It doesn’t exactly have the reputation of being family friendly – but in fact, Bangkok is choc-a-bloc with wholesome activities that you can enjoy whether you’re two or 20.
by Zipporah Gene.
The seemingly never-ending array of bars, cafes, clubs and restaurants, understandably give many the impression that Bangkok is a city with an age-limit. But with just under 28-million tourists (2015 figures) coming in an out of the country annually, you will soon discover that there are many spots that offer wholesome family-friendly activities.
A friend of mine recently moved here, with her husband, 2-year-old son, and newborn baby. Concerned that her children would miss out on all the parks and recreation that a green metropolis like London has to offer, she sent out an email to find out what her options were. This provided astonishing results, as we all soon discovered that Bangkok, besides being an adult’s paradise, offered more than any of us could imagine; for both the young and the young at heart.
Here’s a quick handy guide to some of the things you too can try your hand at in Bangkok.
Take them outdoors
This is usually the first point of call for most people with young children, and a sore spot for those homesick Europeans used to trampling around in rolling hills, heaths, and valleys. OK, so Bangkok doesn’t exactly have that much, by way of green space, but did you know that there are 12 major parks in the city alone? There’s Benjakitti Park in Asoke; Chatuchak Park in Morchit; Lumpini Park in the center of town; and the little known and farther afield, Sri Nakhon Khuean Khan Park and Botanical Garden; not to mention the most famous of all: Phrom Phong’s Benjasiri Park. Depending on your location, you’re never too far from a small park, which usually come equipped with jungle gyms for the little ones.
Visit a kids’ playground
An obvious choice for those not yet acclimatized to the searing heat of summer months in Bangkok, kids playgrounds are a great space that allow your children, if they’re not yet of the school age, to meet others in a safe and fun environment. From Kidzania at Siam Paragon, Imaginia Playland at the Emporium, to the winter-themed Snow Town in Ekkamai Gateway, you’re literally spoilt for choice when it comes to this option. Bangkok also has three large water/adventure parks too, the most famous being Siam Park City, so you too can join in on the family fun.
Explore, learn, and create
It’s quite easy to make the Children’s Discover Museum a habit. Located in Chatuchak Park, with both an indoor and outdoor area, this is a wonderful place for toddlers and up. There are plenty of interactive features, exhibitions and displays to keep those insatiable and highly inquisitive young minds entertained for hours.
The Science Museum and Planetarium, which is right next to Ekkamai bus terminal, is also terrific for the budding astronauts and space captains in the family. Unfortunately, the English language show is only on Tuesdays at 10am, but that doesn’t mean that there aren’t plenty of other fun activities and interactive games to keep them occupied. They’ve even got a fine canteen, selling lots of delicious food at Bangkok’s much loved low prices. Rattanakosin Exhibition Hall is also worth mentioning with its impressive multimedia displays and exhibitions. This high-tech museum is a definite crowd pleasure and provides a vivid guide to a period in Thailand’s illustrious past.
Get active as a family
Bangkok is fast becoming the fitness hub of Southeast Asia. It feels like not one single week goes by without emergence of a new gym, or a fitness fad. There’s seems to be anything and everything, from swimming and ‘trampolining’ to wake-boarding, from rock climbing to fishing – you name it, they’ve got it.
So why not look out for family friendly offers at local health centers, but also check to see if your regular local gym does activities for children as well. Flow House, which is located at the tail end of Sukhumvit 26, is one such venue, that also seems to go down well with all the ages. There’s a fantastic viewing platform to watch your kids make waves in this innovative surf simulator. Or, you can bring them to The Street, on Ratchadapisek Road, where a place called Bounce is sure to delight sport-minded children of all ages.
Teach them to taste
Children are hard wired to take in and process new experiences such as flavors, sights and sounds, long before they can even properly express what it is they’re experiencing. New and changing stimuli are vital to their development, so why not take your little maestros on a culinary adventure? Bangkok is quit rightly described as a foodie paradise. With a superb array of local and international cuisine, all at reasonable prices, it’s the best place to teach them all there is to know about the flavors of the world.