Travelling to a buzzing city? It’s still possible to relax, recharge and squeeze in a jog at these lush green urban parks.
Whether travelling for business or pleasure, the great outdoors can restore your mood and give you back your energy and vitality.
The Japanese practice of shinrin-yoku, or forest bathing, has sparked a global wellness trend. It is simply being in the presence of trees, and it became part of a national public health programme in Japan in 1982. Many of the world’s busiest cities also happen to be home to lush urban green pockets, where you can relax and reconnect with nature.
Benjakitti Park, Bangkok
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Located in Asoke, an area often described as the centre of Bangkok, Benjakitti Park is a welcoming green space dominated by a large central boating lake, with its main attractions being a 1.8km running and walking track as well as a dedicated parallel cycling track. Dusk is the best time to visit this park to witness the transition of this metropolis from day to night, as the lights of the surrounding skyscrapers are reflected on the shimmering surface of the lake.
Sprinters yearning for a higher step count can add on a run at the adjacent and quieter Benjakitti Forest Park, and along the elevated walking and cycling path which connects Benjakitti Park to the city’s popular Lumpini Park.
Changfeng Park, Shanghai
This picturesque park is located in the vibrant Putuo district of Shanghai, towards the west of the city centre. Recognised as Shanghai’s largest man-made lake and the city’s only landscaped park, its layout is inspired by the natural landscape of China as well as the heritage of the classical Chinese gardens found in Beijing, Hangzhou and Suzhou.
It is known for scenic spots, including the Silver Hoe boating lake, the Hill of Iron Arms with a lookout point at its 23m-high peak, a maple tree island and the Changfeng Ocean World theme park. Changfeng Park is a favourite among families for activities such as boating, go-karting, kite-flying and picnicking.
Victoria Park, Hong Kong
In a city as frenetic as Hong Kong, Victoria Park is an oasis of calm and space in the crowded, bustling and fast-moving district of Causeway Bay. As the largest public park in Hong Kong, it also serves as a gathering point. Each morning, it comes alive with choreographed taiji sessions and early risers who make good use of its lawn bowling greens, swimming pool, tennis and basketball courts and a 600m running trail. At lunchtime, the park is a popular lunch spot for nearby office workers. During the upcoming Mid-Autumn Festival, it will host the city’s grandest mooncake festivities with lantern displays, traditional stage performances and carnival games.
Daqing Children’s Park, Daqing
Often referred to as the oil capital of China, Daqing is located in China’s northeastern Heilongjiang province. The industrial city is home to several large parks and lakes, one of the most popular being Daqing Children’s Park, which is big on offering the little ones and their parents the opportunity to learn while having fun, with a wide range of interactive displays designed for kids.
There is also a pleasant boating lake with paddle boats available for rent by the hour. In late spring and summer, carnivals with food stalls and thrilling rides are set up.
A version of this article first appeared on www.tnp.com.sg.