Bangkok's Off-the-Beaten Tracks
With Bangkok's hustle and bustle, who would have thought that this city is still a home to a number of places that people rarely go to? Even though the mention of the word "Bangkok" evokes images of a rowdy metropolis, it does have lesser-known attractions that offer people--who yearn to get off the well-trodden tracks--a great sense of tranquility. Step away from all the exasperating crowds in the malls and flea markets and head down to these areas that project the city's contrasting layers. Invade them before throngs of tourists do.
Bang Kra Jao
Across the Chao Phraya River, just a few kilometers from the congested Sukhumvit, sprawls a peaceful, verdant place with a maze of waterways, and a tropical jungle—Bang Kra Jao. This “green lung” can only be reached by ferry as no bridges have yet been built to connect this part of the river to the city. Left untouched by developers, Bang Kra Jao is unique not only to Bangkok but to the whole Asia or even the whole world. No other urban oases—even in Europe and America—can match this enthralling wilderness, which claims approximately 2,000 hectares of open space.
On Sukhumvit Road on Khlong Toei district of Bangkok lies a little paradise in the midst of the raging metropolitan traffic and chaos. Built around an ornamental lake, the Benjasiri Park boasts 12 pieces of contemporary sculpture that stand on a vast, grassy area. It offers a perfect scenery for you to either relax, gaze around or bond with pigeons. This park is located just right next to the Emporium Mall.
Even though Phra Athit is situated just a corner away from the hubbub of Khao San Road, do not let its location fool you. This quiet street is a haven not only to shade-giving trees, hole-in-the-wall bistros and cozy shophouses, but also to timeless King Rama V era houses, and a small park, which offers picturesque views of the legendary Chao Phraya river. Dubbed as Khao San Road's stepsister, this is where dreamy art students and backpackers go for some graze and drowsy vibe. Incredibly, it is a great place to enjoy some rare solitude.
Just a short walking distance from the backpacker sanctuary--Phra Athit--is an old district where people come to be tugged away from the charivari of the busy streets. In Banglamphu, you can sit down, read a book, and chill out as if you were someplace remote. Although already stippled with used book stores, this quiet neighborhood is also home to shophouses, street-side cafes, a massage parlor and an art gallery. Just what you need to get that much-needed break! There's no need to flee the city just to get a close encounter with nature or have a taste of serenity.
You can still go on a whirlwind tour all around Bangkok and savor an idyllic holiday experience without being wary of getting tangled up in crowds. Its off-the-beaten tracks, with their cozy ambiance, beckon people from all around the world to come and feast their eyes on splendid views while spending quiet moments with themselves.