May 12, 2020.
The worst of the COVID-19 seems to have passed in Thailand. Still, residents need to maintain social distancing, wear face masks, and continue to carry hand sanitiser when they go out to avoid infection. But many people are tired of being cooped in their homes and are anxious to take a stroll in a park and feel the sun on their face once again.
Public parks were in the list of public facilities that have been opened once again since May 3. But this re-opening has come with some restrictions that have to be obeyed to use the parks safely and responsibly.
You should check with the websites of the individual parks before visiting them to find any updates on the activities allowed, or call them directly. Otherwise, when visiting the parks, expect to find a curtailed list of allowed activities.
Three of the most popular parks in Bangkok are Lumpini Park, Wachirabenchathat Park, and Benjasiri Park. We’ll tell you what to expect if you’re heading out to these parks to get a breath of fresh air.
Lumpini Park was the site of one of the worst clusters of COVID-19 infections that took place in the Lumpini Muay Thai Boxing Stadium. The boxing stadium remains closed, but the park has been re-opened to visitors.
This park features wide, paved paths in the shade of mature trees. The paths are available for walking and cycling. But crowds are still banned from gathering in all the parks in Bangkok. This means that the popular Tai Chi classes once held in the park have been banned as well for the time being.
Wachirabenchathat Park, also known to Bangkok residents as Rot Fai Park, is known for the vast expanses of green lawns that were popular for budding football stars to organise matches. As part of the safety measures, organised sports have been banned from the park until further notice. At the moment only jogging, cycling, walking and sunbathing are allowed.
The park has two entrances. One is a gate opposite Chatuchak Metro Park, and the other is the gate at the car park that serves the park. Park employees will be stationed at both of these entrances to take the temperature of visitors to the park when they first arrive. They'll also ensure that everyone is wearing masks.
Benjasiri Park is located in Sukhumvit Road, next door to Emporium. What was once a favoured venue for art exhibitions and dance and music performances has become merely a quiet, tree-lined space to take a stroll and relax, due to the coronavirus pandemic.
As the next wave of re-openings allowed in Bangkok is said to include shopping malls, this park will get more crowded with the re-opening of both the Emporium and Emquartier across the street.
You should use social distancing guidelines when you visit this and every other park in Bangkok, as the parks may become more crowded as more and more people want to venture out for fresh air.
For people who enjoyed strolling through the many night markets and flea markets of Bangkok, these are set to be re-opened along with the shopping malls. Market staff will be on hand at all entrances to take the temperatures of patrons entering the premises.
Safety guidelines should be observed whenever you visit these markets, and you should bring hand sanitiser and face masks must be worn at all times when in the markets.
Hand sanitiser is essential as people like to pick up the items on sale and look them over. You'll have to recognise that there will be a "new normal" in behaviour when you're out in public and among crowds. This is to ensure your safety as well as your family's.
Picking up the coronavirus must be avoided at all costs. Otherwise, we'll be forced back into a lockdown, and the economy will continue to suffer.
But for now, enjoy the fresh air and sunshine in the beautiful public parks of Bangkok. But do it responsibly to ensure the safety of everyone in Thailand.
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