John, an adventurer at heart, has always wanted to learn to sail. At least once a year, he spends a day researching sailing schools and dreaming of sailing across the ocean. Reading many books on the subject, he always seems to find the same advice: the best way to learn to sail is on a dinghy. Not as sexy as a 40′ keelboat, but very effective!
It turns out that at Nong Bon Water Sports Center in Bangkok (right next to Rama IX Park), you can sail, windsurf, and kayak for 40 baht per year (ages 5-18, 10 baht per year). Per year! That price includes all gear and free instructional sessions daily at 2 PM and 4 PM. The hours of operation are Monday – Saturday 8:30 AM to 6:30 PM; Sunday and Public Holidays 10:30 AM – 6:30 PM.
To become a member, bring two passport photos and your passport, driver’s license, or national ID card. Once you get your receipt (your official membership card will be ready on your next visit), you are ready to head around back, pick out your life-jacket, and head to the water! There are lockers and a nice shower / changing area. We bring our own lock and store our dry clothes in the lockers. We carry our valuables and keys on the water with us in a dry bag.
The sailing instruction is great. Even though no English was spoken, our instructor was able to demonstrate enough to get us out on the water. When we got our dinghy locked “in irons” (a sailing term used to describe being trapped with your bow directly into the wind), an instructor encouragingly shouted directions in Thai through a bull horn until we were free! They have a powerboat on standby in case anyone capsizes or gets hopelessly stuck.
Often there is not enough wind to sail. On these days, we grab a kayak and go for a paddle. If sailing or windsurfing is your only reason for going, check the wind conditions before you go by calling Nong Bon Water Sports Center at 0-2328-0236. It is very helpful (necessary) to have a Thai speaker call for you. An alternative is to check wind conditions online at //www.windfinder.com/forecast/suvarnaphumi_airport.
We love water sports of all kinds and having a great resource like this in Bangkok is truly amazing. We look forward to honing our basic sailing skills and one day progressing to the ocean and larger boats!
Another great resource located at Nong Bon Lake is a recently added 4 kilometer long paved bike trail that does a complete loop around the lake. It was opened in 2015 to celebrate Mother’s Day and Her Majesty the Queen’s birthday on August 12.
The bike trail has both a fast and a slow lane. It also has kilometer markers to let you keep track of your distance. It is a very popular trail that caters to a wide variety of bike enthusiasts; as a result, you will see many different bicycle styles, from high-tech racing bikes to beach cruisers.
We love Nong Bon Water Sports Center! It is a great place to spend a day in the sunshine and to get some exercise. You can practice your sailing or windsurfing with an instructor and then grab a kayak to get a fantastic upper-body workout sprinting across the lake. Once you have worn yourself out, you can shower off and then do a few laps around the lake on your bike to get a lower-body workout!
The best two options are to drive or to take a taxi.
If you have a car or motorcycle, drive to Chaloem Phrakiat Ratchakan Thi 9 Road and turn down Soi 43. This street is not far from the Dao Rueang Gate entrance to Rama IX Park. Nong Bon Water Sports Center is located at the end of the street.
When taking a taxi, we have found it useful to download a photo of the large street sign that crosses Chaloem Phrakiat Ratchakan Thi 9 Road onto your phone and to show it to your driver. This, combined with pointing out the destination on your map, should get you to the correct place! If you have access to the BTS, you can take it to Udom Suk and then take a taxi.
You won’t find a lot of information on Nong Bon Water Sports Center in English. If you want to find other photos, copy the following Thai script and paste it into Google search – you will find plenty of photos and even some Thai blogs! ศูนย์กีฬาทางน้ำบึงหนองบอน
Chaloem Phrakiat Ratchakan Thi 9 Rd* Soi 43 @ 13.691331,100.670577
Nong Bon Water Sports Center @ 13.691771,100.660442
*Also written as Chaloemphrakiat Rama IX Rd.
You can copy and paste the latitude and longitude into Google Earth, your browser, or into your GPS.
*Disclaimer- ALWAYS verify locations, transportation routes, GPS coordinates, etc. Errors are made, routes changed, sometimes we are just plain wrong. No one knows what you like more than you. If the trip is worth doing, it is worth doing right! Do your homework.