Lumpini Park is located in Bangkok, Thailand, and offers a 142 acre green space in the centre of the bustling and extremely urban Thai capital. The area is also regarded as the first public park in Thailand. The park was once considered to be on the outskirts of town, but with the growth of Bangkok, is now firmly in the midst of the business district. It is also connected - via an elevated footbridge - to a neighbouring park, Benjakitti Park in Khlong Toei District.
Originally, the land now known as Lumpini Park belonged to King Rama VI. It wasn’t until 1925 that he gifted the land to the Thai public with the intention it be used as a fairground. The area of land then hosted the Siamrat Phiphitthaphan Trade Fair, which intended to promote Thai businesses and industry both within Thailand and to foreign countries. And the completion of this fair, the land was converted into a public park and named Lumphini, after the birthplace of Buddha. The park was briefly used as a Japanese Army Camp during World War II, but returned to its former public park status.
Facilities Inside The Park
The entrance to the park is home to a monument for King Rama, which was built in 1942 to commemorate his passing. The first ever public library in the country was also built within the park borders, and is called the Lumphini Park Library.The park also has several other buildings and recreation centres.
Lumpini notably is home to the Smiling Sun Ground, which is a recreation centre designed for individuals with disabilities. It features various resources as well as intentionally adapted playgrounds and sports areas. In addition, the park includes the Home of Hope, which is a refuge for homeless children including an information, aid and advice center. There is also a youth center and an Elder Citizen’s club, and a BMA apprentice school.
Generally, the park includes a wide variety of catered recreational centres and areas for activity and information, most of which are targeted to specific audiences for ease and convenience. Buhhidist Dharma activities also take place in the park, usually just on Sundays.
Despite the presence of many rec centres and buildings, the park is primarily a green space, with Lumpini Lake roughly in the centre. Giant palms, flowering bushes and ornamental shrubs can be spotted along the manicured lawns and pathways. Common species include golden rain shrubs, Bougainvillea and crepe myrtle.
This green area amidst the big city means it has become a home for some wildlife in the area, most notably giant monitor lizards. These are actually the second largest lizard species in the world, and though they may seem an interesting attraction to tourists, the park has at times been considered to be rather overrun with them. They can grow upwards to around three meters in length, but are not considered dangerous to humans. They generally feed on birds and fish, as they are water monitors, and will leave humans alone, despite their somewhat alarming size and presence in the park.
Aside from the lizards, the park draws many bird watchers, and it has been known to have roughly 30 different species of birds living within it. Some species include Oriental Magpie-Robins, Coppersmith Barbets, Pied Fantails, Large-billed Crows and Zebra Doves.
Generally, the park offers a break from the urban spaces and busy city life of Bangkok, without having to leave the city. In mornings and evenings, when the sun is not too hot, people of all ages come to practice a variety of exercises from jogging along the pathways, to Thai Chi, to swimming and working out. Popular for both tourists and locals alike, it is a lovely green area in the heart of Thailand’[s most lively city.