Fairytale -themed activities in Thailand
South East Asia has a reputation for embracing all things kitsch and comic-book colorful as well as floaty and fairytale-esque, and Thailand is no exception. Kids (and grown ups, for that matter) with a love of unicorns and a taste for all things bubblegum-bright may already have heard of Bangkok’s Unicorn Cafe, and it’s just the tip of a colorful iceberg. Families in Bangkok can embark on magical, memory-making adventures filled with fairytale temples, princess tea parties and frolicking unicorns….and if your tribe’s tastes run more towards bad fairies and hobgoblins, don’t worry, Thailand has you covered there too. With a bit of story-spinning, you can sneak a bit of sightseeing in among the Unicorn-spotting…
See a Real-Life Fairy Palace
Whimsical and ethereal, the White Temple in Chiang Rai, Northern Thailand, looks like a frozen palace from a fairytale. Still unfinished, the vast, snowflake-white temple has been a work in progress since 1997, and kids who love fairytales and princess stories won’t need much convincing to visit here. The photo opportunities are almost unlimited, and fanciful families in Thailand can let their imaginations run riot amid the beautiful, intricately-carved buildings and manicured gardens.
Visit a Magical Jewelry Store
The White Palace can be visited as a side trip from Chiang Mai, and fairytale-loving families in the Thai city should treat themselves to a visit to Fairytales Jewelry and Accessories. This sweetly-decorated store offers handmade jewelry and trinkets fashioned after fairy princesses and magical woodland creatures, which will appeal to grownups as well as little ones.
Families in Chiang Rai will find accommodation options in all price brackets, but those who want to extend the fairytale theme might want to consider booking a family room at the Pingnakorn Huaykaey Hotel (rooms from around 5000 baht). Here the rooms, dining spaces and gardens are all fairytale-fabulous, with antiques, glittering chandeliers and peacock murals. Added bonuses for families with kids are a lovely outdoor pool and great gardens.
See Thousands of Fluttering ‘Fairies’
Butterflies are about as close to fairies as the natural world gets, and families in Thailand between May and September can have a magical encounter with some 400 different types of the fluttering beauties at Pang Sida National Park, in the eastern province of Sa Kaeo. Over some 6000 square kilometers, the gorgeous natural park has famous waterfalls and bird-filled jungle, making visitors’ encounters with the butterflies all the more magical. There’s camping close the entrance, as well as little, straw-roofed chalets that look for all the world like magical woodland dwellings. A good, reasonably-priced option is Mulberry Pang Sida (chalets from 600 baht) has lovely gardens, floaty mosquito nets and a good breakfast, within easy reach of the park.
Tip: Thailand has a rich tradition of folk tales, usually with a moral message to instill good behaviour in children. To nurture an interest in local culture, it can be fun to read Thai fairy tales to your children as you travel the country. You might find them at English language bookstores in Thailand, or buy this one online before you travel
It’s home to the famous Unicorn Cafe, and it’s fair to say that a visit to this sugary-sweet cafe is pretty much mandatory. Bubble gum pink and baby blue colour schemes set the tone for a visit here, where even the spaghetti is rainbow-hued, and visitors can step into furry unicorn onesies for their dining experience. There are chandeliers and ornate furnishings fit for any princess, and fluffy toy unicorns everywhere you look. Predictably, the menu is dominated by swirly, brightly colored ice creams and cakes, but there are always unicorn-horned burgers (and that rainbow spaghetti) should you want to tone down the sugar rushing.
Dream World Theme Park
There are many theme parks in Thailand, but Bangkok’s Dream World will have the most appeal to little princes and princesses. From the turreted entrance to a fairytale castle and rides and gardens themed around fairy tales, this is one theme park that will really get kids’ imaginations racing.
Eat (and shop) like a Mermaid…
Giving the Unicorns a run for their money in the mythical beast stakes, the Mermaid Castle Cafe in Siam Square offers diners a chance to don a mermaid tale and apply super-bright mermaid makeup before settling down to super-bright cupcakes and milkshakes, amid a sea of mermaid-themed design details. And the bubble-gum pink fun doesn’t stop there, the cafe is just one corner of a multi-floor building that also features mermaid-themed stores selling toys, jewelry, clothes and accessories, all with the same magical mermaid theme.
…Or Drink Like an Iron Fairy
Grown ups looking for a bit of magic without the sugary-sweetness will find it at the cool Iron Fairies Bar on Thong Lor, which feels like entering a spooky fairytale. Every corner of this imaginative space is filled with curiosities such as bottles of ‘fairy dust’, and the strong cocktails will soon have you flying. A menu of steaks, burgers and other grounding meals will stop you spinning off into the ether.
TIP: If your tribe’s taste are a little more black magic than sugary sweet, try Mocking Tales – a cafe-bar themed around a dark fairy tale, which has an array of spell-binding cocktails as well as a famous ‘Smoking Mountain’ dessert which sees a burning chocolate mountain melt away to reveal a mound of delicious ice cream. Alternatively, diners can dress up in witches’ costumes to celebrate Halloween all year round at Kaethy the Witch tearoom in Lat Phrao, where the trick-and-treat theme includes eyeballs floating in your drink, spider cupcakes and all manner of ghoulish goings on.
Escape to a Hidden Fairytale Palace
The bustle of Bangkok can be overwhelming, but a stay at Phranakorn-Nornlen Hotel (family rooms from 4000 baht) in Dusit will soon revive flagging spirits. A quick boat ride from downtown, it’s a cute and quirky fairytale of a hotel set in leafy green gardens, with a brightly-coloured decor that looks like Toytown meets Fairyland. Staff treat little ones like little princes and princesses, and there are all manner of crafty activities laid on to keep boredom at bay while parents unwind a little. Magic.