Bangkok, the teeming capital of Thailand, is often perceived as an ‘adult’ destination. The chief attractions that draw visitors to Bangkok are its pulsating nightlife and its many dining and shopping options with a few sight-seeing tours thrown in for good measure. However, if you are planning a trip to Bangkok with family in tow and are curious about the city’s kid-friendly attractions, do read on to discover more.
Siam Ocean World
Housed in the cellar of the epicurean Siam Paragon shopping mall, it is one of the biggest aquariums in South East Asia. This underground water world exhibits more than 30,000 marine creatures and offers various water-based activities to keep kids of all ages entertained for hours. At Siam Ocean World, visitors can take a glass-bottom boat tour and view the aquarium’s marine life at close quarters. They can also view and take part in various feeding programs and indulge in activities like diving with sharks and walking on the bed of the ocean. Book your ticket online to get a discounted entry to Siam Ocean World.
Explore the city’s temples
Bangkok abounds with temples, but some like the Wat Arun (Temple of Dawn) and the Wat Pho (Temple of the reclining Buddha) are better known than others. Both these famous Bangkok temples are reachable by the Chao Phraya Express Boat, a commuter ferry service that plies on Bangkok’s waterways. The ferry ride enhances your temple visit experience.
Pay a visit to the Museum of Siam
Your kids may balk at the prospect of visiting a museum, but the Museum of Siam, which is housed in a 19th century, European-style building hosts several interesting exhibits. The permanent collection at the museum, ‘The Account of Thailand’ recounts the history of the origin of Thailand and its people. This exhibit extends over 16 rooms on three levels and features audio-visual and interactive displays that are educational as well as entertaining. Children have a chance to excavate fossils, fire old cannons and even peruse a roomful of Thai toys at the museum
Head to the zoo
A trip to the zoo is always a hit with kids and luckily Bangkok has not one but two zoos within easy reach. Dusit Zoo or ‘Khao Din’ is Thailand’s oldest zoo that is located in the heart of Bangkok near landmarks such as the Thai parliament and the royal residence, Chitralada Palace. The zoo offers exhibits of several exotic creatures like tigers, tapirs, albino barking deer, giant pandas, elephants and more. A sightseeing train, a petting zoo, a playground, and a food court are some of the added attractions available on site at the zoo.
If you don’t mind heading out of the Bangkok city center, an overnight visit to the Khao Kheow Open Zoo, which offers attractions like a wildlife safari and zip line adventures may be an option.
A Little Something is a cooking school catering to young kids in Bangkok. If your kids enjoy TV programs like Masterchef Junior, they may enjoy taking some classes at this school to learn the basics of Thai cooking.
Run amok in Bangkok’s parks
For a crowded, busy city, Bangkok surprisingly has quite a few green spaces where kids can run about and enjoy the outdoors. Lumpini Park located within the district of the same was established in the early 20th century. This large park features man-made lakes and many trees and flowers. The park is divided into various zones and is a popular locale for activities like walking, jogging, yoga and Tai chi.
The Park also has a food center and playgrounds within its boundaries and offers facilities for paddle boating as well. Lumpini Park is home to a population of large monitor lizards, and spotting one never fails to evoke delight and wonder amongst visiting kids.
Other Bangkok city parks worth exploring include green lungs like Benjasiri Park (on Sukhimvit Road) and Benjakitti Park (on Ratchadaphisek Rd) touted to be the prettiest park in Bangkok.
If it’s nasty outside head to Funarium
Bangkok is a tropical city, and torrential downpours are common during the city’s long wet season that lasts from May until October. Funariam is a large indoor playground with facilities for a whole host of recreational activities targeting all ages.
A similar indoor play facility is Kidzania. Kidzania Bangkok, part of a worldwide chain is located within the Siam Paragon complex. Kidzania attempts to provide children with an insight into the adult working world. Kids learn about the functions of various professionals such as a bank teller, an auto repair mechanic, a barber, a hairdresser and so forth via active role-playing.
Cool down by ice-skating
Always Sweltering Bangkok is surprisingly equipped with several ice-skating rinks like Ice Planet (Siam Discovery Center), the Rink (Central World) and Sub Zero Ice Skate Club (Esplanade). These perennially cool entertainment centers provide a chance to escape the city’s relentless heat.
Get some water-sporting action
Another way to beat the Bangkok heat is to plan a day at the Flow House, a waterpark, which has facilities for flow boarding. Flow boarding is a water-based sport derived from the combination of skateboarding, surfing and snowboarding as well as wakeboarding and skimboarding. Flow boarders ride simulated surf swells at Flow House. The waterpark also offers coaching for novices who want to learn how to flow board.
Toys and more
Bangkok is home to two toy filled museums, geared towards children. Bat Cat Museum located on the outskirts of the city in Bangkapi offers a fascinating collection of superhero memorabilia that takes the form of toys, games, and magazines. Superheroes like Superman, Spiderman, and Masked Rider all feature in the collection. However, memorabilia related to the masked crusader, Batman dominates the collection. A similar attraction geared towards young girls is the Bangkok Doll Factory and Museum. This museum features handcrafted dolls in native Thai costumes. These dolls provide a valuable insight into Thai culture.