Bangkok is a bustling cosmopolitan with skyscrapers and high-rise condominiums popping up in every corner of every neighbourhood. Despite the fast-paced life in the Thai capital, it’s refreshing to know the city is also packed with expansive green spaces that offer a quick respite from the hustle and bustle of the metropolitan.

Within the city’s business centres and downtown neighbourhoods lie a number of parks, which are great places to unwind, have a picnic or spend an entire day with family and friends.

Here are 10 of Bangkok’s best parks to visit:

1. Benjakitti Park

Located in Khlong Toei, Benjakitti Park is home to an artificial lake that adds tranquillity to this 208,000 sq m park built on what was once the Tobacco Monopoly. Opposite the Queen Sirikit National Convention Centre, its highlights include dedicated jogging and cycling tracks that encircle the whole park, as well as skate ramps. playgrounds, a half-circle courtyard popular for picnics, as well as a beautiful central pavilion with fountains.

The park is open from 5am to 9pm daily and provides a great outdoor space for anyone who wants to enjoy a relaxing stroll around the lake or a daily jog.

2. Benjasiri Park

More than just a park, Benjasiri Park offers a place for art lovers, specifically sculptures. The park features a myriad of Thai sculptures found all around the park. The centrepiece is the work of Mesium Yipinsoy, a master sculpture, with a fountain that hosts multimedia dance shows three times a day, an activity looked forward to by residents nearby.

Also known as “Queen’s Park,” aside from a place where sculpture lovers can enjoy, the park also features a plethora of outdoor sports facilities not found in other parks in the city. Some of these include a basketball court, a tennis court, a roller-skating or skateboarding rink, an outdoor swimming pool, and a multipurpose court for other sports activities.

And that’s not all, open from 5am to 9pm, Benjasiri Park is located right next to the famed Emporium shopping mall, making it a great place to rest your legs after hours of shopping.

3. Chatuchak Park

Chatuchak may be a name more known for Bangkok’s ultimate night market, the Chatuchak Weekend Market, but the park itself is worth a visit. With plenty of outdoor sports facilities, such as tennis courts, soccer fields, and jogging tracks which are all free to use, it’s the best place in the neighbourhood to get your sweat on.

And before making your way to the Weekend Market, why not visit the Train Museum, the Youth Traffic Garden, or the Thai Literature and Herb Garden for some fun and learning?

Open from 4:3am to 9pm daily, it is located at Kamphaeng Phet Road, Chatuchak.

4. Lumpini Park

Considered to be the “Green Lung” of Bangkok, Lumpini is one of the largest green spaces in Bangkok. Opened in the 1920’s, it is a 500,000 sq m park and home to various flora and fauna that provide fresh air and beautiful sights for residents and tourists of the city. Packed with facilities for fitness, visitors can take a jog, join an aerobics class, Tai Chi classes, and other outdoor fitness exercises for free.

From picnics to strolling along lush gardens, to enjoying a few minutes of rest along the artificial lake, this park, named after the Buddha’s birthplace in Nepal, is certainly one of the best green spots in the city.

Lumpini Park is also one of the most known parks surrounded by new developments of condos in Bangkok selling at premium prices due to its central location and of course a view of the green and lakes in the park.

Located in Pathumwan, it is open daily from 4:30am to 9pm.

5. Rama IX Park

Rama IX Park is the largest park in Bangkok located on the outskirts of the city. Because of this, it’s not packed with crowds of tourists, and instead, is a great place to see locals practising Tai Chi and other fitness activities.

The park features a beautiful botanical garden, a huge lake and stunning gardens.

It was built in 1987 for King Bhumibol Adulyadej’s 60th birthday, with the old-and-white Parchman Jhala Pavilion being its main highlight. Located 15km southeast of the city centre, it’s a great place to unwind and enjoy nature while still being within easy reach of the hustle and bustle of the city centre. It is open daily from 5am to 7pm.

6. Romaneenart Park

Located on Siriphong Road, which is close to the Giant Swing and What Suthat, Romaneenart Park features several fountains all around the area, making it a great park to cool off from the summer heat. It is considered to be the only non-ceremonial park in the Old City and built on the site of an old city jail. Several neoclassical buildings are also found inside, which is in the style of the King Rama V period.

Open daily from 5am to 9pm, the park is a simple and quiet place to read a book, or simply enjoy the beautiful fountains and buildings that surround the park.

7. Rod Fai Park

The best park in Bangkok for a fun bicycle ride, Rod Fai Park is located in the north of the city and considered to be the most popular for cyclists. The track is flat and easy to ride, and on weekends, you’ll find the park packed with cyclists and families on a picnic. You can also rent one if you know how to ride and explore the park on two wheels.

Visitors can also play tennis, enjoy a swim at the swimming pool, play basketball, kayak, or explore the Bangkok Butterfly Garden, filled with flowers and butterflies in a quaint greenhouse.

Open from 5am to 9pm, Rod Fai Park is simply a great park to enjoy the weekend with locals and visitors.

8. Sanam Luang or The Royal Field

Located on Rattanakosin Island, the park is home to some of Bangkok’s most famous landmarks. These landmarks include the Grand Palace, the National Museum, the Temple of the Emerald Buddha, as well as government buildings such as the Ministry of Defence, and the Supreme Court.

It might seem like a place you’d only visit for a historical or educational tour, but on most days, when the grounds are not being used for various activities, you can see families having a picnic on the grassy lawns, as well as locals playing a game or two of sepak takraw [kick volleyball]. The park is open daily from 5qm to 10pm.

9. Santi Chai Prakan

Also known as Phra Athit Park, it is located on the Chao Phraya riverside, where spending late afternoons here rewards its visitors with views of the beautiful Bangkok sunset. One of the few remaining structures left of the old city fortifications, it is popular with both locals and tourists, who fill the park in the evening.

The famous Khao San Road, Bangkok’s backpacker’s paradise, is only a 10-minute walk away, while the nearby Phra Athit Road is home to several pubs, restaurants and bars. You can expect quite a good number of tourists spending their afternoons at the park.

On weekends, street artists and performers gather here, attracting more visitors to this central Bangkok location. The park is open from 5am to 8pm daily.

10. Santiphap Park

If you’re looking for a place where you can sit back, relax, and listen to live music, then Santiphap Park is the place for you. It’s quite small, at only 32, 375 sq meters but it’s buzzing with activities for most days of the week. Located in the middle of Bangkok’s Victory Monument, some of the highlights of the park include birdwatching, as over 30 species of birds call the park home.

There is a playground for kids, a free outdoor gym, as well as a pond with a bronze sculpture with the symbol of peace in the middle. Santiphap Park, is also known as Peace Park, as it was built to commemorate the end of the Second World War. The park is open from 5am to 9pm daily.

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More parks are found within and on the outskirts of Bangkok that are worth a visit if you find yourself wanting to spend an afternoon or a full day outdoors. Some of these parks are within walking distance to BTS stations and situated along the best neighbourhoods of downtown Bangkok, making them a wonderful convenient excursion if you’re planning to move to the city.