A Thailand family holiday is a hugely popular travel choice for good reason with so much natural beauty and lots of stimulating places to visit. It is such an easy family holiday destination which caters well for kids of all ages and the best part is that Thai people LOVE kids so you will always feel welcome and safe.
We have been to Thailand five times, and love it so much that we had our wedding there in 2007. The last two trips have been with our kids when they were very young and with a little planning and care it is a wonderful and exciting place to take kids and there are so many places to visit in Thailand as well. Of course the friendly Thai people will do their absolute best on every visit to make every day memorable for little ones.
Let me explain why Thailand is such an amazing destination for families...
Great value for money
Accommodation, food and activities in Thailand are super friendly on the bank account which is exactly what you need when travelling as a family. A delicious restaurant meal for a family of four will only set you back approximately $30-40 aud or possibly even less, if you eat at local restaurants, and the quality of food is generally pretty amazing. If you choose to eat at resort restaurants you will pay a fair bit more than locally however you can enjoy some really beautiful evenings with calming views over the ocean in the beach hot spots.
Activities in Thailand are very affordable and transport is cheap and cheerful. Even with the added cost of international flights Thailand is still a very affordable option for family travel due to the great value of the Australian dollar and the cheap on ground costs.
Friendly, accommodating people
Thai people love and accept families and children into all facets of life. You can take your kids anywhere in Thailand and not feel nervous about what people are thinking or feel on edge that people don't want you children around. You can also strike up a conversation with almost any Thai person and they will be happy and friendly to converse with you and your kids.
On our last trip to Thailand the lovely lady who was cleaning our room each morning would fold the towels into animal shapes and interact and play with our kids whenever we saw her. They really are just extremely genuine and nice towards families.
Stunning natural beauty
Who doesn't love lush amazing greenery and gardens, sparkling turquoise beaches, and jungles to get the imagination running. Depending on what part of Thailand you visit you can expect a huge variety in scenery and experiences which is why this country is such a mecca for family travel. There are some gorgeous places to visit and things to do in Thailand from the jungles of northern Thailand to the crystal waters of Phi Phi and Krabi.
Wildlife in Thailand
Kids will love the interactions with friendly elephants, beautiful birdlife and cheeky monkeys. Just be a little mindful of the ethical considerations with some of the animal attractions. The consideration for the welfare of animals in Thailand is rapidly improving but in the past has been questionable.
Food glorious food
Super delicious, yummy food everywhere you turn. Thailand keeps everyone's tummy happy with authentic dishes and the freshest of tropical fruits.
Sometimes the most difficult part of travelling overseas with kids is finding food that they will eat. Well there is no need to worry in Thailand. The fresh tropical fruits are delicious but kids will also love the rice and noodle dishes for main meals, fresh fish is plentiful, spring rolls are a favourite for my kids, and there are plenty of yummy baked goods. If you stay in any decent standard resort in Thailand you can expect a huge variety of food options so if you or your kids aren't too fussed on traditional thai food there is also plenty of western food to select from.
Excellent quality resorts and accommodation in Thailand
Thailand hotels are of the highest quality and can be very luxurious at a family friendly price and it is easy to find great value Thailand packages. If you keep any eye out for good deals you should be able to score a 5 star resort for around the $200 per night price range. If you are looking for some of the best family friendly hotels in Thailand make sure you read my article here.
Many Thai resorts have amazing pools, beautiful gardens, high quality restaurants, kids clubs and full calendars of activities to keep even the most energetic kids busy. Keep an eye on my other Thailand articles for some good suggestions for hotels.
The great thing about Thailand accommodation is that it can suit absolutely any budget. You can opt for cheap and cheerful or spoil your family with a private plunge pool villa - the choice is all yours!
Cheap, direct flights
Being such a popular destination means there are lots of airlines and deals constantly available to get you there. If you don't mind travelling no-frills then Jetstar direct to Phuket is a fantastic way of getting to your beach destination with the minimal of fuss. Flying low cost holiday airlines such as Jetstar usually means lots of other families with kids so for those of you nervous about flying with kids you can just blend into the noise and excitement.
Asian holidays are a simple way to combine a city and beach holiday. Enjoy a few days shopping and visiting the cultural highlights of Bangkok before chilling on the beach in Phuket or Koh Samui. For a splash of adventure a trip north to Chiang Mai is the perfect solution.
All you need to know when travelling with kids to Phuket
I have covered this already but worth mentioning how you can cope with travelling with babies and toddlers. Thailand supermarkets do sell baby foods and toddler snacks however you wont find the range that you would find in Australia or other western countries and it is generally restricted to the glass jar baby food. Depending how fussy your toddler is you will probably find it easier to pack some of the snack foods that you would regularly give your baby/toddler at home. No need to go overboard though as most restaurants in the resorts will help you out with special orders for some cooked vegies that you can mash up with a fork and you can rely on a reliable source of fresh fruits to puree yourself.
Generally speaking we have never had too many problems with any sort of gastro or illness in Thailand. The only time this has happened was from a five star resort restaurant so go figure. To keep your kids happy and healthy just pack some wet wipes and some hand sanitiser for those times you dont have soap and you should be fine.
You will need to buy bottled water for your stay in Thailand both for drinking and brushing teeth. This isn't a biggie as you can literally buy water everywhere but if you want to save some cash head to a local supermarket to buy water as the resort convenience stores will charge five times the price.
For sterilising bottles or other baby items we would use the tap water as it gets treated by the sterilising tablet. This leads to the next tip - the simplest and lightweight option for sterilisation is the basic dissolvable tablets that can be purchased from chemists and supermarkets. Take a basic tuperware container for the items to soak for the appropriate time and you are all sorted.
Transport options in Thailand
Tuk tuks light up the roads in Thailand and can be a bunch of fun for kids. Often lit up with disco lights and entertaining drivers it is something you have to try when in Thailand.
If you want a safer and faster ride, particularly good for the longer drives then you can use taxis or a private driver. Kam from http://www.kidsonboard-phuket.com is absolutely fantastic for a private driver in Phuket. He has looked after us on both visits with the kids and drives safely, has a good car and high quality child restraints.
If you are catching taxis please bear in mind that many taxis in Thailand may not have working seatbelts and definitely will not have child restraints.
Another option can be to use the hotel shuttle service that many of the larger resorts offer. Usually in a mini van with seat belts but no child restraints. Be prepared to see some weird and wonderful things on the road in Thailand... it puts a whole new perspective on whether we wrap our kids in cotton wool.
Depending on the age of your child and where you are staying you can get away without travelling with some additional items. Most decent resorts and hotels will provide you with complimentary baby cots and other useful items such as high chairs and toys. We have always found restaurants in Thailand more than ready to seat families with high chairs and special cutlery and bowls etc so you dont need to stress about taking too much from home.
Some particularly good resorts will have fully stocked kids playrooms and will even provide a play corner in your room which is great for saving some luggage space for you.
I would recommend taking your own pram as it can be really helpful to allow you to spend the day outside enjoying your holiday while your child can nap somewhere comfortable and safe. There is nothing worse than feeling locked in a hotel room constantly while you let your kids sleep. Bear in mind that once you head outside of resort areas the footpaths can be poorly maintained or non existent so a pram that can handle some uneven terrain is a help.
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Make sure you check out the in-depth info on the best places to stay and the most amazing experiences to be had travelling as a family in Thailand. There is so much to explore that I am excited to share all the best parts with you...