I feel I’m not doing justification to Bangkok if I don’t do this post. There are tons of things I love about Bangkok (one of which is how cheap everything is, which is why we can afford to travel comfortably to bkk) but price is just about one, there are really much more.
So I’ve come up with a sample itinerary if you are planning to bring your family there. This is the ultimate blog and posts you will need to plan your trip with your kids. Much has been written individually about each place I mention so do your homework and Google on the directions and details of shops on your own. I can’t write more than this cos it will get super lengthy and I don’t have the time for it.. But trust me, whatever here is IT if you are bringing your kids to the land of smiles.
This works on an average 4-5 day tour, and you can expect the budget to look like this:
Hotel SGD130 per night for a two queen-bed room at Berkeley hotel pratunam.
Food $40/day (all meals including light bites in between, excluding expensive restaurant food like din tai fung)
Transport $10-20/ day depending where you are going
The other items will be shown below.
My trips have to be kid friendly and efficient (read: shop n eat til I drop) so you’ll hardly see me going on the BTS or their MRT system as most of us don’t stay near the BTS and its tiring enough lugging 2 kids and 2 big bags. And like I’ve mentioned, their taxis are REALLY cheap.
Check in to hotel
Proceed to walk to Big C supermarket for lunch/dinner
(Grab all the mineral water or snacks you will need to keep the kids happy from the supermarket spanning level 2-3. This is where they sell the wholesale Thai snacks like pocky, cuttlefish, seaweed snacks. They also sell the raved thai medicinal/skincare products at the pharmacy in-store. There’s a food court at level 4 that you can eat at. Decent food, hygienic (very important for first few days cos you don’t want to be stuck in the hotel room!), and good price. You’ll need to get a stored value card and remember to return to the counter for refund before you leave Bkk else you’ll never get the money back (value remains for 45 days). Daiso (read: small and nothing like SG, all goods are 60 baht which means more expensive) is on the 4th level as well. And if all food fails, there’s MacDonald’s to fall back on. They have a swensens here but take note swensens in Bkk only sells ice creams, no fish and chips or chicken.
If you (or kids) can continue walking, you can cross the overhead bridge to Central world shopping centre. The food court, supermarket, and lots of restaurants are on the highest floor. I highly recommend getting a meal at MK restaurant, their Thai steamboat restaurant. Lots of choice, and the roasted duck is to die for. Steamboat is really fun for kids, provided they have not turned into hungry monsters as they’ll need to wait for the food to cook.
Kidzania at Siam paragon (you can access Siam paragon via a covered walkway from central world)
If you have older kids like 5 and above, Kidzania is a good option. Be prepared to spend a whole day here cos you’ll want to make your money worth. Most activities do not require parental accompaniment, but since we are in a foreign land, never lose track of the kids. They won’t be able to exit the place on their own, but I don’t want them losing out at the stations cos they don’t speak Thai, or worse being bullied since they don’t understand the language.
Siam paragon has a wonderful food court. Slightly pricier ($3-4 per meal) but excellent taste. You’ll need to get the stored value card too.
By night, the kids should K.O. If they don’t, just put them in the bath tub for some waterplay. And parents can take turns to go for a much needed massage. I recommend the “Lets relax” spa within Berkeley hotel. 1200 baht or $48.50 for a 2 hour Thai massage or 2000-2400 baht ($80) for a 1.5-2.5 hour spa inclusive of massage, scrubs, etc.
Of cos, there are tons of cheap massages in Palladium which is directly connected to Berkeley. But I have not been to any of those. I didn’t find it safe to go into a small massage shop on my own, and honestly, I just want to pop in and out without having to walk at all as my aching muscles will tell me so. $48 for 2 hours is much cheaper than SG already. Besides, it’s quality massage.
Ok this is where cash is king, and the mummies take over.
This is where we conquer the shops.
You can first get to Platinum shopping mall if you can’t do without aircon and there you’ll get 6 levels of shops including food court on highest level. Platinum is THE place for most Singaporeans due to the aircon. All kinds of stuff are sold here at wholesale price, e.g. $4 for a pair of shoes or t-shirt, and you may need to buy at least 3 pieces to get this so-called wholesale price.
The kids can be entertained at MacDonald’s or over at the small arcade at Big C (just opposite), or at the sea aquarium/Kidzania at Siam paragon by the dads or grand parents.
That should take at least half a day.
By evening, night markets on the left and right of Berkeley hotel will be opened. Palladium night market opens every night til like 11pm-12am. The new talad neon opens 6pm-12am or later on Wed-Sun.
These night markets are highly recommended for kids – read my talad neon post below.
Choose between a floating market day tour, or the famous Bangkok safari world tour.
