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We knew that after India we wanted to spend some time in Southeast Asia and we left it up to Ella to decide where – Bangkok, Kuala Lumpur or Singapore. She researched them thoroughly and decided upon Bangkok. Both Ella and Gavin would have birthdays in India and in SEA and we knew we wanted to give them a few days at theme parks in one of these major centres. Paul and I hadn’t been to Bangkok since 2006 and love any opportunity to visit Thailand so were quite happy with Ella’s choice.
While we love the Thai beaches, Bangkok offers a great taste of Thailand. Also Read: Thailand Island Hopping tours (on your own) with lots of great itinerary ideas.
We had a red eye flight into Bangkok and had arranged to stay at a 2 bedroom apartment through Air Bnb. Traveling in North America as a family of 5 is easy with most hotel rooms having 2 double beds, but we find Europe and Asia to be a lot more challenging. Air Bnb apartments work out to being cheaper, give us way more space and allow us to save money by eating some of our meals in.
If you haven’t already signed up for Airbnb, use this link to receive $50 off your first stay.
If you are looking for a hotel, check out this guide for the best hotels in Bangkok.
It really was culture shock arriving in Thailand after India. Everything felt so orderly and clean! Thailand is known as a cheap destination, but Bangkok isn’t as cheap as it used to be. Read this post for some great ways to save money when travelling Thailand.
We arrived on Ella’s birthday and after catching up on some sleep, we celebrated with an amazing all-you-can-eat sushi feast at Oishi Grand in one of Bangkok’s swanky malls (Siam).
Highlights of Bangkok:
- Khao San Road – Paul and I had spent quite a lot of time in the KSR backpacker ghetto of Bangkok in 2006 and we were eager to take the kids and relive all our favourite places. It really is such a fun spot for tourist classics like street phad thai, banana rotis, and mango sticky rice. We of course treated ourselves to some $8 CAD massages and the kids even got to experience Thai massage.
- Kidzania – this is probably why Ella picked Bangkok because of this amazing theme park which consists of a mini city where kids get to try out real jobs. This place was super crowded when we first got there with a school group, but was much more enjoyable in the afternoon once the groups left. The kids had so much fun delivering courier packages in this mini city, reading the news for the TV station, fighting fires and catching criminals, making burgers at McDonalds, checking the telecommunications networks and learning how to fly a plane. Yes, the place is a marketers dream with all the major brands present, but it is such a fun place.
- Thai food – really this doesn’t need explaining, but of course being able to eat Thai food daily was a great break from the Indian diet we had been on and I really believe it is the tastiest food in the world. The kids ate some Thai but were also happy to be able to get Western food after all the curries they were forced to eat in India.
- Wats and the Major Sites – we wanted to show the kids some of the amazing architecture of Bangkok and the many wats (temples). This was achieved in a morning and we couldn’t bear to spend $100 CAD for our family to enter the Grand Palace (Paul and I had been there before). Sad that they charge the same admission price for foreigner adults and children, making it too expensive for a family to visit.
- Cruising the Chao Phraya River on the Public Ferries – such a great way to see the city and see real Thais going about their business.
- Wandering the Sparkling Thai Malls – we really didn’t need to buy anything (our bags were way too full already), but we enjoyed wandering the gleaming, modern buildings.
- Going to the Cinema – Bangkok has great cinemas at much cheaper prices and so we even got to enjoy a movie.
- Lumpini Park – a first for us. The kids loved trying out the outdoor exercise equipment and the lush green of the park and lake are a nice break from the city.
We had a great 5 days in Bangkok and it was a great buffer between our time in India and Australia.