If you are staying in Korat city in Nakhon Ratchasima Province (นครราชสีมา), there are some nearby places you can escape to get back to nature, such as Khao Yai National Park (อุทยานแห่งชาติเขาใหญ่). But you don’t have to venture too far to unwind in a peaceful environment.
Every day, hundreds of locals head to Bung Ta Lua Water Park (สวนน้ำบุ่งตาหลั่ว) to go jogging, cycling and walking around a huge lake. The park is owned by the army camp next door, but they open it in the morning and evenings to the public and it is free to enter.
What activities can you do at Bung Ta Lua?
- Exercise – As mentioned above, the main reason people come here is to get some exercise in. You can head there at 5 o’clock in the morning and it will already be full of people. There are two separate paths. One of them is for cycling and the other one is split into two lanes for joggers/runners and walkers.
- Kayaking – You can also rent out kayaks and go for a nice paddle around the lake. What a perfect way to unwind after a long day! Head to the middle of the lake by the bridge to hire one out.
- Feed the fish – Take a seat on the steps by the lake and spend a while watching the fish splashing around for food.
- Watch the sunset or sunrise – You don’t have to get on your running shoes. Grab a coffee or a bite to eat and sit on the grass, watching the sunset/rise over the horizon as it glimmers across the lake.
- Festivals – Korat is known for its many festivals. There will sometimes be stalls set up and performances happening at Bung Ta Lua when there is one on. This is a perfect place to come and celebrate Loy Krathong (ลอยกระทง) in November.
At certain intervals around the trail, there are also groups of outdoor exercise machines. These are light-exercise machines but certainly enough to get a nice workout in.
Paying their respect
One of the fascinating things about this place is that at 6 p.m every evening, the national anthem will be played over the speakers. At this point, every single person will stop what they are doing and stand in silence for 1 minute to pay respect for their King and country. It is quite extraordinary to watch cyclist and runners just suddenly halt to a stop. You may feel like time has suddenly stood still. You really get to see the loyalty of Thai culture through this.
If you are at the park at 6 p.m and you see this happening, please be respectful and join in with the minute’s silence. You will certainly be given respect in return.
Food and drink
There are a couple of stalls around the lake where you can buy bottled water, coconut water, and fruit smoothies. There is also a friendly man by the entrance who sells cheap sports clothes. He will even let you play with his hula hoops!
If you fancy somewhere a bit cooler to sit, there is a nice air-conditioned coffee shop called ‘ณ บุ่ง Coffee’ in the North-West area of the lake. You can grab a drink here but they also serve delicious food!
How to get to Bung Ta Lua Water Park
If you want to stay in that area, there is a lovely looking hotel right next to the lake called ‘The Beverly Hills Hotel’. All though I haven’t actually stayed there, the reviews are really good and it looks like great value for money.
If you are staying further away, you can drive there yourself. There is parking at the main entrance but there are limited spaces for cars, so you have to get there early to get a spot. Motorbikes shouldn’t have a problem. There is also a carpark opposite in which you may have to pay about 20 baht. Failing that, you can use the street to park on if there are spaces available.
If you don’t have a vehicle, you can always call a taxi or a Grab to take you there.