Have you met the Bender family yet? If you haven`t, you really should! I love reading about their adventures, they are a family of 4 travelling the world, you can find them at Travel With Bender so it is with great pleasure that I get to include them here.
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Top 10 things to do with your Toddler in Bangkok
So you didn’t think you would be ever reading 10 great things to do with toddlers in Thailand, did you? When one thinks of Bangkok they are usually imagining a layover before hitting an exotic Thai beach. They think of traffic and smog. They think of a shopping playground for adults and nightlife for singles. They generally never think it is a place to take the family for a holiday. And certainly not the little ones. Well it’s time to ignore your preconceptions, drown out that negativity & re-educate yourself as Bangkok has 10 things you and your toddlers are going to love doing, guaranteed!
1. Fantasia Lagoon
Fantasia Lagoon is a fantastic waterpark for young kids. When we went there was a promotion for student prices on all tickets 100 baht each (approx. $3) and our two kids aged 2 & 3 were free. That they were free is crazy, because this park was designed for them. From pirate ships, water play lands, lazy river, waterfalls, slides, tipping buckets, the list goes on. The strangest thing about this little park is you must wear a swim cap, a strange custom, but realistically who loves all that floating hair in public pools anyway? You can buy one at the very helpful swimming store located at the entry or inside you can hire one for 30 cents. Also available for hire are inflatable tubes, towels and lockers. Food is available right outside the park for local prices ($1/$2) and you are free to bring it back into the park to eat at the many shaded tables. If you didn’t get enough fun at the waterpark next door is a small scale amusement park with rides, games and an artificial sky ceiling. All of this is located on the top floor of the Mall Bang Kae.
2. Ocean World
Unlike other aquariums we’ve been too, it was really sensibly laid out, good signage and had a great atmosphere. There were toilets at just the right spots and some snack stations for when you started to get hungry or thirsty halfway through. Importantly for toddlers, there were plenty of benches to stop and rest and just admire the natural beauty of these amazing creatures. There are also a number of animals not found under the sea, which is quite delightful. This place is not cheap, with a discount given at the shopping mall entrance it was still $83 for all 4 of us – 2 adults, a 3 yr old and a 2 yr old or rather one who’s height is over the counter, one under. But the exhibit is well worth it. Bonus: for extra dollars you can ride a glass bottom boat over the shark tank or even walk the ocean floor or visit next door’s Madam Tussads. Located at the bottom floor of the Siam Paragon Mall in central Bangkok
A great place to spend a hot day, which is often in Thailand. Entry is based on height ranges: My 2 year old was considered “small” (up to 105cm) & cost 180B ($5.50) and my 3 year old was “medium” (105cm to 13 yrs) & cost 300B ($9.30). There are no time limits once entry is paid. This is no ordinary indoor playground. In addition to your typical slides, trampolines, climbing frames and ball pits, they also have a bicycle track with neat little scooters, bikes (with and without training wheels) and roller-skates for the kids to whizz around on. One wall is a 3m tall whiteboard for creative drawing and nearby is located a well-designed toddler play area. On Saturdays the rooms on the upper level have arts & crafts, and the café runs a cooking class for kids for just an extra $3. If you’re looking for a party venue, this offers private rooms. There is even a small outdoor area with a sand pit and some water fun. Socks are required and lockers are free. The only thing missing is free WIFI for the adults! Located in the middle of Bangkok’s central residential district between Sukhumvit Road and Rama 4 Road.
4. Ride in a Tuk Tuk
My 3 year old daughter fell in love with tricycles when we visited Boracay in the Philippines earlier this year and the tuk tuk is quite similar. So one day when the traffic was heavy and our spirits low we caught one just for her. What a ride! We all loved it so much we took several more. Sure they are more expensive than a taxi, but one trip cost us 100 Baht (approx. $3 for all 4 of us) so we are still not talking big money. And the kids will love it! Whether in the pouring rain or on a hot sweltering day, a tuk tuk ride takes you places you might not have otherwise been, where the cars don’t fit and the public transport doesn’t stop. Take one to your local market, grab some Pad Thai and Fried Bananas for dinner and take one home again, a little trip becomes the adventure of a lifetime.
