Bangkokians got a temporary taste of Chong Nonsi Canal Park starting Saturday and it wasn’t a disappointment.
The one-hundred meter stretch temporarily opened to the public everyday from 4.30pm to 9pm until Jan 5 before they closed for further improvements and constructions until the end of January. It will eventually be 4.5 kilometers long, or 9 kilometers in length if counted on both sides of the pedestrian walks, come August.
There is no denying that the strip is a welcomed green and walking addition in Sathorn and Narathiwat CBD area although the walking path is rather narrow on both sides and could accommodate no more than three or four walking side by side at the same time on each side.
Safety is an issue for children and elderly as there’s no safety barriers preventing people, particularly elderly and children from accidentally falling to the lowered level sidewalks.
When fully completed next August, an estimated 140,000 cubic meters of current polluted canal water will be kept subterranean, out of sight and treated while what visitors see is the upper level of the waterway that’s clean and separated and used to catch rainwater. This is Bangkok City Hall’s way of solving polluted canal water! Just sweep it under the rug, or rather hide it at a lower level and treat them. We will have to wait and see and assess it later if it’s a good idea but so far, walking around the first stretch, it wasn’t a bad idea at all.
Once fully completed the narrow linear green path along the canal will without doubt be a welcoming addition in a move towards a greener and more pedestrian friendly Bangkok. There’s no denial that the canal walk was inspired by Seoul’s famous Cheonggyecheon Linear Park, 10.9 kilometers long from one side, even if the Bangkok governor Asawin Kwanmuang, does not want to dwell on a comparison.
Having visited and enjoyed the linear park in Seoul several times over the years, what I missed is a deep lower pedestrian level where strollers felt they’re totally separated and hidden from the motor traffic at road levels. Here in Bangkok, I have yet to see any truly low pedestrian levels in the first stretch of the park and it’s hoped that parts of the linear park not yet constructed could be made significantly lower that the three-lanes road-level on each side of the canal. Ambient lights is key at the linear park in Bangkok and enhanced the pleasant mood when I visited on Sunday evening.
A highlight so far is a zigzagging elevated path connecting Chong Nonsi Skywalk to the linear park which was designed in a very agreeable manner and makes walking towards the linear park from that direction a joy not just for your legs but your sight, particularly when it’s lit up at night. Please note that as of Sunday, the skywalk link wasn’t fully completed so one could also walk through a part on it and it’s not fully linked to Chong Nonsi Skywalk yet. Chong Nonsi Skywalk, which apparently has been recently renovated, is currently displaying light and sound exhibits during the holiday season from 6.30pm onward.
Back to the linear park, water vapor pipes add a mystical and cooling effect to parts of the park. There’s also a wall waterfall although it’s not operational yet as of Sunday. I have yet to see any shallow running stream or a wider walking path which I recalled fondly when visiting Seoul’s Cheonggeyecheon linear park but that may be asking too much from the Bangkok governor.
Chong Nonsi Canal Park opens daily from 4.30pm to 9pm until Jan 5 and will be reopened again at the end of January 2022. It’s a five minute walk south from BTS Chong Nonsi station, near Empire Building.