Location: Outdoor Gym Lumpini Park, North East corner of Lumpini Park, Pathum Wan, Bangkok
Opening hours: 7am to 9pm.
Website: Not a chance
Price: 20 bhat (Approx £0.40)
Review: Firstly, it turns out that there are there are actually several gyms in Lumpini Park. There is an indoor gym in a youth centre, a free outdoor gym which has a couple of weights machines and the main outdoor gym which I trained in. This is in the north east corner of the park.
You will know when you find this gym as all the machines are dark green and it is full of shirtless ripped thai guys strutting around like hench peacocks. The gym itself is shaded under a huge tree and partly enclosed by sets of mirrored walls, set up equally to cater to the narcissism of the gym, as well as shield the outside world from it. That being said, the gym is still very open to those walking through the park, leading to a steak succession of tourists stopping to take photos.
To be honest, there is only one way to properly explain the vibe of this place: prison gym. The equipment here is beyond basic. The machines are rusted, the plates are caked in mud and on the days that it rains, there are deep puddles everywhere. That being said, I honestly found this a great place to train. There is something very primal about training in this environment. The guys who train here all seem to know each other and they do not seem to speak much english. Also, of all the gyms I have trained in in Thailand, this gym is where the most shredded guys were. The same guys were in here training on both days I trained and they seem to spend hours at a time working out each day. Having that level of competition in the gym always spurs me on to train harder, rather than having to worrying that it looks like you are showing off.
One of the most unique equipment features of this gym is the giant truck tyre bench press. None of the locals seem to use this, as everyone seems to be focused on light weight high rep training rather then pushing any significant weight. I decided that I couldn’t miss the opportunity to try this and managed to bang out a few sets of 3-5 reps. I would estimate that the tyres weights about 85-90kgs, but it looks, and felt, cool as fuck. I have thrown a photo I took in below to show you what I mean. There is also something pretty cool about benching in the open air and looking up to see leaves and branches above you. I tried to take a photo to show this, but it doesn’t really capture what it was like to be there.
This gym has:
- dumbbells up to approx 35kg
- barbell flat bench
- barbell incline bench
- Barbell decline bench
- massive truck tyre bench
- squat rack
- leg press
- leg extension
- lat pulldown
- several pull up bars
- easy bars
- hammer curl bars
A day pass to this gym is 20 bhat (approx 0.40p), which makes this the perfect gym for anyone in Bangkok on a tight budget. They sell water here which costs 20 bhat for a large bottle. They also have a little stall selling coffee and soya milk, but they didn’t seem to speak much English so I couldn’t find out the prices. On the first day I trained here, America had decided to reinforce every negative stereotype we had about them and elect an orange asshat to lead them for the next 4 years. This was the reason that I met Antoine Lou. Unable to contain the need to express my shock and dismay, I turned to the only other westerner in the gym to discuss the matter. As it happens, Antoine has lived in Bangkok for 3 years. He is French, an entrepreneur and a model, but much less of an asshole than these things might lead you to believe. Having kindly talked me down from the ledge and convinced me the world was still worth living following the election, Antoine went back to working on his perfectly chizzled abs. He even posed for a selfie with me for the blog, so hi there Antoine!
Who is this gym for? Realistically, I would say this gym is likely to feel intimidating to anyone new to lifting or to lone females. The guys here all train shirtless and are all pretty huge, almost without exception. I think that seasoned lifters are more likely to train here without issue and I didn’t feel any kind of way training here, even if no-one tried to talk to me on either day. There is no cardio equipment here either, so I would suggest that the cardio bunnies stick to the running track which takes you around the outside of the park.
Tips: This is an outdoor gym so check the weather forecast. And take a sweat towel with you. Bangkok is humid and hot and you will need one. Many pharmacies along nearby streets sell protein, amino acids or even pre-workout. If heading out into rural Thailand, you may want to stock up here. Next, I am heading to Chiang Mai, so I will be able to provide you with an update on supplement availability in the cultural heart of Thailand. I am currently on an 11 hour train ride across the country. I am tempted to drop one of the valium I bought in Cambodia and snooze the rest of the way. Oh decisions, decisions…