In my two short trips to Bangkok within the past year, I have tried to put in a number of runs and have explored three parks popular with runners – Benjakitti Park (4 runs), Benchasiri Park (1 run) and Lumpini Park (1 run).
Benjakitti Park is the best maintained park. I have yet to find an outdoor location kept as clean and tidy as this park. It also has security officers on duty at all hours. Each lap around the park is between 1.8 to 1.9km. It encircles a large rectangular pond and offers a great breath of fresh air from its otherwise more polluted surroundings. The park offers running, cycling and walking lanes. This is also the least crowded park I have been to. The downside is that the views can get rather boring. They are basically the same at all portions of the park. There is also a lack of tree cover so expect to be exposed to the scorching sun especially between 10am to 5pm.
Benchasiri Park is the tiniest of them with a lap length of only 800m. It is also very popular and crowded making it hard for you to keep your pace without having to dodge those who are walking leisurely. However, it is close by popular malls and shops which means you can easily grab a bite almost immediately after stepping out of the park.
Lumpini Park offers the longest lap length of around 2.3-2.5km. It is the largest park with various views at different portions of the park. It has everything the other two parks offer and more. Well shaded with very broad cycling, running and walking lanes, it is popular but has more than sufficient space for all activities. I especially enjoyed transiting from great views of the pond and fountain to an avenue of trees. There are also drinking fountains, toilets and areas to wash up. While not as well maintained as Benjakitti, it is definitely better equipped and is the best all-rounder option of the three.
The Strava activity profiles of the three parks are as below:
I also tried running along the road. However, it was not a pleasant experience. The streets of Bangkok are usually crowded with little pavement consistency and are generally poorly maintained. Your running experience will mostly encompass dodging pedestrians, keep a close watch on where your next step is given the uneven pavement and trying not to take in too much of the smell from nearby drains or from the traffic. I took my eyes off the pavement once and paid the price when I tripped over a single pavement tile that was sticking out in the middle of the path leaving my right knee grazed. I will not run on the pavement unless absolutely necessary. Keep to the parks and you will enjoy your running experience in Bangkok.