An oasis of greenery in the heart of Bangkok’s business and shopping districts, Lumphini Park is where hundreds of Bangkokians seek refuge every day. It’s a hive of activity with Tai Chi, aerobics, bodybuilding, and jogging all happening first thing in the morning. In the evening, office workers shed their ties and don shorts to play takraw—a Thai version of foot-tennis with a rattan ball—and work-out at mass aerobics sessions, while children go boating on the lake and young lovers stroll hand-in-hand. In the cooler months of November to February, you can also listen to the Bangkok Symphony Orchestra at the Sunday evening “Concert in the Park.”

Look out for the King Rama VI Statue. King Rama VI, or King Vajiravudh, presented Lumphini Park (which is named after the Nepalese village where the Buddha was born) to the people of the city in 1925. A statue of the king stands outside the southwestern entrance to the park, near the junction of Ratchadamri and Rama IV roads. King Rama Vl arranged for examples of native plants from all regions of the country to be planted here as an educational exercise. Many trees and shrubs are marked with the names. Birdwatchers will be pleased to know that migrating birds head for the forests and ponds in Lumphini Park every year. You might see or hear oriental magpie robins, coppersmith barbets, pied fantails, mynas, bulbuls, doves, flycatchers, and warblers around the lakes in the park. Paddleboats here are for rent at 80 baht per hour.