Taking the family to Phuket is a relaxing, indulgent and culturally interesting holiday that your kids will really love, and is top of the list for an accessible and relaxing Thai holiday. Full of adventure and fun, Phuket blends incredibly beautiful natural environments, the opportunities to pursue adventure, and interactions with happy and friendly locals. There are so many things to do in Phuket and for families who haven't travelled too much the range of Phuket tours and attractions make it a really easy family holiday destination.
Phuket is reached via a very easy direct flight from most major airports in Australia and the small time difference makes it a good destination to re-settle babies and infants into a comfortable routine. If you need some more advice and tips on why Thailand is a fantastic option for your next family holiday check out my article on taking your kids to Thailand.
But for now, here are my top tips for things to see and do with kids in Phuket and make sure you check out these tours that can be pre-booked for your family's trip to Phuket.
1. Phi Phi Islands - snorkelling, diving and beach bliss
You simply can't visit Phuket and not take the chance to take an outer island boat trip where you get to see some of the most spectacular and best beaches near Phuket. The islands in Thailand are spectacular and swimming in the azure crystal waters is really amazing. Kids will love the thrill of the speed boat ride out to the islands and then swimming or snorkelling to explore the vibrant fish life. Don't forget the camera to capture the iconic holiday snapshots.
A little hint - try booking with one of the tour operators who leave at the earliest time in the morning or in the afternoon. Popular areas like Phi Phi island and the Blue Lagoon can get very busy mid morning through to lunch time so it is handy to be on the off-peak boats that visit each place first beating the crowds.
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2. Elephants and Monkeys
There aren't many kids who don't love seeing new and interesting animals.
Elephants are common place in Phuket and many of the high end resorts have some resident elephants who come daily to visit the children and families. Cheeky monkeys and large lizards can also be found on the island and although you can't approach them the kids will squeal with excitement.
You will find many websites and tourist brochures spruiking 'animal' shows and elephant rides in Thailand and it is really big business. Unfortunately there is wide debate about the ethical treatment of these animals, particularly in the methods in which they have been trained. We have consciously chosen to avoid these attractions after visiting an elephant rescue sanctuary in Northern Thailand (https://www.elephantnaturepark.org/). I was very happy to see that a new elephant rehabiltation program has now been set up in Phuket and our family will be visiting this in a few months time so will update you on the work.
I recommend you do your own research if this type of thing concerns you...
3. Visit the turtle rehabilitation centre (Phang Nga Coastal Fisheries Research and Development Centre)
This place is not well known and is tucked away in a quiet part of the island close to Khao Lak. If you can organise yourself a driver to take the family you will be rewarded with an interactive experience for the kids. There are no formalities with this place but you can roam freely checking out the hundreds of animals being rehabilitated to be re-released into the wild. The focus is on turtles but you can also find some saltwater crocodiles and a variety of brightly coloured tropical fish.
4. Bike tour local villages and beaches
If your kids are old enough to confidently navigate a mountain bike through some varied terrain then doing some sightseeing on two wheels is a fun family activity. A bike tour is a great way to see all the best bits and many resorts will arrange this type of trip for you with one of their 'activity' staff members taking you on a private tour. Heading out from the Bang Tao area we visited some temples, beaches and rode through some rice paddies and farms as well as local rubber plantations. It really is a great way to see and learn about Phuket beyond the walls of a cozy resort and all of the friendly smiles and waves along the way makes for an uplifting day.
5. Visit Bang Pae Waterfall and Gibbon Rehabilitation Centre
Centrally located on Phuket Island, the Bang Pae Waterfall is a nice easy hike and a refreshing spot for a cool off in one of the pools along the way. At the beginning of the car park you will also come across the Gibbon Rehabilitation centre for an interesting side trip.
There are a number of beautiful waterfalls close to Khao Lak as well if you find the right driver to get you there! Lampi waterfall is a serene spot to visit.
6. Resort activities and kids clubs
The quality of resorts in Thailand are superior to many other places in the World and value for money is sensational. This spells happy days for families as resorts vie for the 'family market' with the provision of some amazing kids clubs and schedules packed full of kid friendly activities. After visiting some of the kids clubs in Thailand and being immersed in the lovely environment created by kid-loving staff you will not want to bring your kids home to return to their regular daycare or school.
Activities are plentiful from water sports in the pool, art and craft sessions, cooking and much much more. All with a twist of Thai culture and creativity!
7. Visit some local markets
Take the kids outside of their normal comfort zone by taking an hour or two to wander the many and varied local markets in Phuket. Kids will be enthralled by all the sights, sounds and smells that will jolt their senses. It's a great chance to get some souvenirs to take home and to try some tasty street food when the tummy beckons. A kids favourite will be the salty corn on the cob grilled on makeshift bbqs which makes for a great lunch option.
8. Dine out at local beachfront restaurants
Some of the best beaches in Phuket are lined with scenic and pretty restaurants. Apart from the obvious chance to indulge in some delicious local food, the beachfront restaurants mean the kids can run and play in the sand often right next to your table as you get to relax with an evening drink while watching the sunset. Life isn't always so romantic since kids joined the picture so at least you can have a little 'romantic time' whilst the kids are having some fun.
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