Ever considered a family trip with the kids to Bangkok? Here are all the reasons why you should...
Bangkok with kids doesn’t easily roll off the tongue, and yes, there are probably more obvious destinations in the Land of Smiles to consider for the family holiday. But you’ll be missing a trick if you dismiss Bangkok from the get-go, especially if you’re looking for an easy and interesting long weekend. Yes, folks, Bangkok really does deliver. And we’re here to tell you everything you need to know ahead of planning your trip…
WHERE TO STAY IN BANGKOK WITH KIDS
1. Anantara Riverside Bangkok Resort
If you’re looking for luxe accom in a prime location, you can’t go much better than the Anantara Riverside Bangkok Resort. There are family suites available, or if you want to go all out, then consider the Two Bedroom River View Chao Phraya Suite with Kasara Executive Lounge access – fancy!
Anantara Riverside Bangkok Resort, 257/1-3 Charoennakorn Road, Thonburi, Bangkok 10600
2. ibis Styles Bangkok Khaosan Viengtai
This bright and colourful ibis is in a great location, just around the corner from the buzzy Khao San Road area, and has a pool to throw the kids into after a long day of exploring. Family rooms are reasonably priced and spacious, and breakfast at on-site Streats Cafe will usually be included in your deal.
ibis Styles Bangkok Khaosan Viengtai, 42 Tanee Road, Banglampu, 10200 Bangkok, Thailand
3. Banyan Tree Bangkok
Banyan Tree is a great location giving you easy access to the metro (which is highly recommended, by the way!). You can expect all-out luxury here, plus the kids are well-catered for. Check out the dedicated kids’ buffet and cute Banyan Tree kids’ amenities. Regardless of whether you’re staying here or not, you’ve gotta visit to check out the rooftop bar, (rightly named) Vertigo, which has views galore. Banyan Tree Bangkok, 21/100 S Sathon Rd, Thung Maha Mek, Sathon, Bangkok 10120, Thailand
4. Sivatel Bangkok
Our previous editor, Tracy, this place home for her family’s adventure to Bangkok and loved it. The good-sized apartments, small infinity pool, amazing views and great location sold it – it’s right next to plenty of shopping malls and the Skytrain.
Sivatel Bangkok, 53 Wittayu Road, Lumpini, Patumwan, Pathumwan, 10330 Bangkok, Thailand; www.sivatelbangkok.com
THINGS TO DO WITH THE KIDS IN BANGKOK
1. Chatuchak Park
More on markets below, but when you go to Chatuchak Market (because that’s a given), don’t miss out on this awesome park next door. It’s a great place for the little ones to let loose and has a great little playground to boot!
Chatuchak Park, Kamphaeng Phet 3 Rd, Chatuchak, Bangkok 10900, Thailand
2. Sea Life Bangkok Ocean World
Head over to Siam Paragon Shopping Centre (perfect excuse for some designer shopping) and dive into Sea Life Bangkok, where you’ll find aquatic creatures of all sizes, shapes and colours. Our kids especially loved the glass-bottom boat on the shark pool!
Sea Life, 991 Rama 1 Road Khwaeng Pathum Wan, Khet Pathum Wan, Krung Thep Maha Nakhon 10330, Thailand
3. Khao San Road
Hang on a minute: Khao San Road for kids? Yep, it’s not just for hipsters and backpackers, and so long as you go during the daytime, it’s actually a cool place to visit with the family. Fearless kids and curious foodie parents can try fried insects and even scorpions, plus there is a great market and tons of cheap eats (if bugs aren’t your thing, do try the street vendors for delish food cooked to order – the satay and pad thai is fab). Hot tip: Explore the streets running parallel and either end of Khao San for some great little cafes and outdoor reflexology spots.
4. Children’s Discovery Museum
Quite possibly one of our fave places for kids in Bangkok (and also close to Chatuchak Park and market), The Children’s Discovery Museum is simply amazing! We didn’t have particularly high expectations when we went, but we were blown away by the options and exhibits available here. From a cool dinosaur exhibition where you can use a range of tools to dig for fossils to a dedicated 0-2-year-old room. Head here with little ones, and you won’t be disappointed!
Children’s Discovery Museum, 810 Kamphaeng Phet 4 Rd, Chatuchak, Bangkok 10900, Thailand
5. The Grand Palace
Once you’re done pretending you are an extra in The Beach on Khao San Road, head to the Royal family’s official residence, The Grand Palace, which is nearby. It’s one of the busiest spots in Bangkok for tourists, so prepare for crowds! As well as the amazing architecture, relics, art and history to see, with its endless courtyards and gardens, there’s also plenty of space for the kids to run off some energy. It’s open every day from 8.30am to 3.30pm so DON’T let taxi and tuk-tuk drivers tell you it’s ‘closed today’ – this happens a lot to try and persuade you to go somewhere else where they might get a commission! Hot tip: Make sure either wear long pants and have your shoulders covered or take something to cover up with whilst there. You can borrow these items on-site, but the queues are always HUGE.
