20 September 2012

Chatuchak Park & Bangkok Butterfly Garden & Insectarium

Date of Exploration : 15 Sep 2012

Don't we just love shopping at Bangkok's Chatuchak Weekend Market (a.k.a. Jatuchak Market)? Even the heat of the summer months deterred few from bargain hunting at its confusing maze of eclectic stalls. But what if there is a way to cool off and get away from the crowd and chaos for a while? The good news is, there is!

Upon existing from Mo Chit BTS Station or Chatuchak MRT Station, the weekend market is the only destination for many. But make a small sidestep from these exits and one would discover a vast expanse of green spaces to get lost in.

Chatuchak Park

One of the older parks in Bangkok, Chatuchak Park was completed in 1980 with the Queen Sirikit Park and Wachirabenchatat Park added later to form a massive green lung in the city. The 2 newer parks are separated from Chatuchak Park by a small road (Thanon Kamphaeng Phet 3). See map at the end of this post.

So before getting into the hot and heavy shopping action on this trip, I checked out Chatuchak Park and the Bangkok Butterfly Garden & Insectarium located within Wachirabenchatat Park. Apart from capturing some of the seens and sights at these parks, this post also attempts to chart the way to the butterfly garden from Mo Chit BTS Station as there are no signposts pointing out the right directions.

On reaching the bottom of the stairs from Mo Chit BTS Station, turn right and you would've entered one of the gates into Chatuchak Park. You should see one of the exits of Chatuchak MRT Station, and this clock tower. The left leads to Chatuchak Weekend Market while the path on the right leads deeper into the park.

The public park sits on a piece of land that formerly belonged to the State Railway of Thailand. There is a Train Museum within its vicinity so Chatuchak Park is also known as Railway Park (Suan Rot Fai). 'Rot fai' means railway and 'suan' means park in Thai.

The park is landscaped to please and even though it receives quite a high volume of visitor traffic, the park grounds are clean and well maintained.

The park's manmade lagoon doesn't look inviting though and huge catfish lurks in the greyish water. Bought some fish pellets from one of the many park peddlers and teased this monster out for a shot.

Neatly pruned shrubs and floral arrangements decorate the park.

Many locals enjoy a pinic here or just laze by the waterside.

Here's a workout with a view!

After passing a couple of bridges and the gym, we came to this gate that exits to Kamphaeng Phet 3 Road. The entrance to Wachirabenchatat Park is just slightly further up the road across from this gate. If you lose your way to the butterfly garden, just ask the police that patrols the park. They  manage enough English to point you in the right direction.
Wachirabenchatat Park

Previously a golf course, Wachirabenchatat Park is the newest of the 3 parks with refurbishment works starting in 1999.

Top Left : After existing the gate from Chatuchak Park, we walked along the side of the park until we came to a crossing. Top Right : Entrance to Wachirabenchatat Park. There doesn't seem to be any sign that indicates the park's name. We wandered in by chance. Bottom Left : When you reach a split road near the entrance, go right. Bottom Right : Landscaping at the park's entrance looked neglected and unkept.

Bicycles can be rented at about 30bht to cycle around the parks but I have no idea where's the rental station. Next to the drinks stall is a bridge that links to another part of the park.

After crossing the bridge, turn right. Finally saw a sign that I suppose is giving directions about the butterfly garden. Would help if there's English on it.

Thick foliage and lush greenery. It is a totally different world from the frenzy at the weekend market.

After turning right from the white bridge, walk down the road for about 5 minutes and you'll reach the butterfly garden. The park is pretty huge so if you make a wrong turn, it'll be a lot of walking. Look out for guard posts of the park rangers and ask them for directions.
Bangkok Butterfly Garden & Insectarium

Finally locating the Bangkok Butterfly Garden & Insectarium felt something like a chance encounter because there were no clear and prominent signs to lead us or indicate the various park names. Anyway, ta-da... here we are!

The enclosure looks pretty impressive.

Bangkok Butterfly Garden & Insectarium is open from Tuesday - Sunday, 8.30am to 4.30pm. Entrance is FREE!

Dead insect specimens only form a very small collection at the complex. The main feature is the walk-in enclosure.

A Common Birdwing Butterfly fluttering its wings while feeding.

There are quite a lot of butterflies to see but the species count is not very high.

The key attraction here is the Dead Leaf Butterfly (a.k.a. Orange Oakleaf). Their disguise is impeccable so look closely when you pass by a tree trunk or branch.

The Orange Oakleaf Butterfly seem to favour perching on trees. Apparently the Dead Leaf Butterfly has got 2 forms - dry season and wet season. Dry season ones look well, dry, while the wet ones have darker veins and colourations that make the underside of the butterfly appear moist.

Fruit trays are laid out around the garden for butterflies to feed on and I got to photograph this critter really close. So awesome to see them live instead of pinned to a board.

Butterflies aren't the only flights of fancy in the enclosure.
I didn't expect nature to be so accessible in Bangkok without having to travel to some faraway outskirts or climb up any mountain.

So the next time you are in Chatuchak, on top of shopping for clothes, bags, furnishings and food at the weekend market, shop for your senses amongst the serenity of the nearby parks and meet the winged locals too!

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for posting about an attraction that, otherwise, not many people would know about! It's great to see that there is another side to Bangkok other than the 'Shopping Paradise'. ;)


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