Bangkok always seemed to me a bit of a paradox when it comes to kids. Sure Thai people are, on the whole, very friendly and love kids. Walking around anywhere in Bangkok, on the street or in a shopping centre your child will always attract lots of attention and coo-cooing. However to take a look at Bangkok as a city, it always struck me as being incredibly child unfriendly.
Poorly maintained, narrow and congested pavements make pushing a pushchair near impossible. A lack of lifts and a lot of stairs make life even more difficult. The traffic is always bad which makes crossing the street at ground level always a risky task! And I wasn’t really aware of many child friendly activities as they’re all fairly well hidden.
Before my latest trip to Thailand I found myself thinking, what will I do with our daughter who is now at the age where she needs constant entertaining? So I did some research, asked around and came up with the following list. These places are fairly diverse and well spread around town, so should give your kids something to do wherever you’re staying.
Children’s Discovery Museum – Rotfai Gardens, Chatuchak Park
Located just across the road from the top entrance to Chatuchak Weekend Market and opposite Chatuchak Park, this place is very easily accessed by Skytrain (Mo Chit) or underground (Chatuchak). Ideal for children from the age of about 4 upwards, it has lots of interactive exhibits in various themed zones. There’s a science zone, featuring amongst other things a giant bubble maker which your child can stand inside! There’s also a Global Warming zone, Nature zone, outdoor play areas and best of all cake decorating! Although older children will definitely get more out of it, there is also plenty to occupy toddlers as well.
Yoyoland – Seacon Square
This place is a little bit more out of the way; to travel there you’d need to take a Skytrain to the end of the Sukhumvit line at On Nut, then a taxi onto Srinagarindra Road. But if you can make it, it’s well worth a day or half a day out. This is basically a small theme park in Seacon Square shopping centre, open from 11 each day. It gets busy at weekends, but never so bad that you shouldn’t consider going. We never queued more than 5 minutes for any rides. There are carousels, a train track, ferris wheel, racing cars, ghost train, log flume, soft play, computer games and more. Your little one will love this place!
Funarium – Rama IV Road
Located just off Rama IV Road, you can access this place with a combination of Skytrain (to Phrom Pong) and taxi or a bus. Funarium is a giant indoor soft play centre, with giant climbing frames, roller skating area, small football/basketball pitch, soft play for babies and an upstairs arts and crafts area. Your kids will spend hours here and (fingers crossed!) be shattered by the end!
Khao Kheow Open Zoo – Chonburi Province
This is not in Bangkok, but Chonburi province, about an hour or two from Bangkok depending on traffic. So you’d either need to hire a car or book onto a day tour. But if your child likes zoos, this place is streets ahead of Dusit Zoo in Bangkok. The animals are kept in open enclosures and seem to be reasonably well cared for. There are opportunities to feed some animals and elephant rides are available for an extra fee. Another great day out, if you fancy escaping Bangkok for a while!
Safari World – Minburi (North Eastern edge of Bangkok)
This is another drive through zoo, along similar lines to Khao Kheow and again you’d really need to book on a day tour to access it. See my website for pictures, www.matthewt.co.uk
Shopping centres around Bangkok
You will find that a lot of shopping centres around Bangkok have some kind of kids play area (usually on the top floor). They all have a combination of cinema, bowling, ice skating and child friendly restaurants as well.
Siam Paragon shopping centre – Aquarium and Department Store toy section
As much as I personally don’t like the place, Siam Paragon has a lot to offer kids! There is a somewhat overpriced aquarium in the basement. That said, it does offer a great array of sea life and your kids will love it.
Also, the toy section of the Paragon department store is great free entertainment for your little one (if you can handle the nagging to buy things!) They have a lot of toys laid out that your little one is welcome to play with, as well as a soft play area and some small sit on rides and computer games.
There are other activities that we didn’t get around to this time, such as the Butterfly Garden (near to the Discovery Museum), hire a pedal boat on the lake in Lumpini Park or even just a ride around on the Skytrain!
This is just a small selection of some child friendly activities that are available in Bangkok. Like everything in Bangkok, there is so much more available than you might think, you just need to scratch beneath the surface and do a little research beforehand. Of course you can always ask a local for some recommendations, they’re always happy to help!
South East Asia photos on my website, www.matthewt.co.uk
My blog - http://matthewted.blogspot.com
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