Should you visit Bangkok, Thailand with two kids under ten years of age? We had heard mixed reviews about how kid friendly this Southeast Asian city really was. Many sighted the insane traffic and logistical difficulties, and a heavy adult nightlife scene. So during our planning stages we wondered: How does one entertain elementary-aged kids when visiting Bangkok?
Look no further than a canal tour. We set our sights on finding a tour company that featured a solid reputation, offered enough variety in activities to offset boredom for two kids between the ages of five and ten years of age, and provided enough flexibility to manage the whims of small children. When we located Pandan Tour Company Thai Canal Tours, we had a pretty good feeling that they were going to be a nice fit and struck up a partnership (via sponsorship). Although tempted to do a full day tour, we thought if was safest to stick to the half day tour since the children had already been bouncing about Southeast Asia for a few weeks.
The great news about this particular tour company? The Small Teak Boat Canal Adventure offers a lot of choices for potential itinerary stops. We thought that perhaps the kiddos wouldn’t want to pass the entire time going from temple to temple, so we asked our tour guide to focus on these three places instead: Orchid Farm, Floating Market & Artist House.
Niyom’s Orchid Farm
Who knew this would be the highlight of the visit? My kids could’ve spent hours here. They thoroughly enjoyed walking about and learning about the different types of orchids.
Our tour guide even showed them a little trick using seeds and water that elicited tons of giggles and claps.
Make sure to remind the little ones to keep on the pathway. The plants are placed directly over a puddle of water that can be fallen into if not keeping that at the top of your mind. Our five year old of course slipped in. Thankfully, it is shallow water dirtying only his feet. A quick rinse with a nearby hose got him clean and back on track to check out more orchids.
We knew that no visit to Bangkok would be complete without experiencing a floating market. Even though my oldest son has a medical restriction and can't eat wheat, I wanted to take this opportunity to show the children this way of life. I anticipated this to be a quick stop and even made reference to the desire to briefly pop in for only a quick look around in all of our communications with the tour company via email before our arrival.
Boy...was I wrong.
Even with a child with an allergy, our family spent a great amount of time here. There was so much going on the energy was contagious.
I credit our tour guide - she was conscious and understanding about what Kid Allergy could and couldn't eat. She wanted him to feel included and did her best to find things that we could all enjoy.
Finally, our tour guide made our kids a rose made out of a Pandan leaf, or Bai Toey in Thai. The perfect way to end our time at the Floating Market.
Next up, a hands-on activity of painting their own Thai Khon Masks at the Artist's House. I have to admit, I was a little disappointed when I learned that the Thai Puppeteers were not going to be available the day we visited the Artist's House. I wanted the kids to experience that ancient Thai art form. But, in the end, this gave my kids the opportunity to create art of their own in Thailand. Plus, it gave our family the added bonus of a non-breakable souvenir item to carry home!
What else is there to do here?
Feed the fish.
Sample more local food items like this pandan leaf sweet treat.
Grab a coffee and relax or take a moment to browse the gift shop for items made by local Thai artists.
- This was the highlight of Bangkok for my children. The tour was incredibly kid friendly and is definitely a good choice for families with kids 5 years of age and over.
- Pandan Canal Tour? Small Teak Boat Tour? Thai Canal Tours? Yeah, there are tons of names for this tour company---those all take you to the same place. Here is the homepage for this Bangkok company offering the tour I described above.
- Go ahead and shell out the additional cash for the private tour. If traveling with children, you will be thankful you have the flexibility to linger where they feel engaged and blow through those areas that don’t really ignite any kind of a connection. Plus, although the boat felt spacious for our family of four, I’m not sure how many other people I would’ve wanted along for the ride.
- Bring something to cover your mouth. When the boat gets going quickly, the water does create quite a bit of a splash. As the resident germ-a-phobe of the group, I was a bit preoccupied with the children keeping their mouths open during this time. I had them use their hats. Our tour guide used an umbrella. A scarf or hand fan would work well also.
- In hindsight, our kids would have been fine doing the full day tour. I was concerned that the little one would be plagued with the wiggles and not be able to sit that long. But, the way that the tour is broken up, I am confident he would’ve been fine on a full day.
- Gluten free? Go ahead and book this tour including a stop at the floating market. We felt our tour guide understood the severity of Kid Allergy's situation and led us around so we could get a feel and sample safe non-gluten containing items. Our family felt they accommodated our food allergy beautifully.
- They do require a deposit is paid upon booking and we were very happy to see that they used Paypal for our convenience. If you would like to avoid service fees associated with paying the full amount with Paypal, simply let them know you will be paying your remainder in person in cash.
- Life jackets are readily available and easily accessible.
- Keep hold of valuables very closely while visiting the land portion of the floating market. Our tour guide said that since tourists are known to frequent this location, thieves do focus on those unsuspecting visitors. I locked all important items inside my Baggallini Anti-Theft Large Hobo including all 3 cell phones, and both wallets. Slash proof, locking top zipper, and RFID attached wallet did a great job of keeping our personal items safe. Read more about the anti-theft Baggallini line of handbags and travel gear and our experience traveling with them throughout Southeast Asia here.
- Traditional Thai Puppet shows are not always running at the Artist House because they are a traveling troop. Sadly, you just won’t know if you will get to see it or not until the day of your tour.
- Great communication and directions! Locating your tour guide is super simple via the description in your confirmation email that is even accompanied by photos. The meeting point is right at the exit of the subway stop.
- Great access to restrooms! You are given the opportunity to visit a very clean restroom before you board the boat (something we always appreciate when traveling with the kiddos). The land portion of the floating market has a potty break too, and so does the Artist House.
- Even if you can’t squeeze any stops at the temples into your tour, there are plenty of great opportunities to view them from the boat itself.
READY TO BOOK?
When booking, use code: BK-102 & mention that Kid Allergy Travel referred you to get a 250B/adult & 125B/child (3 to 12 years old) Thai Baht discount with this referral!
Head to the Pandan Canal Tour Booking Page now to check the details of scheduling your Bangkok Canal Tour.
Kid Allergy Travel received a discounted rate to attend this boat tour with Pandan Canal Tours. Although this was part of a media visit, rest assured, the opinions provided in the post by Kid Allergy Travel remain our own. Photos by Kid Allergy Travel.