Chiang Mai is packed. Packed with traffic and fumes that make us gag, packed with people both local and foreign, packed with buildings that house the people, restaurants that feed them, stores that clothe them. It is fun and exciting for our small town family to get out and explore amongst this busyness that is so foreign to us.
When we are looking for a little break from it all we either head outside of Chiang Mai into the mountains or we head to the one and only park in the entire Old City, Nong Buak Hat Park in the South West corner of the moat.
Our first visit to Nong Buak Hat Park was at the wrong time of day. It was about 2pm when we arrived, and the heat was oppressive. We felt like we had the park almost to ourselves for our first few hours there!
The thing to do here is feed the pigeons. There are little kiosks scattered around the park selling pigeon food for 30 cents (they also sell cold drinks and simple snacks). Our kids got a kick out of all the pigeons that flocked towards them as they scattered food on the ground. I just hoped none of us would get pooped on!
There is a small children’s area in the park with very old metal play equipment donated by Lions International. Rickety old things with questionable safety. The monkey bars were not even attached the ground and Mike was easily able to tip the structure over as he tested for stability! Despite the sorry shape of it our children still had fun.
The park is reasonably large with a nice pond in the middle, bridges, and a path ringing the outside edges. It would be a nice to place to come for a picnic and we saw young Thai couples snuggled up on straw matts under the shade of the trees.
Once four o’clock came around things started to pick up. The locals are smart waiting for the heat of the day to pass before coming out to exercise, next time we will take their lead! It got busier and busier as the evening wore on. People came out to jog the track, work out on the outdoor exercise equipment, play badminton, basketball, and kick ball.
We people watched for a long time until our boys were invited by two Thai ladies to play a game of basketball. Such a beautiful thing to see them interacting and playing games without a common language.
If you are looking for a place to run a bit wild this is the place to come!