Golden Buddhas, colorful temples, sublime shopping and vibrant neighbourhoods—Thailand’s capital city, Bangkok, has enough sights and activities to keep a family happily occupied for weeks! Though my husband and I recently had just three days to explore the city with our children, Rowan,10, and Margaret, eight.
Luckily, the luxurious Four Seasons Hotel Bangkok—complete with spa and babysitting services—is located just steps away from the Skytrain’s Ratchadamri and Chit Lom stations, and kid-friendly tourist attractions, such as Siam Ocean World and the Siam Paragon shopping mall. When you’re not splashing in Four Seasons’ divine outdoor pool or savouring the best brunch in Bangkok, be sure to check out these attractions:
1. Siam Ocean World
Take a glass-bottom boat tour, watch a shark feeding and a 5D movie, and get your feet cleaned by nibbling cleaner fish at this world-class aquarium in Siam Paragon shopping mall. Our kids loved the playful penguins and otters, too. Buy your ticket online to save 20 percent and consider the combo deal: includes Madame Tussaud’s Bangkok, where kids can get their photo snapped with Justin Bieber and Michael Jackson’s wax doppelgängers.
2. The Songkran Water Festival, AKA Thai New Year
If you’re traveling to Bangkok between April 13 and 16, your kids will be delighted to join the world’s biggest water fight. (We missed it, boo!) A time of symbolic cleansing, gratitude and renewal, Thais and tourists alike have taken the holiday to a fun new level by dousing each other with water guns and buckets of water. Four Seasons Hotel Bangkok is honoring the festival with special blessing ceremonies performed by Buddhist monks, plus a special, three-night Songkran package that includes daily breakfast and a “Songkran Survival Kit.”
3. Chao Phraya Express Boat & The Skytrain
Getting around in Bangkok is cheap, fun and scenic, thanks to these transportation options. Rowan and Margaret felt right at home in the elevated Skytrain, with its amazing view of the city. Wending down the Chao Phraya river, which bisects the city, is a tourist experience in itself.
4. Wat Pho Buddhist Temple
Our kids were amazed by the 150-ft (46-m) long golden Reclining Buddha and enjoyed plunking alms into the 108 bronze bowls representing the auspicious characters of the Buddha. Outside, the colorful, sparkling stupas, statues and temples amazed. Get one of the best Thai massages in Bangkok at the open-air Traditional Medical Practitioners Association Center within the temple. While you’re in the area, visit the nearby Rattanakosin Exhibition Hall, a vibrant, multimedia museum about the grand Rattanakosin era.
5. Baipai Thai Cooking School
Noodle around with the kids for a half-day as you learn to cook traditional Thai dishes with fresh, fragrant ingredients. Your budding chefs will love whipping up Pad Thai, satay, papaya salad and coconut desserts. A Little Something is another cooking school specifically geared for children and families.
If the weather’s not cooperating, don’t despair. This popular indoor playground features a two-storey play structure, slides, trampoline, bicycle rink, puddle pool and sand pit. It’s a great alternative if your kids are getting “templed out.” (We were traveling for six months, so this happened often!)
7. Lumpini Park
Paddleboat around the lake, watch locals doing Tai Chi and wander well-groomed paths in this busy park. Your children will really go wild for the large water monitor lizards, though! About three feet (one meter) in length on average, the park’s lizards like to sunbathe on the lawn and swim in the water, when they’re not gulping down fish whole.
8. The Museum of Floral Culture
Artistic children aged seven to 14 years of age will appreciate the opportunity to fashion a traditional Thai floral arrangement, such as a Krathong floral floater, out of local blooms. They’ll also get a private tour of the world’s first (and prettiest) floral museum.
9. Dusit Zoo
With tapirs, tigers, pandas, elephants and oodles of other winged, furry and slithery creatures on display, this zoo is bound to please. Take the tram within the zoo to rest tired little feet and bring snacks.
10. A Four Seasons Bubble Bath
While there are endless things to do in Bangkok, don’t forget to relax and take the time to savour your Four Seasons Bangkok suite. Rowan and Margaret adored the tub in our room and I’ll admit that my husband and I were pretty partial to it, too! “ขอขอบคุณ (Kor-Kob-Khun)”—that’s “thank you” in Thai—Four Seasons!
Read more on Bangkok in Four Seasons Magazine.
Read our “Concierge Recommendations” for Bangkok in Four Seasons Magazine.
Lisa Murphy is a Toronto, Ontario (Canada)-based digital media strategist who visited 47 cities in six months with two kids, and lived to tell the tale at www.familyonthefly.ca.
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