Frankly, if the kids didn’t want to go Kidzania Bangkok so badly, I may have skipped Bangkok altogether and headed to Khao Yai from Pattaya directly. But the kids wanted to go Kidzania Bangkok. And the husband wanted to shop. Yes, the husband. Not me okay? What use do I have for shopping? I’m a stay-home mom who wears the same t-shirt and shorts every other day.
So I planned a short 3-days Bangkok stopover mid-trip with the intention of visiting Kidzania Bangkok and whatever I could find nearby that could keep the kids entertained. And to let the husband shop. I actually told him he could go shopping the whole day while I brought the kids to Kidzania. But eventually he came along to Kidzania – and then said he didn’t shop enough. And that next time we’re in Bangkok again, we need to spend more time shopping. And I’m thinking, sure…. if we didn’t have the kids with us the next time.
So how do you spend 3 days in Bangkok with two boys who do not like shopping? Let’s begin.
Bangkok City Centre
When looking for a hotel in Bangkok city centre, we initially looked only at hotels near Siam BTS station, which was where most of the places we wanted to visit were located. So our choices boiled down to either Siam Kempinski Hotel or Hotel Novotel Bangkok on Siam Square.
Usually in our travels, we stay in a range of accommodation from luxury to mid-range to budget, just to keep to a reasonable vacation budget while still pampering ourselves. I was very keen to stay at Siam Kempinski Hotel, which both Life’s Tiny Miracles and Growing with the Tans highly recommended. I loved the fact that it was directly connected to Siam Paragon where Kidzania Bangkok and Sea Life Bangkok Ocean World were located. Plus it had a Kids Club with drop-off service.
However we already had a luxury resort stay at Sea Sand Sun Resort Pattaya earlier in the trip, so we decided to look at mid-range hotels in Bangkok this time round.
In the mid-range, we broadened our search radius to given ourselves more options. Besides Hotel Novotel Bangkok on Siam Square, we also considered Holiday Inn Bangkok and Grande Centre Point Ratchadamri which were in the same price range.
In the end we went for Grande Centre Point Ratchadamri, recommended by A Million Little Echoes, because:
1) It was cheapest among the 3 for our dates.
2) It had an in-house playground and kids playroom (though no drop-off service).
3) It had a washer-dryer in the room.
If the 3 points above (budget, playground and washing machine) are important to you, then Grande Centre Point Ratchadamri would definitely suit your needs.
But for us, there were moments during our trip where I did regret booking Grande Centre Point Ratchadamri, but it was largely due to unfortunately circumstances involving the hubby getting food poisoning (NO, he didn’t get the food poisoning from the hotel, let me be clear so the hotel doesn’t accuse me of slander. But the hotel was less than helpful when he was down with food poisoning).
Anyway after the 3 days we were there, we concluded that we should have prioritised location over having a playground or washing machine when visiting Bangkok. And since we had no business in Ratchaprasong, we should have stayed nearer to Siam station.
From Grande Centre Point Ratchadamri, it was a 1km walk to Siam BTS station. Which was manageable – considering that’s like the distance from our home to the boys’ schools and we pretty much walk that distance to and fro every weekday.
But still, both my husband and I concluded that the SGD20+ per night savings (based on the rates for our dates) we got from staying at Grande Centre Point Ratchadamri versus Hotel Novotel Bangkok on Siam Square was not worth it. Of course, this was all theoretical considering we have never stayed at Hotel Novotel Bangkok on Siam Square before. Maybe if we had stayed there before and something pissed us off, we wouldn’t come to this conclusion. But just based on the location, given a choice again, we would choose Hotel Novotel Bangkok on Siam Square over Grande Centre Point Ratchadamri for a SGD20+ price difference per night.
In conclusion, I can’t say for sure if our other short-listed hotels would have been better than Grande Centre Point Ratchadamri. Since this was our first time in Bangkok and we have only stayed at Grande Centre Point Ratchdamri before, so I really have nothing to compare against except my own expectations.
Grande Centre Point Ratchadamri did have a lot going for it, with the playground, playroom and washer-dryer within the room. For the price we paid, I would say it was actually pretty value-for-money.
But service and location wise, it wasn’t impressive enough for us to want to go back and stay there again. So for my future Bangkok trips, we would be trying a different hotel.
