Hailed as the “Venice of the East”, Thailand’s boisterous Bangkok offers visiting families a chaotic but cool combination of fast-paced city life and ancient culture. It is a city for all the senses with dazzling lights, the fragrant scent of street food, sprawling shrines to consumerism, and the cacophonous honking and tooting of tricked-up tuk-tuks.
But with so much to see and do in Bangkok with kids, where do you start? Here are 39 things to do in Bangkok with kids to get you started exploring, each with its own unique Bangkok story to tell.
Best ways to get around Bangkok with kids
Getting around bustling Bangkok is half of its charm but beware of traffic snarls. Here are the best ways to enjoy the city in style.
1. Cruise the Chao Praya River
A cruise along the Chao Phraya River is a lovely way to let Bangkok’s mystique wash over you. River taxis, barges and ferries are readily available to the city’s many historic riverside sites and is one of the more relaxing ways of exploring with kids.
2. Take a Tuk Tuk
There’s no more exciting way for families to explore the city than in one of the city’s pimped-up tuk-tuks. The colourful and compact three wheelers are a Bangkok must.
3. Get on your bike
Explore Bangkok by bike with Grasshopper Adventures. Your knowledgeable local guide will have you winding your way through small traditional villages, past cultural treasures and on to secret spots you’d never discover any other way.
4. Ride the Skytrain
Bangkok’s traffic gridlock is notorious but getting around the city isn’t at all difficult as the city has clean, efficient public transport, including the awesome Skytrain and an underground rail network which connect the main business, entertainment and shopping areas.
5. Take on Bangkok with a Take Me Tour
Make life even easier with a Take Me Tour of Bangkok. A bit like Uber for Tour guides, visitors can select from a huge collection of day tours, designed and hosted by locals who’ll know exactly where to go and what to see and do to beat the crowds and see a different side of the city. Whether its a food, fun or culture you seek, there’ll be a tour to suits your crew at Take Me Tour.
Best Bangkok temples and palaces with kids
Bangkok’s many pretty temples are a unique part of the city’s heart and soul and are definitely worth visiting with kids.
6. Be bedazzled by the Grand Palace
A visit to the spectacular Grand Palace, home of the Thai King, will keep kids fascinated with its glittering golden roofs and epic statues of mind-boggling mythical creatures and giant monkey gods.
7. Kick back at Wat Pho
With their glittering statues of mind-boggling beasts, golden roofs and shimmering decorations, Bangkok’s more than 400 wats (or temples) are the city’s heart and soul. Wat Pho, known as The Temple of the Reclining Buddha, located alongside the dazzling Grand Palace, houses the largest collection of Buddha images in Thailand along with 91 spectacular chedis (stupas). You’ll also find an education centre said to be the birthplace of Thai massage where for just a few dollars you can get traditional massage that will leave you as relaxed as the serene 46-metre long golden Reclining Buddha that it is famous for.
8. Get reverential at Wat Phra Kae
Located inside the Grand Palace, the shimmering towers and golden buildings of Wat Phra Kaew enshrines one of Thailand’s most revered Buddha statues, carved from a single block of jade.
9. Ride the river to Wat Arun
With its 82-metre high centre tower, surrounded by four smaller towers, Wat Arun is one of the most beautiful, and famous, structures in Bangkok. The Buddhist temple, located on the Thonburi west bank of the Chao Phraya River, derives its name from the Hindu god Aruna and kids will love clambering up its pretty mosaic-covered steps.
10. Skip the crowds at Wat Mangkon Kamalawat
Chinatown’s Wat Mangkon Kamalawat is a great temple to visit, not only for its collection of beautiful Buddhist, Taoist and Confucian shrines, but for its smaller crowds and the colourful market strips surrounding the temple.
11. Solid gold offerings at Wat Traimit
Home to the world’s largest solid gold Buddha image, this temple is a great stop in the Chinatown area. Weighing five and a half tons, the Buddha image was hidden and forgotten under a plaster façade for centuries, only to be rediscovered when it was dropped while being relocated in 1955.
12. Play spot the celebrity at Wat Pariwat
The kids will love exploring these crazily colourful temples murals and mosaics. Amongst the dozens of deities and mythical creatures, they might spot Pinocchio, Mickey Mouse, Spiderman, Wolverine and Dobby the House Elf from Harry Potter amongst other pop culture figures. Inside the hall, on a golden altar holding the temple’s main Buddha image, you’ll also find a carved image of David Beckham in his Man U kit.
13. Soak up the views from Wat Saket
If the kids are up for the climb, Wat Saket, sits at the top of Phu Khao Thong (the Golden Mountain) and offers incredible views over Bangkok City.
