I have been wanting to go to Bangkok for the longest time – I haven’t been there since the kids came along and that’s a good 8 years!
Now that the boys are older and more independent (read: no stroller or diapers finally), I thought we could just bite the bullet and booked us for a week-long trip during the March holidays.
As it turned out, we had a very enjoyable trip even though we hardly had time to shop, indulge in daily 2-hour massages and in bed by 9pm every night. I guess when you go with children, you really have to temper your expectations and just go with the flow 😉
Let’s face it. Bangkok is loud, gritty and as in-your-face as you can get but there are many gems even for children. Here are some of our top picks for family-friendly places/activities in Bangkok:
- Sea Life Bangkok Ocean World (Siam Paragon)
The Sea Life Bangkok Ocean World at Siam Paragon was a pleasure to visit. It is situated in a convenient location, air-conditioned and very clean and well-maintained. I recommend it to everyone with kids!
(Tip: Do check if you can purchase discounted tickets on Klook at least a day before your visit!)
We had a lot of fun peering at the glass tanks looking at the sea creatures – sea worms, jellyfish, sharks, penguins. The ocean is such a beautiful, fascinating place!
You can expect to spend 2-3 hours here.
2. Kidzania Bangkok (Siam Paragon)
If you have kids aged 4 and above, you can plan to spend a full day at Kidzania (opening hours are 10am-5pm on weekdays) if you and your children have the stamina. There is a huge variety of jobs for children. Popular ones include firemen, policemen and paramedics.
- Again, check KLOOK for discounted tickets at least one day before you plan to visit!
- The fees are charged per entrance – once you enter the place, you cannot come out anymore so make sure you have everything – water, wet wipes, snacks, entertainment, etc – with you! (It is really quite boring for waiting adults inside)
- Kidzania is suitable for kids aged 4 and above. There is a baby room and toddler play area but it is very small and there isn’t much for them to do so try not to bring babies/toddlers if you can!
- Kidzania does not really follow a set timing for the jobs. They will usually start once they have enough children. There was hardly a queue when we were there on a weekday. But if the place is crowded, it is probably a good idea to start early and head straight for the more popular jobs first!
- Kidzania is big on taking pictures of your child in action. They have dedicated photographers at most of the stations and will spend a fair amount of time on getting the children to pose nicely for pics. The children will get a piece of paper with a code which you can later scan at the front counter and decide whether to purchase the pictures or not. The packages are not very cheap but the pictures are quite decent so you can decide if it is worth the splurge.
- Delivery jobs (eg. tomato farmer, courier men) are super fun for the children because they get to push trolleys around and navigate around the place.
- Try to plan such that the children ‘work’ at MacDonalds around lunch time coz they get to make and eat their own burgers for lunch. There aren’t many good food options for adults inside Kidzania so you may want to bring along some of your own snacks/drinks!
3. Imaginia Playland (3rd floor, The Emporium, 24 Sukhumvit Rd)
This was our favourite find of the trip. Imaginia Playland is one of the loveliest indoor playgrounds I have ever been to. The entrance fees (for 3 hours of play) are quite reasonably priced (250 baht for kids, 200 baht for adults).
I believe it is opened by a Japanese so there is a strong Japanese influence throughout the whole place. Really reminded me of all the fantastic playgrounds we visited in Japan!
The place is very well-maintained and thoughtfully set up with cubby holes for belongings, cozy reading nooks, art rooms and many fun play areas for children that encourage creative play – a super long slide, dress-up corner, library, wooden fort for climbing, padded area with wooden blocks, small rides, etc.
I really have to take my hat off to the Japanese for thinking of everything. For example, they even hand out cute cloud-shaped mats for the boys to go down the slides!
Even though some may beg to differ, I thought Chatuchak is a good place to visit with children. Of course, you have to temper your expectations when going with children (don’t expect to shop a storm!) and just soak up the experience. The place is not air-conditioned nor stroller-friendly by the way.
Chatuchak is jam-packed with small shops selling everything from t-shirts, bags to jewellery to plants and handmade soaps.
I am now past the age of buying knick-knacks and it was not easy to browse leisurely with three restless boys who kept complaining about the heat but we still had a good look-see of the place. We covered only a teeny fraction of the entire market in the few hours we were there!
We tried coconut icecream (so good!) as well as the famous wanton mee in Section 2 Soi 40 (I followed instructions here). The boys made personalized leather wallets and even tried foot massages for the first time.
We lasted a good 3-4 hours there – not too bad for a scorching hot day!
5. Thai massage
Since you are in Thailand, why not let your children try Thai massages?
You can try to look for places that are okay with children and let them try a foot massage. That way, you get a bit of a sit-down break and a massage at the same time!
Personally, I chose to do foot massages – and not full body massages – so I could watch over the boys. Sean was even adventurous enough to try full body massages with Papa near the end of the trip 😉
6. Tuk-tuk rides
I didn’t manage to do this during our trip but I imagine it would be quite fun for children to experience a tuk-tuk ride in the infamous Bangkok traffic.
I do have a place I would NOT recommend in Bangkok: Bangkok Safari World and Marine Park. I thought the entrance tickets were very pricy (we paid more than SGD250 for our family of five!). Our drive through Safari World lasted all of 10 mins (okay that was the taxi driver’s fault). Both parks was honestly not very well-maintained with little respite for the heat. We got so frustrated we gave up and cabbed back to the city by noon. You can read my post here.
That’s it from me. Do let me know if you know of other children-friendly places in Bangkok I should check out!
Here’s our 7-day Bangkok itinerary if you are keen: