Travelling with kids? Take advice from the experts… the parents who actually do it regularly.
Meet Tania, who I lived with in Japan and have caught up with in Sydney, London, New York and Bangkok, where she has been living for nearly nine years. I’ve always loved Tania’s way of dealing with her two kids and constant plane travel—she’s never had to chase her restless children up and down the aisles. Read her reason why below.
1. How do you find living in Bangkok?
We love living in Bangkok. The chaos can actually be invigorating. You feel that you can accomplish anything here. If you can’t do it in Bangkok, you won’t be able to do it anywhere. The kids were born here, so everything that we adults find quirky is quite the norm to them. We have a lovely lifestyle where we can afford to eat out often (as long as it’s Thai food). The shopping in Bangkok is fantastic and if we feel the desire to escape, the beaches are only 2 hours away.
2. What are your top five things to do there with the kids?
The heat dictates a lot of the things that we do with the kids. As far as their favourite places go, these include:
– Siam Water Park (sorta dodgy old place, but the water slides are great. There is also a theme park with other rides too. The kids are in heaven!
– Ancient Siam, loads of temples from all over Thailand reconstructed in this park. They are not miniature so the kids get to climb and play over everything. You can tour the park by car, bicycle or in a Golf Cart which cools things off a bit.
– The Science & Technology Museum in Ekkamai. This place is run down too, but the kids don’t notice. They get to touch and play with everything. There is also a dinosaur exhibition that they enjoy.
– Funarium. The kids love it here and we go when it is super hot outside. It is a huge indoor soft play area that includes slides. There is a basketball court as well as an indoor bike track. There is also an art room. Anything kids are into is catered for.
– Any of the parks. Rama 9 Park is closest to our place. They can have a good run around. The centre lake has foot paddle boats that they love going on.
3. Some places a more kid-friendly than others. How would you rate Bangkok?
Bangkok is SUPER kid friendly in so many respects, but hopelessly BAD in others. Restaurants, shops etc will dote over children and any naughtiness or noise is totally and unconditionally accepted. This is also the case in ALL 5 star hotels. The Thai absolutely love children and the younger the better. But the things that we are so used to at home are what make it difficult here. Footpaths are nonexistent making it very dangerous to walk the streets anywhere. Powerlines, obstacles at home or out are always exposed and dangerous. You have to be on your guard at all times. There are no strict safety requirements here. Don’t expect them and watch your kids. It is this part of the place that adds to the chaos, and also is part of what make the place what it is.
4. You travel a lot. Any advice for travelling with kids?
Mmmm. Everybody is so different in this respect. I choose to travel at night when I can. I’m very strict. When my kids were little I wouldn’t let them touch the floor of the aircraft. There was no following them up and down the aisle all night! Mine are always excited to be at their destination so don’t need sleep once we’ve arrived, and if they get some sleep on the plane, they make it through the next day. If it is a day flight, I stock up on activities like drawing/colouring, stickers, DS’s also come along. I also take a surprise ‘something’ along that they haven’t seen before. That keeps them entertained quite well. Mine are getting older now (6 & 5), now they understand what travel is about. They sit in their chairs well and utilise all of the activities that they have with them.
5. What’s the one travel essential?
SNACKS! Sometimes they just can’t wait for the meal and the moaning is not worth it if you can take a few things with you. I usually have to remember to leave it all on the plane though so I don’t get into strife taking food items through when I’m not supposed to!