How to make the most of Bangkok – with the tots in tow! Our top five child-friendly tips suit kids aged six or above, but younger bubs may love them too...
Tackle Grand Palace & Wat Pho
Bold and brilliant, the Grand Palace and Wat Pho are fab for kids, who will enjoy ogling one of Thailand’s smallest Buddhas (the Emerald Buddha) and its largest. Hit the palace early (opens 8.30am) and get out by lunchtime, before you’re swamped by tourist buses. Bring layers to cover arms and legs as these are sacred places, or ‘rent’ concealing clothes on site. Next door, Wat Pho temple hosts an amazing big reclining golden Buddha.
/ 8.30am-3.30pm daily / & Wat Pho
/ 8.30am-6.30pm daily / dress code applies for both
Zap up the river
A cooling tip is to ride the regular Chao Phraya Express Boat up the river (not the pricier tourist boat). Take the BTS skytrain to Saphan Taksin pier and hop on the boat either to Grand Palace (pier 9, Tha Chang) or Banglamphu (pier 13, Phra Arhtit). You’ll spy working boats, glittering temples and everyday life along the river banks. It’s also worth commandeering a longtail boat – skip the official tours of wet markets and rent one for an hour or so. They’ll zip you up backwaters and are terrific fun for the smalls. Pick them up at Tha Chang, or from The Oriental hotel jetty.
Chao Phraya Express Boat
Indulge in street food without the “street”
If you’re uncertain about street food then dine at Siam Paragon mall. This fancy shopping centre has a great basement food court which is a cheap, clean way to try “street” eats in air-con comfort.
/ 991 Rama I Rd / +66 2 610 8000 / 10am-10pm daily / siamparagon.co.th
Explore The Jam Factory
For a relaxing one-stop shop, The Jam Factory is a creative compound/gallery/cafe/restaurant on the river in Khlong San, which includes a clothes and bookstore. Bring the kids for dinner as the food is yummy – not your average Thai dishes – with a twinkly outdoor deck that catches the breeze. From Saphan Taksin pier, take the Hilton Hotel River Boat; once at the Millennium Hilton, turn right for The Jam Factory. Alternatively, get a ferry over from River City/Sheraton pier.
The Jam Factory
/ 41/1-5 Charoennakorn Rd / +66 2 861 0950 / 11am-8pm daily / facebook.com
Discover vibrant parklife
When super-urban Bangkok gets too much, escape to Lumpini Park, a rare green oasis. It’s ideal for a wander in the early morning or evening, and for letting the kids run off the lead (think playgrounds, paddleboats and shade). You’ll see aerobics, tai chi, runners and ballroom dancers, plus massive monitor lizards!
/ Rama IV Rd
Photos © siiixth, Smolina Marianna, apiguide, Thawan Leelatham / shutterstock.com