5. All You Can Eat Cake
What kid doesn’t like cake? For that special occasion head to Bangkok Hotel Lotus Sukhumvit for the cake buffet. $11 per adult, kids eat free. They have a wide range of savoury & sweet pastries, cheesecakes, mudcakes, jelly, cream, ice cream and unlimited drinks. Yum! My kid’s were so excited for this one day in their life where their mummy and daddy let them eat cake for lunch, their choice, anything they wanted. It makes a great birthday celebration or in our case, a Father’s Day gift.
Bangkok has its own theme park and it’s pretty magical. It’s quite the drive out of Bangkok so be prepared for that early morning 1.5 hour drive or perhaps a little getaway. The park has a great range of rides for kids 90 – 140cm high and lots of attractions for the under 10s. There is an indoor Snow Land, where kids will have a ball getting cold and icy. There is a Fairytale Land, which is filled with recreations from Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, Jack & the Beanstalk and more. You might want to give the Witches House a miss with your toddlers, but they will love the rest of the park. Food is readily available inside. Entry is approximately 700 Baht ($22AUD) per person including Snow Land and all rides. Children under 90cm are free.
7. Ride on a Boat
You can do a tour, but hiring a private long boat is probably going to be cheaper and faster. With toddlers you don’t want to be stuck on a boat for a few hours. Right near the Grand Palace you can go to the dock and hire a private boat on the spot. It is 800B ($25) for the whole boat. It takes approximately 15 minutes to get one from the top of the river to the last stop at the bottom. Not only does that beat 1.5 hours in taxi traffic, but also you see Wat Aurn, What Pho and several other gorgeous sites along the way with the boat slowing for photo ops.
8. Shopping Malls
Whether it’s to see a movie on the many big screens available or just to play on any number of indoor playgrounds, malls will be your friends. Bangkok can get hot, but every mall is a cool sanctuary. Nearly every mall has a playground located inside. We visited one at Central World on the top floor. It was free and had multiple slides and some other fantastic equipment. The little toddlers played for hours while Dad watched over and Mum (me) got to shop, shop, shop.
9. Royal Dragon Restaurant
A Guinness World Record Holder for largest restaurant, holding over 5000 seats and 1500 staff. This is more than a Chinese restaurant, it’s entertainment. The staff delivers food on roller skates or via a zipline. There is a stage perched above water that hosts live shows every night. There are several booths for karaoke parties. Meals are reasonably priced and service is great, but the kids really loved the shows and the waiter on the zipline. The shows range from dance, kung-fu and much more.
10. Chatuchak Market
weekend market is one of the largest and best-known outdoor markets in the world. With over 200,000 visitors per weekend. There are over 8000 market stalls selling anything, from antique furniture to bunnies in ballet dresses, authentic hawker food to skinny leg jeans, and hand-made ceramic figurines to exotic plants. This is one place you can literally shop till you drop. And best to brush up on your bargaining skills if you want to grab an extra special bargain. Now clearly toddlers are not going to want to shop till they drop, but my little girl does love to shop for a little while. Go in the cooler morning hours and check out the toys and shoes and hats that girls love. My 3 year old picked up a great spiral pen set for next to nothing and we got her to do the negotiating.
As the morning wears on the best part for the kids will be the icey poles located everywhere. Everyone was happy to walk around with one of these from cola, lemonade, strawberry and other exotic flavours. 4 of them cost us less than $1 and were refreshing and occupying for the kids as we wandered aimlessly through the markets. The kids also were delighted to try a “real” ice-cream sandwich. This vanilla ice cream with unknown jellies and tidbits is squished inside a sweet bread roll… yes a normal bread roll you might eat for lunch. It got a thumbs up from my husband, where as the kids just wanted the ice-cream.
MEET TRAVEL WITH BENDER
We rented our house & our dog, packed only 3 suitcases and now this family of four are traveling the world. Leaving our Australian home in May 2012, with a 2 year old & a 3 year old, we determined to make a lifestyle change beneficial for our family. It’s an open-ended, unplanned round the world trip discovering amazing places for toddlers (& we have fun along the way) that you can share by visiting our family travel blog or Facebook page. We look forward to bumping into you around the world.