Bangkok with kids: best things to do on a budget

Going to Bangkok with the family? Try these low-cost (and free) activities for an unforgettably fun – and affordable – holiday!

Asian family enjoying a meal at a night market in Bangkok, Thailand.
  • Jetstar
  • February 2018
  • Updated January 2022

Bangkok is an amazing family holiday destination, but temple-touring and mall-shopping can get expensive. Here are our favourite kid-friendly things to do in the Thai capital, most of which won’t set you back a cent!

Watch a folkloric puppet show at the Artist’s House

One of Bangkok’s loveliest sights is hidden in Thonburi, the city’s old capital. The Artist’s House (Baan Silapin) is a beautifully restored 200-year-old wooden building that gives a rare glimpse of traditional Bangkok life along the canals. It’s filled with arts and crafts, and has a fabulous, reasonably priced little gift shop. Admission is free, and every day at 2pm (except Wednesdays) there’s an enchanting puppet show. Operated by black-clad artists, these intricately made puppets bring Thai folklore to life. The nearby boardwalk holds a number of great-value restaurants and little boutiques – it's a unique, magical area to wander around.

Black-clad puppeteers operate a puppet at the Artist’s House, Bangkok.
Your kids will be captivated by the puppet show at the Artist’s House.

Explore Asiatique, the family-friendly night market

Bangkok is famous for its rough-and-ready night markets, but if you want a more family-friendly version, try Asiatique. A custom-built ‘market experience’ on the Chao Phraya River, it combines all the colour of night markets with the order of a shopping mall. Enjoy the buskers, take silly family selfies with the various props and statues, window-shop the countless boutiques and stay off the pricey Ferris wheel, and you’ll have a fun, affordable night out. It’s worth coming for the journey alone – a free shuttle boat along the river – and the views of the glowing city skyline.

Bangkok’s Asiatique market at twilight. Image credit: jovannig –
Bangkok is famous for its night markets and Asiatique is a family favourite. Image credit: jovannig/

Float around town on the Chao Phraya Express Riverboat

Not only is the Chao Phraya Express Boat a great way to bypass Bangkok’s congested roads, it’s a super-cheap way of getting to unmissable attractions like Wat Arun, the Grand Palace, and the incredible floating market in Taling Chan. Hop on and off as you please (but be quick – they don’t hang around!) or just sit back and enjoy the panoramic views of Bangkok from the water. The orange line is the most popular with tourists, but you’ll still get a feel for authentic Bangkok life, as all lines are used by locals and visitors alike.

The Chao Phraya Express Riverboat, Bangkok
The Chao Phraya Express Riverboat will take you and the kids where you want to go!

See traditional dance at Erawan Shrine

Shrines are tucked in everywhere between the hectic roads and towering skyscrapers of Bangkok. Erawan, in the midst of the Siam shopping district, is one of the most popular. People visit the elaborate golden statue to pray, and the spectacle of worshippers making elaborate ceremonial offerings amid the burning incense and bright golden marigolds is fascinating in itself. But what makes Erawan special is the resident dance troupe, hired by the faithful to accompany their prayers. It’s an opportunity to see graceful Thai dance performed in colourful costumes, absolutely free, in a wonderfully unique atmosphere.

Worshippers at the marigold-encircled Erawan Shrine, Bangkok.
Think Erawan Shrine’s golden Buddha and marigolds are dazzling? Wait til you see the dance troupe.

Chill out (or not) in Lumpini Park

In a non-stop metropolis like Bangkok, sometimes you need a little time out. Look no further than Lumpini Park, a leafy 57-hectare oasis in the city’s heart. Wander maze-like pathways, admiring the skyline beyond the treetops, or have a leisurely picnic on the grass. (On Sunday afternoons, you may even come across a jazz or classical band playing in the park: a perfect picnic soundtrack.) Hire a swan-shaped paddleboat for a few baht and get out on the lake, hang out with the resident monitor lizards, or shoot some hoops on the basketball court. A lovely respite from the hustle-bustle.

Bangkok locals enjoying the grass and greenery of Lumpini Park
The idyllic Lumpini Park has your family’s rest-and-recreation needs covered.