Havens in the midst of a concrete jungle
The streets of the city have roared back to life, rush hours are a thing once more and the busyness of Bangkok has returned. On one hand, it's great that everything seems to be coming back to normal.
On the other hand, everything's back to normal, which means we're going to have to deal with traffic, crowds and pollution once more. Seasoned Bangkokians know how to deal with the ups and downs the city has, of course, but whether you've been living here for a while now or you're a newbie to the streets of the Big Mango, we all need a breather once a while. I meant that both figuratively and literally since the busy polluted streets may have you longing for fresh air. One option would be a quick weekend beach getaway to get some sea air in your lungs, but if you prefer places that aren't a three-hour drive away, you're in luck. These places not only offer you a green haven in the middle of this urban jungle, they're also dripping with gorgeous aesthetics that's pleasing to the eyes and Insta-worthy to boot.
CHAO PHRAYA SKYPARK
Phra Pok Klao Bridge
The Chao Phraya Skypark opened a month ago at the time when curfews were lifted and city-dwellers felt a little more confident to venture outside. This bridge that links the districts of Khlong San and Phra Nakhon was supposed to be part of the first elevated railway in the country. That never came about and it was abandoned for nearly three decades. The bridge has become a small park of sorts littered with greenery and flowers for pedestrians, cyclists and joggers to enjoy, as well as for those looking for a great view of the sunset or the sunrise on the river. Some may argue that it can't really be called a "park" because it isn't that big or green, but I'm just glad that the city's finally repurposing abandoned structures and make them eco-friendly. Any chance the abandoned Sathorn Unique building can become a high-rise garden/park?
(Photos: Bangkok Post photographers)
SLOW LIFE BANGKOK
Chan Kasem, Chatuchak
Slow Life Bangkok is a hub for everything that's eco-friendly and sustainable. The quaint little space is just the front yard of a simple yet beautiful home but aside from chilling, there are a couple of things to do here. There's a refill station so you can bring in your containers to stock up on things like soap and other household products in an eco-friendly way. They also do a chef's table and dinners though you'll have to check their Facebook to see when they do it. The charming location is a haven from the busy and noisy streets of Bangkok. It's a great mini eco-getaway that you can take to have some time away from the city. Reservations are recommended so be sure to contact them before you visit.
(Photos: Slow Life Bangkok)
Rama 2 soi 28
The monsoon season still has a few months to go but the rains may actually push you to want to visit this place. Natura Cafe is in Poomjai Garden, a lychee garden that also seeks to bridge traditional Thai culture with modernity. The simple, open-air bamboo structure is surrounded by lush trees and vegetation providing a serene scenescape that you can enjoy mentally and aesthetically because let's be real, you're definitely taking some photos for the Gram. Complete your relaxing day with a meal from their menu of local dishes or sip on a drink while enjoying the peace, quiet and tranquillity the place brings. It's hard to believe that this is all beside Rama II, but trust me, it's there and it's waiting to welcome you to take a load off from all the stress and craziness this world is going through right now.
(Photos: Natura Cafe)
SUAN KRU ANGOON
Thong Lor 3
Suan Kru Angoon, which translates to "Teacher Angoon's Park", is a quaint place that kids will especially enjoy. Though not too large in size, you can find a number of things here. Aside from providing a place to relax at from the busy street of Thong Lor, there's also a playground for kids to play at. Occasionally, they'll also host educational events for the kiddos. A small cafe serves up a variety of food and drinks and they also sell organic produce. All of the proceeds go to The Mirror Foundation, which has a number of social projects like helping find missing people that have been victims of human trafficking.
(Photos: Suan Kru Angoon)
Weekdays: 3pm-10pm (until late on Fri);
Weekends and holidays: 8am-10pm (until late on Sat)
The aptly-named Hide Park is, ahem, hidden off another busy Bangkok road: Silom. Upon arriving, you're greeted by a metal gate that's reminiscent of the one Hugh Grant and Julia Roberts clambered over in Notting Hill. Hopefully, you've arrived at a time where clambering isn't necessary, which would then bring you into the garden where you're surrounded by green and you're basically enticed to just take a seat, sit back, relax and take your time sipping on an iced coffee. It's almost like entering a whole new world (you sang it, didn't you?) as you leave the urban landscape behind those gates. If you work or live in the Silom area and the city's busyness is getting to you, consider taking refuge here. In other words, go hide at Hide Park.
(Photos: Hide Park)