Running is an important aspect of Muay Thai. Thai fighters always go for a run prior to each training session, clocking between 5 to 12 km each time. Muay Thai trainers are often adamant when it comes to running too, and enforces it as part of a fighter’s training regime. Running helps to build a fighter's cardiovascular endurance which has a huge impact on fight performance. For anyone looking to improve athletic performance in Muay Thai, running is not an option - it is mandatory.
In Thailand, running is an important part of the modern lifestyle especially in the big cities like Bangkok. Every morning and evening, locals would lace up their running shoes for a jog in the park. Due to both human and vehicle traffic, locals do not go for runs on the sidewalk or along the roads. It’s also an unsafe practice with motorbikes, food carts, and people weaving about.
Thankfully, there are public parks peppered around Bangkok with lush greeneries ideal for joggers. Fighters from gyms make use of these parks where accessible, and share the routes with other park users. Visitors to Bangkok who are looking for a nice jogging spot, here are some of the best parks in the capital:
1. Lumpini Park
Lumpini park is one of the biggest and most well-known and parks in Bangkok. At 57 hectares, the park offers 2.5km of running path, perfect for a few rounds in the scenic park. Birds and other creatures share the park, making for an interesting sightseeing trip. It is not uncommon to spot huge monitor lizards in the park, that have been known to startle countless visitors. Yoga classes are held here daily, and there is even a free outdoor weights gym that is open to everyone.
2. Chatuchak Park
On weekends, the 30-hectare Chatuchak park turns into a festive outdoor party with the lively weekend market. It’s a favored spot for weekend picnickers who bring with them food from the weekend market and enjoy a feast over companionship and songs. Come weekdays, the park reverts to serving its role as an exercise spot for those living around the neighborhood. Chatuchak park is easily accessible as it is located right by the Chatuchak Park MRT and Mo Chit BTS stations.
3. King Rama IX Park
Rama IX is a great getaway for those looking for a little breather away from the hustle and bustle of downtown Bangkok. Located 15km from the city center, it is the largest plot of green space within the city. Built for the late King Bhumibol, the Rama IX park is decorated with exquisite sculptures, beautiful architectures, a scenic lake and various country-themed gardens. There is a small entry fee (10 Baht) but it’s totally worth it.
4. Benjakiti Park
Benjakiti park (also spelled Benchakiti) is the park of choice for the YOKKAO Fight Team. Located in close proximity to YOKKAO Training Center Bangkok, Benjakiti is an oasis amidst the busy high-rise area of the Asoke-Sukhumvit junction. Benjakiti park sits on 21 hectares of land, offering a quick respite from the concrete buildup. While Benjakiti doesn’t offer much in terms of activities, it offers a more quiet experience compared to others on the list, which suits its purpose as a jogging spot. This is the place to join the YOKKAO Fight Team members on their daily runs, before returning to the gym to continue their training. The area is stacked with endless accommodation, food and shopping options. The YOKKAO gym is certainly located in the most convenient and exciting area in metro Bangkok.
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