My first goal in Thailand was checking out the Lumpini Park leviathans. When I returned from Asia and Thailand in 2005, I mentioned to a co-worker I had been, and he said that he saw a monitor lizard devour a pigeon in Lumpini Park. I had stumbled across this park back then, but did not really explore much. Information about bird eating lizards in downtown Bangkok made me wish I had.
Finally, eight years later I am back in the Land of Smiles, and on my first day in Bangkok, I made a beeline for Lumpini Park. I walked from my hotel after waiting out a rainstorm in Silom. Lumpini Park is on the corner of Silom and Rama IV road.
There is a statue to Rama IV as you enter the park. During his reign in the 1920s he created this park. Once I entered the gates I could see the lagoons in the distance. I was not sure what to expect on the monitor lizard front. With wildlife, you never know when you will be lucky to see something. I was not sure if seeing a lizard was a rare thing or a common one.
I did not have to wait long to find out. Immediately upon reaching the shore of the lagoon, I spotted a four foot monitor lizard patrolling the edge of the water. I took beaucoup photos of it and watched as slowly scanned the area looking for food. A snowy egret gave way to the dangerous predator.
I felt like a geek for taking a ton of pictures, but I felt better when I saw a lot of Thai people taking photos of it a few minutes later. After getting my fill of this first monitor lizard, I moved on and walked along a brick walkway following the lagoon.
A few minutes later a commotion stirred in front of me, and I nearly stepped on another smaller lizard as he ambled into the water. A Thai couple was walking my way and smiled at my startled reaction. Monitor lizards are not aggressive and not dangerous, but I would not want to step on one to test those boundaries.
I continued to walk along the walkway and ended up seeing over ten lizards. They are everywhere. While I did not see one eat a pigeon, I did witness a decent size one munching on the remnants of a turtle.
I really enjoyed my walk through this urban park. The great part about it is it offers great shade with beautiful trees. Bangkok is a smog filled urban jungle, so it was a great break from the hot dusty streets.
The bird life is interesting as well. As soon as you enter the park your ears are bombarded with the cacaphonic cries of the myna bird and other varieties . I saw several egrets and on the north side of the park I saw some pretty herons. After a quick search of the internet, I am pretty certain they were javan pond herons as the inside of their wings when they fly is a gorgeous white.
There are also turtles and big catfish and carp, and a few kitties as well, but the main draw is the monitor lizard. Lumpini Park is also home to a few deadly snakes including the white lipped pit viper, so pay attention to where you step.
If you want to get out on the water, you can. They rent paddle boats in the form of cute geese, so you can paddle with monitor lizards if you so desire. Lumpini Park is also a great place to run or bike. I saw many Thai people running and biking and enjoying the scenic area.
Lumpini Park is easy to get to by either the MRT at the Lumpini stop or the Sala Daeng stop on the BTS Silom line.
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