Children and traffic jams are a discouraging combination – especially on holiday. In a city like Bangkok, getting around with kids in tow can be tricky, but it doesn’t have to be. A ticket to ride Bangkok’s metro (MRT) and skytrain (BTS) network will put the capital’s most exciting attractions within easy reach. Here’s how to spend 48 hours in Bangkok with kids.
8am – Chatuchak Weekend Market
Kids up early? Match their enthusiasm at the chaotic and atmospheric outdoor market. Chatuchak is the largest of its kind in Asia, with 15,000 stalls selling everything from ethnic crafts and antiques to indie clothes, bags and shoes. This is a great place to buy cheap Thai souvenirs for the relatives you left at home and beach gear if you’re continuing on to Phuket or Krabi.
Take the BTS to Mo Chit Station and follow the crowds to the market entrance.
Open Saturday to Sunday, 8am to 9pm. More info on the website.
10am – One Dee Café
It’s never too early for coffee – or ice-cream, for that matter. This Thai-style café serves coffee in benjarong ceramic-ware (a royal family tradition). Kids are treated to a range of whacky flavours, inspired by traditional thai desserts. The coconut ice cream with sticky rice and crispy roti is a crowd favourite, along with the toddy palm cake and tong muan rolls. Adventurous eaters can even try the coconut milk with prawn ice cream.
One Dee is a short walk from BTS Ari Station on Phahon Yothin Rd. Open daily, 10am to 10.30pm.
11am – Siam
The charming Siam area is a hub for modern style, shopping and entertainment. Here you’ll find attractions such as Siam Discovery, Siam Centre, Siam Square and Siam Paragon. On the 5th floor of Siam Paragon, Kidzania is a place for kids to test out their dream job. Fire trucks, TV newsrooms and life-size aeroplanes allows kids to explore their passion – no adults allowed. A few floors down on the the basement level, Sea Life Bangkok Ocean World has 5,000,000 litres worth of underwater exhibits to check out. Siam has it’s own station on the BTS network.
Kidzania is open weekdays, 10am to 5pm and weekends 10:30am to 8:30pm. Sea Life Bangkok is open daily, 10am to 9pm.
3pm – Terminal 21
Terminal 21 combines the best shopping experiences around the globe and houses them all under one roof. The centre is divided into different regions – Tokyo, London, San Francisco and Paris. You can stroll down the Champs-Élysées on one level and cross the Golden Gate bridge on another. Terminal 21 has plenty of local designers and boutique stores if you’re after something authentic. Otherwise, you’ll find well-known brands such as Levis, Quicksilver, H&M and The Body Shop. Even if you only have 48 hours in Bangkok, it’s worth setting aside some shopping time in this huge complex.To get to Terminal 21, take the BTS to Asok Station and change to the MRT line. The centre is a short walk from Sukhumvit Station on Sukhumvit Rd.
Open daily, 10am to 10pm.
5pm – Esplanade Ratchadaphisek
The Esplanade is less of a department store and more of an entertainment precinct. It has various cafés, restaurants and shops. Catch a show at the Rachadalai Theatre or see the latest releases at Mega Cineplex. Kids will love jumping in and becoming part of the artwork at the Trickeye Museum; Art in Paradise Bangkok 3D. The closest MRT station is Thailand Cultural Centre Station.
Open daily, 10am to 10pm.
6pm – For something casual – Ratchada Rot Fai Night Market
This night market is pumping with quirky stalls, sizzling street food and crowds of eager shoppers. The market is divided into three major zones – clothes, designer goods and food. Shop, but before you drop, head to the huge restaurant precinct and choose from hundreds of Thai and international delights. The market is just behind the Esplanade.
Open daily, 5pm to midnight.
For something more upscale – Vertigo & Moon Bar at Banyan Tree
The luxurious Vertigo restaurant and Moon Bar are two family-friendly, roof-top locales with a killer view of the city. Both places welcome families with children to enjoy the 360-degree view over Bangkok. Just be aware of the dress code: smart casual but no shorts, sleeveless shirts, sandals or thongs. They’re located on the 61st floor of the Banyan Tree Hotel, near MRT Lumpini Station.
Open daily, 5pm to 1am.
