Planning your next family holiday in Thailand and not sure whether to add in a stop in Bangkok? I hope that in this blog post you’ll find out why Bangkok needs to be on your Thailand itinerary. We share all of our tips, the best things to do in the city as well as our top places to stay and eat to keep the whole family happy.
Family holiday in Thailand – Should we stop in Bangkok?
Bangkok is somewhere we have spent a lot of time whilst travelling. We actually lived here for a period back in 2016 before we had children. Since then, we have revisited twice as a family. It is such a vibrant and amazing city with so much to do. You could have a new experience every time you travel to Bangkok with or without kids. Furthermore, once you arrive in Bangkok you can get a low-cost airline flight, pretty much anywhere.
Currency: Thai Bhat (THB)
Time difference: +7 hours of UK
Flight time: London to Bangkok is around 12 hours direct, indirect takes around 14 hours plus depending on a stopover
British Embassy: (+66 2 305 8333; https://www.gov.uk/world/organisations/british-embassy-bangkok), AIA Sathorn Tower, Floor 12 A 11/1 S Sathorn Rd.
Emergency services: Tourist Police – 1155, Police (General Emergency Call) – 191, Ambulance – 1554, Fire – 199
Important local laws in Bangkok
Visiting Bangkok as a tourist is extremely safe, the rate of crime is low and violence is very low, especially towards tourists. The Thai nationals have always felt very welcoming and friendly every time we have visited. The most common thing to keep an eye out for just like any big city with a huge population is petty theft and pickpocketing. There are a couple of local laws to be aware of (some are quite extreme, but it is worth noting)
- Drug laws in Thailand are strict and can result in the death penalty so never buy, use or transport drugs during your stay.
- Disrespecting the royal family – Any kind of offence to defame, insult, threaten or defile any image including stepping on or defacing the Thai Bhat can result in imprisonment.
- Drinking alcohol is very relaxed in Bangkok but it is illegal in the following places – Temples or places of worship, Petrol stations, Public parks.
- Under Thai law, it is illegal to drive whilst not wearing a t-shirt/shirt.
Best months for a family holiday in Thailand – Bangkok
Bangkok has a year-round tropical climate that is warm and prone to rain. Consequently, the best months to visit Bangkok are between November and February which is the cool season. Average temperatures are 28⁰C, and these are the driest months to visit making sightseeing a lot more comfortable. On the other hand, visiting from March to June can see temperatures with average highs of 34⁰C and the heat combined with the intense humidity can be quite a lot to handle.
What to pack
When travelling to Bangkok with kids the best way to travel is to pack light. So that means lots of cool and airy clothing to help not overheat in the hot weather.
comfortable shoes are a must for walking. However, Flip flops and sandals are the most common footwear. This is because of the shoe-off culture in Thailand.
If you are looking to explore and visit any temples or places of religion, you will need to be prepared to cover your shoulders and knees. Occasionally some places will offer robes and scarves to borrow but it is advisable to bring your own just in case they aren’t available.
We were advised against taking a pram/stroller to Bangkok. The pavements can be quite crowded with vendors and the paving is not very stable. However, we decided to actually take ours and didn’t regret it. I did decide to take a carrier but It was a little too humid for me and got a bit sticky. So we opted for the travel pram most of the time.
Things to do with children in Bangkok
If you are travelling to Bangkok with kids then you will want to check out all the family-friendly things to do in the city.
1. Temple of the Emerald Buddha
Regarded as the most sacred Buddhist temple in Thailand. Due to its belief, the Emerald Buddha sits and watches over the Thai nation. The complex consists of a number of buildings within the grounds of the Grand Palace. Open to tourists when it is not being used for sacred ceremonies.
2. Wat Pho (the Temple of the Reclining Buddha)
Located just behind the temple of the Emerald Buddha, Wat Pho is a must-visit for any travellers to Bangkok. The Reclining Buddha is the main attraction standing (Or laying to be correct) at fifteen metres tall and forty-six metres long the whole statue is covered in gold leaf. As you enter, you will find 108 bowls that represent the 108 positive actions the Buddha completed on his way to becoming perfect, you can buy coins for the bowls.
3. Grand Palace
The Grand Palace is a multitude of spectacular buildings in the heart of Bangkok. It is probably the most famous tourist destination as it was once the official residence of the Kings of Siam. A visit to the palace can take hours because there is just so much to see. Be aware of potential scams when outside the palace and only pay the entrance fee when you are actually going in.
4. Chatuchak Market
If you want an authentic market experience then look no further. Inside the Chatuchak market, you will find over 8000 stalls covering 27 acres of space this is one of the largest markets in the world. Open only on Saturdays and Sundays it attracts nearly 200,000 visitors a day. You will find everything you can think of for sale here and mostly at local prices, it is certainly worth picking up a map before you go to avoid you being lost in the market for hours.