The Grand Palace, Na Phra Lan Rd, Phra Nakhon, Bangkok, 10200, Thailand
6. Fantasia Lagoon
Cool off after a busy morning exploring with a trip to a small but fun-packed water park on top of the Mall Bangkae, where kids will love the water slides, lazy river and water play areas. It’s relatively unknown, so a great pick for avoiding crowds.
Fantasia Lagoon, The Mall Bangkae, 275 Petchkasem Rd, Bang Khae Nuea, Bang Khae, Bangkok 10160, Thailand
7. Dream World Bangkok
Bangkok’s equivalent to Universal Studios Singapore, Dream World Bangkok, is a theme park suitable for kids of all ages. Thrill seekers will love the roller coaster and scream-inducing bigger rides, while little ones (and less brave souls) will be kept happy with an animal petting corner, water playground, smaller rides, bumper cars and a snowy wonderland. Hot tip: Factor a whole day here to see and do everything on offer – plus, it’s around 45 minutes from town (depending on traffic) via taxi.
Dream World Bangkok, Pathum Thani 12130, Thailand
8. Lumpini Park
Playgrounds, wide open green spaces, an outdoor gym, paddle boats, endless pathways to explore, and row boats are what you can expect to find at the beautifully green Lumpini Park.
Lumpini Park, 139/4 Thanon Witthayu, Khwaeng Lumphini, Khet Pathum Wan, Krung Thep Maha Nakhon 10330, Thailand
9. Jim Thompson House
If mystery and intrigue are your thing, then having a sticky beak around missing American expat, famous textile entrepreneur and former architect Jim Thompson’s home is well worth putting on your itinerary. The house has become a legend in Thailand due to its art collection, jungly green surrounds, opulent interior and, of course, the mystery surrounding its former owner.
Jim Thompson House, Rama Road, Khwaeng Wang Mai, Khet Pathum Wan, Krung Thep Maha Nakhon 10330, Thailand
10. Wat Pho
Wat Pho is the perfect pick for a fun history and culture lesson for the kiddos: this beautiful temple is number one on a list of six temples around Thailand, given the honour of being a first-class royal temple. Check out the enormous reclining golden Buddha, where you’ll also find 108 bronze ‘wishing bowls’ – purchase a bowl of pennies to throw a ‘wish’ into each bowl – the kids will love the noise and the chance to wish for a tuk tuk of their own to bring home! They’ll also have fun checking out the grounds filled with huge stone characters and creatures, plus hanging out with the super cute resident cats and puppies. Hot tip: The on-site massage and reflexology centre is simply sublime. Take half an hour out of your visit to sit back and unwind in a massage chair.
Wat Pho, 2 Sanamchai Road, Grand Palace Subdistrict, Pranakorn District, Bangkok 10200, Thailand
CHIC, CHEAP AND EVERYTHING IN BETWEEN: SHOPPING SPOTS IN BANGKOK
1. Amphawa Floating Market
You haven’t been to Bangkok at all unless you’ve visited one of the famous floating markets scattered near and far from the city. One of the most popular is a 90km journey to Amphawa Floating Market, which is well worth the trip for a huge taste of market authenticity. Your Insta page will go into overdrive with the quaint wooden houses, longtail boats, canal scenes and shrines vying for your photographic attention. Hot tip: Go early to avoid the huge crowds – the best time to arrive is around 9am. Go after midday at your peril! Get your shopping done in the morning and then have an early seafood lunch along the river banks.
Amphawa Floating Market, Chang Wat Samut Songkhram 75110, Thailand
2. Taling-Chan Floating Market
If you just can’t face the journey to Amphawa, then Taling-Chan Floating Market makes a decent alternative and is only 12km from downtown Bangkok. It’s open all day, and although it’s quite small, there is a larger market (on land) nearby too.
Taling Chan Floating Market, near to Taling Chan District Office, 333 Chak Phra 19 – Chim Phli, Khwaeng Khlong Chak Phra, Khet Taling Chan, Krung Thep Maha Nakhon 10170, Thailand
3. Chatuchak Market
Living in Asia, it’s safe to say that we’ve all visited many a market in our time, but Chatuchak is in a different league! With around 15,000 stalls selling everything from souvenirs to puppies, cheap threads to street art, this is not only the biggest market in Thailand but one of the largest in the world! Hot tip: Go early before the crowds get too huge, and pinpoint a meeting place in case any of you get lost!
