Sunday, June 30, 2013

Bangkok - how to get around with kids

By walking, of course, as we always do. Traffic is heavy and street crossings are very unsafe: always keep a watchful eye and children close by yourself. But walking remains the best way to catch the spirit of the city, the smell of the busy streets, a mix of gas and food, roasted pork and chicken, green papaya and exotic fruits, and the subtle scent of flower laces that ornate temples.

When you grow tired of walking, switch to one of these transportation means:

- tuk-tuks: also known as tourist traps, never taking you to the right destination or exaggeratedly blowing up fares. Is it because we travel with children? We never had any issues. Have good notion of your destination and of the right fare price before you leave, forget all you ever learned about road safety rules, pray the travel gods and enjoy. The wind blowing in your hair, the inhaled mix of hot air and gasoline fumes, the beeps and the honks. It's insane, but it's fun!

- Chao Praya river express boat: our favorite. Cheap and easy and so enjoyable! There is a stop next to all major sights of the old city center. Hop in, hop off as you wish - for as much as 15 baht a ticket, and children ride for free. I am talking about the local express boat, also called orange line, not the tourist ships that go up and down the river. The orange line is crowded with both Thai people and tourists and rushes from one pier to the other. Wait at the pier, the boat stops, whistle, whistle, grab the children's hand, jump the gap, quickly seize a handle bar in the boat, whistle, whistle, we' re off to the next pier. Cool, moist river wind in your face. Water drops. We're already there, hurry, get off the boat on time, too bad it's over so soon.