Nagaraphirom Park: Riverside Retreat a Boon For City-Dwellers
Nida Tunsuttiwong
18 January 2011

Located by Bangkok’s majestic Chao Phraya River, Nagaraphirom Park formally became the capital’s 26th public park when it opened its doors to the public in December (2010).

Bangkok’s parks each have their own particular characteristics, which appeal to various groups of people. For example, while Queen Sirikit Park in Chatuchak district is famous for its botanical gardens, Suan Rod Fai Park, which is located in the same district, is a popular destination among cyclists. Although Nagaraphirom Park is relatively small, covering about 3.3 rai (0.53 hectares), it benefits greatly from its location, which is easily accessible via river transport, while also being very close to some of the capital’s other major touristic attractions.

The park sits on a plot of land that once hosted the offices of the Department of Internal Trade and the Public Warehouse Organization. His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej graciously named the park Nagaraphirom, which means ‘a park for the pleasure of city dwellers’.

Easily Accessible

M.R. Sukhumbhand Paribatra, the governor of the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA [Bangkok’s city administration]), formally opened the park on December 3, 2010. The general objective of the park is to provide Bangkok residents with another area of open, ‘green’ space.

The park is situated next to Tha Tien Pier, which is a busy transport hub since tourists often disembark here to visit the important temples located nearby. While there are quite a few naturally shaded areas here and there for folks who just want to rest or relax during their visit, the landscapers have been careful to avoid using too many large trees in order that you can still enjoy a great view of the surrounding areas from within the park.

One of the most impressive aspects of the park’s location is its close vicinity to the temple of Wat Arun Ratchawararam Ratchaworamahawihan (also known as Wat Arun and ‘The Temple of Dawn’ [see photo, right]).

The temple is probably best known for its Khmer-style prang (‘pagoda’), which is decorated with shells and pieces of porcelain, which had once been used as ballast by boats visiting Bangkok from China. Situated on the opposite side of the river from the park, the shells and porcelain create a shiny iridescence as the sun rises in the morning and it's this impressive phenomenon that explains the origins of the name, ‘The Temple of Dawn’.

The park is now easily the best location from which to experience the sun rising and casting its rays upon the impressive structure. It’s also a great place to watch the sun go down (on the Thon Buri side of the river), which creates a breathtaking silhouette of the temple.

Another building worth checking out on the opposite side of the river is the Royal Thai Navy Convention Hall, as this building features a particularly interesting blend of Thai and Western architectural styles. If you look in the direction of Maharaj Road, you’ll spot the white wall that surrounds the Grand Palace and Wat Phra Kaew ('Temple of the Emerald Buddha'). The main entrance to the palace takes about 10-15 minutes to reach from the park and is an interesting jaunt since there are lots of stalls selling amulets along the way.

Wat Phra Chettuphon Wimon Mangkhalaram Ratchaworamahawihan (also known as Wat Pho and the Temple of the Reclining Buddha) can easily be reached by crossing Maharaj Road. The temple contains the country’s largest reclining Buddha, which is 46-meters-long and reaches a height of 15 m. The temple is also renowned internationally as being the birthplace of traditional Thai massage.

The Museum of Siam, featuring state-of-the-art multimedia technology presentations that recount important aspects of Thai history and culture, is also located just a short walk from the park.

Nagaraphirom Park opens from 5 am to 9 pm. Admission is free.

Transport Connections:

Boat: Take a Chao Phraya Express Boat to Tha Tien Pier (N8). On disembarking, you’ll find Nagaraphirom Park located right next to the pier.