Park hopping in Central Bangkok

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At the northeastern corner of Lumpini park a huge pedestrian overpass connects Sarasin Road and the park to the other side of Wireless (Wittayu) road.

I never paid much attention to it, although I have worked in the in the area for almost a year. Last week I had some time between two appointments – one in Silom (west of Lumpini park) and one at Asok (way northeast of the park). As I didn’t have enough time for a workout in between, I decided to take a stroll through the park.

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When I came to the other end and the overpass, I still needed to go east and north and I was curious to explore where this overpass leads. Instead of just ending on the other side of the intersection, it continues west. As a thunderstorm was looming in the distance, the walkway was almost deserted. It is well kept and as many things in Thailand well organized – a white line divides the foot traffic and the bicyclists – motorcycle are not allowed.

Keeping to my side, I glanced over the shiny metallic railing down to the street level. The modern, ultra new neighborhood of the American embassy soon fell away to make room to a more traditional one. Old Thai houses and narrow lanes dotted with potted plants compete with the red satellite dishes and the chaos of power lines along the road. Thai music drifted up from the dense habitations and some of the alleys were covered with tarp to shield the inhabitants from the sun.

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A little further down the path the Indonesian mosque changes the straight angled skyline with its onion-shaped towers – only to be dwarfed by the four Millennium Residence towers in the distance that were for a while the highest buildings in the city (and my first home here).

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The path didn’t stop at the next intersection which is Daong Phatak Road, a major north-south traffic axis through down town, completed with train tracks, but continues on westwards. From the bridge I looked back at the Silom skyline and the new tallest building to be completed this year.

 

On the other side of the bridge and highway, the houses give way to a sad looking, polluted klong (channel) and rubbish. While this would be an amazing get-away from the hectic city during a lunch break in the cooler season, the awful smell from the foul water and the rotting garbage in the mud prevents any sane person to linger.

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However, only the faint-hearted foreigners or the sensitive-nosed ones are disturbed by it – it seems – since stilted houses on the other side of the channel account for local habitation.

 

 

 

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At soi 10 off Sukhumvit Road, the walkway ends. It is at the corner of the Thailand Tobacco Monopoly factory entrance and the north end of the Benjakitti Park.

Over a wooden bridge, I walked north through soi 10 – a quiet soi with several small hotels (why any tourist would stay there is a mystery) and a tearoom to soon come out on Sukhumvit road and the usual traffic jam and chaos of Bangkok. Just a few minutes’ walk to Asok skytrain station.

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