Floating market tours give a nice experience of the river life of Thais. It’s highly recommended as you’ll never get to see such a sight in most places. The kids get to eat and eat along the way and that should keep them happy. Point to note, you’ll need to travel out to the Damnoen market (most famous and oldest floating market) for about 2hours, and further sit on the long tail boats for about 2-3hours with some stopovers. Just go for travel agents who can arrange everything. No point going yourself, cos of all that transfers. Unless you have babies, this trips is good for most kids. It’s self entertaining on its own without much walking, and best, you can get lots of nice Thai food/snacks for your breakfast and lunch on the way.
A slightly smaller scale floating market is also available just about 30min away via taxi at Taling Chan. Taxi should cost about $20/2-way or you can take BTS to bang wa and get a taxi from there, and it’ll cost about $5-$10 cheaper. This opens sat-sun and you’ll need to get there by 8.15am to ensure you get your cheap boat ride (100 baht or $4/pax) which covers a tour of 3 different floating markets, and some stopovers like temple and orchid nursery. And of cos, lots of yummy food along the way, and you’ll see how it’s like for people to stay near the river. I personally recommend this compared to Damnoen. It’s less crowded.
Bangkok safari world allows you to view animals while seated in a car. No need to get off! Recommended if you have kids 5 and above. Anything younger, I personally think it’s a little too warm for them. Lots of fun shows, and a wonderful Lory enclosure where all the lories will clamber all over you if you get some bird feed. But I would recommend you checking when it is less crowded. It was really humid to get into the shows with all that queue and jostling. Shows are hosted in Thai, so it’ll be easier if the kids were a bit older so they can at least figure out what’s happening without understanding Thai.
And you probably need another good massage at the end of the day.
Other recommended activities
You can slot these in as long as you feel up to it and if the kids can be entertained by the husband or grandparents, etc cos some are really not too kid-friendly, but I have given suggestions on the time slots to take note of if you really have to bring the kids along and what you could do to entertain them. Most of my tips are premium especially if you are traveling with kids! I honestly can’t find a decent Bkk blog for young kids! And I’m sharing with you some of the best kept secrets of Bkk here that most people, even the self-acclaimed shopping queens and bargain hunters wouldn’t know! So here goes!
1. Chatuchak market – starts Sat-Sun. I’m sure you can google this as much has been raved about this market. In short, it’s just another market, but it’s the biggest one where you can get much more things. Just imagine they have a whole huge section dedicated to pets where you can buy all sorts of pets. Honestly, if you only have a short stay, I’ll recommend coming here and spending about half a day to meet all your needs in one shot (buy, eat, shop) and But, I won’t bring kids until evening comes. Confirm plus chop they won’t make it if you get here in the day cos of the scorching heat….plus there isn’t actually much for kids to do here so they’ll get bored of walking and walking.
2. Terminal 21 – a themed shopping centre that most people will come for its designs according to each level (e.g. London themed walkway and toilets on one level, and Arabian on another). Fun to walk, and has a good food court. Similar to terminal 21 is an area like Clarke quay which is called Asiatique. These two are Instagram worthy places. Go only if you belong to the shopping malls, and if you love instagramming. For Asiatique, you’ll need to take BTS to Saphan Taksin station, and get on board a FREE boat ride to it. Not too bad considering you get a free boat ride. But once there, be prepared to pay more for everything…
2. Chinatown wholesale market and seafood – sampheng Lane and many other nearby lanes are the real wholesale market. All the shops at platinum get their wares from here. Beware, this place is really crowded so not recommended to bring kids along. You can get lots of stationery, birthday favors, hair accessories for kids here at bargain prices if you can live up to the heat and crowd. Just a note, for clothes, I didn’t get any here. Chinatown is not quite the place for retail for clothes as they are wholesale, meaning to say they don’t actually parade their wares like night markets do. They basically sell in large bags to retailers who will bring it to night markets to sell. These day shops start as early as 8am, I’ve heard of the early morning markets (5-6am?) but never got here at that time as its way too early! It’s ok for the kids to come in the evening as they have slightly less crowded night markets, and lots of seafood and birds nest at great prices! One safe option is T&K seafood, and the bird nest just opposite it.
4. Just go swimming at the hotel pool! Shiok to the max, but don’t get sunburnt !
5. Thai cooking schools – I recommend silom cooking school cos it’s the only one I’ve been to. Lol. But seriously, these lessons are sooooo fun! And best off, your older kids like 5 and above can take part too! You get to visit their market to learn more about local ingredients, and then engage in step by step guided cooking sessions. You get to eat all the yummy stuff you cook! All for $40/about half a day.
6. Last but not least…jeng jeng! Dawn markets (my own term for the super madness morning market, which basically is the same as the night market but opens in the wee hours like 5-6am. This, I feel, is IT for mummies like us who can’t shop with kids around. At 5-6am, the kids are still snoring and all you need for 2-3 hours of shopping therapy is just sacrifice some sleep and lots of Thai baht. The dawn market in pratunam area is located just below Baiyoke Sky hotel. Don’t say Bo Jio.
Now…. After the long post, I feel more satisfied. I really don’t know if anyone is going to be reading this and finding it helpful. But I will appreciate comments below, so I can be motivated to write more! Hope to hear from you!