This post was originally published on the 22nd September 2014 on the website Mums on the Go. With Mums on the Go closing down in March 2016 I wanted to ensure this story was preserved.
On our recent family holiday to France with our three young children we opted for a 2 day/3 night stopover in Bangkok. Firstly, we wanted to break up the long flight to Europe from Australia and secondly, we wanted to give our girls a little taste of Thailand.
There is so much to do in Bangkok, I knew our greatest challenge was going to be resisting the temptation to show it all to our children in our short stay. Rest and relaxation needed be a priority to ensure we were in good shape for another long flight to Paris.
Here is what we chose to do with our short break in Bangkok:
We knew if there was only one thing in Bangkok we wanted to take our children to it was the Grand Palace. Although no longer the home of the King the idea of visiting a Palace was very enticing to our girls.
They were mesmerised by the sparkling tiles and golden spires.
Traditional Thai statues created great amusement and story telling.
The most memorable moment for me was watching my five and three year old enter the Temple of Green Buddha together, holding hands they went to sit among the locals praying. My normally noisy, energetic girls simply sat quietly together soaking up the essence of what was around them. It astounded me that intuitively they felt the need to be calm and still. Naturally the locals next to them thought they were adorable!
Entry is 500THB per person, kids were all free. You can borrow long clothes to enter the Grand Palace if needed once inside. So don’t pay anyone outside the gate to rent/buy sarongs or pants.
WAT PHO – Temple of the Reclining Buddha
Wat Pho is home to an amazing 46m long reclining Buddha which is coated in gold – very impressive. Unfortunately the map we had with us was terrible and we walked and walked and walked without actually finding it, although it should only have been about a 10 minute walk from the Grand Palace.
In the heat and humidity of Bangkok we had to give up rather than push on with the kids. I do highly recommend it though if you are heading to Bangkok with your family.
TUK TUK RIDE
A quintessential Thai experience – my husband took our five and three year old on a short Tuk Tuk ride simply for the experience.
A fun experience although we limited our use to short trips as I felt a little nervous having young children exposed on the roads. Funnily enough I wouldn’t have thought twice in my backpacking days about using them.
Our family loves Thai food so we were really keen to give the kids as many opportunities as possible to try different kinds of food. With Pad Thai from a street stall costing 25THB we could have lived on that happily all day.
The fruit in Thailand is delicious and we tried lots of fun things like Rambutans, Mangosteen and Dragonfruit. Pre-sliced mango is readily available on the street for a snack on the run.
We took the girls out for lunch one day to a local restaurant, down the road from our hotel, specialising in roast duck. We had a lot of fun trying new dishes and made sure we ordered a good serving of plain boiled rice to fill up their tummies just in case they didn’t eat anything else.
This turned out to be a lot of effort for little reward. My husband and I wanted to get some new Thai fisherman pants and a few things for nieces and nephews we would be seeing in France. In our previous visits to Bangkok we had come across Thai fishermen pants everywhere, I guess because we were staying in budget traveller areas – we didn’t have to think about where you actually get them.
We asked for advice on where to head with the kids to shop but ended up on a wild goose chase. The end result – no Thai pants for us, a couple of things for the kids and icecreams on the curb side the only way to appease our hot, tired children.
Perhaps we should have just gone to a nice air-conditioned shopping mall for some good value ‘up market’ shopping.
A lot of time was spent in the hotel swimming pool. The perfect way to entertain and refresh hot, tired children.
You will notice that we didn’t tick off a lot of official sightseeing. As my husband and I have been to Bangkok several times before we didn’t need to see anything. We were more interested in having “experiences” with our children, and keeping life simple during this short stay on Bangkok.
Trip Notes and Costs:
Exchange rate: 30THB = 1 AUD
Sleep: We were guests of the Shangri-La Bangkok.
- Pad Thai (street stall) 25THB
- Pre sliced mango in a bag 20THB
- Lunch for 5 in a local restaurant 200THB
- Strawberry ice-shake in a café (tourist area) 60THB
- From the Shangri-La we used the local ferry service to go up and down the river. It was 15THB one way, per adult (kids were free). It is also a really nice way to soak up the views as you go. Just be ready to get off at your stop as the ferries don’t pull in for long.
- The Skytrain is a great way to get around although we didn’t use on this trip.
- Tuk Tuk – cheap, easy and a classic Thai experience.
- Taxi – taxis are everywhere although we found some taxis unwilling to pick us up if we wanted to be on the metre. A taxi to the airport from the city should cost 500-600THB