FLYING TO THAILAND & GETTING AROUND
– Fly straight to Bangkok to cut down on transiting.
– Avoid hopping on ferries and buses where possible.
– Plan in advance if families must travel in school holidays to avoid disappointment.
– Be flexible or be aware that picking particular dates can be restrictive.
– Know what will make your travel comfortable. E.g. Full-service airline (which includes baggage, meals, bassinets, etc), all-inclusive accommodation or particular amenities (such as kids club, for example). This will make it easier for your Travel Expert when they are customising your trip.
– Feeling adventurous? An all-inclusive tour like Intrepid’s Thailand Family Holiday is a great way to see multiple destinations without the hassle of planning and coordinating yourself.
WHERE TO GO
The capital of Thailand, Bangkok is a modern and cosmopolitan city with so many attractions for kids. From the floating markets to cooking classes and even Michelin-starred street-food spots, the city is an exciting place for mini-foodies. Cultural attractions like the Grand Palace and some impressive temples (or wats) abound too, including Ayutthaya, the UNESCO-listed historic city that was the capital of the ancient kingdom of Siam only 80km north of the city.
Surrounded by jungle, sprawling countryside and brimming with amazing night markets, delicious regional food and natural experiences, Chiang Mai is a laid back alternative to the hustle and bustle of Bangkok. Just over one hour flying from Bangkok (or 11 hours on a train) the Northern Thai city – known as the ‘Rose of the North’ is perfect for quality downtime with family, minus the hectic energy.
Charectised by its craggy limestone cliffs and beautiful beaches, the Krabi Province is known for its tropical attributes and picturesque environment. Surrounded by beautiful islands (such as Phi Phi), Krabi is a good choice for families after the perfect mix of island relaxation, good food plus adventure.
Phi Phi Island
With direct flights (Tiger and Air Asia) from Australia, it’s easy to get to Phuket and perfect for families with a multitude of experiences in close proximity. Karon Beach is best for kids, away from the craziness of popular tourist spot, Patong.
STAYING, PLAYING & EATING
WHERE TO STAY
– Keep to routines: Kids love consistency and even though you are on holidays, it will serve you well to keep some semblance of routine. Consider time differences and jet lag, particularly with smaller children. Although Koh Samui is only on three hours behind Australian time, we found it made a difference for our son’s mornings and evenings. 3am on the island was 6am at home (his usual waking time) and 3.30pm was when he would normally be prepping for bedtime. It was not fun, and while there’s little to do to avoid it, maintaining a routine as much as possible helps smaller travellers adjust to the disrupted circadian rhythms.
– Let your Travel Expert advise you on resort facilities that will make your stay more enjoyable. Details like room types, interconnecting, multiple bedrooms, private pool, etc that will make the family holiday more memorable.
– Advise your Travel Expert of any allergies, special medical conditions, anything your kids may like so they can advise the hotel.
– Keep an eye out for deals and promotions with great bonuses and inclusions to stretch your dollar further.
EATING & DRINKING
Avoiding the dreaded stomach bug or something more sinister while visiting Thailand with kids is an exercise in preparation and discipline, especially with little hands always in mouths. Hygiene and food safety vary from destination to destination but there’s a few tips to follow wherever you are to avoid the dreaded holiday belly:
– Only drink bottled or filtered water and don’t brush teeth with tap water or drink from the shower.
– Don’t eat pre-cut fruit and veg and wash any you buy with bottled or filtered water.
– Wash your hands and use hand sanitiser.
– Don’t eat food that has been sitting around (i.e. buffets etc) or is room temperature. Fresh cooked is best, particularly from street-food stalls.
– Ask for drinks without ice as it is usually made with tap water.
– Avoid unpasteurised dairy, shaved ice and soft-serve as these can be sources of listeria and bacteria.
– Eat in restaurants with high turnover as you’ll know the food is cooked fresh.
– Ensure you have full coverage health insurance in the event of a hospitalisation or doctors visit.
– Elephant Hills – Offering ethical elephant experiences and a range of safaris, Elephant Hills is a low-key Phuket experience for nature and animal lovers to see the majesty of these beautiful creatures up close.
– Pink Elephant, Samui Water Park – approximately 15 minutes in a taxi (traffic dependent) from Bophut Beach in Samui, and set among a palm grove, the water park has a variety of slides and pools for kids of all ages.
– Kanchanaburi – This town in west Thailand is know for its three most moving historical attractions: Death Railway, Bridge over the River Kwae and the Allied War Cemetery.Despite its historical significance the city is also home to other activities such as a gemstone village, bamboo river rafting and Khmer temple ruin tours.
– Wat Phra That Doi Suthep – an awe-inspiring temple in Chiang Mail with a 309-step ascent to reach the complex of wats.
– Visiting a tailor – Having a special item made to order, by hand is a unique and enlightening experience for a little person. Most areas will have multiple tailors who can take custom orders with a few days notice.
– Attending festivals like Yi Ping festival in Chiang Mai (pictured).
Tips for sightseeing:
– Keep kids well fed, rested and hydrated on cultural sightseeing.
– Opt for shorter days and plenty of rest stops.
– Choose your time of day wisely considering factors such as weather and local customs
– Encourage kids’ curiosity and learning opportunities by letting them interact with locals and exploring their local environment.