Near Suvarnabhumi Airport
For our last night in Thailand, we wanted to be near Suvarnabhumi airport so that we didn’t have to rush for our 11+am flight back to Singapore. Since we were returning our rental car to the airport in the evening, all we needed was a room to crash for the night before heading to the airport again the next morning.
The closest hotel to the airport was Novotel Bangkok Suvarnabhumi Airport Hotel. Which had a very interesting concept of 24-hours stay. Which meant that regardless of what time you check-in, your check-out time will be exactly 24 hours later. But since we only had about 12 hours to spend in the hotel, it didn’t seem to make sense to pay so much for a stay here.
We ended up staying instead at Lilac Relax-Residence which was a pretty no-frills budget accommodation. Their rooms cost just 1650 baht per room per night, and children under 10 years old could stay for free if using existing bedding.
What attracted us to the residence was their FREE return shuttle bus service to and from Suvarnabhumi airport. So after we returned our rental car, we called the residence (the front desk staff spoke perfect English) who sent the driver over to the airport to pick us up. And the next morning, the driver sent us back to the airport again for our flight home.
Not just did they provide complimentary airport transfers, they even gave us free welcome drinks when we checked in. And all the mini-bar items in the room were free!
However, Lilac Relax-Residence had a strict no-noise policy – which may not work out so well for families with young children. Our boys were firmly instructed to keep their volumes down during the stay. Thankfully we were only there for a short duration – and the boys pretty much just ate dinner, bathed and slept. And the next morning, we were out of the hotel after breakfast. So it didn’t give them much chance to make noise.
The location of Lilac Relax-Residence was not one where I would bring the boys and go out venturing on my own. It was located in a rather small alley.
But once you get out of the small alley, it was just a short walk to the bustling main road where there was a 24-hours convenience store and some street vendors.
So eventually for our dinner and breakfast, hubby ventured out to pack some street food back while I stayed in the room with the kids.
We were pretty happy with our stay at Lilac Relax-Residence and we saved at least SGD200 versus staying at Novotel Bangkok Suvarnabhumi Airport Hotel. However, I may not stay here if I had a baby, because of the no-noise policy and there are times you can’t exactly stop a baby from crying.
But I had a feeling the boys were old enough to understand the receptionist’s instruction to keep quiet during the stay. So if I needed a place near Suvarnabhumi airport to crash just for a night again, I would definitely consider going back to Lilac Relax-Residence.
I can’t say I was a big fan of Ban Khun Mae. I thought the food at the food alley called Food Plus across the road (more on this on Day 3) was better and much cheaper.
But to be fair, our friend recommended us to go for dinner because they had live traditional Thai musical instrument performance everyday from 7.00 p.m – 9.00 p.m. However, we had booked a Chao Praya dinner cruise for the day, so we could only visit Ban Khun Mae for lunch.
After lunch, we walked around Siam Square and I couldn’t help noticing Line Village Bangkok under construction. Unfortunately it was not ready yet when we were there. If it was, I think the boys wouldn’t be half as bored.
The only thing the boys found interesting at Siam Square was Hello Kitty House Bangkok. We were too full to eat anything at the cafe since we just had lunch, so we just walked around the souvenir store where the kids PRETENDED to eat.
Soon enough, the boys were like,”ENOUGH OF SHOPPING – THIS IS BORING.” and we decided to head back to the hotel to rest before our Chao Praya Princess Cruise.
After we returned to the hotel, the husband complained of a stomach upset. Next thing we knew, he was puking non-stop. To the point I got quite concerned and went down to the hotel concierge to ask if there were any doctors around. And unfortunately the hotel staff was less than helpful, dismissing me with a, “We do not have any in-house doctor” reply. Not sure if my expectations were too high, but for a 5-star hotel, I was expecting them to at least try to be more helpful and maybe suggest to me some English-speaking doctor nearby, or offer to help me hail a cab and instruct the cabbie to bring us to a doctor or something? It’s like when I tried asking if there were any doctors nearby, he just said “No” with a stop-bothering-me attitude.
So we spent the rest of the day just bumming around the hotel. Because I didn’t feel safe bringing the boys out on my own. Especially when the main entrance of the hotel faced a relatively quiet alley. But on the bright side, at least the hotel had a playground and kids playroom which kept the boys occupied.
