My girls (10 and 6) and I have just returned from a wonderful 12 days in Thailand. We travelled to Bangkok, Chiang Mai, and Phuket. I have divided the JBR over the Bangkok and Chiang Mai forum. I have not done one for Phuket as we basically did nothing but sit by a pool and I don't really have anything to offer other travellers. Can't say I was a fan of Phuket so it wouldn't be an ace JBR. I am doing this JBR for two reasons, the first is pay it forward for all the wonderful advice and suggestions I have picked up from TripAdvisor that contributed to a wonderful holiday. The second reason is there are not many JBR's from one parent families, so I hope this will assist people who are reluctant to travel on their own with children.
In Bangkok we stayed at the Pathumwam Princess Hotel. I have done a hotel review so I will only summarise. It's attached to MBK so super easy to shop and eat with kids in tow. No going outside necessary. You can also reach the sky train through the shopping centre. We didn't encounter any rain, but if we had, there were plenty of things to do in MBK and other centres that are all attached by covered sky walks, for kids. A really easy experience.
We were only in Bangkok for two days so no real experimenting with where to eat. Breakfast was in the hotel and lunch/dinner in food courts. MBK had a really cheap food court but not really for kids. Very international food and my kids kept gagging at the smells. The best place to eat we found was in the food court at Siam Paragon. Very modern and clean with tons of food choices. The other things we enjoyed were banana roti from street vendors just outside our hotel. Really yummo.
What we did:
We went to Madame Tussauds, the Aquarium, Escape Hunt and shopping. The kids loved the wax museum because you can touch and stand next to each display for a photo. The aquarium was OK but not a show stopper. I really enjoyed Escape Hunt, and the kids were mega excited with every clue they discovered. This was a unique experience and we are glad we went.
Our favourite thing:
Walking around MBK we discovered a huge hair place called Big Cut. The three of us all had a wash, cut and blow dry for the ridiculous price of about $8.00 (AUD) each. The kids also had manicures and pedicures (not really my thing!). We had never really done the whole wash/blow dry thing together so it was really a treat, and they really spoilt the kids. We all walked out feeling so much more glam than we walked in, making it a memorable experience.
Travel to Chiang Mai:
We decided to take the overnight train to CM, for no other reason but to say we have experienced sleeping on the train. I will be honest and say I was a bit anxious about being on a train at night with 2 young girls. We couldn't do a first class sleeper as they only accommodate 1 or 2 people, and I wasn't keen on having a child in a separate cabin alone even if it did have a connecting door. That left 2nd class. Monicker the 7.30pm train as it's an ex JR train and had 4 bed cabins in second class. Even though there was 3 of us, I purchased all 4 beds to ensure we had the cabin to ourselves. Also added extra privacy by unclipping a top and bottom bunk curtain and attaching it across the aisle to the next bed, thereby creating a cabin that couldn't be looked into from the outside aisle. The beds were comfortable, the restaurant car was really fun to eat dinner and breakfast in, but the cabin was freezing cold at night. Having read that before, I dressed the kids in warm PJs, socks and jackets before they went to bed. I also had an extra sheet and blanket from the spare bed. They slept fine but I was really cold. It was a really fun way to travel and we really enjoyed the experience. The train arrived 2 hours late which I understand is generally considered on time, or even early. I had also read that the food was ordinary, but we found it great, mainly because it was just really plain and simple and hence appealing to children.
Great city holiday for families. We would have loved the time to do Kidzania and maybe a show, but there is always next time.