Increasing Bangkok’s diminishing green spaces
It can be said that the City of Angels is in dire need of more green space. According to the data collected by the Environment Office, Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA) in 2013, it is reported that Bangkok has 5.01 sqm green area per capita (calculated based on Bangkok population of 5,702,595 from 28,579,009 sqm green area).
Luckily, many organisations are taking up the challenges with numerous green projects in the city much like this one—the award-winning Metro Forest Project by PTT Public Company Limited which received LEED Platinum NC green building certification.
The project transformed 19,200 sqm abandoned land on Sukhapiban 2 Road into an educational centre, public park and outdoor exhibition space with more than 60,000 trees of more than 279 unique species planted in over 75% of the area. It was to commemorate HRH Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn’s 60th birthday while raising environmental awareness and educate visitors about local forest ecology. The construction began in May 2013 and the park was open to the public in 2015.
Then PTT CEO, Dr Pailin Chuchottaworn adopted the afforestation method invented by an award-winning Japanese botanist, Dr Akira Miyawaki. It involves planting multiple types of trees per square metre to create a forest-like ecology. This helps shorten the maturing time considerably from what could have taken eight to ten years down to only three to five.
This is but one of many PTT’s brainchild projects who has been committing to afforesting more than a million rai across Thailand since 1994. And even after the project’s completion, Bangkok can still use more green areas.
Today, the vegetation have much more room to grow into. Over the past few years, the land has turned into a beautiful luscious park featuring 200-metre long skywalk ten metres above the ground which leads to a 23-metre-high observation tower offering 360-degree bird’s eye view of the park and even Suvarnabhumi International Airport that is about 15 minutes away.
Guests can find various information panels along the skywalk which offer details about the surrounding plants and vegetation. There is a healthy blend of vegetation in the park with a small waterfall, streams and lakes. There is also a path shielded by the tree canopy visitors can walk through.
There are also four 90-minute guided walks (9am, 10.30am, 1pm and 2.30pm) daily and available free of charge.
Inside the exhibition building, visitors will find various exhibitions with details on afforestation, plant ecology and forest conservation. There are also various activities for all visitors such as taking home young seedlings to grow at home to either create their own backyard forest or bring them back to plant at the park after a few months to make sure the survival of the plant.
There are small stairways leading to the roof of the exhibition building to a rooftop flower garden featuring various species of plants and flowers such as orchids. There are wooden seats built-in at intervals for visitors to sit and enjoy the view. The rooftop garden has a purpose in itself, rather than leaving a jarring site on one side of the park, the green and colourful flowers help blend the building with the forest while insulating it from the heat.
While the park is gigantic, the entrance is quite unassuming and easily missed with only one signage in Thai to mark the spot. Upon entering, visitors are greeted with a seven-minute introduction video (available only in Thai). At the end of the video, the far wall that was the projector screen swings open revealing entrance to the rest of the park.
Pa Nai Krung
8/6 Sukhaphiban 2 Rd
Take Airport Rail Link to Ladkrabang Station then take a short taxi ride from the station.
Open: Tue-Sun 9am-4pm