Central Bangkok is all abuzz

Central Bangkok is all abuzz

U with BTWeekend NLIKE Singapore, trees in Bangkok are an elusive bunch. So much so that the Asian Green City index measured just 3 sq m of green for each person in the metropolitan area last year - against an average of 39 sq m for other cities and 66 for Singapore alone.

What few trees you do find are straggly and weak - no match for the relentless spew of traffic fumes, and not much for shade either. So they stand alone and ignored, kind of like the city's stray dogs - dusty, unkempt and unloved.

But there is a flip side to this scenaro. You can find pockets of green in the Thai capital if you know where to look - prized finds in quiet residential sois, small lovingly- tended parks or, in the case of the Royal Bangkok Sports Club, a sprawling 18-hole golf course smack in Central Bangkok.

You can see it while on the BTS Skytrain running from Siam Station to Silom - an unexpected swathe of green amidst glitzy malls and concrete detritus that give Bangkok its pulsating, squalor-chic heart.

Already impressive from a distance, it's worth scoring an invitation to visit by a club member - so you can enjoy the view over a languid lunch of home-style Thai cooking at its outdoor cafe.

The club itself is an institution - the Thai version of Singapore's SICC - steeped in old-world charm and privilege, playground of the city's elite that sits on prime royal-owned land; and probably a sore point with the less well-connected masses who live and work beyond its landscaped boundaries.

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