Bangkok with mother and child


3 generationsThis time last week, I was anxiously watching developments in the border dispute between Thailand and Cambodia for the most selfish of reasons: Tash and I were due to fly to Bangkok to meet up with my mum. If hostilities worsened, worst-case scenario, our flight would be cancelled. Or we’d make it to Bangkok and get stranded (I packed extra underwear just in case).

In the end, the Thais and Cambodians kindly desisted in declaring war against each other and Tash and I were able to make the journey.

It was actually the second time Mum and I had been in Bangkok together. Twenty-three years ago, we stopped off our way home from Europe and stayed with our friends the Paola family. Prior to that, I’d spent eight months living in Europe and left convinced I was a European trapped in the body of an Australian. But then we hit Bangkok and I was blown away. It was my first experience of Asia — the one that started it all — and like any first love, the city will always hold a special place in my heart.

Ocean World 6 tash reflectionI wanted to take Mum — whom Tash calls Gugga — around Bangkok and show her why I love this magical city. But she doesn’t cope well with the heat, plus we had an active nearly three-year-old in tow. What to do?

We opted for a visit to The Jim Thompson House. In 23 years of visiting Bangkok, and 18 months living there in 1997-98, I’d never previously made it to this exquisite museum. Beautiful, traditional wooden Thai houses filled with treasures in a lush tropical garden. Dining room with garden views from every window. Sarn prapum (spirit house) in the northeast corner, the one point where the house doesn’t cast a shadow. The tour was a bit much for Tash but the garden kept her entertained, especially the pond containing a freshwater stingray one metre in diameter, and a couple of Jurassic-looking alligator fish.

Ocean World 13 sharksNext stop via the Skytrain was the Siam Paragon Centre for lunch in the Food Court, where tables surround tanks full of tropical fish. Great for preoccupying kids of Tash’s age, and the food’s not bad either. I couldn’t help smiling as Tash tucked into the mee noodles and won ton soup I fed her with chopsticks while the nearest Thai kid hoed into his French fries.

Siam Ocean World was a tip-off from our friend Kath and turned out to be the perfect place to take a bored nearly three-year-old and a heat sensitive mother. I’m not sure how ecologically sound the place is — surely there’s unintended irony in lamenting the impact of global warming on coral reefs from an airconditioned aquarium in the basement of a six-story shopping mall in downtown Bangkok — but we had a ball.

Ocean World 3 Ang Tash eelsWe thought Tash would be most impressed with the sharks, which are pretty damn impressive: you walk through a tunnel in the shark tank, so the sharks, stingrays and other fish swim around and over you. But her favourites were the Moray Eels (like Flotsam and Jetsam, familiars of the sea witch Ursula in ‘The Little Mermaid’) — particularly watching the little blue ‘cleaner fish’ dive into the eels’ mouths only to re-emerge unscathed minutes later.

My favourite: the tiny sea angels. Mum’s favourite: any fish wearing purple — and there were many.

Elvis & Tash 2Tash also greatly enjoyed the kitsch floorshow out front featuring maraca shaking mermaids in sequins dancing with stuffed versions of the star attractions: sharks, water rats (or where they otters?), penguins, and any creature featured in the movie ‘Finding Nemo’.

Another highlight of the trip was the Elvis impersonator at the Tivoli Coffee Lounge in the lobby of the Asia Hotel where we were staying. I can’t help falling in love with a showman who welcomed being upstaged by a singing, dancing nearly three-year-old.

But by far the best thing about last weekend in Bangkok was hanging out with my mother and child.


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7 Responses to “Bangkok with mother and child”

  1. Thai and Thailand » Blog Archive » Bangkok with mother and child Says:

    […] Original post: Bangkok with mother and child […]

  2. angelasavage Says:

    At 850 baht per adult and 650 baht for children taller than 80cm and shorter than 120cm (go figure!), a visit to Siam Ocean World is not cheap. But you do get value for money: we spent 2 1/2 hours there and could easily have stayed longer.

  3. sooz Says:

    I seem to recall another trip with OM in BKK – the one where she missed her flight and I fell down a drain. 1993 I think? At teh glorious A1 inn…ah the memories. Glad you had a good time!

  4. angelasavage Says:

    You are absolutely right, Sooz. I stand corrected: this was the third time Mum and I had been together in Bangkok. In fact, Mum even reminisced about you falling down the drain during our recent reunion. Somehow I’d managed to wipe it from my memory. I guess you can count on me to remember only your more glorious moments 🙂

  5. Vanessa Says:

    Hi Ange,

    What a great post! I found myself reminisicing – had to laugh out loud (LOL) at the thought of the Elvis impersonator at the Asia Hotel – I can imagine. Good times.


  6. khim Says:


    Just curious – what are you now ? A Thai or a Cambodian trapped in an Aussie body ?


  7. Helen Morgan Says:

    I must hear more about this drain incident!

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