Having lived in Bangkok for a couple of years now, I can tell you authoritatively that the city is an amazing place to visit for families. Yes, wild, chaotic Bangkok, has a plethora of activities that all members of the family will enjoy. Even with toddlers, a trip to Bangkok has much to offer.
Below is my list of top activities for visiting Bangkok with toddlers. A couple of factors went into deciding what activities to include on this list.
First is convenience and safety for families with toddlers. There are a number of tourist attractions around Bangkok that are great for adults and older kids but could be challenging for those with small children.
Second, most of the items on this list are unique to Bangkok. They offer a sense of place and opportunities to immerse yourself in Thai culture.
Third, I sought to include a healthy number of indoor, air-conditioned options. Bangkok can be a challenging climate for anyone, especially small children. Consider the indoor options below when planning activities in the afternoon, the hottest time of the day.
With that, let’s jump into the list!
1) Wat Pho
Wat Pho is my top pick for the most toddler-friendly temple in Bangkok. The temple is most famous for its massive reclining Buddha statue, which stretches 46 meters long and 15 meters high. Walk around it to enjoy the tranquil ambiance of one of Thailand’s holiest sites.
Other things to see at Wat Pho include the elaborate ordination hall (which features a centuries-old bronze-gold Buddha statue) and the massive stupas to the early Chakri kings.
And good news for families with toddlers, there are well-maintained bathrooms situated around the temple! This is something I would not take for granted when visiting Thai temples.
One thing to be aware of, there is no air-conditioning in any of the buildings at the temple. I would therefore recommend going early in the morning before it gets too hot.
Also, take note of the dress code. Like all temples in Thailand, shoulders and knees must be covered.
The entrance to the temple is on Sanam Chai Road. Tickets for adults are 300 Thai Baht, while children under 120 cm are free. The temple is open every day from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm.
2) Museum Siam
Around the corner from Wat Pho is Museum Siam, one of my all-time favorite museums. Museum Siam traces the roots of modern Thai culture. It is chock-full of interactive multimedia exhibits that will fascinate young children.
Notable exhibits include:
- “Only in Thailand,” which embraces the quirkiness of modern Thai culture,
- the “Living Kitchen,” which tells the story of Thai cuisine,
- and “Thai traditions,” a room filled with boxes holding a range of traditional festival props and clothing your toddler can feel and explore.
You can also have your picture taken in traditional Thai dress at the photo studio next to the “Thai Traditions” exhibit.
It’s not a very big museum. It is manageable for young ones with short attention spans.
Siam Museum is located at No. 4, Sanam Chai Road. The cost to enter the museum is 50 Thai Baht for children up to 15 and 100 Thai Baht for adults. Hours are 10:00 am to 6:00 pm Tuesdays through Sundays (closed on Mondays).
3) Jim Thompson House
Jim Thompson was an American businessman famed for his role in helping to revitalize the Thai silk industry after World War II. His home, a traditional wooden Thai house off the Saen Saep Canal, is now a museum housing his collection of Southeast Asian art.
Like Museum Siam, the Jim Thompson House is not very big. Between the fascinating history, the great exhibits, and top-notch facilities, it is a great stop for families with toddlers.
Also onsite is a small café (with Thai-tea flavored ice cream), a restaurant, and of course, a Jim Thompson store where you can buy authentic Thai silks.
Jim Thompson House is located at 6 Kasem San 2 Alley, Wang Mai, Pathum Wan. To access the home, you must join one of the guided tours (which run frequently). The cost to join a tour is 200 Baht for adults and free for children under 10. The House is open from 10:00 am to 6:00 pm.
4) Benchasiri Park
Likely the most well-manicured park in Bangkok, Benchasiri is another great stop for families. It has two large playgrounds for kids, well-paved paths, and multiple stands selling ice cream and beverages. At its center is a pond, which during the Loy Krathong festival in November is covered with floating lanterns (Krathongs).
The park is well shaded and there’s generally a nice breeze off the pond. Still, if it gets too warm, you can drop into the newly opened EmSphere shopping mall connected to the park. The mall hosts two Gordon Ramsay restaurants and outlets from a number of Bangkok’s best-known restaurateurs, making it a great stop for hungry families at the end of the day.
Benchasiri is on Sukhumvit, right next to the Phrom Phong BTS station. There is no entrance fee.
5) Children’s Discovery Museum
Not far from Chatuchak market, the Children’s Discovery Museum is loaded with fun activities for toddlers. In addition to an array of interactive science exhibits, there is also a large outdoor play area and a huge wading pool with sprinklers.
