An annual event in Thailand, National Children’s Day (“Wan Dek”) is celebrated on the second Saturday in January, which falls on January 10th this year. It is historically a time to celebrate kids, recognizing their role in the development of the country. These days, it’s also about fun. Below are our top 7 Children’s Day activities in Bangkok.
1. Visit the seat of government.
Many government offices are open to children and their families, including the Parliament House complex and Government House, both in the Dusit district. In the latter, children can take a tour of the famed Venetian Gothic building and have their picture taken in the office of the Prime Minister.
2. See aircrafts of the Royal Thai Air Force.
Traditionally, military compounds also open their doors to children and their families. The Royal Thai Air Force, for example, celebrates Children’s Day at their Don Muang Air Base and museum. Here, kids can get up close with various aircraft and watch impressive aerial demonstrations, from around 7am to 3pm.
3. Play, discover and learn.
The Children’s Discovery Museum on the grounds of the Queen Sirikit Park in Chatuchak officially re-opens this Children’s Day, with free admission for all. Covering two buildings, the exhibits encourage learning through interactive activities in various subject zones. Also, you’ll find that most (if not all) museums feature free admission and special activities for kids on Children’s Day, including one of our favourites: Museum Siam.
4. Tap into kids’ creativity.
The Bangkok Art and Culture Centre (BACC) in Pathumwan hosts “Dek-Art@bacc 2015: Wonderful Journey Children Day’s” on Saturday, January 10, from 10.30am to 6pm. Here, children can join a creative paper workshop, cupcake decorating, graffiti trials and clay animal making, among other activities. Kids can also be part of a giant coloured sand painting and watch various shows throughout the day, including plays, a classical music performance by the Bangkok Symphony Music School, mime performances, short films and animations.
5. Go to the zoo.
Bangkok’s Dusit Zoo is another popular venue on National Children’s Day, with free admission for kids and special activities, such as games, a mascot parade and animal shows. Other parks under the Thai Zoological Park Organization, including Khao Kheow Open Zoo, also organize their own special Wan Dek activities.
6. Embark on a “treasure” hunt.
Check out all things vintage, retro and hip at the Made by Legacy flea market in the parking lot of the Hua Lamphong rail station, from 3pm until midnight, on January 10 and 11. In celebration of Children’s Day, stalls will feature old school toys and classic action hero figures, among other things.
7. Hit the malls.
Most Bangkok shopping centres also organize their own Children’s Day activities, usually involving stage shows, games, giveaways and discounts on children’s products. Circle Ratchapruk, for example, presents a Kids’ Fun Park with a magic show, mascots and musical performances from January 11 to 12. MEGA Bangna launches Mega Kids World, a prehistoric-themed land where kids can adventure among dinosaurs, from January 10 to 11. Siam Paragon always hosts an impressive themed celebration; this year, from January 9 to 11, the theme is all about Pikachu from the Pokémon franchise.
Tips: On Children’s Day, the MRT and BTS give free rides to children under 140 cm in height and aged below 14 years. Also, venues tend to get very crowded and loud, and may not be ideal for babies and toddlers.