Bangkok, Thailand is officially the hottest city in the world. That means, exercising outside is something a lot of people don’t think about. After all, when you’ve got world-class gyms why on earth would anyone want to exercise outdoors in a city this hot? Well, it’s free. It’s also fun, it’s a lot more interesting than the gym and there are some wonderful places to go.
Lumphini Park – The most popular place in Bangkok for exercising outdoors is also the largest green area in the city. Lumphini Park is huge (142 acres), with its own lake, public library and dance hall. Lumphini is popular with the city’s early morning and evening workout fanatics who come here in their thousands to walk or run on the running paths, cycle, rollerblade, weight lift at the outdoor gym, practice Muay Thai kickboxing, play takraw (a traditional Thai sport) or do Tai Chi.
Lumphini Park also has public aerobics sessions, where you can join hundreds of men and women, all lined up and following an instructor who stands on a stage shouting encouragement into a microphone.
Best time to hit Lumphini is early morning right at dawn, when you can join the thousands of other Bangkokians before they head off to work. Or in the early evening, when people will go there to wind down after a day at work. It’s still hot, but not as unbearable as it would be in the middle of the day. You can get to Lumphini Park on the underground. Just get off at the Lumphini station.
Chatuchak Park/Queen Sirikit Park/Rot Fai Park – Right next to Mo Chit sky train station is Chatuchak Park. It’s a lovely park with a man-made lake, lots of trees and walking trails and, in the early mornings and late evenings, is busy with walkers and joggers who love to take advantage of the wide tracks. There are also public exercise groups that meet here, where everyone will get together and do aerobics or Tai Chi en masse.
Queen Sirikit Park and Rot Fai Park are also part of this three park complex so, with all three parks together, you can get a fairly long workout here. Again, the park opens early and, by 6:15am, it’s quite busy. Exercising outdoors can actually be fun and Chatuchak Park has even been reported as a place for singles to meet potential significant others.
Benjakiti Park – Near the Queen Sirikit Convention Center in downtown Bangkok, Banjakiti Park is another place that’s wonderful for outdoor exercise. Popular with office workers in the area, you’ll have lots of company here as everyone runs or walks around its man-made lake after work.
A couple of area fitness centers also run what they call “Boot Camps” in Banjakiti Park. These are month-long training sessions, where small groups meet with a trainer at the park either early mornings or late afternoons, and he/she will put you through your paces. Be warned, these sessions can be quite strenuous but some people report great results with weight loss and better fitness levels. Check out some of the fitness centers close to the park for more information.
The best way to get to Benjakiti Park is to take the sky train to Asok or the underground to Sukhumvit (both stations are at the same location), then cross Sukhumvit Road and walk about five minutes up Ratchadapisek Road. Benjakiti Park will be on your right hand side.
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