The Chatuchak district of Bangkok holds a number of attractions for families. Here’s a list of 5 great places that will each keep you and your kids engaged and entertained for a good part of the day.
You’ll have trouble keeping up with your kids here as they explore all the interactive displays and activities. Centring around a ‘discovery learning process’, everything in the museum encourages a hands-on, educational experience. In the Build Our City section, for example, kids learn about construction and urban planning while building a city building out of blocks. In the Dino Detective Park, kids pretend to be archeologists in a large outdoor digging site while learning more about dinosaur species. The playground is a highlight, with a huge treehouse-style climbing structure as well as a water play park with fountains, water jets and sprays (bring swimwear!).
The Museum of Contemporary Art houses a brilliant collection of contemporary art from a Thai perspective as well as western pieces. Spread over five stories, art-lovers will be able to spend hours exploring the rich and colourful history of contemporary art on display. While young children may not understand the complexity of artistic concepts, they will appreciate the wide-open spaces, colourful imagery and relaxed atmosphere. There are group tours available by appointment. The ground floor also features a book shop that sells a beautiful selection of art and art history books, a museum shop and a coffee shop.
3. Or Tor Kor Market
Appealing to foodies of all ages, Or Tor Kor Market is a wonderful fresh food market, ranking among the best in the world. While prices tend to be higher than most local wet markets, it is well worth a detour to pick up some of the best food available in Thailand, including unusual vegetables and fruits; premium meat, poultry and seafood; and delicious Thai sweets and candies. You can also pick up traditional Thai household items such as stone mortars and hand woven baskets. The wide aisles are well lit and clean, making for a easy excursion with kids. The opening hours are 6am to 8pm daily; take the MRT subway to Kamphaeng Phet station. Take exit number three and the market is right there.
4. Three Parks: Chatuchak Park, Suan Wachira Benchathat Park (Rot Fai) and Queen Sirikit Park
Take your pick of three wonderful parks, each with their own distinguishing features. Chatuchak Park, sometimes called ‘Exercise Park’, is a long, thin park sandwiched between Kamphaeng Phet Road and Suan Wachira Benchathat and Queen Sirikit Parks. It’s extremely popular with fitness buffs who take advantage of the permanent circuit track featuring different isometric exercises. The large lake in the middle offers paddle-boat rentals, which, of course, always appeal to kids.
Cross Chatuchak Park and you’ll get to Suan Wachira Benchathat Park (Rot Fai) and Queen Sirikit Park; both offer a greater amount of open space. Suan Rot Fai has bicycles for hire, some with baby seats. Boat rentals are also available. Two playgrounds with sandy flooring offer a variety of climbing and play equipment. The walk-in tent of the on-site Butterfly Garden allows kids to get up and close with these wondrous insects. In contrast, Queen Sirikit Park is quieter and strictly for pedestrians only. It features a variety of gardens, including the Lotus and Water Lily Yard, Banana Tree Garden, and Hibiscus Yard. A food market called ‘JJ Green’ has taken over one of its car parks, which has become popular with hungry park patrons seeking refreshments.
Chatuchak Weekend Market (or Jatujak Market) is one of the world’s largest flea markets, covering 27 sections and containing more than 15,000 booths. Goods range from religious amulets, books and collectibles, to home décor, fashion, furniture, ceramic, art, handicrafts, books, food and animals. Almost anything can be found here. It’s not for everyone but certain sections are more child-friendly than others. Check out the fish market across from the entrance of the Children’s Discovery Museum; seemingly open all the time, this section sells a variety of tropical fish, including Siamese fighting fish (betta fish), goldfish and carp; small amphibians such as turtles and salamanders; and more exotic species such as freshwater stingray.