With its array of glittering temples, history-filled museums and picturesque parks, there’s no shortage of things to do with the kids around Pranakorn. Here are five top sights worth checking out.
1. Museum Siam
Set within a large neoclassical house in the former Ministry of Commerce building, this elegant museum on Sanamchai Road brings a contemporary twist to the story of Thailand’s ancient history and traditions. Spanning thousands of years, the museum’s movie screens tell the tale of everything from life in Ayutthaya right up to modern Thai TV shows. The display of Thai toys, 1960s-themed ‘Bangkok Cafe’ and a street vendor that snaps your photo while you pretend to cook also promises to keep kids entertained. Note: The main building of Museum Siam (with “The Account of Thailand” exhibit) is closed for renovations, from April 18, 2016 onwards (opening date TBD) but patrons are still welcome to visit the temporary exhibits (free of charge), cafe, and grounds.
2. Wat Saket (Golden Mountain)
Wat Saket dates back to the Ayutthaya period during the reign of King Rama I, making it one of Bangkok’s oldest temples. But the temple is most famous for the Golden Mountain – a man-made hill topped by a glittering golden chedi that’s said to enshrine the relics of the Buddha. The journey to the top involves a 318-step climb with flower gardens, prayer bells and a few welcome benches along the way. Once you reach the summit, panoramic views of Bangkok provide a photo-worthy reward for all that leg work.
This Victorian-era green space is just a few meters from the Grand Palace and Wat Po and was originally built as a royal residence during the reign of Rama IV. Today, visitors can find sanctuary among its leafy gardens, pretty fountains and charming pavilions. The park also houses a Chinese pavilion and traditional Thai houses, and kids can feed the fish in the garden pond. If you’ve spent the morning jostling with sightseers at the nearby temples, Saranrom Park will prove a welcome retreat from the crowds.
4. Rattanakosin Exhibition Hall
Opened in 2010, this sprawling museum is one of the city’s newest and offers an immersive 21st-century retelling of two hundred years of Bangkok history. Interactive displays offer an insight into the design of royal palaces and temples, a 360-degree theater brings to life traditional entertainment, and little ones can learn khon (Thai masked dance) gestures and have a go at manoeuvring small puppets. All exhibits are displayed in Thai and English, and there are 2 different tours, each lasting 2+ hours.
Situated within an art deco building on Ratchadamnoen Road, the new Bangkok City Library is now the city’s largest with a 4,880-sqm reading space spread out across three sprawling floors. Along with 41,000 Thai and foreign language books, there’s also an on-site cafe, exhibition area and interactive learning playroom with books and media for kids. There’s no entry fee, but if wish to borrow books you’ll need to pay a small yearly membership fee of THB25 for adults and THB 5 to 15 for children.
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