Headed to Bangkok with the family in tow? Here are our tips for taking on Bangkok with the family.
Tackle Grand Palace & Wat Pho
Bold and brilliant, glittery landmarks Grand Palace and Wat Pho are fab for children, if you keep your visit to a minimum. You might want to skip the aeons of background history and beeline instead to the Buddhas: teeny Emerald Buddha, who changes his clothes with the season and Wat Po’s large reclining Buddha are both fascinating. As these are sacred places, you’re expected to cover up; fashion conscious sprogs might choose to take their own layers, but you can ‘rent’ concealing clothes on site. Hit the palace first thing to avoid the coachloads and get out by lunchtime.
Grand Palace / 8.30am-3.30pm daily / & Wat Pho / 8.30am-6.30pm daily / dress code applies for both
Zap up the river
Hands down, the best way to explore Bangkok is via its river – a cruise along the meandering Chao Phraya affords eye-popping glimpses of working boats, glittering temples and everyday life bankside. Take the BTS skytrain to Saphan Taksin pier and hop on the regular Chao Phraya Express Boat (not the pricier tourist boat) either to Grand Palace (pier 9, Tha Chang) or Banglamphu (pier 13, Phra Athit). Even more fun are speedy, low-rise longtail boats; dodge those offering tours and rent one by the hour to zip up the backwaters.
Indulge in street food without the street
Bangkok’s street food is reason alone to visit the Thai capital (though gallivanting gourmands should get there quicksticks as the government is cracking down on food stalls). If you’re uncertain about open-air cuisine’s affect on small tums, scoot to the food court at Siam Paragon mall. Cheap n’ clean, it’s a triff way to try “street” eats in air-con comfort.
991 Rama I Rd / +66 2 610 8000 / siamparagon.co.th
Hang out at The Jam Factory
For a relaxing one-stop, head to Duangrit Bunnag’s creative compound on the Khlong San side of the river. Repping a book store, art gallery, performance space and maker’s markets, it’s also home to chic greenhouse resto The Never Ending Summer and a twinkly deck. Settle in for din-din of old-school Thai recipes reimagined as you catch the breeze and watch river life pass by. To get there, hop on the free Hilton Hotel River Boat from from Saphan Taksin pier; once at the Millennium Hilton, skip right for The Jam Factory. Alternatively, get a ferry over from River City/Sheraton pier.
41/1-5 Charoennakorn Rd / +66 2 861 0950 / The Jam Factory
Discover vibrant parklife
When super-urban Bangkok gets too much (and it probably will), Lumpini Park offers rare green respite. This leafy lung in the city centre is lovely for a wander in the early morning or evening, and for letting the kids run off the lead (think playgrounds, paddle boats and shade). It’s also a prime people watching spot – spy Bangkokians of all ages enjoying mass aerobics, outdoor weight lifting, jogging and ballroom dancing – oh, and peepers peeled for the park’s resident monitor lizards.
Lumpini Park / Rama IV Rd