Not All That Glimmers is Gold

This post is going to be very different from most.  We’ve traveled to some incredible places and found wonderful things to do as a family in Thailand and in the region, but that’s not to say that we haven’t had our share of busts as well.    I’ve been thumbing through a lot of mom blogs lately and it is shocking how many are sponsored.    I realize that virtually all of my posts offer gleaming reviews of the places we’ve stayed and things we’ve done, and that is because I want to share our best experiences with others.

Well, not today.  Today I’m going to outline some of our not-so-great experiences.  You might be shocked by some of these; you might disagree, and that’s completely okay.  They are just things that didn’t work out for us for one reason or another.  So, let’s get this non-party started.

1. The Greenery (Khao Yai)

We are no strangers to Khao Yai.  We love Khao Yai.  Usually we stay at the Kirimaya/Muthi Maya (which I do highly recommend), but this time we wanted to do something different – so we stayed at The Greenery.  The place does a good job of luring you in with its website – fancy pictures, beautiful scenery, things for kids, etc.  What really drew us to the resort was that they have a small water park onsite – which looks like a lot of fun, but in reality, it’s not fun at all.  Every few minutes a bell rings and a huge bucket of water comes crashing down on everyone’s head.  This scared the sh*t out of my little one and it made Logan super-cautious.  To top it off,  the room was expensive and not that great.  It was a bust, for sure.

Khao Yai Golf Carts

After The Greenery, I think we’ll probably stay loyal to the Kirimaya/Muthi Maya (pictured here)

Continue reading

Beat the Heat

In case you hadn’t noticed everyone, summer’s here.  Just one foot out the door and you’re sweating.  Five minutes out and you’re drenched.  Here are some ideas that might help you beat the heat with the kids as we move into this very, very hot time of year.

IMG_9474

Ayyee Mom, it is hot out here!

1. Pool – This one is not rocket science, folks.  When it’s hot, go to the pool.  Bring lots of snacks, toys, bikes, trikes, scooters, and lunch and play in the water for hours.  Yes, you do have to be mindful of the strong sun so make sure the kids are fully sun-blocked and have on their SPF-50 shirts and a hat.  Starting early (say, 8am) or late (say, 4pm) can help you avoid the strong rays.  I was nine months pregnant with Katelyn this time last year and I took Logan to the pool everyday.  Everyday.  I bobbed while he swam.  It was heaven for both of us.

2. Find a Good Indoor Play Area – Try the fairly new Kidzoona at Gateway Ekkami or the brand new Kidzania (opening March 29, 2013) at Siam Paragon.  A good play area should hold the kids’ attention for hours.

DSC01865

On a hot day, Kidzoona delivers

3.  Reading nooks –  Have an avid reader?  Mosey on down to the beautiful Neilson Hays Library in Silom and spend a morning browsing through their selection and reading some new literature.  On Saturday mornings at 1030am, the library hosts a story-telling hour followed by a craft activity.  There is a nice gallery cafe adjacent to the library where you can lunch post-reading.  For a more local experience, hit up TK Park on the top floor of Central World.  It houses a kids reading room with a good selection of English and Thai books, as well as a treehouse of nooks for the adventurous reader-climber.

4. Siam Ocean World – If you regularly read Toddle Joy, you know this is a favorite place of ours.  Fantastic indoor aquarium with exhibits that change frequently in the basement of one of the best malls in Bangkok.  What’s not to love?  Logan and I just traversed the shark tank on the glass bottom boat for the first time last week; worth it.  Very cool.

img_0169

Anxiously waiting to board the glass bottom boat

5.  Cool way down and give Sub Zero Ice Skate Club in Ekami a whirl.  140 baht/adult and 100 baht/child per hour (weekday prices; a little bit more expensive on the weekends).  The rink is located at Major Ekami Mall on Sukhumvit soi 61; accessible via Ekami BTS.

6. Visit the Bangkok Art and Culture Center (BACC) – The BACC is a cool place for parents and children to visit together.  Kids can release some energy by running up the spiral walk adorned with art (it would be hard to break anything) while parents get their art-fix on.  The current exhibit is on Thai cartoons.  There are restaurants in the building so you can grab a quick bite before leaving.  BACC is connected to the skywalk at the National Stadium BTS exit (directly across from MBK).

7.  Find a yummy child-friendly restaurant and spoil them.  That’s right.  Go all out and order them ice cream or cake.  Great new places for this?  Mr. Jones’ Orphanage (both in Thong Lor and at Siam Center) caters to children with its eye-catching dessert table, swinging teddy bears, and home made vanilla, spearmint, chocolate, or bubblegum milk ; the brand new Magnum Cafe in Siam Center allows you to make your own Magnum Bar and choose from over 20 toppings.  Y–U–M.

photo

Entranced by the dessert table at Mr. Jones’ Orphanage Thong Lor

photo 3

Kit-Kat M&M cake: a child’s delight

8.  Get creative indoors – Build pillow forts and race tracks, finger paint, sculpt with Wikki Stix.  If you have a big enough balcony, cultivate your child’s green thumb. You know,  just get creative.   Pinterest is the ultimate tool for finding new ideas when it comes to kids’ crafts.  Embrace it.

Things you probably don’t want to do this time of year?  Ancient Siam, Dusit Zoo, any park, the Crocodile Farm, the Floating Market, Jatujak Market, visiting wats along the Chao Praya.  Don’t do it folks.  You and your children will melt.  And you will all be cranky.  Cranky x 100.

Anybody else have good ideas on how to beat the heat?  Please sound off in the comments if so.