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August 2016 we went to Thailand and had an amazing trip! We found an amazing deal via Skyscanner and decided to go for it! We were hesitant about the long flight (13 hours, layover, another 3.5) but the flight was one of the best we’ve been on! Milana was a champ. She did crafts for the first few hours, watched some shows, ate and then slept until it was time to land in Taipei. People around us are always amazed at how great of a traveler she is, and she definitely didn’t disappoint this time! This girl was made for traveling. We flew EVA airlines, which was great! The crew was great and the flight was smooth and comfortable. Would definitely use them again! The flight home was similar, Milana was wonderful and slept for a good portion of it.
We were also worried about adjusting to the 14 hour time change, but we slept on the plane (night flight) and landed in Bangkok at 2am. We got to our hotel by 4 am, went to bed for a few hours and woke up ready to go. All 3 of us adjusted the first day, with zero jet lag. It was totally not what I was expecting, but definitely a great start! Adjusting to the time zone back home is much harder than going there, so we are taking it one day at a time and slowly readjusting.
The food on the plane was actually decent, and they served a lot of it! Milana had a pre-ordered kids meal, so her meas came first. This is just some of them, but each flight had at least 2 meals served so there was a huge variety. And they handed out activity books for kids (puzzles, coloring, etc) on each flight, which was nice!
Our first Bangkok hotel was the Grande Centre Point Ratchadamri and it’s was great. Huge hotel (we were on the 32nd floor) and very modern and clean. Our room was a one bedroom suite with a living room, dining room, full kitchen with all appliances including washer/dryer and a separate bedroom with a king bed. However while the hotel was great, our second one was much better and in a much better location so I would stay there the entire time if we came back.
The hotel pool was huge and never crowded
Our second Bangkok hotel was the Pathumwan Princess hotel. It was one of the nicest hotels we have ever stayed at! It’s huge, very modern and connected to the giant MBK mall, so you can go to the mall without ever going outside. The staff is very friendly and the hotel is really kid friendly. Milana had her own bed with child bedding, they left a children’s toothbrush/toothpaste pack in our bathroom for her to use, as well as a huge basket of child friendly toiletries. Definitely a great spot if you are staying with kids! The staff was really nice to her as well, something you don’t see often in the US! Thai people actually enjoy children, and everywhere we went she’d get a smile and interaction from men and women. Here in the US, kids are often seen as a nuisance and strangers will give you the look of death if you dare bring your kids out in public. It was a nice change in Thailand, they really take the it takes a village mentality to a new level!
The mall had a self-serve Dunkin Donuts, which of course Milana had to try! Funny that Bangkok has DD all over, yet we just got our first one here in SoCal. And they served lots of teas, really good freshly brewed teas. I wish we had that here!
For months, Milana has been talking about the Hello Kitty House. That was on the top of her list of things to do in Bangkok! So on our first day, we walked over to Siam Square and made her dream come true. She was so excited! To see a video of the cafe, click here.
The food at the Hello Kitty House was really good, not to mention photo worthy!She liked it so much, she wanted to go every day. We compromised and went twice!
If you’ve been to Bangkok, you know the traffic is really bad! I don’t think we’ve ever been to a place with such bad traffic! It makes LA traffic seem non existent. The preferred method of transportation are scooters, and they are everywhere in the city!
However as tourists, we used Uber to go everywhere. It is so cheap here! When we got back from Koh Samui, we took Uber from the airport to Bangkok. The traffic was awful as always, and the ride was an hour and 20 minutes. It cost us $8.76 to get there! Most of our rides here in Bangkok were around 20 minutes long and under $2. Uber is the way to go! They have the train system too, but given how cheap Uber was, it wasn’t worth the hassle, especially with luggage and multiple train changes from the airport.
After the Hello Kitty House, we walked around Siam Paragon and Siam Discovery, two huge and very popular malls in Siam Square. Milana found this tuk tuk turned ice cream stand and of course had to have one!
Then, we went to Kidzania which is in Siam Paragon. Milana had a blast! She kept saying over and over again how fun it was. The premise is for kids to learn about different careers and work to earn money. Each activity has 4-8 kids and lasts around 20 minutes. The minimum age for most activities was 4. I was worried she’d be too young, but she had a blast! Parents aren’t allowed to participate, the kids are taken to the room without them so if you have a shy child this is probably not the place for them. Milana was a police woman, firefighter, doctor, vet, dentist, pilot-to name a few. She had so much fun! The kids earn Kidzania currency, which they can use to buy something from the store inside Kidzania. There were signs saying you can save the money and use it at another Kidzania, but I know people who tried and weren’t allowed to so not sure how true that is. After seeing how much fun she had, we will definitely go to the London one in March!
