I was firmly against going to Southeast Asia with young kids. Then we went there with a 3 year old and a 6 month old.
I have historically been totally pro-travel with young kids, but I drew the line at SE Asia. Something about more hot and humid weather, lots of young well-to-do Westerners looking to lose themselves – then find themselves or something – and the seeming general chaos of getting around, I was kind of like…ehhh, maybe later. But I’ll be damned, we decided to go.
Backing up a bit, Eid Al Adha was coming up (September 2016) and Matt found out he had time off work. I got a phone call one morning asking how crazy I wanted to get, and I love those phone calls because it always means adventures.
So it starts out like this: “Where does Etihad fly direct?” We look and decide on a city (Bangkok). Then we check for cheaper tickets. This time, Oman air offered far less expensive tickets, and only a quick stopover in Muscat. If you ever get the opportunity to fly into Muscat right at sunset, book a window seat and DO IT. So beautiful, it really reinvigorated our desire to visit Muscat, which we did a few months later.
Then the question of where to stay. Initially, we thought to use hotel perks and stay in the middle of downtown Bangkok, but then were advised to look into a resort and ended up booking a suite for the same price + significantly more perks. Done and done.
Pulling up to the Anantara Riverside Resort early in the morning was one of the best feelings I’ve ever had, like the biggest sigh of relief. Our entire stay there was (mostly) like that, and it was awesome.
The night before we flew out of Abu Dhabi, the 3-year-old came down with a horrid cough. Noooooooo! So, we put the kids to bed early and prayed it would be nothing but a distant memory by morning. Then both boys woke up sick. Since I was already nervous about going to Bangkok with young kids, I was thinking this was a *sign* that we just shouldn’t go, bad idea, cancel everything. We hauled them off to the doctor first thing that morning and asked her opinion.
She was like, “No. Bad idea. Can you cancel everything?” I was like, I knew it. But then we did a round or two of nebulizer treatment, and after examining them again, she told us they were OK to go, just don’t tax them too much. A nebulizer was purchased plus the entire pharmacy, and all packed up by late that afternoon. We headed to the airport. In hindsight, they weren’t terribly ill, but I was already hesitant and you know how it goes.
The flight to Muscat was short, thank god, because there was no air conditioning on our plane, which was a version of 727 that I haven’t seen since the mid-90’s.
Luckily, the flight to Bangkok was on a brand new Dreamliner which was gorgeous! My only complaint for that overnight flight was that they kept on the lights that can only be described as: “Surgical Operating Theatre.” I didn’t know airplanes had those. Thankfully they dimmed them for landing and the kids got 5-10 minutes of restful sleep before having to wake up again.
We sprung for the Anantara airport shuttle and that was a great decision. The flight actually landed early and we found our driver already there, so we promptly set off at sunrise through Bangkok to our
When we arrived (and I finally released a tense breath I didn’t know I was holding) we were treated to a warm Thai welcome, hot towels, mango juice, and overall rock star treatment. We were escorted to our little suite which had a view of the pool and a wrap around balcony.
After cleaning up, we gave the kids whatever doses of medicine they needed, and promptly took a multiple-hour family nap in the middle of the day. Basically heaven.
Upon waking, we moseyed over to their Trader Vic’s for a great brunch.
We were just settling in to our food when Porter ate something spicy, asked to use the loo, and then proceeded to demonstrate that his stomach was upset. Luckily it was well out of the way of anyone eating; however, we were quickly reminded that no matter where we go, we’re firmly seated on the Hot Mess Express. Hotel staff instructed me to keep him hydrated and other basic parent knowledge, which led me to question if I didn’t come across as being a capable parent? How was I supposed to know the simple side fried rice had death pepper juice included in it this time? Then again it could have just been my youthful looks and they thought I was a babysitter. In any case, our poor child was congested, jet lagged, and now sick from spicy food like the tiny Swede he is. This did not feel like successful parenting. In all seriousness, the staff actually took great care of us, sending us upstairs with help and a nice plate of food and sweets.
After a bit of recovery from that we then walked next door to check out a little mall. There’s a Boots, Starbucks, Coffee Club, Gap, tons of restaurants, some more boutique clothing shops, and touristy shops, too. Really great! By this time Porter was fine, ate a bit of dinner, and seemed to find his 3 year old energy again. Alright! Since the Anantara has a ferry that goes directly to Asiatique – a newer, kind of touristy, outdoor market, right across the Chao Praya – we decided to give that a go. At this point, Henry was just barely six months old, so he was still easily portable, slept a lot, and could be satiated by breastfeeding on the go…just in case anyone forgot he was on the trip, too. He wasn’t really sick, just a bit congested, and doing much better by this point anyway.
As soon as we got on the ferry, which would take no more than 5-10 minutes to get across the river, Porter passed out. So, we just stayed on the ferry and turned around with it to head home. It was nice to be out at night, on the water, with the city lights twinkling all around… Basically a date for us.
Then we went to sleep. That was our first day in Bangkok. Have I convinced you to have and travel with kids yet?