celebrate King Bhumibol Adulyadej’s 60th birthday. Beyond its botanical gardens, it houses a lake and a permanent exhibition devoted to King Bhumibol. The very quiet Nong Bon Lake Bike Park next to it has a 4-kilometre track circling the lake.
Established in 1925, this 150-acre sprawl in Bangkok’s beating heart is the city’s oldest. Bookended by the tourist district of Silom and the ‘golden shopping mile’, Lumpini is all flower gardens, ornamental lakes (with paddle boats), picnic areas and meandering walkways. Around 30 species of birds, squirrels, turtles, fish and monitor lizards call it home. Beyond its bandstand, public library (Bangkok’s first), Buddhist Dhamma centre, tennis courts, biking lanes and swimming pool, it’s where Tai chi is practised every morning. If that doesn’t put you in a meditative mood, select a tree, close your eyes and breathe.
DayAway Tip: After exploring the park, head to the poolside of the nearby Como Metropolitan Bangkok and celebrate life over a bottle of Prosecco and canapes.
The Green Mile Bangkok
Connecting Benjakitti Forest Park to Lumpini Park, this elevated walkway cuts through the city’s heart with several points of interest along its length. Access the walkway from Benjakitti’s northwest corner. This walking-cum-biking trail goes over parkland and local communities, with plenty of exit points for easy explorations. The 1.3-kilometre trail ends at Lumpini Park, and a short stroll away is the Waldorf Astoria Bangkok.
DayAway Tip: Schedule in some pampering at the Waldorf Astoria after the walk. We recommend a Diamond Facial Treatment, followed by a home-style Thai set lunch at the Front Room.
Sindhorn Kempinski Hotel Bangkok
On the edge of Lumpini Park, the hotel revels in its private oasis of walking paths, old trees (some a century old) and lush tropical foliage. Sitting in the Lobby Lounge, looking out over the lush landscaped gardens, it’s hard to believe you are in the middle of the CBD. It’s one of the hotels in the city that has embraced modern, biophilic design to stunning effect.
DayAway Tip: Indulge in the afternoon tea ritual served daily from 2 pm to 5 pm, followed by a walk in the tropical garden.
Siangpure Bike Park
Also known as the Peppermint Bike Park, the four-acre park in Bangkok’s northwest is for mountain biking enthusiasts. Its two trails—the easy-going, basic Fun Track and the challenging Adventure Track with steep slopes, wooden bridges, wall rides, and sharp turns—offer a rhythmic escape. If you want to clear your head and focus on the moment, it’s well worth renting a bike.
Suan Rot Fai (Railway) Park
Very popular with the locals, the green embrace of this 150-acre parkland, also known as Wachirabenchathat Park, is energising. Close to the famous Chatuchak Market, this erstwhile golf course’s appeal lies in its looping walking and biking trails around the lake and its magical Butterfly Garden, home to several species that flit around in the sunshine putting smiles on faces.
Like every other park in Bangkok, here you will also chance upon monitor lizards ambling past practising yogis or lounging humans, with not a care in the world. This is an attitude you will feel encouraged to emulate, but remember to keep your distance.
See also: Are These the Most Beautiful Boutique Eco-Hotels in the World?