Unfortunately, Bangkok is not an amazing utopia of activities for young children. Families replace minivans and SUVs for a pile on to traffic-beating Vespas, and car seats and seatbelts in the back of taxis are pretty much nonexistent. But with some smart planning, older children will find Thailand to be as enchanting as their parents will. Since there aren’t a lot of kid-specific activities, we’ve rustled up five family-friendly options ranging from the educational to the athletic that will pique everyone’s interest.
If your teen is itching to get back to the hotel’s Wi-Fi, an afternoon of surf lessons at Flow House or a painless history lesson on a bike tour will have them smiling. If you have little ones, the Siam Ocean World is the perfect spot to hideout from an afternoon rainstorm, and the Barge Museum and Grand Palace are fun spots to discover the rich Thai history. If you know where to look, Bangkok has something for everyone.
Siam Ocean World
This impressive oceanarium is home to a large collection of aquatic creatures, and a walk though the clear tunnel in the main tank will give you a close encounter with sharks and stingrays. Adult tickets are 1,750 Baht and children (3 to 11) are 1,350 Baht, but check online for discount offers.
Smack in the middle of bustling Bangkok, you’ll find a simulated surfing machine where you can catch a few waves. Instructors are available to help newbie surfers and wave crashers successfully master the FlowRider. Admission is free and rides are 750 Baht an hour. Reservations are recommended on the weekend.
Kids will love running around the former home of Thailand’s royalty and letting their fairytale dreams of kings and queens play out. Parents will enjoy watching them try to stifle giggles as serious-faced Thai military personnel preform the changing of the guard every two hours.
Royal Barge Museum
Young boating enthusiasts will enjoy this large collection of active ceremonial barges used by the Thai royals. The highlight here is the king’s personal barge, Golden Swan, which leads the procession to the temples in October or November to present the monks with new robes. Don’t let the strange 100 Baht (around $3) fee to take photos discourage you.
Take a Bike Tour
Grasshopper Adventures offers full- and half-day scenic tours that are easy on the lungs and legs. Guides on the half-day tours cover historic Bangkok during the day and will show you the temples at night. Kid size bikes, tag-alongs, and child seats are available, and adult tickets will run you $36.