Kid Unfriendly Stuff
Sorry to start with the negative things, but Bangkok is not a completely kid-friendly city. Here are some things to watch out for:
- The sex industry is very much a part of life in Bangkok. While the areas around major temples and museums are generally scum-free, you will be surprised by the number of side streets that openly advertise sex business. Same for many night market areas. Patpong, a center for the sex business aimed at foreigners, is also promoted as a large and vibrant night market, and we did in fact see many people there with children. We also saw bars with their doors flung open to reveal pole dancers and navigated (without our kids) among touts holding up signs advertising things that probably weren't yoga and guys stage-whispering to us about shows with ping pong balls involved. Not nice.
- Beggars can be found in many areas, especially on pedestrian overpasses. Many of the beggars are children, some accompanied by cute little doggies that will attract your child's attention (Bangkok's many street dogs, by the way, seemed hopelessly unexpressive and much more interested in picking through trash than snapping at eye-level kids in strollers. They still may frighten your child). We had child beggars approach our table multiple times at a decent outdoor restaurant.
*Sidewalks are very uneven, with holes that fill up with murky water after a rain. Curbs are high, uneven and/or broken and overall this is not good stroller territory.
- You should not drink the tap water. Moms and Dads will need to aggressively enforce hand washing rules and keep you darn fingers out of your nose and mouth rules.
- Traffic is more akin to low-flying aircraft than automobiles, and those aircraft are being flown by Mad Max on a crack bender. Look all directions when crossing streets and treat stoplights and WALK signals as hints not orders. Use pedestrian over and underpasses whenever available. Pay the extra cents for the taxi to U-turn and put you on the correct side of the street before you get out.
- For older kids who might be tempted to go out on their own, none of the bars or sex businesses seemed to be checking IDs or ages at the door.