Bangkok, although known for its red light district, lady boys and cosmetic surgery, also makes for a great family vacay. We spent a few weeks in Thailand over Christmas and we still didn’t get to see all of Bangkok. With the gorgeous weather in December (not too hot), we chose to do a lot more outdoorsy things but if you’re visiting with kids in April, May or June, when it’s scorching, I’ve included a few indoor things to do as well.
Here’s my top 8 things to do in Bangkok (in no particular order):
1 Take a boat ride along the Chao Phraya River – Children love to take everything in and often while we’re so busy trying to “do” so much on holiday, it’s good to just “be”. There’s five different express boat options (no flag, blue flag, yellow flag, green flag, orange flag). Jump on one depending on where you’d like to go and take in all the sights along the river.
2 Wat Arun (Temple of the Dawn) – There are sooo many Wats (Buddhist temples) to choose from and we saw a few but the most famous one along the river is Wat Arun (you can’t miss it, it’s beautiful). It’s worth visiting and taking in the Buddhist culture. The steps up the central prang are quite steep but worth the effort.
3 Asiatique – Famous for its Ferris Wheel, Asiatique is an outdoor Riverside project, combining eating, dining, sightseeing and activities for the whole family. It’s only open from 4pm until midnight. For some great local grub, the perfect gifts for your friends back home and a ride on the Ferris Wheel to take in the Bangkok skyline, Asiatique is well worth the visit.
4 Bounce – Some days you need the kids to burn off energy while you just SIT! Bounce is the ideal place – as the name suggests, Bounce is a trampoline park located in the The Street Shopping Mall at Ratchada BTS station. 5,600 sq. m of bouncing space means your kids will have the time of their life! Book in advance as it fills up quite quickly, especially over the holiday period.
5 Children’s Discovery Museum – We didn’t actually make it there on our last trip but it is definitely somewhere we intend to visit the next time we’re in Bangkok. Located in Chatuchak Park, it’s an interactive learning centre, encouraging children to ask questions about how the world works. Sounds just like the type of place S would love.
6 Siam Paragon – Hands down the best mall in Bangkok. And really, no trip is complete without visiting at least one mall while in Asia. What I love about the malls in Asia are just how much emphasis goes into decorating them. We were there at Christmas and the honestly, Oxford Street has nothing on some of the décor in Asia. The second thing I love about the malls there is the fact that my favourite American stores have a presence – Bath and Body Works – enough said! They also have a fantastic food court, definitely check it out if you’re visiting.
7 Last but not least, check out a show (there are so many to choose from, your hotel should be able to guide you). These are not family friendly (if you have young kids) but I’ve been to one on a previous trip to Bangkok and it’s just one of those things that you have to do – after all, Bangkok is practically known for Ladyboy shows.
8 Get a massage – another thing Thailand is known for are the massages. At only £10-£15 for a one hour oil massage, it’s very affordable and very very good! Don’t be surprised if you end up craving a massage every day!!
The traffic in this capital city is horrendous at peak times. A 15 minute drive could take an hour if you’re in the wrong place at the wrong time. Where possible, take the BTS. Yes, it gets crowded but it’s super quick, very efficient and even at rush hour, I managed to get on the first train that pulled into the platform, with S in tow. The river boats are also another great way to get from one point to another (along the river of course).
There are some amazing bars (Sky Bar, Maggie Choo’s) and restaurants (Gaggan, Din Tai Fung) worth checking out. I’ll leave them for another post.
Oh and before I sign off, one thing I have to say about Thailand in general which may sound bizzare to many but is very important to me is “toilets”! Having travelled through India and China, I sort of expected similar toilets in Thailand but boy was I wrong. Everywhere we went, the toilets were so clean, I was genuinely surprised. In some places they may have been wet (near the beach in Koh Samet for example) but always clean. That’s a total win for Thailand in my books!
We’re planning to go back to Bangkok later this year – are there any places you’d recommend that we missed?
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