5. Chao Phraya River River Cruise
The Chao Phraya River flows through Bangkok and out to the Gulf of Thailand. There are lots of little canals that feed off of it. So taking a boat trip down the river is a great experience for everyone. You will get to see all the different views of Bangkok from its high rise apartments and hotels to the wooden shacks and children playing in the water. There are lots of options for boat trips from the ferry that stops allowing you to hop on and off to private boats.
6. Jump in a Tuk Tuk
I highly recommend you grab a Tuk Tuk in Bangkok, just hold on tight! Bangkok has the traditional Tuk Tuk that you have probably seen in movies and photos. In my experience, everywhere else we travel to in Thailand they all seem to be more like trucks with open backs. Consequently, if you want to have a real experience then this is the place so make sure you go on one!
7. BTS Sky Train
If you want a cheap fun activity for your travel in Bangkok for the kids, just ride the BTS Skytrain. It is one of the most popular ways to get around Bangkok, nice cold air-conditioned carriages. The high train line feels like you are flying around downtown Bangkok on its elevated tracks. Roman absolutely loved watching out the window and looking at all the sites.
8. Sea Life Bangkok, Ocean World
Sea Life Bangkok Ocean World is an aquarium in Bangkok, similar to the ones we have in the UK. It is the largest aquarium in South East Asia covering approximately 10,000 square meters. They have hundreds of different species of fish and other animals on display. Located inside the Siam Paragon shopping mall, its a great way to cool off from the daytime heat.
Where to eat in Bangkok
This is my favourite section; Thai food is one of my favourite cuisines and yes there are hundreds of restaurants I could talk about here. Firstly, street food must take centre stage. At first, it can seem a little intimidating. You need to be prepared to try most things until you find your favourite bites. Additionally, street food in Bangkok provides convenient, delicious and cheap meals. It’s one of the best ways to immerse yourself in the local culture. The most popular places for street food are Sukhumvit Soi 38 and Chinatown. Some of the most popular choices include –
- Som tam (ส้มตำ) – Papaya salad
- Khao pad (ข้าวผัด) – Fried Rice
- Pad thai kung (ผัดไทยกุ้ง) – Noodles with shrimp
- Khao mun gai (ข้าวมันไก่) – Steamed chicken on rice
- Gai/Moo bing (ไก่/หมูปิ้ง) – Grilled chicken/pork skewers
- Pad krapao moo (ผัดกระเพราหมู) – Stir-fried pork with basil
- Pla pao (ปลาเผา) – Fish barbecued in salt
Bangkok also has some amazing restaurants if you are looking for a more sit down table service. Some of our favourites are
Jacks Bar – A rustic looking restaurant/bar right on the river. The atmosphere is relaxed and fun and the food is amazing! this is great for any little ones in tow, Roman spent ages just watching all the boats go past.
Paste – A Michelin-starred Thai Restaurant, it is considered to be one of Bangkok’s best restaurants. A fusion of age-old customs and contemporary
How to get around Bangkok
There are lots of options for travelling around Bangkok. There are also lots of fun choices if you are travelling with kids too. Firstly the BTS train connection that goes straight into the city. Then you have Tuk Tuks, these are the most iconic ways to travel around the city. You can hail down a tuk-tuk on most streets or outside hotels and malls.
Finally, the most popular way is by taxi. You will see the amount of them straight away with their bright yellow, pink and green colours. If you take a taxi from the airport, head to the designated taxi area from the arrivals. The receptionist will ask for your destination and they will get you a metered taxi. A taxi to the city should cost between 250-400 Baht. In addition, you will need to pay 50 Baht for the meter fare. As well as any tolls you drive through (depending on how far into the city you are going). Just make sure you have some cash before getting into the Taxi to pay the tolls.
Bangkok also widely uses Uber or Grab. You can pick one up pretty much everywhere, they are cheap and reliable. Once you have an account you don’t have to make sure you have cash. It’s linked to your bank account and handles payments.
Family holiday in Thailand – The best family hotels in Bangkok
There are lots of accommodation options in Bangkok. From hotels and resorts to Air BNB properties. For a full guide on the best family-friendly hotels in Thailand check out our blog post – Spotlight family-friendly hotels in Thailand you need to book
Novotel Silom Road
We have stayed in a few different hotels in different parts of the city. On our last trip, we chose to stay at Novotel Silom Road. It is located right in the heart of the city, within walking distance of lots of places to visit. It is also within walking distance of two BTS stations. The hotel itself was very comfortable and great for anyone looking to travel to Bangkok with kids like us. They have lots of amenities for children like a rooftop pool with a children’s shallow end. A dedicated play area with toys and books inside the hotel bar (also a winner for mum and dad).
Offers its guests a prestigious retreat from the crazy city whilst being close to all the main attractions. Just minutes from the local BTS station, Anantara is a great base for exploring Bangkok. Children can enjoy the kids club, large pool, and outside play equipment. Children can even look forward to a range of children’s toiletries and bedtime milk and cookies. Family rooms are available as well as joining rooms for larger families.