Lumphini Park
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Breakfast (and Some Exercise) at Lumphini Park
In the heat of Lumphini Park and over a wave of synthesized electronica, a fitness instructor leads exercisers through an aerobics class that is part step, part calisthenic, part line dance. The class is free to those who join (a 7 a.m. start) and come ready to groove. Afterwards, if you still have energy, you can run twice around the park and complete your own 5K, join an in-progress tai chi class, or hire a swan-shaped paddleboat to cross the lake. If you are fortunate, you may end up burning enough calories to offset (more or less) the great food you will find (and subsequently eat) at Lumphini. At the main entrance, a concentrate of stalls serve fried rice, pad thai, steamed dumplings, and fruits. But to find the best eats, head toward Thanon Sarasin along the park’s northern quadrant where busy sidewalk vendors sell sesamed patongo (fried dough), ba-mee-hang look-chin moo (egg noodles with pork meatballs served dry), somtum (papaya salad). All are highly recommended. Go early because most vendors there close by 11 a.m. The pièce de résistance is the stall serving banana roti, a crispy square crepe oozing with ripened bananas and condensed milk. (They also have a chicken roti if you prefer protein.) Mounds of dough are readied and filled while cars are parked with hazards blinking as their owners await their orders. But I found it better to slip in under an umbrellaed table, order a roti, wash it down with a Milo, and begin anticipating tomorrow's workout.
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