The Best Free Places For Kids in Bangkok
Published on: December 08, 2020
Planning weekend activities for the family can often be a chore. With the help of the Bangkok Dads online community, Carl Heaton has compiled a list to save you the research and help keep your little balls of energy happily entertained according to their age.
By Carl Heaton; Photos by Yeng Acelar Photography
Thursday arrives and you think about how close the weekend is. Then the dread sets in! ‘What can we do this weekend?’ Or it’s the Friday before your paycheck and you scramble for something interesting, age-appropriate, and cheap for you and the family.
This is where the BKK Dads group can help and guess what one of the hot topics is? Activities!! Amongst our members, dads are often seen as the family’s entertainment center, so we asked them for their ideas and experiences for the best places to take the kids in Bangkok for free (or at least very cheap)!
Museums, Markets & Libraries
Children’s Discovery Museum
So many options here with the water play area, dino bone digging, arts & crafts, massive play structure, etc. Not everything is free, but there is plenty you don’t have to pay for and to enjoy as you want.
More information: facebook.com/bkkchildrensmuseum
Ages: Toddlers and up as it can be busy and bustling so younger kids would feel a little intimidated with the bigger ones bouncing around.
Chatuchak Weekend Market
Hot, sticky, loud, smelly, strange and super fun! This market will not only swallow a day whole like a toddler munching a box of Pocky, but it’s a great way to teach your kids about all the things the world has to offer. From kittens to coconut ice cream, from toys to bubble tea, this is an entire Sat or Sunday well freely spent.
More information: chatuchakmarket.org
Ages: Older kids will love it but toddlers can get tired and ratty if you stay too long. Babies are also not suited to how busy, dusty and hot it can get.
Chang Chui Market
Make sure you take a camera as there are tonnes of things to see and photograph here.
Here your kids will get to experience Bangkok’s creativity at its finest from taxidermy to abandoned planes. It’s a bizarre and fun day out with plenty to eat and enjoy after you walk around.
More information: changchuibangkok.com
Ages: I’d say older kids mainly as they will enjoy the bizarre creativity. Younger kids will also love it but you may avoid some of the scarier taxidermy stuff.
Neilson Hays Library
For many, the NHL has been a hidden gem of Bangkok. Now being a daddy, I highly recommend losing a lazy afternoon around their 20,000 books! The area is easy to get to, the environment and staff are friendly, and seeing our kids buried in a book rather than screens is a good free* day out any day.
*The library asks for a donation of 100 baht for non-members on entry.
More information: neilsonhayslibrary.org
Ages: Any age as babies will be with parents in a nice atmosphere and older kids will enjoy picture books; schoolers will be happy too with so many book choices.
Parks are always a wonderful place to head when the temperature is getting colder. Often they are surrounded by cheap local food, and with a few simple activities, the day can nicely disappear.
Be sure to pack lots of water, suncream, simple activities, and spare change for some ice creams for the walk back to the car or MRT.
Lumpini Park – fresh(ish) air with lots to do and see
Super easy to get to and very accessible with a stroller. We tend to play “spot the…” as there are tonnes of things to entertain younger kids. If it’s a hot day, you can always head into the children’s library, or there are plenty of lovely trees and benches to hang out near.
“If you have older kids or teens, then I recommend doing a photo contest around the park. You’d be amazed how much they get into it” – BKK Dad member.
Ages: Newborn and upwards, it’s fun for all age groups up to preschool. For older kids, we recommend taking a frisbee, ball, etc or it gets boring quickly for them.
Bang Krachao – a forest within a city
I always knew this place as the “Bangkok Lungs” and every time we go there, it’s always fun. They don’t have many bikes for younger kids, and the narrow paths are quite tricky so best to go with older kids.
Age: Best for kids who can ride a bike with confidence; for younger families, there are many markets to keep them entertained.
Butterfly Garden and Insectarium
The fact that this hidden gem is located in the huge park close to Chatuchak Weekend Market means you can pop in here when you need to cool down and chill out after a visit to the market. Hundreds of butterflies roaming around is always a lovely sight for young minds. For older kids, there is a nice playground just opposite.
More information: museumthailand.com/Bangkok-Butterfly-Garden-and-Insectarium
Ages: Toddlers love this! Older kids will like the atmosphere, and babies will love the smells and atmosphere too.
There are lots of options here for paid activities but what they do have is a really awesome free “play space” in the center of the mall—lovely, bright atmosphere with lots of options for all ages.
More information: facebook.com/bambinivilla
Ages: all ages, big, small, medium, tiny and tall.
If you love dogs, fish, and strange giraffe sculptures, this is a fun place for all the family. There is a free sandpit that my son loves. He would literally stay there all day if we let him. It’s a dog-friendly mall, so kids can enjoy dog-watching, ranging from small dogs to Huskies.
More information: facebook.com/CentralFestivalEastVille
Ages: All ages, just be sure they’re not scared of dogs and try out the indoor train if you can.
Hidden trains of Bangkok
Makkasan repair yard is a bit of an eccentric place but if your kids currently love trains, and they are old enough not to hurt themselves if they wander off, then I do recommend a quick visit. You can find it below the Airport Rail Link, between Makkasan and Ratchaprarop stations. Sunday is an excellent day to do this as the market nearby offers tonnes of food and drink options.
Ages: I’d recommend five and over; otherwise you really need to keep an eye on them!
Flower market in the Old Town
Another great place for a lazy Sunday. The kids get to experience everything from flowers to fruit, and the hours will disappear as you walk around. For us, it was the full sensory experience that made it fun. We put together a nice bunch of flowers to give to Grandma, and both me and my son got some serious brownie points!
Ages: All ages
PTT Reforestation Project (Green in the City)
The perfect place to teach your kid(s) about plants in a safe and fun environment. They can run around and the view from the tower is a nice little cherry on top of this day out. It’s a lovely chilled time for parents to grab a breath of fresh air while the kids learn about the environment. Win-win right there, dear parents!
More information: www.pttreforestation.com
Ages: Can confidently say all (but do take a baby carrier so you can easily walk around).
About the Author
Carl is a proud dad and founder of BangkokDads.com, a group set up to support dads here in Bangkok.
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