With its famous temples, bargain-filled marketplaces, historical neighbourhoods and charming riverside restaurants, it’s easy to fill a day along Bangkok’s Chao Phraya River. Here are 5 recommendations for kid-friendly activities in the area.
1. Visit the Royal Barge Museum
Situated on the Thonburi side of the river, the Royal Barge Museum houses eight of Thailand’s most stunning royal barges, including Suphannahong, HM the King’s personal vessel. Each boat is ornately carved from teak, gilded with gold and studded with dazzling jewels and mirrors, while mythical creatures have been carved at the prow. The museum is open every day and entrance is just 10 baht per person.
2. Take a ferry ride across the river
Across from one another on opposite sides of the river, Wat Pho and Wat Arun are two of Bangkok’s most iconic sights and popular tourist attractions. And the cross-river boat trip that takes you between the temples is a fun little trip in its own right. Ferries depart frequently from Tha Thien Pier outside Wat Pho from 6am to 8pm. The journey takes around 5 minutes and tickets are just 3 baht per person.
3. Explore Pak Klong Talad
Close to the Grand Palace and Wat Pho, this huge flower market is a wonderful place to wander and explore with kids. You’ll see an exotic array of domestic flowers including orchids, roses, chrysanthemum and jasmine, along with imported varieties such as snapdragons, delphinium and tulips. Flowers are incredibly inexpensive in Thailand at the best of times, but the wholesale prices at Pak Klong Talad mean they’re an absolute bargain.
4. Have lunch at the Mandarin Oriental
For a swish lunchtime destination, grabbing a table at the Mandarin Oriental takes some beating. Treat yourself to afternoon tea in the colonial surroundings of the Author’s Lounge. Or to really lap up those riverside views, take the hotel’s boat across the river to their Thai restaurant, and enjoy a tempting buffet of classic dishes. Kids can feed the fish as well as enjoy watching the endless tourist boats, barges and long tailed boats along the water.
5. Check out Tah Maharaj
Billed as a new ‘open-air shopping and lifestyle market’, Tah Maharaj is a community mall that offers the chance to shop, socialise, dine out and catch live entertainment by the banks of the river. The mall’s ground floor is home to cafes, art galleries and over 50 outdoor restaurants and shops, while the separate decking area overlooking the river is used for small concerts and special events. Kids will love the bustling environment, as well as the fountain area up front (bring them an extra change of clothes!).