Suan Rot Fai: The Bangkok park system’s hidden gem

It’s one of the most relaxing and lovely places in Bangkok, but you probably don’t know about it.

That’s not surprising, considering where Suan Rot Fai Park is located – just north of the chaos and commotion of Chatuchak Market. However, on Saturdays and Sundays this park forms the perfect escape from Bangkok’s madness.

“Railway Park,” as it’s known in English and by its official, less-used title, Wachirabenchathat Park was a golf course that belonged to the Thai authorities before being transformed into a public urban landscape not long ago. Suan Rot Fai is the largest of the three parks in the area, sprawling across 150 rolling acres of green grass and floppy trees with cool shade.

Serious cyclists in Bangkok already know all about the park, thanks to its winding three-kilometer track. But, most days you’ll see people navigating the path via several different methods, from joggers to speed-walkers to toddlers getting pushed past in strollers.

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The park features a special lane reserved for those on two wheels, and if even if you don’t have a bike, rentals reside close at hand. At the entrance of the park, miniature shops rent out bicycles for THB20 to 30 for the day. These pedal bikes offer a far from expert-level challenge. With baskets, bells and seats on the back suited for the conveyance of couples or kids, the bikes cater to the casual cyclist.

Near the beginning of the bike track lies a scenic lake, set up with canoe and paddleboat rentals for as little as THB50 an hour. The shady area around here usually fills up with families picnicking and kicking back. For another THB20, you can rent a mat to set up a mini-feast. A pre-park stop at Villa or Foodland is advisable.

The track also passes by tennis and basketball courts, a playground for kids, a compact driving range and eventually, Bangkok’s only butterfly garden and insectarium. This closed-dome greenhouse in the southeastern part of Suan Rot Fai is another adventure on its own, filled with an exotic collection of tiny winged things like the Plain Tiger and Clipper species. Creatures are rampant throughout the park. We also hear from ornithologists that there are many quaint and quiet spots for bird watching. You’ll also find the odd monitor lizard lazing about.

The easiest way to reach Suan Rot Fai is by taking the BTS to Mo Chit or the MRT to Chatuchak Park and from there, hopping on a motorbike for around a 10-minute ride. Or, if you’re up for exercise, walk northwest on Phahon Yothin Road through Chatuchak Park, eventually crossing onto Kamphaeng Phet Road. Despite its name, Suan Rot Fai is nowhere near the former Talad Rot Fai – so if you’re unsure, take a motorbike or ask for directions along the way.

FIND IT:
Suan Rot Fai Park
Kamphaeng Phet 3 Road
Open daily from 5am to 9pm

Bangkok Butterfly Garden and Insectarium
Open Tuesday to Sunday from 8:30am to 4:30pm
Entry is free

Photos: Kajonsak Intarapong

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