I realize it’s not fair for me to say we vacationed in Bangkok as we lived there for almost two years. Evan was born there and it took us a while to get to see all the places I’m about to tell you about. However, I do think it’s possible to see all them if you end up going to Bangkok for about a week. In any case, here are some of our favorite places in Bangkok for Kids.
There are several floating markets close enough to Bangkok for a day or even half a day trip. I would probably try to do the floating market + the tiger temple, crocodile farm, an elephant farm or river Kwai. We visited Damnoen Saduak which lays about 100 kilometers southwest of Bangkok on a few occasions. Evan just loved riding on a boat. He preferred to sit up front and to look at everything. All the vendors loved looking at the little farang boy and always pulled our speedboat towards their shops. Evan especially enjoyed eating noodles and he really loved when the boat sped thru the canals. The faster, the better. I wouldn’t recommend doing any souvenir shopping there as the prices will be very high compared to the markets in Bangkok. However, if you see something really unique, go for it!
Siam Ocean World
This little jewel is in the basement of Siam Paragon Shopping Mall. It would probably take you around two hours to take a look at all of it as it is not very big. This is the perfect place to entertain the kids if you need to bribe them when going shopping. It is very clean and well maintained and very enjoyable for toddlers and bigger kids alike. It’s easy to get to by sky train and it’s so small that it is not overwhelming and you can spend as little or as much time there as you desire. You can find current ticket prices and promotions on their website.
Ayutthaya became the second Siamese capital after Sukhothai.. A UNESCO World Heritage site, this place is worth visiting. It is only about an hour away from Bangkok. Here you will find very well-preserved ruins of the Siamese Empire. This was the first place where Evan had an Elephant encounter and rode on an Elephant. It is quite big and we visited it about 4 times, each time looking at a different part of the city. There are many nice restaurants in the area and you can enjoy an elephant or tuk-tuk ride between the ruins if you don’t feel like walking too much with your children. If you have older kids, another great way to see Ayutthaya is renting a bicycle, widely available all around.
Sahmpran Farm and Zoo
First of all, remember you are in Southeast Asia and don’t expect a nice crocodile farm like those you would find in Florida. However, this place was a lot of fun for Evan. He rode on several kiddy rides and enjoyed watching elephants playing soccer. We avoided the crocodile show as we thought he might get scared but he seemed to enjoy bird watching and riding on an elephant.
This was my first experience with a Southeast Asian theme park. This park is about an hour away from Bangkok by car on a nice smooth toll road. The attempt to resemble a Disney World or Universal Studios is evident with a heavy presence of characters parading around and an astounding amount of rides. The great thing about Dream World is that, especially if you a farang visiting on a weekday when the park is virtually empty, you can pretty much do anything you want. Including having your 11-month-old ride on a car ride that is probably intended for kids 4-year-old and older over and over again. My favorite part was the “snow town” which is a small enclosed area with artificial snow where you can build a snowman and ride down a small slope with a sleigh. My tropical baby hated it as he had never felt anything colder that the cool breeze the AC had to offer. Evan particularly enjoyed the petting zoo and daddy loved the food court and he even had a foot-massage while mom, abuela and Evan were checking out the rides. For more info, check our their website.
If you just want to sit down, relax and people watch, Lumpini is the right place for it. Located between Sathorn and Sukhumvit this is a perfect place to let your kids get unleashed and to take a breath of fresh air and enjoy some sitting under the shade of a tree. I have very fond memories of this place as it was where Evan took some of his first steps. If you feel like going for a nice run, Lumpini has a beautiful track and with plenty of playgrounds and cafeterias within the park you will be sure to find a place where you and your kids can unwind.
Pick one, pick ten. It doesn’t really matter as long as you are still in good spirits the temples are a fun place for kids. Evan loved to run around and look at all the intricate wood and stone work on the temples. He enjoyed looking at cannons and puppets at the museums and loved looking at artwork. I would have to pick one in particular, but we enjoyed Wat Po, The Grand Palace and Wat Arun.
Tips when Traveling in BKK with Kids
-Thais love kids. So don’t freak out if everyone wants to hold them or touch them. If you are uncomfortable with this, let them know and they will immediately step back. If you don’t mind, like me, enjoy this perk and take advantage of it. We’ve eaten in restaurants where Evan would be paraded around the whole place only to come back when mom and dad were done eating their pad-thai and enjoying their mai tais!
-When riding a Taxi or Tuk-Tuk. Make sure the taxis use their meter and if you are going to ride on a tuk-tuk, make sure you agree on a price before they take off. Make sure you don’t fall into the numerous tourists traps and avoid riding taxis and tuk-tuks that are standing right in front of the temples. A friend once told me that the tuk-tuks and taxis in Bangkok are like fish, if they are not moving, they are rotten.
-If you want to get a massage. GO FOR IT! A lot of places will be happy to carter to you and your kids and if the place is not too full, usually in the middle of the day, the ladies will be very happy to hold your babies or hold your kids while you are getting a foot massage. If you need a break, go to Isis where you can get a day membership and take some time to yourself while your child gets to play and engage in different activities with professional care takers.
-Public Transportation is Kid-Friendly. You can ride the sky-train and the metro with your children without a problem. For an even more fun ride, use the water buses navigating the Chao Phraya River. Using a stroller might be a bit challenging because elevators and escalators are not available everywhere for it’s still feasible. Thais love kids and they will usually let you sit down if you are pregnant or carrying a baby.
-Mai Pet- Not spicy! If you or your kids are intolerant to spicy food, make sure you tell the served that you want your food to be Mai Pet. Trust me, not even the Mexican in me can handle the spiciness of some Thai dishes. If your kids won’t eat anything, try the sticky rice and fried chicken wings. They are usually very mild and very easy to eat. For some suggestions regarding Asian snacks for your toddlers, click here.
This is obviously not an all-encompassing list but these are the places that seemed the most memorable to me. Feel free to add to these on the comment section and check out my friend Loren’s blog for more tips on enjoying Bangkok with toddlers.