And for dinner, we settled for pizza at the restaurant in the hotel. Which wasn’t great. But my taste could have been affected by my foul mood at that time, so don’t take my word for it.
Yeah, in case you haven’t realised, we never made it for our Chao Praya dinner cruise. Oh well.
Somehow the hubby miraculously recovered from whatever made him sick. We reckoned he ate something bad and managed to puke it out the previous day. But we couldn’t figure out what because our whole family ate the same things throughout the trip.
We started the day with a visit to Hello Kitty House Bangkok at Siam Square for brunch. During the 1km walk there, my husband remarked that we should have booked a hotel on Siam Square instead and the walk to and fro everyday was so not worth it. I would have said the same if I had just recovered from food poisoning. But even with a perfectly good stomach, I was inclined to agree with him after my encounter with the unhelpful staff. I comforted myself that I didn’t have to hand-wash the laundry.
From Siam Square, we crossed over to Siam Paragon and visited Sea Life Bangkok Ocean World (homepage) as planned.
The boys had a whale of a time (pun intended) at Sea Life Bangkok Ocean World – which turned out to be a pretty kids-friendly aquarium.
If you are planning to visit Sea Life Bangkok Ocean World, you can save money by purchasing discounted admission tickets from Klook.
After visiting the aquarium, we had lunch at the food court within Siam Paragon. The boys had their favourite food, pork trotter rice, there and loved it so much they asked for a second plate.
After lunch, we walked over to Platinum Fashion Mall to do some shopping. I’m surprised the just-recovered hubby survived the slightly more than 1km walk from Siam Paragon to Platinum Fashion Mall. If it was me and I had spent the previous evening puking and barely ate anything all morning and afternoon, I would have bailed out and hailed a cab. Or just gone back to the hotel to sleep. He must havereally wanted to shop.
Initially our plan was to head to Talad Neon Night Market nearby for dinner and more shopping in the evening. But the boys (who were surprisingly cooperative – maybe because we bribed them with 5 baht rubber ducks from the mall) who had endured a few hours of waiting around for the dad to try on clothes finally ran out of patience. They refused to do anymore shopping.
So we ditched the dinner-at-market plan and bribed them with McDonald’s, after which they agreed to go to the night market for a bit.
After walking around the Night Market, we contemplated between walking 1.5km back to the hotel or hailing a cab. We decided on the cab.
Can’t remember how much we paid for the short ride back, but pretty sure we were ripped off. But by that point in time, we didn’t care. You wouldn’t care too if you were still recovering from food poisoning and had two cranky-because-they-missed-their-naps boys with you.
Finally, the day the boys had been waiting for… Kidzania Bangkok Day! It was placed at the end of our Bangkok leg for two reasons.
1) Day 3 was a Saturday. We wanted to visit Kidzania Bangkok on a weekend because they had extended opening hours on weekends. Though they do charge more for admission on weekends too – but I thought it was worth it.
2) We could bribe them over the first two days. Like “Oh, you need to come with us to do what WE want to do (shopping), then we will go with you to do what YOU want to do (Kidzania).”
But before we went to Kidzania, we first had breakfast at Food Plus on Siam Square. It was like a little hawker centre. You can see a video of Food Plus on YouTube > here < for a better idea of what kind of place it was.
The food at Food Plus was cheap and good. Once again, the kids devoured the pork trotter rice.
This was the happiest (and cheapest) meal we had in Bangkok! Food Plus was officially our favourite place to dine in Siam Square.
After a very satisfying breakfast, we spent the entire day from 10.30am to 8.30pm at Kidzania Bangkok. Where we had sushi (paid in Kidzos) for the rest of our meals. Lol…
On Sunday morning, we picked up our car from Hertz’s office in Bangkok and began our road trip. We deliberately chose to leave on a Sunday morning to avoid any jams – and it worked.
Bye bye Bangkok! May our next visit be food-poisoning-free!
Our 3-days trip to Bangkok barely scrapped the tip of the iceberg. For more Bangkok travel ideas, you can check out Expedia’s Bangkok City Guide. Inside, you will find basic information such as weather (by month), and more places to shop, eat, stay etc. in Bangkok!