Chatuchak Market, 587/10 Kamphaeng Phet 2 Rd, Khwaeng Chatuchak, Khet Chatuchak, Krung Thep Maha Nakhon 10900, Thailand
4. Patpong Night Market (but get a babysitter!)
Not for the fainthearted, and definitely not for the kids, but if you can get a babysitter for the night, Patpong is, frankly, mind-boggling. Not only will you pick up plenty of tacky T-shirts and essential souvenirs, but this is also the red light district! Prepare to be both mesmerised and appalled at some of the more ‘colourful’ sights! Hot tip: Hang on to your handbags tightly and make sure they are securely fastened. This area is notorious for pickpockets (amongst other things…)
Patpong Night Market, Phat Pong 2 Alley, Khwaeng Suriya Wong, Khet Bang Rak, Krung Thep Maha Nakhon 10500, Thailand
5. MBK Center
MBK Center, also known as Mahboonkrong, is where you’ll find around 2,000 small shops spread over eight floors of shopping heaven. Bartering is encouraged in most stores, and you’ll pick up all kinds of bargains, from leather bags to kids’ clothing, cheesy souvenirs to glitzy knick-knacks.
MBK Center, Phayathai Rd, Pathum Wan, Khet Pathum Wan, Krung Thep Maha Nakhon 10330, Thailand
6. Siam Paragon
If the real deal is what you are after and you have a bit of market fatigue, Siam Paragon is where you should be heading to give your credit cards a good bashing. It’s luxe all the way with designer brands, including Jimmy Choo, Louis Vuitton, Prada and Burberry: it’s futile to try and resist! Hot tip: This also happens to be the same mall that SEA LIFE is located in: buy yourself some shopping time and send Dad off to one of the family-friendly fun picks with the kids.
Siam Paragon, 991 Rama 1 Road, Pathumwan, Bangkok, Thailand; 991 Rama Road, Khwaeng Pathum Wan, Khet Pathum Wan, Krung Thep Maha Nakhon 10330, Thailand
KID-FRIENDLY EATS IN BANGKOK
1. Caturday Cat Cafe
Who doesn’t love a cat cafe? Add it to your list for your Bangkok stay! Although it’s tucked away just off the main tourist area, it’s worth the hunt, as there’s so much going on. From cat-themed decor to the awesome food, and then there’s of course the cat. Note for the kids – you can’t take them home!
Caturday Cat Cafe, 10400, 89/70 Phaya Thai Rd, Thanon Phetchaburi, Ratchathewi, Bangkok 10400, Thailand
1. Brainwake Cafe
Magazines, books, games and a small kid’s play area are the perfect way to keep the little people busy while you kick back and enjoy a great latte and cheap-as-chips brunch. Eggs Benedict all the way, please!
Brainwake Cafe, 27 Sukhumvit 33 Alley, Khwaeng Khlong Tan Nuea, Khet Watthana, Krung Thep Maha Nakhon 10110, Thailand
2. Hajime Robot Restaurant
This Japanese-inspired barbecue restaurant is sure to please the kiddos: Hajime the Samurai Robot will bring your food to your table for you to cook yourself. There aren’t many restaurants where you’ll find a robot dancing to pop songs. Hot tip: Come hungry! This is an eat-all-you-can deal, and delish picks include typical yakiniku dishes galore.
Hajime Robot Restaurant, Floor 3, Mono Park, Industrial Ring Rd, Chong Nonsi, Yan Nawa, Bangkok 10120, Thailand
4. Mocking Tales
Harry Potter Fans, this one is for you! Mocking Tales is all about medieval fantasy and then some. It’s not just the decor either; we’re talking Poisoned Apple (which is actually a lot more delicious than the name would have you believe –apple dipped in homemade caramel and served with apple sorbet and crumble). Big thumbs up from the tweens and teens here!
Mocking Tales, 275 G2Connect 2 Ratchaphruek Rd, Bang Chak, Phasi Charoen, Bangkok 10160, Thailand
5. More Than a Game Cafe
Didn’t pack your board games? Don’t fret – More than a Game Cafe is where you want to head for board games galore (and coffee!). Bag yourself a table and get on the hunt for your favourite board game, or find a new one. Good luck getting everyone to leave this place!
More Than a Game Cafe, I’m Park Chula, Chulalongkorn 1 Alley, Wang Mai, Pathum Wan, Bangkok 10330, Thailand
And there you have it – your ultimate fam-friendly guide to Bangkok. You’re welcome!
Lead image: Alejandro Cartagena via Unsplash