outdoorgymbangkokBangkok is crowded. It’s smelly. It’s seedy. It’s my favorite city in Asia.

When I was there, I loved the accessibility, the authenticity, the variety, and the grit. But, the air quality? Not so much. As a runner, I was frustrated. I couldn’t find clean air and I couldn’t find other runners. But I wasn’t going to give up. Every day, I took a 30 minute train to a different park. I needed to find my people. I did.

If you’re a runner looking to escape the smog and see a tree, look no further. I found the best parks in Bangkok for running, exercising, and other healthy activities.

where to run and workout in Bangkok

Lumpini Park. It has everything: running, tai chi, yoga, and dance aerobics. Geezus, the aerobics. There are literally hundreds of people engaged in a mashup of zumba, twerk, and jazzercise. It’s amazing. If you’re a runner, the dance classes are a perfect distraction. You’ll be entertained every lap. Details: The running loop is 2.5km. The park is located near mrt and bts; silom, saladaeng, and lumpini. Pros: big, lots to do. Cons: not centrally located.

Benjasiri Park. This crowd is fit. You’ll see running groups, parkour guys, and a lot of skin. They also have an outdoor gym equipped with machines, barbells, and more skin. For runners, this is a good place for interval repeats, but be prepared to zig-zag between the crowds. Treat it as agility training. Details: The running loop is 0.75km. The park is located a 15 minute walk from sukhumvit mrt. Pros: centrally located. Cons: small; crowded

Chatuchak Park. This is the biggest and most scenic place to run. You don’t have to jostle for space and you’re surrounded by trees. It’s also the best place to have a picnic or rent a bicycle. And, there’s a butterfly garden. You’ll forget you’re in Bangkok. Details: The running loop is 3km. The park is located at morchit bts; chatuchak mrt. Pros: trees; space. Cons: not centrally located.

Gyms. I didn’t visit any gyms because they required lengthy memberships. But I did find Maxfit who offered drop-in classes and a free trial class. **If you know a great gym or fitness camp in Bangkok, let me know. I’d love to visit and write about my experience.

Lessons Learned:
1. Use frustration as motivation.
2. Find your people.
3. Focus on the good.
4. Always focus on the good.