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How to have fun in Bangkok while travelling with young children

4 min read

Bangkok is widely perceived as an adults’ playground, due to its booming nightlife, terrific shopping, elite spa scene and magnificent temples.

But over the past decade, while living in the Thai capital on and off, I’ve watched it evolve to become far more amenable to travelling families.

Granted, it still suffers from the traffic, pollution and crowds associated with being a gargantuan city of 12 million people. But my wife, four-year-old son and I have found plenty to do on recent visits. Here are a few of our favourites.

Indoor play centres galore

When I moved to Bangkok in 2013, friends bemoaned the city’s lack of indoor play centres where their children could shed energy, sheltered from Thailand’s sweltering heat.

Yet now I can take my boy to more than 20 such centres, including several that are far larger than any in our home city of Perth, Australia.

HarborLand alone has 14 branches across Bangkok, each charging between 390 baht ($11) and 684 baht for two-and-a-half hours.

These modern, air-conditioned play centres brim with slides, swings, climbing frames, zip lines, ball pits, go karts, basketball courts and rollerblading rinks.

All venues have a cafe for adults who are supervising, tight security and are based inside malls, which means one parent can go shopping, get a massage or have a meal while the other watches their child.

There are branches in the city’s most popular malls, including Iconsiam, EmQuartier, Gateway Ekamai, Central Rama 9 and Mega Bangna.

At EmQuartier, our boy bounced on trampolines, swung from ropes, played indoor soccer and tried a digital Ninja game.

But he still raves about Mega HarborLand in Future Park Rangsit Mall, which covers 6,500 square metres and includes a massive playground, trampoline park, roller rink, inflatable world, mini race track and digital interactive playground.

Elsewhere, in another tourist shopping district of Central World, is Playmondo. This indoor centre, which has a second branch at Central EastVille mall, blends slides, trampolines and climbing walls with games and interactive exhibits that encourage learning.

Following a similar template is Kidzoona, with branches at Gateway Ekamai and Mega Bangna.

A family-friendly resort by the river

Many of Bangkok’s finest hotels have surprisingly limited facilities and space for children.

Parents who have holidayed overseas with their children will know the biggest challenge often is not ensuring they’re entertained during day trips, but preventing them from getting bored at your hotel.

This is why families will enjoy Anantara Riverside, a sprawling, resort-style property on the western bank of the Chao Phraya River.

This five-star resort has vast gardens and a huge swimming pool, and regularly hosts traditional music concerts, cooking classes, kickboxing lessons, dance exhibitions, river boat cruises and a daily monk ceremony.

Children can also play with toys and watch cartoons at Anantara Riverside’s supervised Chiang Noi Kids Club, while parents sneak away for a massage or healing therapy at the luxurious Anantara Spa.

Room rates start from about 11,000 baht a night for family suites, which are roomy, at 46 square metres, with king and queen beds, a Nespresso machine and a Nintendo Wii video game system. The rate includes a daily buffet breakfast.

Theme parks

In northern Bangkok there are two large theme parks – Dream World and Siam Amazing Park.

My son was delighted by Dream World’s water park, which is perfect for children aged two to 12 and shaped like a giant playground in the middle of a pool.

I was hot on my son’s tail as he splashed about, before his mum took over supervising and I went to try Dream World’s more grown-up attractions.

While children will cherish the water park, animal zone and indoor snow simulator, parents can get an adrenalin rush from the sky coaster, hurricane roller coaster, haunted house and Alien invasion experience.

Dream World tickets start from 244 baht up to 977 baht for unlimited access to all rides.

Siam Amazing Park, meanwhile, offers a similarly appealing array of child-friendly attractions, thrill rides and a water park. Its unlimited rides tickets cost 977 baht for adults and 879 baht for children under 130cm tall.

Trampolines and picnics

A squeal pierced our hotel room when my son learnt there was a branch of Bounce trampoline centre in Bangkok, something he’s familiar with from back home. It perfectly matches his ceaseless energy and daredevil attitude.

He had a deliriously fun time at the Thai capital’s venue, which is on the fourth floor of ritzy EmQuartier mall.

This spacious centre has more than a dozen trampolines, which range in elasticity to suit everyone from adults to toddlers.

My son shot hoops at its two basketball rings, watched bigger boys scaling its free running wall and made daring leaps from a trampoline on to the soft landing area of a huge inflatable bag. A two-hour session costs 508 baht.

For fresh air, meanwhile, visit Bangkok’s biggest park, Lumpini.

Sandwiched between tourist districts Silom, Sukhumvit and Siam, this shady green space has walking trails, lush lawns for picnics and a large outdoor playground.

Visit in the early morning or evening for the most pleasant weather.

Updated: February 29, 2024, 7:01 AM

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