Best Bangkok museums and galleries with kids
Bangkok’s many fine museums exhibit art and artefacts from the sublime to the bizarre.
14. Visit Jim Thompson’s House
This garden-enclosed patch of serenity is nestled quietly amongst the mayhem of Bangkok. The late Jim Thompson was an American architect and an avid collector of Asian objets d’art. This living museum is a collection of old teakwood houses from across Thailand that he purchased and reconstructed to create an elegant but whimsical residential complex that would showcase his love affair with Southeast Asian art and heritage.
15. Get arty at MOCA– Bangkok’s Museum of Contemporary Art
Lovers of the finer things should also make time to lose themselves in the comprehensive collection of modern painting and sculpture at MOCA. With more than 800 artworks spread over five storeys, the predominately Thai collection showcases the development of South Eastern Asian fine art that stretches from Ancient Buddhist mythology to modern Thai aesthetics.
16. Enjoy a guided tour through the Bangkok National Museum
One of the largest museums in Southeast Asia, The Bangkok National Museum houses the most significant collection of Thai art and historical artefacts in the country. Hire a tour guide so the kids can learn more about Thailand’s history and get the most from their visit.
17. Explore the unique Erawan Museum
One of the city’s most unusual museums is also one of its best for kids. The Erawan Museum, topped with a gigantic three headed elephant, houses a stunning private art collection in a building designed to represent the three-tiers of Thailand’s Theravada Buddhism: the underworld, the human world and the heavens.
18. Enjoy a night at the museum at The Siam Hotel
Ok, so technically this isn’t a museum, The Siam is actually a startlingly beautiful boutique hotel. But what makes the The Siam unique is a collection of artefacts that would do any museum justice. The hotel’s public areas are packed with stunning antiques and artworks, Chinese ceramic works, vintage books and curio collections. In fact, just about every corner of The Siam is packed with everything from millenia-old Thai pottery and wooden Buddha statues dating back to the 16th century to quirkier relics like old movie ticket stubs and vintage cameras. Even the rooms are dotted with collectibles. A stay at this place will bring all your “a night at the museum” fantasies to life.
Best Bangkok cultural experiences for kids
19. Get it Klong
Kids will love gliding through the pungent yet picturesque klongs (canals) and waterways that criss-cross the Thonburi side of the river on a rua hang yao (long tail boat, decorated with garlands of flowers. The canals lead to shimmering Thai temples and busy markets where you can witness local life as it happens amongst the traditional wooden houses that sit on stilts over the water.
20. Enjoy a little Broadway inspired biff at Muay Thai Live: The Legend Lives
Get your kicks at Muay Thai Live: The Legend Lives, a fun introduction to the martial art of kickboxing. The stage show celebrates the history and legends of Muay Thai. But while you’ll certainly witness some impressive Muay Thai Moves from the performers – all retired Muay Thai fighters – it’s more Broadway than biff!
21. Muay Thai Kickboxing
Older kids might enjoy a ringside seat among the braying fans at a Muay Thai Kickboxing match at Ratchadamnoen or Lumpini Stadium. But be warned, it’s probably not for the faint of heart as things can get a little rough.
Best Bangkok markets and department stores
If hunting for bargains gives you a rush, Bangkok will leave your head-spinning.
22. Cruise into Bangkok’s floating market
Damnoen Saduak is a famous floating market held every day till noon. Take to the water in a long-tail boat as a driver paddles between hundreds of boats selling fresh produce, souvenirs and delicious Thai food. The market is located about 100-kilometres from Downtown, but the journey is more than worth it.
23. Barter the day away at Chatuchak weekend market
For those who’d like hone their bartering skills, The Chatuchak weekend market, with its maze of more than 15,000 stalls, is the mother of all markets with everything from handicrafts and high fashion to furniture and fluffy dogs.
24. Stop to smell the roses at Pak Khlong Talat
Take a tuk-tuk through the streets of Bangkok to Chak Phet Road and its adjacent side-streets to Pak Khlong Talat, one of the world’s largest flower markets. This incredible market sells not only flowers, but fruits and vegetables and is such a riot of colour, fragrance and authentic local life that it is absolutely unmissable for families seeking a little cultural immersion.
25. Shop until you drop at MBK Center
If shopping makes your heart sing, with its dozens of mega-department stores, the MBK Center will leave it crooning like Sinatra. With eight storeys, the centre contains around 2,000 shops, restaurants and service outlets, as well as an entertainment complex with cinemas, bowling, karaoke and a games arcade.
