Bangkok With Children: A Quick Guide
If you do want to explore the great outdoors, it’s definitely doable and enjoyable, with children.
Bangkok—a steamy city of 8 or 10 or 12 million (depending on how who’s counting)—is never boring. How else then, does it consistently top the list of the most popular cities in the world to visit? There can be no denying that in the past, planning a trip with kids in the mix, would suddenly leave the capital’s famously endless list of activities and escapes somewhat diminished. That’s history.
It’s not that kids can’t visit Bangkok—they can and should—but with its tipsy sidewalks, unpredictable traffic, and lack of plentiful green space, it becomes apparent that it’s not a city built with children in mind.
“Bangkok can be a challenging city if you’ve got a few kids in tow, but with a little insider knowledge, tips, and tricks, they might just end up enjoying it as much as their parents do.”
So what are some of the best options?
The biggest issue with taking kids on a Bangkok outing will always be the unforgiving heat—the constant, consistent, considerable heat. When faced with temperatures of over 30 degrees and counting, kids quickly lose their taste for adventure. As a seasoned resident, here are some places that have never steered me wrong.
In a city choc-a-bloc with automobiles, there are a number of options for bike riding Suan Rot Fai, Bangkachao, and Peppermint are great for bike-savvy kids, while the Suvarnabhumi Sky Lane is great for older kids who love speed.
Every parent will tell you that the best thing to do with children is to drain their batteries tearing around a jungle gym or playing tag for 30 minutes. When it comes to parks, Bangkok is pretty thin on the ground. Luckily there’s Suan Rot Fai, Rama IX, and Lumpini. One of the best parts for children to roll around in well watered green turf is Benjasiri Park, which is only a stone’s throw away from Phrom Phong BTS station.
TIP: They’ll need lots of water, so make sure you have some! While the parks are usually littered with small snack kiosks, take them to a 7-11 (thank me later). Unless you really head out in the suburbs, you won’t be far from a 7-11, which can be a godsend—they have heavy air-con and lots of choice for water, ice cream and electrolyte drinks. The best kept secret can be found on the side of the milk/diary cooler in the form of a cheap, cold, pre-wrapped towels that are absolutely awesome to mop your sweaty brow.
Being outdoors is often made easier if you go for a specific activity. There are several nifty water parks within easy driving distance of central Bangkok. Fantasia Lagoon is surprisingly large and can be found on top of the Mall Bangkhae. The vast Pororo Aqua Park, which is conveniently located on the sixth floor of CentralPlaza, is also worth the visit.
Sometimes the thought of another round of You vs. The Sun fails to excite you and that’s when you have to head indoors. If you just want to turn your kids loose in a safe, enclosed area without the distraction of a mall, Bangkok has tons of great standalone playgrounds, usually catering to kids from toddler to around 7 years old. The places to be (I’m told) are Funarium, Playtime, and especially the gigantic Harbour Land at MEGA Bangna. These places put a premium on safety, are staffed with plenty of minders, and the kids can only leave with the adults they entered with.
When you look at malls from a western perspective, the appeal as a family destination leaves a lot to be desired. However, when you look at them like Bangkokians do—a safe, cool, clean, family-friendly place to hang out that offers food, entertainment, games, shopping, and everything from skating rinks to trampoline parks—you suddenly don’t feel so bad for letting your inner mall rat out. There are a few good ones that also have kid-centric play areas: Paragon, Central World, Emporium, EmQuartier, and Gateway. I won’t say avoid, but you’ll probably want to skip MBK, Icon Siam, Siam Discovery, and Terminal 21 unless your kids really love shopping. They don’t have a lot of options for kids.
Keep in mind that if you’re not driving, stick to the BTS or MRT (skytrain/subway). Taxis are plentiful and cheap, but are at the mercy of traffic and weather, which is taxing for even the most patient adult.
So yes, Bangkok can be a challenging city if you’re got a few kids in tow, but with a little insider knowledge, tips, and tricks, they might just end up enjoying it as much as their parents do.