I finally did it.
For years I dreamed of seeing dinosaurs at Lumpini Park. I mean monitor lizards. LP in Bangkok has hosted 100-400, 3 to 5 to some say, 10 foot long lizards. We are talking dinosaur-sized in some cases. Although the park did not so much house these suckers; lizards called Bangkok home hundreds of millions of years ago, long before were a twinkle in the eye of the Universe.
Anyway, I nutted up and did the about 4 mile walk with Kelli in 95 degree, humid, Bangkok temperatures earlier today. What a fun time. Whole new Bangkok, walking from by Khao San Road to this region on the other side of town.
Lumpini Park is a fun little spot. BKK’s answer to Central Park, this much smaller but beautiful park offers green, coolness and a fun spot for monitor lizard and people watching.
If you are in Bangkok and crave an oasis, here are 4 things to do in Lumpini Park.
1: Monitor Lizard Watching
World famous for its numbers of lizards – and for the size of these guys – this park is like the Jurassic Park of Bangkok. I spotted 3 lizards during a short stay. Some say hundreds call the park home. We peeped a 3 footer and a 5 footer in the water, plus another 3-4 footer working the canal bid us goodbye as we headed for the apartment.
I cannot explain how surreal it feels to chill in a park and see a 3 foot long lizard casually walk directly toward you. He moved left and passed me at the last second. Perhaps I am not as delightful as I once believed.
The lizards mind their own business but in the same breath, fear not people. Makes for awesome pics in a safe, chill, fascinating environment.
Note; monitor lizards eat dead animals and catch the odd stray cat, bird or turtle. Humans off da menu.
Sue Slaght wrote an excellent piece on the monitor lizards of Bangkok:
2: Relax by the Lake
Kelli and I chilled on a bench for 30 minutes. Some monitor watching, a bit of people watching and basic R and R were on the docket.
Leave the hustle and bustle of BKK behind. If you spent a minute in the city, it can be amazing, fun, stimulating and incredibly exhausting, going a mile of minute, in this crowded and hectic urban center. Finding a tiny slice of paradise amid the mass movement gives you a moment to breathe in natural beauty and some neat critters, too.
Find a bench. Sit back, relax and let Lumpini take you away.
I spotted quite a few cyclists during our short stay. Turns out, Bangkok seems to have a growing community of bike riders. I noted the movement growing in popularity way up in Chiang Mai. Since BKK has like zero wide sidewalks and zero road space for bikers, Lumpini Park is the best spot for cycling in the city.
Cycle. Enjoy natural beauty. Burn off the 7-11 Thai sweet snacks. Have fun. Get lean. Just make sure to drink plenty of water because you will sweat your rear off in this hot, humid, urban climate, not unlike a Siam Sauna.
4: People Watching
What activity beats people watching?
I noted a young couple with kids strolling by the canal where we sat. Farang Father kindly asked us if we saw lizards. I nodded, smiled and directed him to the subject who modeled as the featured image. He smiled back, gratefully thanked me then showed his kids the mighty monitor lizard.
A French couple preserved the prehistoric lizard via camera. Ditto for another farang, whose lineage I could not discern. Cyclists, park workers, police, Thai school kids on break and a whole host of tourists and expats made for inspired people watching.
Keep in Mind
- free admission (of course)
- follow rules (posted clearly on entering)
- Dress for warmth but don’t be a douche (Thai folks are conservative; farang guys should not go topless and farang gals, please do not wear bikini tops)
- Hydrate generously (pre-trip, and also, a lady sells water for 8 Baht within the park)
Thumbs up on Lumpini Park. If we reached it via a 80 minute walk from the Khao San Road area you can get there from most areas of the city in reasonable time. But pre-hydrate like the dickens; you will sweat like a pig walking around the park.