26. Shop, stop and play at Siam Paragon
Kids bored with shopping in Bangkok ? Then take them to Siam Paragon. While you shop for Jimmy Choos they can explore Sea Life Ocean World, one of Southeast Asia’s biggest aquariums, and the ever-popular Kidzania, a faux town where kids can live out their “when I grow up” dreams and no parents are allowed. There is also an Imax theatre, bowling and a stack of great International restaurants.
Best Bangkok dining with kids
One of the world’s undisputed foodie capitals of the world, Bangkok’s back alleys and vast semi-outdoor markets team with food vendors serving up the distinctive flavours of Thailand. But what may surprise some visitors is the burgeoning café scene.
27. Taste Thai street food at Talad Rodfai Ratchada
This colourful night bazaar is packed with stalls selling knickknacks and Thai street food, including delicious seafood, noodles and traditional Thai desserts at the low prices one would expect from a night market. Eating safely from market vendors comes down to a mix of common sense and choosing vendors where the food looks fresh, locals are lining up and the food turnover is high. Click here for more tips on safe street food.
28. Ride and dine at Asiatique, Riverside Night Food Market
The views at this open-air market-style shopping mall and the awesome selection of eateries along the riverside boardwalk are enough of a reason to visit, but it is the enormous Ferris wheel that make it a must for family dining.
29. Pull up a plastic chair to dine on Chinese treats in Yaowarat Road
This famous street cuts through the heart of Chinatown and is the heart of Bangkok’s Chinese community. Foodie families will want to trawl its length for some of the city’s best and cheapest Chinese delicacies. Pull up a plastic chair and tuck in at a roadside noodle stall or hit up the evening street food vendors for delectable treats.
30. Ghibli Galore at May’s Garden House
Fans of Studio Ghibli films will love this Totoro-themed café where the dishes on the menu has been inspired by the Ghibli films.
31. Cake and coffee at Oneday Wallflower
The Old Town area is home to pretty Oneday Wallflower, where pretty cakes and artisan coffees are as photogenic as the surroundings. Kids will love exploring the nooks and crannies of this part cafe, part florist, with its rustic spiral staircase and delightful jumble of trinkets and flowers.
32. Dip into the Mermaid Castle Cafe (Siam Square)
Your little mermaids will be in heaven as they explore this shrine to all things mermaid. Shop for sparkly mermaid fashion and collectibles on the first two floors before heading to level three to fill up on Mermaid cupcakes at the café.
33. Ride a rainbow into the Unicorn Café at Sathorn
Escape the reality of city life into an explosion of unicorns and rainbows! This super cute café will have littlies in conniptions with its unicorn wallpaper and carpet, pastel-hued furniture and unicorns scattered literally everywhere. Don a Unicorn onesie and then dine on the rainbow-hued menu!
34. Kawaii time at Sanrio Hello Kitty House Bangkok
When too much Kitty is never enough, take your cuties to Sanrio Hello Kitty House Bangkok for Hello Kitty themed food, drinks, homewares and toys.
35. Tasty tech at I Robot
What kid is going to say no to lunch with a robot? Hajime Robot Restaurant, is a barbecue buffet in Bangkok where you’ll be served food by real robots, guaranteeing you laughs with your lunch!
36. Barge in with the Manohra Dinner Cruise
Departing from the incredible, kid-friendly Anantara Riverside Resort, families can enjoy a cool evening with a dinner cruise at sunset on a beautifully restored antique rice barge. Relax in luxury as you sail past the illuminated landmarks of the city while dining on local delicacies. It has to be one of the most scenic dining settings in Bangkok.
37. A Thai twist on High Tea at The Peninsula
There’s nothing more decadent than afternoon tea at the Peninsula. Kids will love delving into the towers of tiny cakes and tasty treats, and we thoroughly recommend trying the Thai twist on the traditional high tea that adds local ingredients and tastes to the usual high tea offerings.
Best Bangkok cooking schools with kids
When in Bangkok do as the locals do and learn to cook the local cuisine with the kids.
38. Learn from the best at The Siam Thai Cooking
One of the best ways for kids to get to know the food of Thailand is by attending a cooking class to learn a few fundamentals and some of the history of Thai cuisine. Stunning boutique hotel, The Siam, runs bespoke cooking classes for kids and families under the tutelage of enthusiastic and creative Chef Damri, who has helmed some of Thailand’s top restaurants.
39. Cooking with Poo in Klong Toey
Kids will get a giggle, as well as new kitchen skills, out of a lesson at Cooking with Poo & Friends, a cooking school in the Klong Toey slum, run by the world renowned Khun Poo. More than just a place to learn to cook, Khun Poo offers employment and support to others, so they too can start their own business.