As usual, I’m playing catch-up with the blog posts. Documenting our adventures takes a back seat to experiencing them! Before I fill you in on Chiang Mai, I thought I would try to do a quick overview of our time in Bangkok.
We did a post about the Snake Farm and we posted a couple of rambling video updates. That barely scratches the surface of what we did in Bangkok, and we barely scratched the surface of the city! It is an awesome city with so much going on and we really enjoyed it.
Let’s start with the shopping malls. Like Singapore, Bangkok now has lots of huge, modern, luxury shopping malls. for those of you in Dallas, think Northpark, but add another 6 levels, a Rolls Royce showroom, some avant-garde local boutiques, and about 50 good restaurants. No joke. These places are massive and impressive.
One of the malls even features life-size model apartments for a local development:
One of the big, popular malls is Siam Paragon, and while we’re not normally drawn to malls, this place has an aquarium – Sea Life Bangkok Ocean World – in the basement and a cool mini-city built for kids – KidZania – on the top floor.
Jette loved both.
I sat in one of the many cafes and worked while Mila and Jette visited Sea Life Ocean World, so I can’t tell you much about it, but I can share some photos…
Suffice it to say that much fun was had at the aquarium and Jette learned a little bit more about local aquatic life in Thailand. Jette likes the TV show River Monsters, and having seen a couple of episodes on Thailand, already knew a bit about the giant rays and snakheads found in Thailand’s rivers. Scary!
So the quarium was on the bottom floor, but 8 floors up is KidZania. KidZania is basically a mini-city for kids (4-14 years old) built indoors. Imagine a Disney city with shops, car dealers, beauty salons, restaurants, firemen…a place where kids can learn, where they can earn their own money and make their own financial decisions…
Upon entry, each kid gets a check for 50 “kidZo” (the currency). Inside the “city” they can spend their money at the local shops. They can also choose to work or study and earn money. They can even open a bank account.
For example, they can work at the Vet CLinic and earn 8 kidZos:
Or pay 10 kidZos to take a course at the local Culinary School:
Here’s the story behind KidZania:
How it began
The history of KidZania starts like all great stories start with unwavering passion, idealistic vision, and the desire to be a catalyst for change. This particular story happened across cultures, across continents, and, more importantly, it happened in the minds of kids. The kids of the world became fed up with the current state of world affairs. They wanted a world where governments operated efficiently, societies were equitable, and resources were valued. This collective state of mind led them to envision a better world full of possibilities.
A nation is born
In development of this new world, they recognized a need to document their beliefs and their wish for independence. They began by establishing 6 fundamental rights: to Be, to Know, to Care, to Play, to Create and to Share. Inalienable and timeless, these rights are more than just entitlements; they are the foundation for real world training and the achievement of happiness. The children proclaimed their beliefs by writing an official Declaration of Independence, a statement of their independence from adults and an unequivocal announcement of their new nation’s existence. Next, they made a great leap by calling themselves a nation united on ideals rather than geography or culture. The kids decided on a purposeful name: KidZania, which means ‘Land of Cool Kids.’
Cities Evolve and Continue to Grow
Since they wanted a place where KidZanians could experiment and train, they decided to create their very own city. This is because cities are places where people live, share ideas, care for those around them and contribute to a greater whole. Since they wanted to learn quickly and retain their knowledge, the kids knew that the environment needed to be fun and realistic. After much work, they settled on a design and the first KidZania came to life. It was in Santa Fe Mexico City because that city has the largest population of children in the world. Thousands of children came and the success of their first city drove the kids towards growing their vision to more and more cities around the world.
Rights are Kept
The kid founders of KidZania gave a great deal of thought to their nation’s future. They knew they would each outgrow their ability to be active members of the community they founded. To guarantee that KidZania’s belief system would continue even after the original kids departed to participate in the grown up world, they created “Rightskeepers” that would live at every KidZania and never outgrow it. These rightskeepers – Urbano,Beebop, Chika, Vita and Bache – would help carry on the traditions, serve as role models and represent the values at the core of KidZania. Urbano represents KidZania’s infrastructure and learning, Beebop symbolizes its artistic phase, Chika characterizes its trends,Vita personifies the commitment to the environment and Bache reminds everyone to have fun. Each would remain a particular age, but could evolve over time in personality and thinking to reflect the fresh ideas every new KidZanian brings. The characters would be exemplary in their thoughts and actions and would be model citizens the kids could look up to as they looked to ready themselves for, and help create a better world.
One of the really fun activities was a climbing wall that was a building facade!
Jette had a great time at KidZania and is eager to go back!
When I think of Bangkok, I think of traffic. There is a LOT of traffic.
Of course there are tuk-tuks:
and river taxis:
And perhaps best of all, the Sky Train (or BTS). The Sky Train is an elevated train that snakes through the city above the traffic. Nice! Like Sinagpore, it is clean, cool and very orderly. Folks like up in single-file lines at the station:
But enough about traffic and transportation. We also went to the Bangkok Zoo:
We also went to Wat Po – the temple of the reclining Buddha. In addition to being a beautiful temple, Wat Po was the first institution of public education in Thailand – the first University if you will, and is still today a teaching center for traditional Thai medicine and Thai massage. We got massages while we were there 🙂
Most Thais are Buddhist, though Thai Buddhism has it’s own own unique “flavor” heavily influenced by local traditions, Chinese traditions, and Hinduism, among other things.
Of course, we did a lot of other things too, and ate A LOT of yummy street food!
Bangkok was fun.