The best parks in Southeast Asia are all worth checking out. Developers try to incorporate green spaces into their developments, but there is no substitute for the real thing. This is why parks throughout the region’s biggest cities are busy every weekend.
People love to get out of their condos and enjoy nature, even if it’s only for a couple of hours. But the best parks in Southeast Asia can offer so much more than this. Some provide recreational opportunities while others provide an immersive cultural experience.
With that in mind, here are a few of the best parks in Southeast Asia.
Bangkok – Lumphini Park
While Bangkok has grown around it, Lumphini Park has remained relatively unchanged since the 1940s. Originally on the outskirts of the Thai capital, the 142-acre public park now sits next to the central business district in the heart of the city. Generations of Bangkokians have made use of Lumphini Park’s jogging trails, lake and fitness areas.
Tip: There is no smoking in Lumphini Park and pets aren’t allowed. However, a number of monitor lizards call the park home. They look scary, but are relatively harmless as long as you keep your distance.
Singapore – East Coast Park
Singapore is home to several of the best parks in Southeast Asia, but we choose East Coast Park for this list. While it may not be as well known as some of the city-state’s other green spaces to non-residents, East Coast Park features a 15-kilometre stretch of coastline and attracts more than seven million people per year. The beach is even more impressive when you realise it sits on reclaimed land and was entirely man made.
Tip: East Coast Park boasts “Recreation for All” and offers a dedicated area for just about every type of sporting activity imaginable. This includes more extreme options such as cable skiing and skateboarding.
Ho Chi Minh City – Van Thanh Park
Tao Dan Park is the most recognisable park in Ho Chi Minh City, but Van Thanh Park allows you to truly get away from the chaos of the city. It has everything you would expect from a green space as well as some public facilities including a swimming pool.
Tip: There is a restaurant along the park’s lake with huts over the water where you can dine. It’s a cool experience if you’re into that sort of thing.
Metro Manila – La Mesa Nature Reserve
La Mesa Nature Reserve, not to be confused with the nearby La Mesa Eco Park, is a sprawling forest ideal for hiking or mountain biking in Quezon City. A massive conservation and reforestation effort over the past 20 years has brought this rainforest back to life. Numerous trails catering to all skill levels and ages can be found here making it perfect for the entire family.
Tip: The location of La Mesa Nature Reserve is a bit out there. You’ll likely need to drive or catch a Grab to get to this wonderful green retreat.
Yangon – Bogyoke Park
Yangon is home to a number of parks all of which have a unique charm. Bogyoke Park is located alongside the north shore of Kandawgyi Lake and offers visitors ample room to explore. You’ll also find plenty of views of Karaweik Restaurant and its Burmese royal barge exterior design.
Tip: There are plenty of food options in and around Bogyoke Park including a few offering lakeside dining.
Penang – Penang Botanic Gardens
The Penang Botanic Gardens can be found just outside Georgetown. The park was established more than 130 years ago and is best known for cascading waterfalls. The parks itself is home to a variety of indigenous and exotic plant species as well as monkeys and macaques both of which you should definitely not touch.
Tip: You can explore the Penang Botanic Gardens on your own or take a guided tour conducted by park staff.
Bali – Garuda Wisnu Kencana Cultural Park
If you’re in Bali, chances are you can just head to your resort along the beach or in Ubud and be surrounded nature. That’s why Garuda Wisnu Kencana Cultural Park makes this list.
The park is home to a number of impressive pieces of art including the recently completed Garuda Wisnu Kencana statue. It took almost 30 years to finish the statue that is as tall as a 21-storey building.
Tip: In addition to seeing the statues, Garuda Wisnu Kencana Cultural Park hosts a number of dance shows and other cultural events throughout the day.