New park in central Bangkok gives Thais needed green space
Bursting with trees, ponds, plants and birdlife, a new inner-city park is delighting residents of Thailand's bustling, congested capital. Every day, crowds visit Benjakitti Forest Park to savor a taste of nature in the heart of Bangkok.
It's part of a drive to create a greener, more livable Bangkok by 2030, by bringing shade, peace and quiet to the hot, cacophonous city.
Another park adjacent to the site was built in the 1990s, with a vast, man-made lake. But the new, semi-wild, 101-acre extension has captured the capital's imagination. On weekends up to 12,000 people a day use its nature trail, walkways and cycling paths, snapping photos from its viewing platforms to fill their social media feeds.
The site was previously home to the factories of the state Thailand Tobacco Monopoly. A phased transformation began several years ago, and this year visitors began swarming ahead of its planned official inauguration in August. The thrumming of machinery has ceased, to be replaced by birdsong and chirping frogs. Even the rumble of nearby traffic fades to a barely discernible hum.