Tuesday 20 September 2022

5 Things to do with Children in Bangkok, Thailand

Bangkok is a common starting point for exploring south east Asia as the airport has many flight routes from around the world.  We arrived in the late afternoon and had pre-booked our hotel and transfers to make things easier, but we started to get a sense of how vibrant the city was as we drove through.  As with many big cities, there are different districts and areas and the one we stayed in had plenty to see within walking distance as well as being close to lots of places we wanted to visit.

Bangkok is associated more with 20 year old backpackers than young families but we were excited to see the city and it was a great place to adjust to the culture shock of a new continent as it was easy to find western comforts like McDonalds and soft play centres but there was so much that was unique to Thailand too.

If you are planning a trip to Bangkok with young children, here are five things you could do as a family.

Bangkok with kids, bangkok temples with children

1) Check out the Night Markets

Thailand is known for its night markets and Bangkok has some of the most famous including Chatuchak, Rod Fai and Chang Chui.  The night markets sell everything from clothing to toys and my children loved having a few baht to buy themselves a souvenir.  Bartering is a part of life here and we encouraged them to get involved too.  As well as shopping, some of the best food is available at the night markets and it is an inexpensive way to try new things.  Main meals are available but so is freshly cooked corn on the cob, fruit smoothies in every flavour and some more obscure snacks.  I was happy buying a few interesting looking dishes for the children to try at the markets rather than in a restaurant as it wasn't a problem if they didn't like them.

Bangkok with kids, night market bangkok

2) Central World - Playmondo and ride ons

We wanted to encourage our children to eat what the local children would, but it was all in balance and that meant we were also inevitably going to try Thai McDonalds.  There are several shopping malls that are bigger than anything we have come across in the UK and we picked Centralworld to visit.  We all appreciated the air conditioning and there was every shop you could think, spread over several floors.  What we really wanted to find though was Playmondo.  It was the cleanest soft play we have visited with so many staff on the play floor keeping it clean and safe.  It was also the most expensive soft play we have ever visited which was a bit of a shock considering how much cheaper most things are in Thailand! 

There was an enormous ball pit, a small climbing wall and sunken trampolines as well as usual play centre equipment. There was a smaller area with colouring and crafts too which Cora enjoyed.  Just outside Playmondo were electric ride on animals that you could rent and ride around the mall and these were a big hit with my gang too.  There was also a small arcade area next door to Playmondo.  My children love trying out a new soft play and it gave me a chance to sit quietly with a coffee.

3) Lumpini Park 

There are a few green spaces in Bangkok but we visited Lumpini park which is very central and there was lots to keep children entertained.  On our way in there were men selling fish food and we eventually found the fish who jumped enthusiastically and open mouthed to eat the food we threw in.  There are roughly 400 monitor lizards (between 1 and 3 metres long) roaming the park and my children were convinced they were actually baby dinosaurs. There is a large population of turtles too although we didn't spot any.

The park has walkways around a large lake, a big playground, sports courts and an outdoor gym as well as some public toilets next to it all (not something we saw a lot of).  As it gets dark, the paths are lined with joggers who follow a one way track around the park .  The artificial lakes have swan pedalo boats you can hire for a really reasonable price too.

Lumpini park is the perfect escape from a hot, busy city and is easy to get to via BTS or taxi as well as being walking distance from Centralworld.

Bangkok with kids, lumpini park

4) Take them to see some Temples

It seems a shame to go all the way to Thailand and not take in some of the incredible temples.  You can't avoid seeing the small shrines and there are temples everywhere but there are some really impressive ones that are definitely worth a visit and Bangkok has plenty to chose from.  The Grand Palace, Wat Pho, Wat Arun . . . Depending on your interest, you can either choose one or two and find your own way there, or hire a taxi or tuktuk for a few hours and ask them to take you round to see a few. They sometimes come with small entrance fees but each one has so much to see and the giant buddhas, intricate architecture and vibrant paintings are fascinating for all ages.  

Bangkok with kids, temples in Bangkok

5) Khao San road

Famous as being the hub for backpackers, this is where I stayed when I visited many years ago and I have vivid memories of this street. Lined with pubs, bars and shops selling souvenirs, it was the best place to get cheap food in the day and party at night. It has been hit rather hard by Covid and it didn't have quite the same atmosphere, but it was a fun street to explore with children and a great place to do some shopping.  The children all spent some holiday money here and we tried different fruit smoothies from the stalls I remember visiting when I rolled out of bed in the mornings too. 

Khao San road was in a different part of Bangkok to where we were staying so it gave us a new and less built up area to explore away from our hotel as well.  I imagine staying here after dark there would be a lot more atmosphere, but it is definitely worth a trip with children to go shopping and enjoy some drinks.

Bangkok with kids, Khaosan road

I had planned so much more for our time in Bangkok but of course it was never going to be long enough!  If you are staying longer and want more ideas then check out

A trip to Kanchanaburi
The floating Markets
Visit Ayutthaya
Elephant Sanctuaries
A boat trip down the river

and so much more!

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