Need relax in Bangkok? You should try Benchasiri park
Attention: this article is going to be very subjective (but still honest). As Benchasiri park is my second home haha
Opening hours: 5 a.m. – 9 p.m.
Location: very close to Phrom Pong BTS. I would say 3-4 minutes walking distance. The park is located on the left side of the street. There is a mall called Emporium, too. You will find it easily. Just follow people who are wearing sporting clothes.
Just keep left and take the stairs
This is the main entrance
Anthem time: 8 a.m. and 6 p.m. – the time, literally, stops during these parts of the day. EVERYBODY has to stand up and listen to national anthem. Afterwards some people bow, some do not. You do not have to do it, because I suppose that you are a farang (foreigner), too.
Now, I would like to tell you, what kind of activities you can do there. Make yourself comfortable, because there is a ton of them.
Run. Run for your life
Most people who come to this park are going there just for one purpose. Yeah, you guessed it. They go there to run. I think that one lap is 800 meters. The surface for running is made of asphalt. Your joints will tell you, whether they like it or not.
Is not it beautiful?
You can meet people of all races there. Which is, in my opinion, very exotic. It creates interesting atmosphere.
You could be quite surprised by number of older people exercising there. It is undoubtedly a very healthy habit to do so. And I think that when we get older, we should follow their approach. Well, not only then haha. Because it could be too late by that time…
Honestly, I am too old for this running thing. So I just walk. In my opinion, it is more natural and even better for your health. Long term benefits > short term ones. But, the decision is obviously, up to you.
Up. And down. Planche. Muscle-up. Handstand. Front lever. Freestyling. You name it…
You will see incredibly strong guys all the time. They do all of these crazy elements which I mentioned above. These fellows are very robust and huge at the same time. Hulk looks like their cousin, the only distinction is the skin color.
Most of them are very friendly. I would be happy to make a deeper connection with them. Unfortunately they do not speak much English. And my Thai is not sufficient for holding a conversation either.
You can find all sorts of equipment: pull up bars with normal thickness, then thick ones, next dip bars, metal gymnastic rings and many more. There is, basically, everything your body desires and needs.
You should be able to see gymnastic rings somewhere on this picture :D
Thich pull bar bar. Try these and your grip will thank you
Some equipment for core training
Dip bars - they are located around 5 min walking distance from normal pull up bars
These are the normal ones. So your grip won’t die within seconds.
There is also this very thick and heavy rope. Which can be used for shoulder training. I am not even sure how is this exercise called. Let me try to explain. You grab the rope and imagine making the movement which looks like a wave. If you have ever watched MMA training video, you know what I am talking about.
In the past, there used to be even a chalk and lifting belt. These, you cannot find there anymore.
You will meet most of the guys on a regular basis. So if you enjoy training in a community, I suggest going there around 6 p.m. That is a peak time. But, if you are like me, and you do not like to wait 3 minutes for a pull up bar. Just go there during the day.
But get ready for higher temperatures. During the day.
There is very few people during the day time. Because it is freaking hot. So you can train your body to train under semi-extreme conditions.
Do you even lift bro?
Cause I, certainly, don’t haha.
Anyway, if you are into lifting, you can try it out there. Bench press, dead lift, barbell curls, dumbbell curls, military press, barbell rows and so on. Just one thing: you cannot really go heavy weight there. Weights are limited.
Come and press it
Even more benches
However, I still think you can do good old _light weight _training (Ronnie Coleman style). Just try to increase the time under tension. Especially in eccentric phase of movement. And see what happens. You probably will not be able to dress up yourself afterwards. Not even mentioning the fact you will have hard time showering haha.
Funny fact: most of the weights are made of concrete.
If you get hungry or thirsty
There are 3 stalls with snacks and drinks. One of them is at the main entrance. You will definitely see it. Another one is close to the first one. Approximately 2 minutes walking distance. And the last one is on the other side of the park.
Most of the time, I buy just water, so I cannot tell you what exactly do they offer. But from what I have seen, it was mostly some junk food. You know, these snacks like: chips, cookies and whatnot.
Oh and I remember they have this orange juice (not all the time, though). If you have a chance to try it. Go for it. This drink will change the definition of word sugary for you. Maybe it will not change your life. But it will definitely make an insulin party. (if that makes sense lol)
If you feel adventurous, try the restrooms
Please, just use them in case of emergency.
I mean, I am glad that there is this facility. Sometimes, the restrooms are priceless. But, I suggest you avoid them at all cost.
Here is how I do it (if I really have to use them): I take a big deep breath before entering them. And I try to make it as quick as possible.
By the way, there is a donation box, in front of entrance. And I just realized that maybe I should donate some money to them. Really, I’ve just conceived, that maybe that is why they are in such condition. Ok, from now on, I will donate some money. Every time I go there. At least some change. I promise.
All kinds of -balls
Volleyball, basketball, takraw ball (ok, I am making this up)
Volleyball and takraw courts (the latter is back there)
Let’s start with the takraw.
Takraw is a Thai national sport. It is like hockey for Canada, football for Brazil or beer for Germany. You get the point.
They pronounce it like [takoo] with a as in word bar. And with o _as in _box. Double oo means that you pronounce it longer than one o. The best way of grasping this is by listening and repeating. Because my thai is very, very, very basic. So, please, do not ask me what tone is that.
Basically, it is like volleyball. With one little difference. You cannot use your hands. So when they play it, they look like Tom Cruise in Mission impossible. They make flips all the time. It is a thrill to watch.
Or imagine this footbag game. It is similar, but the ball they play takraw with, is bigger. Not sure what kind of material is it made of. Seems half natural, half plastic.
Goal is simple. Get the ball on the other side of the playground. Whoever fails to do so, loses the round. It was quite interesting for me, that the same player can touch the ball multiple times in a row. And I guess maximum number of touches is 3.
Then, you got the chance to play volleyball or basketball. But there’s not much left to say about these two.
Just one thing. The more dangerous you look, the higher chance of getting a chance to play.
Move your body
Now seriously. I have seen many people doing Thai chi, all kinds of yoga, some sort of dancing for ladies. Some of these activities remind me of a discotheque.
No idea about schedule of these activities. Maybe you can just go there and ask locals. If you get lucky, some of them may be able to speak English. And help you out. But as I reckon, most of these team activities are taking a place in the evening. Approximately after 6 p.m.
Lake in the middle
Lake in the middle (shot from the distance)
It is full of life. Mainly, there are dozens of turtles. Then some fish. It looks marvelous. You have to see it for yourself.
Attention! It is forbidden to swim there.
In fact, I cannot imagine anybody swimming there. Water is rather greenish.
Feeding the animals is prohibited as well. But I see people breaking this rule very often. And social proof »> rules. It is a great way to justify one’s behavior.
Squirrels, benches and skate park
Just imagine a squirrel climbing the palm tree. Then jumping onto the next one. And immediately hopping onto the electric wire. I am telling you, these must be ninja squirrels. Their special power is electricity resistance. I kid you not. You gotta check it out.
It seems that they like to play the game: catch me if you can. Obviously, this takes places on the infamous wires.
Naturally, all of us get tired. Sometimes. When that happens, I suggest using one of the benches. There is a plenty of them. But hurry up. Cause the ones in the shadow get occupied the fastest.
Next, there is a skate park. Sometimes, you will see these crazy dudes doing unreal tricks. What I like about skater’s community is that it is open for anybody. You can see people ranging from 5-50 years. Probably even more than that.
After all, age is just a number.
Refresh your body and mind
From what I remember, there are at least 3 spots where you can refresh yourself. With water. I regularly use it after training. But if I were you, I would not drink this water. Just saying.
All you have to do for mind refreshment is: Just. Be. There. Present. To. The. Moment. Many people have been talking about this, because I feel like it is necessary stay present, if we really want to get back to our true nature. To equilibrium.
I may create some content on this topic. In the future. But then again, theory is 1337x easier than practice. Or so called real life. And there are people with much more knowledge on this topic.
Let me know how did you like the park in real life 🙂