Thai Tales: 10 Tips for Surviving Bangkok for Families
The Start: Arriving in a welcoming & efficient airport gave a great start to our mini adventure. My sister, niece & I were transported to Dusit Thani Hotel mid-afternoon & I realised straight away why so many Stars have stayed here with its sheer elegance and old world decadence surrounding us. It’s as if staff & guests were gliding around without a care in the world.
Jam Packed Fun: With only 48 hours in Bangkok before spending the rest of our Easter break in Koh Samui, we knew we had to make it count. Staying in the Silom district there are many eateries for formal & casual dining and we opted for our first mail in Silom shopping centre with an 8-year-old in tow it was perfect with a variety of food and dessert options. In our 2 day’s we managed to visit Lumpini Park, Silom Road street food stalls, Grand Palace, MBK shopping centre with 8 floors of shops and stalls, Emerald Buddha temple tour, figure out the train system with a map in hand & travel like a local. We also enjoyed the swimming pool for a cooling afternoon dip at the hotel, had a great international breakfast buffet and briefly saw the Chao Phraya River.
Bangkok is a great city to visit all year round with attractions for all ages so check out my top 10 tips for making the best out of your family trip below:
- Book accommodation near a BTS station.
This will give you convenient access to the sky train lines and easy and affordable way to explore the city using a fast, reliable service and mean you can skip the traffic cues. You can buy one way or return tickets or a one day pass for unlimited use at about £4 cost, happy days!
- Stick with fast foods for fussy eaters.
Fear not if the little ones won’t try any foreign foods, you can find KFC, Burger King, Starbucks and even pick up snacks from 7/11’s all over the city esp in the busier districts so they will stay fed and watered very easily. They also cost a fraction of the price of food in hotels so you can spend more on, oh I don’t know…shopping?
- Need a moment of calm- Visit Lumpini Park.
At the end of Silom Road in the business district, nestled in between many hotels and major roads and opposite a Sky-train stop lies 142 acres of natural beauty and tranquillity. If you go early in the morning you can catch masses of people running, practising Thai Chi or other forms of exercise in groups or bring some food along and join people in the shade sharing lunch picnic style and at many tables and bandstand areas. In the evening you can enjoy street food vendors, spontaneous entertainment or just take in the afternoon sunshine with the kids at the playground area then opt for a paddle boat ride on the lake. With no smoking or dogs allowed & the chance to spot a squirrels and water monitor lizards it’s a great place for families.
- Book Airport transfers
I’d say it’s worth pre-booking a private transfer or grabbing a taxi rather than testing out public transport on arrival. Think lots of luggage, a lengthy flight and all of you feeling sleep deprived, a comfy ride in an air-conditioned vehicle will be very welcomed. Check prices with your travel agent and compare against sites such as Viator, Exo Travel or Expedia to book your own transfers.
- Upgrade your flight
Ok, so I know not all budget’s will allow but where you can upgrade to premium economy for your return journey especially if travelling for as long as I did, taking over 12 hours direct from London to Bangkok! This will give you more room, a better choice of meals, seat choice, more ability to recline your seats and get some sleep for you and the children without inconveniencing the passengers behind you and I’m sure you’ll be impressed with the added little luxuries such as moisturiser, lip balm and charging sockets on some airlines.
- The all-important day bag
I’d advise bringing a small backpack or cross shoulder bag for your essentials when out and about. You can wear these in front of the body to deter pick pocketers & bag cutters especially in crowded areas, keeping your belongings safe & meaning you don’t overpack carrying unnecessary and heavy items, which will only make you hot & bothered. Remember Bangkok is crowded and over 30 degree’s during summer periods.
- Remember the dress code when visiting Temples or The Grand Palace.
The general rule for temples is to have your body from shoulders to knee’s covered and dress modestly. If going inside you’ll normally have to remove shoes and leave them outside in a designated area. Often you can hire something to wear outside if you find yourself unprepared.
The Grand Palace and Emerald Buddha temple have particularly strict rules, with security checks on the way in, you’ll need to bring passport or passport copies and you cannot wear flipflops/sandals. Ladies opt for a maxi dress and bring a light cardigan with you or shirt, tennis shoes and flats are ideal and for the Men cotton shirt and lightweight trousers are ideal.
- Mobile Technology is a Must
If the kids in your life are anything like mine, 10 minutes of downtime = BOREDOM. Consider bringing a Tablet or Kindle along loaded with their favourite movies, shows, music and games to keep them entertained at your accommodation or when you just need a moment to rest!
- Speak the Lingo
Well you don’t have to take a course or anything but learn a few key phrases so you can greet people, introduce yourself, say thank you etc. It’s part of immersing yourself in a new culture, locals will appreciate your efforts and be even more hospitable.
- Make it a twin stop
Break up the fast pace of a city that really doesn’t sleep with a stop in the North’s Chiang Mai or one of the many beach destinations across Thailand for a cultural overload and relaxing time with a slower pace of life. Whether it’s spending a day at an elephant sanctuary or sipping fresh coconut water on the beach there’s a little bit of heaven to suit everyone’s tastes and at truly great value for money.
There’s much more to do & see including a Sealife aquarium in Siam, shopping downtown, a China Town food tour, night markets, spending an evening in Asiatique by the river with street entertainment, bazaar & mall, restaurants & the Asaitique Sky (think 60-metre-high Ferris wheel bigger than the London eye) or one of the many sky bars for great city views.
Let me know in the comments below when you’re planning to visit, which tips above are most useful or if you’ve already travelled there what did you love most about Thailand???Follow me on social media: