When people think of Bangkok, Thailand they don’t often think of it being a good vacation destination for the family. In fact, nothing could be further from the truth. Thais are a kid-oriented society and consequently there are so many activities for families in Bangkok, you won’t get a chance to do them all before you leave. If you’re bringing the kids and even grandma, try these top five best Bangkok family activities. You’ll have a blast.
Dream World – Of course, Bangkok’s biggest theme park is at the top of the list for any family, Thai or foreign, when they’re thinking of fun activities to do for everyone. Dream World is enormous, with three sections – Fantasy Land, Dream Garden and Adventure Land – a Hollywood action show, Colors of the World parade, an Animal show and a Seven Wonders of the World exhibit.
There’s rollercoasters, bumper cars, Sleeping Beauty and Cinderella, go-karts, white water rapids and a monorail. Plus, tons of shops, food stalls and cartoon characters to meet at Dream World Plaza.
Why not sign up for one of the special packages? Pick up and drop off at your hotel, easy access to all the rides, entrance into Snow Town and a buffet lunch for only 1,000 baht per person ($32). It’s an amazing deal, but get there early as you’ll want to spend all day, there’s so much to do.
Dream World is open from 10am to 5pm every day. Just try to get there on a weekday as it’s packed on weekends with all the Thai kids.
Lumphini Park – Another fun place for a family outing is Lumphini Park. The largest piece of greenery in Bangkok, Lumphini Park is a massive public park where it sometimes seems like half of Bangkok is there. Have a picnic, sit by the lake, or hire a pedal boat and peddle across it. Watch the older folks (and some younger ones) practicing Tai Chi in huge groups (grandma can join in too as everyone is welcome), hire a bike and take a cycle around the bicycle track or lift some weights at the outdoor gym. You might even meet a famous Muay Thai kickboxer there.
Lumphini Park is near Sala Daeng sky train station and Lumphini underground train station.
Bangkok Art and Culture Center (BACC) – The newest art museum in Bangkok, it only opened in late 2008 but has already become one of the coolest places to hang out in Bangkok for families.
Inside, the first two floors after you enter are full of cute cafes, art galleries and gift shops, where you can buy a t shirt or a poster, get some home made ice cream or a coffee, or watch some of Bangkok’s local young artists painting. BACC is a huge hangout for teenagers and university students from the local universities, so if you have a teenager, they’ll love it here.
The art museum itself is on the top two floors, and they always have new exhibits opening, often with a mix of traditional Thai art, modern Thai art and work from artists overseas.
There’s also a cool Kids Corner on the ground floor, where little kids can play with one of the games or read a book (and yes they have some in English).
Located right next to National Stadium sky train station, you’ll notice the BACC from the huge modern art statues sitting around outside it.
See a Movie – You can’t come to Bangkok, Thailand and not see a movie, particularly as the movie theaters are some of the best in the world. World-class screens, awesome surround sound, comfy stadium seats and snacks and drinks you can actually afford, seeing a movie in Bangkok is a must do for every family.
Movies showing in Bangkok always include a mix of Thai, Asian and American movies. Some of the Thai and Asian movies will have subtitles in English, and the American movies show either with English soundtrack and Thai subtitles or dubbed in Thai. Just make sure when you buy your tickets, you get them for the show with English soundtrack and not the one that has a Thai dubbed soundtrack. That would be horrendous.
Ticket prices are 120-140 baht ($3.95 to $4.50), and snacks and drinks are cheap. You also get to reserve your seats when you buy your tickets, so no rushing to get a good seat when the theater doors open.
Movie theaters are at every shopping mall in Bangkok and they are massive. Once you’ve seen a movie in Bangkok, you’ll be disappointed everywhere else you ever go.
Shop at Talad Lot Fai (Train Market) – A new weekend night market in northern Bangkok, it’s a great place to go for the whole family as it takes place when the sun’s gone down so is a lot more comfortable for
A true Thai experience, not many tourists will find this market. Talad Lot Fai (Train Market in English) takes place every Saturday and Sunday night from 5pm till 1am, although the best time to go is after 7pm. It’s a flea market that’s packed with stalls selling kids toys, records, old phones, antiques, clothing, shoes, t shirts, candy, jewelry, DVDs, CDS, Thai crafts, and all kinds of other treasures. Prices are dirt cheap and it’s highly populated with teenagers, university students, artists, musicians and the trendy and cool.
There are also food stalls where you can get Thai snacks or a full meal, and even VW vans that have been converted into a drink stand, where you can buy a Coke, a Thai iced tea or an iced slushie. The kids will love it.
Mom and Dad can relax at one of the cafes and enjoy a beer, or better yet grab a couple of beers and some soft drinks and the whole family can sit in an old disused train carriage, enjoying a drink, listening to someone playing a guitar and watching Bangkok’s trendiest and coolest walk by.
Talad Lot Fai is easy to get to. Just take the underground to Khampaeng Phet station, take the exit for the Farmers Market, cross the main street directly ahead and walk to your right. A couple of minutes walking and you can’t miss it. It’s huge.
Photo copyright – Kids in Bangkok – photographer motoyen, creative commons