THINGS TO DO IN BANGKOK WITH KIDS
Friendly and welcoming, Bangkok is a fantastic destination to travel to with a baby and/or children. I’d describe it as a head on collision of tradition and modernism. You’re cruising down a river and on either side, you’ve got boats full to the brim with fresh tropical fruits and ready-to-drink coconuts awaiting you. Turn the corner and there is a mega mall, several stories high with flashing billboards and expensive designer brands we expect to see on Rodeo drive.
Thailand’s capital is a truly unique place, full of character and beauty. It’s the largest of the Thai cities, however, its managed to maintain its quite remarkable historical traditions still. From enormous city skyscrapers, grand palaces, temples and floating markets, to the general hustle and bustle of life, these are just some of the reasons why Bangkok is a must-visit destination.
BOOKING YOUR TRIP
BEST TIME TO VISIT BANGKOK?
The best time to visit Bangkok is between November and March, you can make the most of the comfortable weather and explore. March to May is when Bangkok is unbearably hot for most people, so it’s best to avoid flights at that time of year if you hate heat! May to October is rainy season, throughout which it is hot and humid, but not uncomfortable. Which makes it an ideal time to find a cheap flights to Bangkok.
At certain times in the year, flights to Bangkok can double compared to visiting in the rainy season. So weigh up the pro’s and con’s of each season. We’ve spent a month in Thailand in the rainy season, it’s warm (highs of 28) it rains in the afternoon for a few hours and you get to witness some beautiful lightning storms.
BEST TIME TO BOOK FLIGHTS TO BANGKOK?
There are multiple factors that influence the price of a flight so comparing airlines, departure airports and times can help keep costs down. May is the cheapest month to book, with flights ranging from £453 to £479pp. July is the most expensive month, with flights costing on average £550. We recommend using Skyscanner as a starting place and then searching other providers to see if you can beat their price.
Tuesday is the most economical day to take a flight to Bangkok. To get the best value, try booking a flight in the morning . Generally the prices will increase for flights in the afternoon as these tend to have higher demand. If you’re visiting during a festival, make sure to book as early as you possibly can to avoid paying over the odds.
HOW LONG IS THE FLIGHT?
Average Flights from London to Bangkok: 11 hours 37 minutes.
The official currency of Bangkok is the Thai Baht. You can pay for things using a credit card or visa card but you will be charged additional fees. Exchange rates vary, so be sure to check prior to your trip.The Bank of England has an extensive list that is updated every day. If you intend on using your credit charge or debit card, you may incur charges for payments and cash withdrawals. We often use the Post Office for our exchange or use ATM’s in our destinations.
Read our helpful travel tips for Flying with A Baby
BANGKOK INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT (SUVARNABHUMI)
Also known as Suvarnabhumi Airport, Bangkok’s primary airport opened in 2006 and they are always improving and adapting. The distance to the city centre is 30km from the airport. The Airport Express service operates from level 1 near entrance 8 of the airport and will charge around 150 baht for a journey on one of its four routes.
Contrary to belief you don’t haggle with taxi drivers at the airport, they have a meter running like the UK and the service is very efficient. Follow the signs for taxi service and you queue up with your luggage. You will be issued a ticket from a machine and then you head to the taxi parked underneath that number. On route to your accomodation (there and back) you will be expected to pay for any toll roads – it is handy to have cash on you to give to the driver (both toll roads are no more than 50 baht) or your driver can pay and then add it to your overall price.
DON MUEANG INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT
Located approximately 40 km from Suvarnabhumi Airport, Don Mueang is Bangkok’s other international airport, serving passengers from all over the world. It’s around 26km from the city centre and there is a rail service that runs between the airport and the city. It is notoriously slow and very unreliable so it’s advisable to take the bus. You can jump in a bus from the airport but traffic in Bangkok can be very bad, so expect a long bus ride.
SHOP OUR FAVOURITE TRAVEL PRODUCTS
British passport holders arriving by air or land can enter Thailand for 30 days without a visa (a ‘visa exemption’). If you need to stay longer, it’s possible to extend your stay once for up to 30 days. You must apply for the extension before your visa exemption period ends.
You can only enter Thailand through a land border using the 30 day visa exemption twice per calendar year. To cross more frequently, you’ll need to get the appropriate visa in advance of travelling. This doesn’t apply if arriving by air. For more information, contact the nearest Thai embassy or consulate.
