Never having tried before, and wanting to see it with my very eyes, I logged onto the Air Asia website, and found that they did, in fact, offer flights priced in a way ordinary Americans like myself, would not believe.
$23 per person, Kuala Lumpur to Bangkok. I punched in the information needed and my credit card number, and off we were to our next destination.
Getting around Bangkok
When taking Air Asia to Bangkok, arrivals will be at Don Muang Airport, which is about 30 minutes further than Suvarnabhumi Airport (considered the main airport) from the center of town.
In most cases, the prices make it worth the extra commute.
Read more – Getting around Bangkok, Thailand
Also, the ground transportation is quite inexpensive in Bangkok.
We like to use Uber all over Southeast Asia. We found that the rides can cost equal or even less than taking a traditional taxi and you’re assured a nicer car. It also facilitates paying, with no need for cash transactions as it’s all linked to your credit card.
The Uber drivers we’ve used have also served as some of the best tour guides. They are thankful for your business, and most of them, proud of their city and willing to share a more local experience.
Just ask for recommendations, and usually it’s hard to stop them. Especially in a town such as Bangkok, where everyone has their own take on how to enjoy it best.
Where to stay in Bangkok
Using Airbnb in Bangkok
We decided to go the Airbnb route for the first time as we were staying in Bangkok for the 30 days we were allowed as Americans without a visa extension.
We booked an apartment in a neighborhood a bit away from Central Bangkok, named Lat Phrao. The neighborhood was definitely a bit more local and had in it a slew of condominium complexes, which included the one we stayed, appropriately named, The Room.
It was our room, our home for the first 2 weeks, and we could not have been any happier. The space was large, clean, and had all the amenities we hoped for, which included a pool and a cafe on site.
What to do in Bangkok
Bangkok Street food
The best part about staying a bit off-center was being given the opportunity to live amongst the locals. On our first night, we sat in the first eatery we saw.
The kitchen was set up on the sidewalk, right outside the indoor sitting area. There were two ladies taking the food orders from an elder gentleman, who also minded the cash register.
The ladies worked with 2 woks, and that was it. The aromas coming out of the 2 woks were intoxicating. The use of red chili peppers in Thai cuisine is unlike anything we have ever experienced.
Watching them cook made my eyes water. Not just due to the chili, but also because I was so happy to be there.
Inside, we looked at the menu, having no idea what any of it said. We tried to use Google Translate to no avail.
The old gentleman did his best to explain the offerings by pointing at other patrons plates, as he didn’t speak any English.
Then a young man with a backpack, probably noticing from where he was standing outside the sitting area, the distress both parties was going through, offered to help. He was able to translate what we wanted to eat to the elder gentleman.
As if he were an angel sent to us to do a job, the young man with a backpack in place of wings, smiled at us and wished us a wonderful welcome to Thailand and then walked away into the night. After getting our order through, it seemed that the whole place was nodding their heads and smiling toward us. We, in turn, nodded our heads and smiled back.
Related – 5 places to eat street food in Bangkok
Tuk-tuk wild adventures
What family trip would be complete without taking a fun-filled adventurous ride? In Bangkok, no need for parasailing or rollercoasters for some thrills, just flag an automatic rickshaw known as tuk-tuks.
Most fit four persons comfortably and can cut corners and go down streets that cars can’t. It makes for a more enjoyable ride, as they often go fast enough to create a wonderful breeze while riding.
The experience also brings the rider(s) closer to the pulse of the city. It puts the peripheral vision into overdrive, so as to not miss anything.
Bailey prefers it over any other form of transport, as she considers it more fun than any amusement park ride.
For what it costs versus what most amusement park rides costs, and seeing Bangkok in a unique way, few things are a better deal and as much of an experience for a family than riding a tuk-tuk.
Bangkok street food Tour
One of the best tours we took as a family was a tour by a company named, Buffalo Tours’ who offer a Bangkok Street Eats by Tuk-Tuk Tour. It not only satisfies the tuk-tuk experience but also the taste buds.
A small group, of no more than 8 persons are taken to less traversed neighborhoods for some excellent Thai delicacies, which include a visit to Thipsamai, a place that specialized in the national dish, Pad Thai.
The tour was extra special because the Bangkok that was highlighted was a Bangkok that was more akin to when it was a town built on top of canals versus a city of skyscrapers that it is now. It’s as if we took a ride into an evening in the past.
In these streets of olde, Bailey was able to walk through one of the most prolific flower markets where generations of families worked together in unison.
There were kids sitting behind stalls watching a television hooked up to the power of the lamp post and grandmothers cooking up food on make-shift burners, as mothers and fathers did their best to sell.
Brenda was able to watch a tattooed young man performing the art of butchery, which is something that is no longer seen every day. I, of course, had the opportunity to look out into the Chao Phraya River in the evening with a beer in hand.
Bangkok is filled with temples, and as ornate and as beautiful as they are, going from one temple to the next is not what any tween would call an ideal day.
Our suggestion is to do no more than one a day.
If there is one that needs to be seen, it is Wat Pho. This Buddhist Temple is the home to the famous Reclining Buddha. The gold leaf covered statue reclines 46 meters long and is impressive.
However, the rest of the complex should not be missed, as it is expansive and filled with history.
Other than the reclining structure, my favorite sight was the pagoda that held the ashes of King Rama the 4th, affectionately known as the character Yul Brynner played in “The King and I”.
Related: The Grand Palace in Bangkok
Bangkok is a hub and easily gotten to from all locations in Southeast Asia, and many flights can be attained at an agreeable price. It’s a pretty easy town to get around, as it has some of the best public rail systems available.
There are 2, the MRT which is the underground, and the BTS which is the Skyrail. Very few places are not attainable by both. If, however, public transport is not your thing, few rides are better than a tuk-tuk or an Uber.
Jim Thompson Museum
There are plenty of temples to gaze upon, but there are other wonderful sights within the city, our favorite being the Jim Thompson Museum.
Jim Thompson was a person with an enigmatic history. He was an expat American who single-handedly revitalized the Thai silk industry, but it was his life as a CIA man and his inconclusive disappearance that is most intriguing.
The house itself, made of heritage homes put together is an architectural splendor. Bailey especially loved the large koi fish swimming around in a little man-made pond outside the restaurant in the museum complex.
There are plenty of Airbnb options, and if this is the route taken, it’s best to get one a bit outside the city as to have the opportunity for a more authentic and local experience.
Other places to stay in Bangkok
There are some wonderful hotels within the city, in different price points.
In the 3-Star category, we suggest staying at the Windsor Suites Hotel, on Soi 20, in Sukhumvit. The hotel sits on a wonderful street where expat bars intermingle with hawker food stalls.
For a much more polished 5-Star experience, there is no better place to stay than the Legendary Dusit Thani Hotel
Read our review of it here.
It sits across the famous Lumpini Park. Not only is the park a wonderful place to spend the day as a family, the hotel is also on one of the main thoroughfares, Silom Street, where one can spend a whole day eating and shopping.
Bangkok – a great city for families
Bangkok, being the King of Street Food, our taste palates will never be the same. Not only have we all grown a high tolerance for spicy food, but the range of flavor is hard to beat and we will forever crave Thai food every so often.
For reasons that may have been perpetuated by a song from the 1980’s, Bangkok for years had been tagged as an unsavory town.
Bangkok may not be the first city on the list for family travel. However, upon visiting, we found few cities more family friendly. If being welcomed in a foreign land with authentic smiles is on the list, then look no further than here.
Read more posts about Bangkok:
What are some of your favourite things to do in Bangkok with kids?