Thailand is a colourful, tastefully proud and complex society. And, we love it!
Our adventure round the world brought us to Thailand, a colourful and vibrant monarchy that still embraces democracy while being fiercely patriotic to their King. It is a land that offers the perfect blend of tradition and modernism. The Thai people are closely linked to Buddhist teachings and are non-confrontational and very hospitable in nature.
Bangkok – Thai capital home to over 10 million people and the longest official name according to Guinness Book of World Records
Busy Bangkok welcomed us with open arms. A truly vibrant city, the new Bangkok isn’t very different from downtown Toronto. However, although the new Bangkok has its share of western modernism with shopping malls and concrete skyscrapers, we enjoyed the old Bangkok which has retained its traditional core reflecting the spiritualism of this bustling city. We just loved the street markets.
You’ll find everything from Thai fast food to ‘genuine’ brand items from around the world, all at an amazingly discounted price. Trust me, 100 Baht can go a long way when you’re shopping on the road.
Birthday celebration fit for a king
His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej and I share the same birthday on December 5th so our timing was perfect! For a little pampering, I opted for a wonderfully royal one hour Thai massage – amazing!
The perfect evening ended with a delicious dinner on Khao San Road in the company of my favourite two people – Natasza and Niko. Thankfully, we didn’t get a cab back to the hotel so we ended up walking along the street, gazing up at the thousands of balloon lanterns that lit up the night sky.
Some of our most memorable Bangkok adventures
When you travel with kids, every experience seems memorable! However, here are some noteworthy ones that I will look back on with a smile.
Khao San Road
We saw a palm reader on Khao San Road in old Bangkok and were quite happy to find that Natasza had some good fortune coming her way. How exciting!
Boat ride on the River
As the Chao Phraya River runs through Bangkok, the boat ride is just amazing. For a few Baht, you’ll get an awesome view of the city from a completely different angle. Skip those expensive private tours and take a public transport boat like we did. Live like a local!
Tuk Tuk Ride
When in Bangkok, you just have to ride the Tuk Tuk. It’s cheap and so much fun especially when you travel with children. You might even get a free ride as market vendors often offer to pay your fare if you buy something from their store.
We enjoyed temple hopping and visiting the Grand Palace and Wat Prakeaw Arun by the riverside. Did you know that there are over 400 temples in Bangkok?
One aspect that really stood out was the fact that Thais absolutely love their King and the royal birthday celebrations were truly unforgettable.
Amazing Thai street food
How can we forget Thai food! Both on the street and in up-scale restaurants, the cuisine is delicious but be careful where you decide to eat. Niko loved the chicken satee! Although we skipped the Floating market, we enjoyed a visit to the Royal National Art Museum.
Bangkok with kids can be lots of fun!
When you travel with kids it’s important to keep them occupied and happy! Although a lot of the local attractions were closed due to the floods, Niko still enjoyed the boat trip and the splunge in the hotel pool. Too bad Bangkok lacks kids playgrounds except for a large one in Lumphini Park. If you’re heading to Bangkok, you’ll want to check out the Siam Ocean World and the Butterfly Garden.
Our family travel tips for Bangkok:
A couple of tips to keep in mind especially when you travel with kids would be
- to avoid tap water
- be careful while crossing the busy roads
- carry mosquito repellent
- remember to dress appropriately when visiting the royal grounds
- it would be wise not to discuss politics or make any negative statements related to the King unless of course you want to spend some quality time in jail!
- One area of frustration was that Bangkok was not very stroller-friendly, so flex those muscles.
Bangkok was everything we expected and a little more. From a culture steeped in both tradition and modernism, we enjoyed every aspect of this South East Asian city.