Bangkok with children – part 3

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Siam Centre shrine 3While Thewet is probably the most kid-friendly part of Bangkok, and Banglampu has the best family-friendly budget accommodation, we also had fun staying off Sukumvit Road and exploring the downtown attractions with Tash on our last visit to Bangkok in January 2009.

We stayed at the Federal Hotel in Sukumvit Soi 11, which has been around forever – or at least since the 1960s – where Roo and I had stayed long before Tash came along. It’s nothing fancy, but it’s good value and in a great location. The pool is pleasant, though you’ll want to turn a blind eye to the pink-skinned men breakfasting poolside  on Singha beer from about 10am.

Staying near Sukumvit and surrounds puts you near the Skytrain and Subway, both of which are great for getting around, although be warned that the many stairs make it a hard slog for little legs and pace yourself accordingly.

Snow WhiteThe Siam Skytrain station is the jumping off point for Siam Square, home of our favourite ‘old school’ coffee shop, the New Light; and the Siam Paragon shopping complex, which houses Siam Ocean World in its basement, the largest aquarium in the southern hemisphere. Ocean World is not cheap but, as described here, it’s an entertaining way to spend an afternoon with kids; the food court on the ground floor is good value, too. And there’s usually something kid-friendly going on around Siam Square: in our case it was a Snow White-themed Christmas display (best not to think too hard about it).

Both the Skytrain and Subway will take you to nearby Lumpini Park, which is about as kid-friendly as it gets in downtown Bangkok. The park has several kids play areas side-by-side: as the equipment is modernised, it seems that rather than replace what went before it, a new play area opens up. The park is Bangkok’s largest and a great place for picnics, Tai Chi, outdoor gym, and that rarest of commodities in the Thai capital, peace and quiet – if you’re not accompanied by a small child, that is.

Lumpini duck boat 2We hired a pedal boat shaped like a duck to cruise around the lake for 30 minutes or so. The pedalling was bloody hard work but worth it as the lake is brimming with wildlife. We saw fish, turtles, eels and monitor lizards so large we almost mistook them for crocodiles.

The best food find of our time in this part of Bangkok was the Rosabieng bar and restaurant at 3, Sukumvit Soi 11, just down from where we were staying. Rosabieng is the Thai word for the dining car on a train, and there’s one in the restaurant’s leafy garden, as well as a working model train in the air-conditioned interior. The Thai food is sensational, with an exciting selection of dishes. I could have eaten there every night. Tash was made to feel very welcome – she even managed to crash the birthday party of a group from the wonderful Mrs Balbir’s Indian restaurant one of the nights we were there.

Sukumvit also has the advantage of bookshops and department stores where you can stock up on toys for the plane, train and/or beach. Asia Books has a good selection of English language kids books and colouring books; there’s one at Siam Paragon, another at 221 Sukumvit Rd, just past Soi 15.

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One Response to “Bangkok with children – part 3”

  1. courtney Says:

    Thank you so much for this post! I learned alot! We are a family of 5, currently living in Okinawa, Japan. We are planning a trip to Bangkok mid-Feb. I really enjoyed reading your blog, thanks again for all the good info on traveling w/ kids!

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