With my extensive knowledge of Bangkok coming from The Hangover part 2 and Alan Partridge’s references to Bangkok chick boys, I wasn’t 100% sure about taking the boys. However, I am pleased to say that my husband was less worried and we headed to Bangkok and Koh Samui this Easter break with the children in tow.
There is no escaping the pollution and poverty in Bangkok, but there is much more to Bangkok too. It is a city of contrast, from the extravagant Grand Palace to the shanty towns along the canals.
From our research, Christmas is a good time to visit. We went for April knowing that it may be hot. It was. Apparently not as hot as it could be, but it was over 30C. Unfortunately a bout of food poisoning on the plane left little man and I wanting a quiet first day.
We chose to take a long boat trip up the river and around the canals. This worked well as the breeze kept middle man happy and we could see some of the sites without exerting ourselves.
When it comes to food in Bangkok, there is such variety you don’t need to worry. We ate Thai, Italian, Argentinian and Japanese. Starbucks and McDonalds are all around. You do need to make sure that you drink bottled water and also use this to brush your teeth.
When it comes to transport, there are many ways to travel in Bangkok. The traffic is heavy and only marginally safer than that we experienced in San Jose, Costa Rica. As a pedestrian it’s scary and my 8 year old held my hand continuously for the first time in years. pedestrian crossing seem to mean nothing and even traffic lights can have cars turning. Mopeds sometimes drove on pavements.
We took the BTS known as the Sky train to get around the city. This was often busy, but was air conditioned. There are a variety of boats you can use to travel up and down the river. If you are happy to risk your life in an overcrowded local orange flag boat, you will find it only costs pence to travel. We used this, but I wouldn’t recommend it, especially for families. There is hop on hop off tourist boat that I would look into instead. It is worth remembering that health and safety in general in Thailand is not on the same scale as in the UK.
We made use of the complimentary hotel Tuk tuk that took us to the end of the roads. This made the kids happy and meant we didn’t have to use two from the side of the road.
On our full day in Bangkok we planned a tour of the temples. In reality, with the heat, we managed the Grand Palace with promises that we could spend the afternoon in the hotel pool. It really is worth visiting and if you have children under 1.2m, they do not need to pay the 500 bhat entrance fee.
We ended our day stopping by Lumpini Park. We had seen this in a BBC documentary which said it was over run with monitor lizards. Well not anymore! We managed to find one who was asleep and that was it. It was nice, however, to have some space, and we fed the fish in the lake.
Bangkok can be scary for children and it is worth being prepared for this. We weren’t! As I mentioned earlier the traffic is heavy, noisy and unpredictable. You will see homeless people, but I don’t think this is something that you can avoid. Our boys are white with blonde hair. We found that people were keen to touch them, give up their seats on the train for them and ask for pictures with them. The boys found this quite odd, but apparently they see them as being good luck.
We specifically chose a hotel with a pool and I would strongly recommend this with children. Bangkok can get extremely hot and they loved splashing in the pool after a day sightseeing.
Over the coming weeks, I will post some more in depth posts on the activities we did with the children whilst we were away, so look out for them if you are thinking of visiting Thailand with children soon. Despite us being ill whilst we were away, Thailand was a lovely place and really showed the boys a different culture. Even I learnt a thing or two. I mean you don’t have seats reserved for Monks on the London underground do you?
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