Thailand's biggest city is renowned for many things – fabulous food, hectic streets and an edgy nightlife scene to name just three. However it's not all traffic jams and beer pong – this captivating city has a surprising amount to offer families. Here are just a few suggestions:
As Bangkok's traffic is notorious, consider pre-booking a car from the airport, which allows you to bring any car seats or boosters you might need for extra piece of mind when travelling with kids. Most hotels will be able to pre-arrange a transfer for you, although do confirm that your car has rear seatbelts fitted as not all have these as standard.
What To Do
If you've already ticked off the typical temple-market-river tourist trail, here are five kid-friendly alternatives designed to keep everyone entertained.
First, hop onto the BTS – part of Bangkok's cheap, clean and efficient public transport network – and alight at Siam station. Here, you'll find not one, but two fun family attractions in the adjacent Siam Paragon mall, along with an extensive food court, cinema and – of course – shopping galore!
Kidzania is an "edutainment" experience where little ones from four to 14 can try their hand at real-life professions, earning "Kidzos", the centre's very own currency, as they go. So whether your kid has always dreamt of piloting a plane, fighting fires, becoming a surgeon or even working in an garage, Kidzania partner with real-world brands to give kids an authentic taste of the world of work… in the most fun way possible!
5/F Siam Paragon Mall, 991 Rama I Rd, Pathum Wan, Bangkok 10330.
Meanwhile on the lower ground floor, Sea Life Ocean World is a spectacular marine life centre where kids can get up close and personal with all kinds of ocean creatures. Whether it's braving the Shark Walk (a room with a transparent floor and a tank full of toothy predators just below your feet!), cooing over cute baby penguins or being mesmerised by the living lava lamp that is the neon jellyfish display, you could easily spend half a day exploring this extensive aquarium.
B1-B2/F, Siam Paragon Mall, 991 Rama I Rd, Pathum Wan, Bangkok 10330.
Asiatique The Riverfront is a shopping and dining destination that comes into its own when the sun goes down. Situated on the bank of the Khao Phraya River, take the BTS to Thaksin Bridge then hop aboard an Asiatique shuttle boat to reach this renovated dock complex, now crammed with textile, homeware and toy stalls, along with a huge range of Asian and Western dining options. Make time before for a trip on the Asiatique Sky, Thailand's highest ferris wheel, which offers expansive views across the city.
2194 Charoen Krung Rd, Wat Phraya Krai, Bang Kho Laem, Bangkok 10120.
If the mercury isn't too high, head up to Chatuchak Park MRT station and Rot Fai Park (also known as Wachirabenchathat Park, or Railway Park), to explore Bangkok's great outdoors. This expanse of public greenery is an ideal spot to saddle up and take a bike ride (there are rental kiosks just inside the park gates) while enjoying the open space. There are paddleboats to hire at the park's lake, along with a kids' playground and a small butterfly garden that should keep little entomologists entertained until you can coax them away with an ice cream.
Chatuchak, Chang Wat, Bangkok.
Finally, Pak Khlong Talat makes for a rewarding detour with children, who will be captivated by the sights, sounds and smells of this huge flower market – Bangkok's largest. With bright blooms as far as the eye can see at very attractive prices, allowing them to decorate your hotel room won't break the bank, while little ones will be fascinated by the small shrines dotting the aisles, and also by the feline families that call the market home.
Chak Phet Road, Bangkok 10160.
So next time you're planning a quick and easy getaway, make sure Bangkok is at the top of your list for family fun with a distinctly Thai twist.