Ghetto Gym at Lumphini Park
Lumpini Park has long been a refuge for lovers of exercise from all over Bangkok. Whereas the alternative is to work out at one of the pricy indoor gym clubs, many people choose to use the facilities of Lumpini, which are mostly totally free. This half-million square kilometer park is not only a great place for running, walking and bicycling; open air gym facilities are available for those with a thirst for pumping iron.
Created in 1979, the Bangkok Gym at Lumpini Park was put together by a small band of fitness-minded folk, and although the facilities are basic (few gym mats, dirt lots), the view of the nearby Yaowarat Pavilion and the man-made lake provide nice, calming scenery while pushing yourself to the limits.
Most gym memberships in Bangkok run for around 2,500 THB and up, the outdoor gym at Lumpini Park is absolutely free. There is also a more modern, indoor gym with unbelievably low rates of 50THB (foreigners only). The outdoor gym has quite a lot of character though, with old yet effective equipment that would look quite at home in the a US style prison straight out of the movies. A full set of free weights and machines are available, which guarantees that no matter what style of workout you’re looking for, it can be found here.
The center piece of the gym has to be the bench press that uses fairly unusual alternatives for weights: large truck tires! If you’ve got the guns to press this weight, you’re almost guaranteed to find a small club of admirers rooting for you to finish your reps.
Fortunately, the gym doesn’t seem to see much use which means you you won’t be waiting around to get your pump. It also means that there is less chance of socialising and taking that 10 minute mid set break.
If you like to mix your weight training with an exercise class or two you could continue your workout with a free aerobics class that are dotted around the park during the late afternoon, around 5pm. In addition to yoga, you can also find Tai Chi, aerobic dance classes, even Thai-style Zumba classes.
To get to the gym, you can take either the BTS or the MRT. On the BTS, go to Sala Daeng Station and walk just about five minutes north to the main entrance, while the Silom MRT Station exits directly in front of that entrance. You can find the gym near the middle of the park, close to the Yaowarat Pavilion.