Chatuchak Park is one of three municipal parks located in the eastern side of metropolitan Bangkok. Situated near the Ladprao – Vipavadee – Phahonyothin junction, the park is a busy thoroughfare for commuters looking to catch the BTS Skytrain to work in downtown Bangkok, or returning by bus to their homes in the suburbs.
The area has had a long history for being a vital transportation hub for commuters. In the past, Chatuchak Park was a popular venue for locals waiting for connecting buses to their hometowns in the north and northeast, back in the days when Mor Chit Bus Terminal was located on Phahonyothin road directly across from the park. Since the relocation of the bus terminal and with steady support from the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration towards the upkeep, the park has been transformed from a seedy hangout to a pleasant place where the community can exercise, relax or take their kids for an afternoon of fun at the playground.
The park shares the same namesake as it’s notorious neighbor, Chatuchak market, which gained its reputation as a place where shoppers can have access to virtually anything they wish for. For years the market traded everything from clothing, books and plants to pirated electronics and contraband goods. Worse of all, the illegal trade of wildlife and animal parts went virtually unchecked, with endangered animals such as gibbons and hornbills being sold openly. Within the last decade, government officials have put pressure on the vendors and enforced stricter rules, forcing many of the rogue traders to move their illegal operations to other sites further away from the market, although wildlife trade still occurs at the back of the market near JJ Mall.
The main attraction for birders here are the varieties of starlings and mynas which come to feed on the lawns during the day. Some of these birds are quite used to being fed by picnickers and will often allow birders to get up close with them. Bird photographers will especially love the fact that when it comes to Chatuchak, one often doesn’t need anything more than a 200 mm lens to get a cracking shot of an Asian Pied Starling, Black shouldered Starling, Common or White vented Myna.
Though not very common, Vinous breasted Starling has also been seen feeding among the aforementioned species.
In the wintering months it is not uncommon to also find Chestnut tailed, White shouldered and even Purple backed Starling although these migratory species tend to prefer the safety of the trees, rarely venturing to the ground to feed.
Other birds seen in the park include Indian Roller, Coppersmith Barbet, Large billed Crow, Rock Dove, Peaceful Dove, Red breasted Turtledove, Plaintive Cuckoo, Scarlet backed Flowerpecker, Plain backed Sparrow and Common Iora.
Escaped cagebirds will appear in the park from time to time, and records of Black Magpie, Red Avadavat, Grey headed or Alexandrine Parakeet have surfaced from this area. If you happen to see any birds which are behaving oddly or do not belong in an urban environment, it should be safe to assume they are feral and are therefore not worthy of mention in a birding report.
Directions to Chatuchak Park
To get a better idea of the surrounding area, please zoom out by pressing Ctrl on your keyboard and scrolling with your mouse.
Both the MRT Subway and the BTS Skytrain have stations adjacent to the park with terminals leading directly to entrances into the park. Visitors can take the MRT and get off at Chatuchak or if you arriving via the BTS link, just get off at the Phaholyothin station which also happens to be the current end of the BTS line.
Likewise one can drive their own vehicle to the park. Parking at the park however, can be an issue. The park has parking lots located along the back road (Kamphaeng Phet 2 Road) which connects Vipavadee – Kamphaeng Phet – Phahonyothin road, but on most days the lots will be packed. There is a large parking lot (on Kamphaeng Phet 2) road opposite the park (near Suan Rotfai) which has the capacity to hold hundreds of vehicles and caters to visitors intent on shopping at Chatuchak Market. The fee is around 50 baht for a full day of parking. Free shuttle buses commute between the market and the parking lot, so just hop on one and get off wherever you desire.
Pros: Local birds are very easy to bait and approachable; easy to find transportation to and from the site; other activities available for non-birders coming along on the trip.
Cons: Lack of shady spots results in very few quality species seen; extremely noisy and very polluted, with traffic surrounding the entire park; busy at all times of the day, with commuters using the park as a thoroughfare; parking problematic.
Like Lumpini Park in downtown Bangkok, Chatuchak is not a prime birding destination in the eyes of most birders. However, some photographers or those looking for certain starling or myna species will like this place. Serious birders however, will not spend too much time milling around here. Most local birders (myself included) would recommend Suan Rotfai, located right next door to Chatuchak. Suan Rotfai is better for birding and has a lot more to offer.
This page was last updated in April, 2018.