9am – The Marvel Experience
The Marvel Experience is Bangkok’s latest and greatest kids day out. It only opened in June 2018 and features all your favourite Marvel superheroes. Follow the action as Iron Man, Captain America, The Incredible Hulk and Spider-Man take on their villain counterparts in an epic 4D extravaganza. Check out the 360-degree 4D stereoscopic projection dome, the state-of-the-art motion ride and augmented reality experience. Take the BTS to Ubom Station, then jump on the free shuttle bus outside Exit 5.
Open daily, 9am to 7.30pm. Find more info on the website.
12.30pm – Mae Varee Fruit Shop
With only 48 hours in Bangkok, you’ll need to try as much delicious Thai food as possible. Travellers with a sweet tooth will be spoilt at Mae Varee Fruit Shop, which is piled high with golden, ripe mangoes. You can buy it ready-chopped or opt for a Thai classic: sweet sticky rice with mango. Choose from white, pandan or brown sticky rice, and enjoy your mango topped with a dash of slightly salty coconut milk. The portions are big enough to share but you’ll need to eat it on the go as there isn’t any seating. The fruit shop is close to BTS Thong Lo Station, tucked away down a side street called Soi Thong Lo.
Open daily, 6am to 10pm.
1.30pm – For something casual – Rung Reung Pork Noodle
Nothing says Thailand like the sizzle of satay skewers at the street food markets. Despite the common fear of food poisoning, you CAN eat like the locals in Bangkok. The smaller, busy eateries are often where the best food is. Rung Rueng Pork Noodle is a favourite of locals and tourists alike. Pull up a plastic stool at one of the squat tables, then choose your noodles, protein (fish or pork balls) and whether you want it with or without soup. The bowls are small (and cheap), so order one each to avoid squabbling. Rung Rueng is on the corner of Sukhumvit Soi 26, near BTS Phrom Phong Station.
Open daily, 8am to 5pm.
For something more upscale – Bo.Lan
This Michelin-starred restaurant was created by chef couple Duangporn Songvisava (Bo) and Dylan Jones (lan) – that’s where the restaurant’s name comes from. For almost a decade, they have been serving royal Thai dishes. The cuisine combines ancient and modern Thai methods with the use of bio-diversified produce and a zero-carbon goal. Bo.Lan is Sukhumvit Soi 53, a short walk from BTS Thong Lo Station.
Open for lunch on weekends, 12pm to 2.30pm, and dinner from Tuesday to Sunday, 6pm to 10.30pm.
3pm – IconSiam
Thailand’s biggest mall sits alongside Chao Phraya River. This is where you’ll find the world’s ultra-luxury brands, as well as a few local designers. For most families, a shopping spree is out of the budget here, but SookSiam is something everyone can enjoy. It’s a melting pot of regional cultures, bringing together authentic goods from Thailand’s 77 provinces. Take the BTS to Saphan Taksin Station, head out Exit 2 and ride the free shuttle boat from Sathorn Pier.
Open daily, 10am to 10pm.
6pm – Asiatique
Asiatique is a riverside market with a great vibe and huge range of goodies to fill your suitcase. A huge fairy-lit ferris wheel overlooks the market’s 1500 stalls. Shoppers will find everything from handicrafts and jewellery to IT gadgets. For a sit-down meal, Thara Taste offers a great fine-dining experience for families. For a quick bite, there are plenty of food stalls offering both Thai and international cuisine.
Open daily, 4pm to midnight. Asiatique is just down the river from IconSiam. More info on the website.
Planning a visit to Bangkok? Here’s what you need to know.
BEST TIME TO VISIT
Bangkok is a year-round destination, however, visitors might experience some rain during the months of August to October.
MRT Underground train and BTS SkyTrain operates daily from 6am to midnight.
BTS fares cost between 15-59 Baht ($0.65-$2.50) per journey, depending on the distance travelled. A one-day pass is the best option for unlimited travel, priced at 120 Baht (around $5.10). Single pass, Rabbit card or long-term passes are also available if you travel no more than five stops in one day.
On the MRT, tickets are between 16-70 Baht (more expensive if you change lines). Single journey tickets must be used on the date of purchase but are a better option for tourists than a Smart Card.
Direct flights from Australia to Bangkok run several times a day with Thai Airways, Emirates and Qantas.