Malls are very popular in Bangkok. Both of our hotels were near the major ones. One of our favorites was CentralWorld, just down the street from our first hotel. On the 7th floor, there is an indoor playground for kids, a small arcade, a place where they can make things out of clay and a Toys R Us, among many other kid stores/activities.
Inside Central World, we had dinner at one of our favorite dumpling places, Din Tai Fung. We have one by our house in the US, however the wait times can be hours. Not here! We walked up around 6pm and were seated immediately.
A few blocks from our first hotel was Lumpini Park (aka lizard park because of the giant monitor lizards that roamed the park). It’s over 120 acres of parkland, in the middle of a busy city. It reminded us of Central Park in NYC. There are multiple playgrounds, water activities and biking/walking trails all over the park. Lots of huge lizards wandering around too! They are seriously the size of small crocodiles.
One day while Dave was out getting a tattoo, Milana and I took an Uber to the Funarium, which is an indoor playground. Downstairs is the climbing structure and bike track and upstairs the art studio. Of course, we spent lots of time in the art studio! To see a video of the bike track, click here.
Bangkok, like many Asian cities, is full of night markets serving lots of street food. We chose the Rod Fai market (aka Train market), about 20 minutes outside of the city. It’s huge, clean with lots of food options. I highly recommend it, especially if traveling with kids!
We also wandered around Khao San Road one day. I would honestly skip this part, just a bunch of shopping and restaurants. This is a popular area for backpackers, with many hostels and cheap accommodations all over.
The Grand Palace was at the top of our list of things to see and we loved it! Get here early (they open at 8:30) because it is the most visited landmark in Bangkok. The entrance fee is 500 Baht (about $15) and so worth it! Everyone who visits Bangkok should see this place.
After the palace, we headed to the Chatuchak Weekend Market, one of the largest markets in the world. There were so many vendors selling everything from toys and clothes to fabric and household goods, as well as a ton of food vendors. We liked it so much, we went back twice! Milana had a blast finding treasures and eating lots of yummy foods.
The orange juice was a huge hit! We got a large bottle to share, but she ended up drinking most of it.
She also loved the coconuts and popsicles, which were 5 Baht (around 14 cents).
And of course, shopping! This little girl loves to shop so this was pure heaven for her!
Right behind the weekend market is the Children’s Discovery Museum, which I heard has since closed! What an amazing place and it’s free to enter! There is a huge outdoor playground and splash pad outside, a huge library inside and of course tons of different hands on exhibits spanning several levels inside. They also had an art studio, and you can guess who enjoyed spending time there! The US can certainly learn from this. We do not have free anything that’s this impressive!
This area was a lot of fun. Each child had a taped off area and 20 minutes to build their own city. Lots of roads and buildings to choose from!
With all the malls in Bangkok, it seems each one has something fun for kids to do. The Gateway Ekkamai mall has Snow Town, a really cute indoor play area filled with artificial snow. And the best part? Apparently Thai people aren’t used to cold weather, so it’s kept at around 60 degrees, making it a very fun snow experience! Click here for a video from Snow Town.
Aside from the snow play area, this mall has lots of fun things for kids to do. There’s an arcade, clay modeling store where kids can make things out of clay, a play area and these ride on animals that Milana loves! We have them at our mall here in the US, however it was much cheaper in Bangkok (just over $1/ride).
On the way home, we flew through Taipei again. We had a 2 hour layover, so we headed to the Hello Kitty terminal. They had a store with all kinds of Hello Kitty things, a play area for kids and lots of pink decor all over! Taipei’s airport is one of our favorites. Each terminal has a theme and is decorated in that theme. If you find yourself here, check out the Hello Kitty terminal. It was so cute! And, this airport has some of the best airport food anywhere. No American chains (in our terminal at least), and lots of dim sum everywhere!
Bangkok is a wonderful city, with a lot of things to do! Here are some itinerary ideas if you only have one day to spend in Bangkok. We loved it so much and can’t wait to go back and explore other Asian countries. You can spend weeks here and not get bored! There are so many kid friendly activities here and the people are really friendly, making it a perfect destination with kids. And with beach destinations so close by, you can split the time between city and island (we chose Koh Samui) and have the perfect mix of beach and city. Another great option for families visiting Thailand is to split the time between Bangkok and Chiang Mai, a very family friendly city.