I had a friend that went on a trip to LA a few years back for a photoshoot, he was going to be there for 3 days and that was all working. I asked him if he was going to take his board and he said “I wont get time to skate” and I argued that there is always time, even if its to pop an ollie over a fire hydrant and pretend to be Ray Barbee. He said “whatever”. So a week later I see him and ask how his trip went and he said it sucked, and explained it rained the whole time, his shoot got cancelled and to top it off, his hotel was 200 meters away from the newly built Vans skate park in Orange County…
So this is where we get to Bangkok. I had googled the hell out of Thailand/Bangkok/Skate/Park/Bowl/Ramp etc and came up with a website saying the only indoor park was closed and there was a dreadful looking outdoor park, but what’s the harm in taking a board?
After a couple of days being a tourist I had seen enough evidence that there were skaters in this city; the usual chipped ledges, waxed blocks and a few “No Skateboarding” signs etc. So I pulled out the address of the supposed “closed” park and had a cab drive me up there. Everything in this city is one of three things, a ghetto slum, a temple, or a shiny and brand new western looking building, it’s fascinating. Thankfully The Esplanade Complex is the latter, 6 floor mall, cinema complex, dining halls and a huge skatestore called Preduce.
After seeing a guy skating in the mall I asked him sheepishly if the skatepark was still open, half expecting disappointment of it being closed down. The guy motioned to follow him and we roll through the Mall, in to possibly one of the largest 8 room skatestores I’ve ever seen and straight in to a street course…..Hallelujah!
This park isn’t huge, but its well designed by street skaters. First odd thing is the lighting, its like skating at night in there, you can still see but any photos will look like a Zoo York advert. The other odd thing was that apart from my guide, there wasn’t anyone skating there! Turns out it was the first night of the Songkran Festival, aka Thai New Year, the whole country basically heads out for a waterfight, suits me!
Lurking in the back of the park is the main hit for me, a 4foot deep oddly shaped bowl. This lil puppy could use a bit of TLC as some of the masonite was shredded, but still, the coping was set nice, the tight looking corners were manageable and the hip was a nice float for a construction built so tight.
The street course is very well set out, has a very simple flow and you can hit everything in a run happily. All the standard issues are in here, twin marble hubbas, Wembley gap, Pier 7 Block – plus quarters, driveways and handrails. I saw a little footage of their skateshop team and they shredded it with the Adidas team a few months ago, I missed out on seeing the locals in person, but the level of skating was right up there with any other city.
So if your passing through Thailand, or randomly find yourself there, make sure you take your deck, and if the heats down, go skate round Sukhumvit too, you will undoubtedly come back with a story to tell…….enjoy!
For directions, your looking for Ratchadaphisek Road and its near the Tesco Lotus, you need to take a cab – good luck!