If you plan to stay in Thailand for longer than 30 days, are going to work, or use land borders regularly you must get the appropriate visa before you travel.
The only legal way of getting a new visa, entry permit or extension of stay is from a Thai Embassy or Consulate, an Immigration Officer at a point of entry into Thailand, or one of the Immigration Offices around the country. Visas issued by visa shops, travel agents or by any other means are likely to be illegal and lead to criminal proceedings.
If you stay beyond the period of your visa (‘overstay’), you’ll be fined 500 baht per day up to a maximum of 20,000 baht. You also risk being held in detention, fined, deported at your own expense and banned from re-entering Thailand. The enforcement of penalties for overstaying is strict and conditions in detention centres can be harsh. Deportation by the Thai authorities can be a lengthy process and you will also be banned from re-entering Thailand for up to 10 years.
We wouldn’t recommend hiring a car in Bangkok, the traffic doesn’t follow Western rules. The taxis are very well priced and you always get fantastic service in Thailand. Your hotel or hostel will call one for you or you can flag one down in the street. Bangkok has excellent train services and walk ways. Again, the trains are affordable and air conditioned, so travelling in and out of the Centre is easy to do.
THINGS TO DO
WAT PHRA CHETUPHON
Lovingly referred to as the Temple of the Reclining Buddha, Wat Pho or Wat Phra Chetuphon, it’s a must-see for any first-time visitor to Bangkok. As one of the largest temple complexes in the city, it’s famed for its giant reclining Buddha that is 46 metres long, covered in gold leaf.
It’s an easy 10-minute walk from the Grand Palace, and we recommend coming to Wat Pho second because even though the golden Buddha here is just as popular, many people don’t take the time to wander around the rest of the complex, making for a more relaxing experience.
£20 | Wat Phra Chetuphon
TEMPLE OF DAWN (WAT ARUN)
Considered by many, to be one of the most beautiful temples in Thailand. Wat Arun has symmetrical architecture and outstanding craftsmanship. The prang (spire) by the Chao Phraya is one of Bangkok’s world-famous landmarks. The imposing spire rises over 70 metres high and is beautifully decorated with tiny pieces of coloured glass.
We recommend allocating 2-3 hours for visiting and exploring the temple in full. Although it’s known as the Temple of the Dawn, it’s absolutely stunning at sunset, particularly when lit up at night. Visit first thing in the morning to avoid queues and explore in peace and quiet.
Temple of Dawn | MORE INFORMATION
CHATUCHAK WEEKEND MARKET
Chatuchak is home to more than 8,000 market stalls and each weekend, welcomes more than 200,000 visitors. Not always the cheapest, but if you hunt around and are willing to negotiate then you might bag yourself a bargain. It’s more the atmosphere and experience that you gain, and that’s priceless.
Inside, there’s a main walkway that encircles the entire market, and it branches off into a series of numbered alleyways called Soi 1, Soi 2, Soi 3, and so on. These alleyways are grouped into sections, with 27 sections in all. You’ll find more than one category of goods contained in one section, and the same category of goods will appear again in the other sections.
Free | Weekend Market | CLICK FOR INFORMATION
JIM THOMPSON HOUSE
Jim Thompson House is the former home of the late James H.W. Thompson. An American businessman who dedicated over 30 years of his life to reviving Thai silk in the 1950s. They have transformed his house into a museum that displays some of Thompson’s revered collection of Asian antiques.
Jim Thompson House is located in Siam and sits on the Saen Saeb canal. Catch the BTS Skytrain train to the National Stadium. Once you disembark from the train, take Exit 1 and turn right into Soi Kasemsan 2. Continue walking to the very end of the road, and the museum will be on your left-hand side.
Jim Thompson House
TEMPLE OF THE EMERALD BUDDHA (WAT PHRA KAEW)
Located in the historic centre of Bangkok and within the grounds of the Grand Palace, the temple enshrines Phra Kaew Morakot (the Emerald Buddha), the highly revered Buddha image meticulously carved from a single block of jade. This temple trumps all others, by claiming the title of the most important in Thailand.
