A question we are often asked at Turquoise: ‘Is Bangkok good for kids?’ Well we certainly think so, as our product manager Rachel Gleave discovered on her recent trip to Thailand with her two children (5 and 7) in tow…
Bangkok is one of my absolute favourite cities in the world. It’s a city to embrace for everything it offers – the vibrancy, energy and especially the street food! I love how you can get lost in a maze of bustling streets, cruise down the city backwaters and then sip a cool cocktail whilst watching the sunset from a rooftop bar in the evening. I have been many times pre-children, so when planning our family trip I definitely wanted them to see how different life can be in a busy city such as Bangkok. After a relaxing few weeks visiting Thailand’s stunning beaches (and that’s another story) we flew up to Bangkok for the last few days of our holiday. I do think that adding Bangkok at the end is a good idea as the kids had already soaked up the essence of Thailand and were well adjusted to the culture.
There is so much to see and do, I am sure you could easily fill a week. Bangkok has absolutely loads to offer kids with all the usual family attractions you find elsewhere, such as Kidzania Bangkok, Fantasia Lagoon Water Park, SEA LIFE Bangkok, Dusit Zoo, Siam Ocean World, Dream World, the Planetarium and Science Museum… You name it, they have it! However, I wanted my kids to really get out and soak up the culture and to see a different way of life, so we steered clear of these attractions and sought out a more enriching experience of the city.
Here are some of my favourite experiences for kids in Bangkok…
1 – Khlong Tour
This shows a completely different side to Bangkok. Located on the opposite side of the river to the Grand Palace there are a number of small canals to explore by longtail boat. A great way to see how the locals live on the banks of the river, you’ll stop off at flower farms, feed the fish and almost feel like you are in the countryside without a skyscraper in sight!
2 – Tuk Tuk Ride
A must for any family to Bangkok! The boys loved racing through the busy streets of the city, taking in the sights and smells and also getting soaked by water pistols!! (we were there for the Songkran Water Festival in mid-April!)
3 – Bike Tour
There are several organised bike tours that are completely safe and will take you to out-of-the-way places. This will give you a real insight into Bangkok that tourists and even most locals don’t see.
4 – Cooking school
My kids loved rolling their sleeves up and working the pestle and mortar to create the famous Thai curry paste and they are now huge fans of Thai curry and noodles! Bangkok has plenty of cooking classes, many geared towards kids and teens. We recommend the Blue Elephant Cooking School.
5 – Grand Palace
Dragging your kids around a palace may not sound like fun but this is Thailand where everything is covered in unbelievable amounts of gold– my kids were in awe!
6 – Chinatown
Travel there by riverboat which is a fun excursion in itself. Chinatown is alive with market stalls and street food galore – if your kids don’t love dumplings by the end of the day then you’ve clearly picked the wrong stall!
7 – Play in the parks
Contrary to appearances, Bangkok is a very green city with plenty of wide open spaces. Among the city’s top parks are Lumpini Park, Chatuchak Park, Rama IX Park and Queen Sirikit Park. All are lush, spacious and great for a few hours of relaxation. Our favourite is Rot Fai Park, where you can rent a bike and cycle around the grounds. There are also a few modern playgrounds for the kids and a free butterfly museum. Nearby is a lake where you can rent sail boats and row boats, and there are some old trains on display. To get there, take the MRT to Chatuchak Park station and walk.
8 – Asiatique Night market
Opposite our hotel (Anantara Bangkok Riverside Resort), on the banks of the river, this is a wonderful night market without the chaotic vibe of the centre of Bangkok and it’s very safe for children. A number of old warehouses have been converted into a shopping and food market, similar to Bicester Village but with smaller stalls and Thai in style. There is a puppet show at the Joe Louise Puppet Theatre and they also have a ferris wheel. Most riverside hotels offer a boat shuttle to and from the pier.
That’s about all we had time for but I’ll certainly be back! If you are limited on time, Turquoise offer a great Bangkok City Safari that combines a number of these Bangkok experiences. Spend the day exploring its highlights with different modes of public transport, combine travel by SkyTrain, boat, and Tuk Tuk for a unique day in the city. Highlights include Wat Pho, the Grand Palace, Longtail Boat tour on the Khlongs, Jim Thompson’s House, Chinatown and the Chao Phraya River.
We recommend the Anantara Bangkok Riverside Resort as an ideal hotel for families. Slightly further down the river, with plenty of space this hotel is more of a resort with a lovely pool for the kids and a regular shuttle ferry which takes you up the river to the nearest SkyTrain station. Larger suites can accommodate four in one room or many rooms interconnect.