After an 18 hour stop-over in Singapore (stayed at the airport hotel the entire time….we didn’t have the energy to tackle SG city this time, but we’ll be back) we arrived in Bangkok, City of Angels (apparently).
Lessons learned re city travel with a 2.5 year old:
1) Do not try to rekindle the backpacker heyday and eat standing on the street / grab a cold beer in the middle of the afternoon / attempt souvenir shopping on the khao san road; …..it’s far too hot, there are too many people and it’s impossible to keep your little person from running off into the (mostly pedestrian) road, coming head to head with a motor cycle and scaring you sh*tless.
2) Stay in an apartment if you can, it beats being squashed into a hotel room with your kid and having to tiptoe post-their bedtime and also allows you to have a grown-up evening or a cold beer in a separate space from your child. We rented an AirBnB place (did it quite last minute, there are loads of apartments available in BKK) which was perfect and cheaper than a mid-range (£60 p/n) city hotel.
3) Your plans for the day will most likely be scuppered by 9.30am because you will have had a bad nights sleep / your child wouldn’t eat his breakfast / you need to do some trip admin / you’ve had an argument about what the plans for the day are / you’re too tired to make a plan / actually – it’s 9.30 and your child needs to run around somewhere so screw the signseeing, can we just leave the sodding apartment please??!
4) Find out what kind of kid friendly spaces there are in the city (parks / open spaces / museums / soft play / swimming etc) and have them all as options if your child has had enough of seeing the city through adult eyes. We’re loathe to soft play in general (but Bangkok had some pretty decent options in it’s numerous shopping malls that Zaki loved) but have on numerous times, visited a nearby fancy hotel and paid the small fee to use their swimming pool area. This has multiple benefits – Zaki has improved his swimming as we’ve been at least 4 times a week so far, we get to do a few laps too, sometimes there are other kids for him to play with in the pool, one of us gets to chill out poolside (tends to be me because I have such an awesome husband who defaults as fun swimming pool dad which is lovely), and both of us can normally take advantage of poolside bar service, cocktails and pretend that were guests staying at a swanky hotel for the afternoon…
5) Don’t think you’re going to get any of your list done (shopping, catching up on IT/blog/admin, catching up on Skype, shopping) as children tend to not want to do that stuff, esp when it’s hot. Find fun things to do from 4pm onwards and be prepared to eat dinner early, and also give up on trying to get your kid to embrace local food. It’s a miracle that he’s here in Asia with you in one piece and he’s not thrown a tantrum despite you upping sticks every 2 days and moving to a new hotel room. If his diet consists of mostly carbs and the occasional piece of chicken give yourself a pat on the back and just keep an eye out for scurvy (….just kidding mum, we are giving him vitamin drops, but his diet is unfortunately quite bread/pizza/noodles/rice based at present….sorry!)
6) If a friend graciously (thank you Alex) agrees to babysit so you can have a night out at a skybar (hotel rooftop bar) with London friends who happen to be in BKK at the same time as you (the wonderful duo that is Kathryn and Mia!), then don’t go crazy and drink as many cocktails as humanly possible within the 2 hour window that you have. Five (albeit awesome) drinks on a reasonably empty stomach given your months of alcohol abstinence (for medical reasons) is going to be painful…… That said, we had a fabulous night and it was so good to have a few adult hours with each other and friends and not be