A guide is usually on duty from 10am to 2pm and a Personal Audio Guide (PAG) is available in English, French, German, Japanese, Mandarin, Russian, and Spanish. Admission to the temple is around 500 baht and remember that the temple closes early (around 3.30pm) so don’t arrive too late!
Remember that any wat (temple) is a sacred place and you must dress appropriately. No shorts, slippers, sandals, or revealing tops, otherwise you simply won’t be allowed in.
£25 | Grand Palace & Emerald Buddha
THE GOLDEN MOUNT (WAT SAKET)
Wat Saket in Bangkok Old Town is also called the Golden Mount. The temple welcomes worshippers year-round, though it’s busiest during its annual temple fair in November. When people will embark the climb up 300 steps to the summit, as part of their sacred pilgrimage. Locals and tourists come to pay their respects to the dead. Originally, it was the capital’s crematorium and the dumping ground for some 60,000 plague victims in the late-18th century.
Golden Mount | CLICK FOR INFORMATION
CENTRAL WORLD MALL
A must-visit destination for local and foreign shoppers’ right in the middle of Bangkok. Central World covers a retail floor area of 830,000 m² at Ratchaprasong intersection. The shopping center boasts more than 500 stores including local, high street as well as high-end brands along with world-class entertainment and services.
There is a huge food court and a supermarket. Everyday you will find an outdoor market, offering more traditional items, on the square right in front of the Mall. If this is your first time visiting Bangkok, any mall you enter will have metal detectors and there may be a security guard that checks your bags. Don’t be alarmed, this has been in place since the 2006 bombings and more recently, 2015.
Playmondo is a soft play centre on the top floor of the mall, just down from Zara. Suitable for babies and toddlers and up to 13 year olds, this centre will keep the whole family entertained for hours. For just 650 bhat and 250 bhat for parents, you can enjoy the facilities for 3 hours. Or grab yourself an all day pass and come and go as many times as you want throughout the day.
There is a ball pit, reading area, a sensory volcano room, a jungle themed assault course, trampolines and a 3D interactive floor mat. We went 21 days in a row with George, who couldn’t walk at 10 months old, but he had a fantastic time crawling on everything and interacting with other local children.
£20 | All day unlimited Ticket
TEMPLE OF THE GOLDEN BUDDHA (WAT TRAIMIT)
Wat Traimit is home to a 5.5-tonne statue of a seated Buddha. The gold sculpture dates back to the 13th century and measures almost 5 metres in height. Originally, it was covered in plaster, but its original façade was revealed after movers accidentally dropped it!
There is a museum on the 3rd floor, where they teach you about the history of the Golden Buddha. Exhibits also cover the historical background of how it came to be at Wat Traimit. Located in Chinatown Bangkok, this ornate temple is about 450 metres west of the Hualampong Railway Station.
Wat Traimit |CLICK FOR MORE INFORMATION
CHAO PHRAYA RIVER
There are 5 public boat lines, all operated by the Chao Phraya Express Boat company, that ply the same 21-km route: ‘local line’, ‘orange’, ‘yellow’, ‘blue’ and ‘green-yellow’. Operating between 6am and 7.30pm daily, each is identifiable by the coloured flag hanging off its rear. The Chao Phraya ‘Tourist Boats’ are another option, offering unlimited trips to 9 prominent piers for a flat fee (service hours are between 9.30am and 3pm daily).
The rush-hour only ‘local line’ stops at all 34 piers, while the other four are express lines stopping at only selected piers. Only the Orange Flag Line, with its flat fee of 15 baht, runs all day and on weekends – for most journeys, this fits the bill. The others stop at around 9am and begin again at around 4pm. Cross-river ferries operate at most major piers and will drop you to the other bank for a very budget-friendly fare.
£25 | Bangkok Dinner Cruise
KING POWER MAHANAKHON
Head to Mahanakhon SkyWalk and walk across one of the world’s largest glass floors. Enjoy 360-degree panoramic views of Bangkok from Thailand’s highest observation deck. You will encounter a heavy security presence at the entrance but once through the checks, you are free to explore and drink in the views. As you can imagine, the prices at the restaurants and bar are not cheap.
Be sure to head there first thing in the morning or last thing at night to be able to move around easily. Children under the age of 3 are free. You cannot take betel nuts or chewing gum with you, these will be confiscated during security.
£34 | Bangkok Skywalk
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