Many of Bangkok’s better parks are found beside Skytrain or Subway stops along Bangkok’s convenient rail networks. Favourites include Benjasiri Park (BTS: Phrom Phong), Lumpini Park (MRT: Lumpini) and Chatuchak (MRT: Chatuchak, BTS: Mo Chit). Today we call into Chatuchak Park after a sweaty morning at the neighbouring JJ Weekend Market.
The last time I visited was 10 years ago. So it was long overdue and I was amazed that nothing had changed. The park is still quiet, tranquil and local. Tourist-free and romantic. It reminds me of why I fell in love with Bangkok to begin with.
Picnic Time in Chatuchak Park
With no plans or preparation, we arrived to Chatuchak Park with our hands empty, expecting to be fed and made comfortable once there. This is never a problem in Bangkok.
The beautiful lady below leased us a blanket for the day (50 baht) and we pick up street food out front. Khanom Jeen rice noodles and Som Tam Korat papaya salad.
For Western tastes, there are also scores of street food vendors surrounding the park and hundreds next door in JJ Market (weekends). Hawkers conveniently circle the park.
There is a slight mark-up on prices but it beats hauling around a picnic basket through Bangkok. Among te hawker treats are crisps, mamuang man (unripe mango), boiled eggs, soft drinks…. We buy some boiled monkey nuts (20 baht a bag).
No Ball Games Allowed
We set up next to the central pond and enjoy our time feeding birds, squirrels, fish and turtles. It’s peaceful. Antsy, I take out my Takraw Ball (bought from JJ Market) and show off my silky ball skills. Lasted about 3 minutes before the jolly park ranger below scolded me (probably jealous of my skills) and told me there are places for ball games in Chatuchak park – just not where we were sat.
The areas closer to JJ market are busier, as they’re popular with passersby and lazy adventurers leaving the market. There is otherwise a complete contrast at the far side of Chatuchak Park which is where we sit. The park is empty, tranquil bar the local park life. The locals stretch their legs, exercise and do other local things. So it’s a great place for people watching.
Romance in the Park
We take a walk around the park and find a lot of romance, as an escape for young couples to cuddle, smooch and ride the pond on peddle-powered ducks. There’s also a number of single girls. Smiling eyes, giggles, nice girls in search of Prince Charming. Not the money-grabbing bandits of Bangkok tourist areas.
Despite Chatuchak Park’s convenient Skytrain location, it is far from the city centre. I guess, were it not for JJ Market, the area would be completely void of foreign visitors.