Bangkok’s former race track slated to be park to Rama IX

The grounds where a public horse racing track operated 102 years in the old quarter will become a public park commemorating a monarch.

Three years after the Nang Loeng Race Course was among several parcels of Dusit district land reclaimed by the palace, it finally revealed plans for the site in a recent video showing the design of a new park slated for completion by 2024.

As expected of any park honoring a royal, its new name is a mouthful: Phrabat Somdej Phra Boromchanakathibet Maha Bhumibol Adulyadej Maharaj Boromnatthapit Park. Good luck with that!

Photo: The Bureau of Royal Household

The 279 rai (45 hectare) park is said to honor the late King Bhumibol, who died in 2016. It will feature a monument to the late king, and a lake shaped like a Thai numeral 9 – him having been ninth in the Chakri dynasty – with two bridges overlooking it.

If that’s not enough, the place will have its own slogan: “Park of happiness and sustainability.” 

Noblemen opened Nang Loeng in 1916 after King Rama V imported a love of horse racing from Europe. The race course sat amid wide tracts of land which had been handed over from the monarchy for use by the public following the 1932 revolution that ended its absolute rule. 

Starting in 2018, under the new reign, the crown began reclaiming extensive real estate in the old quarter and ending public access. The race course, operated by the Royal Turf Club, along with two universities and the 80-year-old Dusit Zoo were evicted by the Crown Property Bureau. Soon after, the former Vimanmek Mansion, a museum and tourist destination, was reclaimed by the crown as well. The moves were discussed little in the public sphere due to the long-holding taboo.According to the Royal Household Bureau, the park was designed to reflect the royal projects credited to the late king such as the Chaipattana Turbines (water fountains), flood control projects, and more.

What’s likely to be the main interest of parkgoers, however, are the venue’s extensive green areas, where around 4,500 trees, bicycle lanes and outdoor sporting facilities are expected.

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