Big, Smoggy Bangkok Gets a Badly Needed Breath of Fresh Air

For more than half a century, Thailand’s state-owned tobacco monopoly mass-produced cigarettes at a sprawling industrial estate in Bangkok. A steady stream of heavy trucks brought raw tobacco into the heart of the city and hauled millions of cigarettes away.

But now, that cancer-inducing complex has given way to something completely different: green space that has brought a breath of fresh air to Bangkok’s congested, often smoggy center.

The transformation has been a stunning success, creating a 102-acre oasis for city dwellers. The site — an expansion of the existing Benjakitti Park — includes a mile-long elevated walkway, as well as water-purifying wetlands, 8,000 new trees, pickleball and basketball courts, and a dog-walking zone.

The Skywalk, as the walkway is known, has become especially popular with young people. At sunset, as the heat of the day eases, it is often packed with visitors, many posing for selfies.

“Benjakitti Park is at the top of my list for places to take pictures,” said Pongsaton Tatone, a freelance photographer, who was on the Skywalk snapping shots of a group of university graduates cavorting in their gowns. “It is a very popular spot.”

Pongsaton Tatone, a freelance photographer, with some of his subjects on the Skywalk in the park’s new section. “It is a very popular spot,” he said.Credit…Lauren DeCicca for The New York Times
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