If you visit, be sure to check out the top floors of the Thor Tawan building, which has a massive area where children can play with blocks and toy models. My kids spent hours up there the last time we visited.
Note that some of the exhibits in the museum are only in Thai. Many are interactive, however, and the lack of English explanations won’t diminish the experience for a toddler.
The museum is located at Queen Sirikit Park, Kamphaeng Phet 2 Rd., Khet Chatuchak Bangkok 10900. It is free to enter, though you may be asked to show your passport. Hours are 10:00 am to 4:00 pm Tuesday through Sunday.
6) Sea Life Bangkok Ocean World
I admit that when I first visited Sea Life with my kids, my expectations were tempered. In Southeast Asia, you never really know what a zoo or aquarium experience will be like. This, however, turned out to be one of the best aquariums I have ever been to.
Located in the Siam Paragon shopping mall, Sea Life features a massive shark tank (complete with an underwater tunnel), a penguin exhibit, and a rainforest add-on. They also even just added a new VR experience with moving seats and headsets.
The only real drawback is the price. At peak hours, tickets for adults are 1,190 Baht, while children 3-11 are 990 Baht. You can purchase tickets online or at the ticket stands when you enter. Note that if you buy tickets on site, you may have to buy a bundle package which will include entrance to other nearby attractions.
You can buy both a single ticket to Sea Life and bundled tickets online, so definitely recommend buying online so you don’t end up paying extra for places you may not visit.
Perhaps because of the climate, indoor playgrounds are a staple weekend activity for families in SE Asia. Few places, however, have such massive indoor playgrounds as Bangkok. If you are tired of traipsing around town under the heat with your toddler, take a break and head to one.
Our family’s favorite is HarborLand, which has a few outlets around Bangkok. We most often go to the HarborLand at Ekamai Gateway in the Sukhumvit area. This one has a sizeable area carved off just for toddlers, with two or three employees standing watch there at most times.
Another HarborLand recently opened up at EmQuartier, also in the Sukhumvit area. This one appears to be more targeted to smaller children than the Ekamai outlet.
Each of the outlets has a nice café where parents can take a break while the children go crazy.
Prices are 520 Baht per child and 190 Baht per parent. This allows for 2.5 hours of playtime. Note that you will likely have to buy the Harborland-brand non-slip stocks when you visit, but you can reuse them if you ever go back.
8) Central World
If you are in Bangkok for more than a few days, it is likely you will be spending at least one afternoon at a mall. If so, then I recommend Central World, the largest shopping mall in Bangkok. Any brand you could want is there. It even houses one of the very few Apple stores in Southeast Asia.
Often there will be special activities going on for children, such as the recently closed “World of Studio Ghibli” installation. There is also a Playmondo indoor playground in the mall.
Of course, you will not lack food options at Central World. It offers pretty much any cuisine you can imagine. There’s even a Cheesecake Factory…..
If you are looking for a place to do some souvenir shopping, or pick up a few items you forgot to pack, or just while away an afternoon away from the heat, Central World is a great option.
Now, you may be asking why the Grand Palace, Chatuchak Market, Wat Arun, or any number of other top Bangkok attractions are not on this list. You can visit all of these places with a toddler. And if this is your first trip to Bangkok and you’re unlikely to return anytime in the future, you should absolutely see the Grand Palace and possibly other places.
Do be aware though, visiting many of these locations often involves long periods out under the sun and dense crowds of people. Some of these places will not have good bathroom facilities, and air-conditioning may or may not be present.
All that said, I (like many other families) have hauled my kids to the Grand Palace. I can safely say that I enjoyed it more than they did, but it was still important to me that they experience it. If you do take a toddler to these places, my advice would be to go first thing in the morning, when the temperature is cooler and before things get too crowded.
I would also recommend finding a tour guide. Guides can help you skip the lines and point you in the right direction when you need to buy a bottle of water or find a bathroom where you can change a diaper. A good guide will make your visit much less stressful.
So with that, I hope you are excited to visit Bangkok. With a little bit of planning and some luck, you can have an amazing time here with your toddler!
Guest Author: Jonathon Kent is the founder of Artifacts, a travel blog dedicated to the exploration of art and culture. Jonathon has been writing about travel and art since 2021, covering everything from Venetian painting to Khmer sculpture. He currently lives in Bangkok with his wife and two young kids.