Thailand has become one of the world’s most popular family holiday destinations, offering cultural experiences, beautiful beaches, outdoor adventures, amusement parks, and plenty of budget-friendly accommodation options suited for families. The tropical climate is warm year-round, there are direct flights available from major airports globally, and Thailand offers good value for money. It’s easy to see why more and more families are choosing exotic Thailand for their next big vacation.
For families traveling with kids, Thailand offers lots of variety and flexibility in planning a holiday. The major destinations like Bangkok, Phuket, and Chiang Mai all offer family-oriented attractions and resorts. At the same time, less touristy regions like Krabi allow families to enjoy more isolated beaches and natural scenery. Thailand has activities and experiences to entertain kids of all ages – from water parks to cooking classes to hiking in national parks. Accommodation ranges from family rooms in hotels to sprawling pool villas. With some smart planning, Thailand can provide an unforgettable family holiday that perfectly balances adventure, culture, relaxation, and precious bonding time.
How to Pick the Best Time to Visit with Family
Thailand has three distinct seasons to consider when planning a family trip:
Dry Season (November to April)
The dry season offers the best weather for beach holidays and outdoor activities. Temperatures are very warm but not excessively hot, with cooler weather in the northern regions. The peak of dry season is from December to February when Thailand gets the most foreign tourists; prices increase and popular destinations get crowded.
Wet Season (May to October)
The wet season brings high humidity, frequent rain showers, and potential storms. Rural areas may experience flooding. However, the wet season has its advantages: fewer tourists, lower prices, greener scenery, and festivals. Phuket and Krabi still get good beach weather.
Peak Seasons to Avoid
Thai New Year (Songkran) in mid-April draws huge crowds and inflated rates. Christmas/New Year holidays are also busy at the beaches. Chinese New Year and Golden Week see lots of Asian visitors. If you’re avoiding crowds, late February to April and September/October are good shoulder season choices.
Top Family-Friendly Destinations in Thailand
Thailand offers families a diverse range of destinations, attractions, and experiences. Here are some of the top places to consider for a family holiday:
Thailand’s hectic capital city might not seem an obvious family destination. However, Bangkok has kid-oriented activities like markets, malls, parks, and temples. The city is very budget-friendly with an efficient public transit system. Popular attractions include Safari World, Dream World theme park, and boating along the Chao Phraya River.
Phuket is Thailand’s largest island and offers families a huge selection of resorts, dining options, and activities. Patong Beach is the epicenter of action, while places like Kata Beach or Nai Harn Beach are more relaxed. Phuket Fantasea theme park is a regional highlight. There are dozens of idyllic island tours to choose from.
Krabi province on Thailand’s southwestern coast is more laid-back than Phuket. Krabi Town has riverside charm while Ao Nang Beach provides resort facilities. Nearby Railay Beach is only accessible by boat – perfect for families looking to get off the grid. Krabi’s limestone cliffs and caves make for excellent adventuring.
In northern Thailand, Chiang Mai provides a contrast to the beaches and islands. Chiang Mai has great family hiking and biking opportunities, elephant sanctuaries, cooking classes, temples, and charming handicraft villages. The cooler climate is also a nice change of pace from the heat down south.
Best Family-Friendly Activities in Thailand
From outdoor adventures to hands-on learning experiences, Thailand offers countless memorable activities suited for families traveling with kids:
Introduce kids to Thai culture through temple visits, monk chat sessions, Thai cooking classes, fruit carving lessons, and trying on traditional outfits. Older kids can learn about history at sites like the Bridge Over the River Kwai or Ayutthaya ruins.
National Parks and Wildlife
Thailand’s lush national parks like Khao Sok and Khao Yai allow families to hike through jungles and spot elephants, monkeys, and other exotic wildlife. Guided treks and educational programs are available. Chiang Mai has excellent elephant parks and sanctuaries.
Famous Thai beaches like Patong, Kata, Kamala, Surin, and Bang Tao on Phuket provide every kind of water sport along with family-friendly resorts and dining. The many islands near Krabi and Phuket feature postcard-perfect beaches and snorkeling in turquoise waters.
Kids love making their own pad thai! Thailand offers fantastic family-friendly cooking classes in Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Phuket, and beach towns. Classes cover market tours, basic prep, and creating popular Thai dishes. Great culinary and cultural experience.
Boat excursions around islands and to secluded beaches are a wonderful family activity. Phang Nga Bay and Krabi speedboat tours reveal breathtaking scenery. Longtail boat rides downriver from Bangkok offer unique perspectives on local life. Overnight cruise options also available.
Bangkok, Phuket, and Pattaya have large theme parks perfect for families. Highlights include Siam Park City, Ramayana Water Park, Dream World, and Cartoon Network Amazone in Pattaya. Shows like Siam Niramit showcase Thai culture.
Markets and Shopping
Kids love the colors, smells, and bustle of open-air markets and malls. Bangkok’s Chatuchak Weekend Market has over 15,000 stalls. Walking Street markets in Chiang Mai and beach towns sell handmade crafts, toys, and souvenirs. Shopping malls offer air conditioning and international brands.
Finding the Best Family Accommodation
Choosing the right family accommodation is crucial for a successful trip. Here are some top options to consider in Thailand:
Family Hotels and Resorts
Major destinations have hotels and resorts catering to families with kids clubs, pools, playgrounds, restaurants, and entertainment. Top family hotel chains include Holiday Inn, Marriott, Hyatt, and Anantara. Beach resorts on Phuket and Krabi excel at family services.
Apartment rentals provide more space and privacy for families than hotel rooms, with in-unit kitchens. Central Bangkok has an abundance of serviced apartments for rent. Beach towns also offer apartment complexes with pools and amenities. Great for longer stays.
Family Villas with Pools
Book a private family villa with a pool for the ultimate luxury experience. Destinations like Phuket, Khao Lak, and Koh Samui offer private villas with full staff and chef service. Provides flexibility for families with napping schedules, meals, etc.
Family Holiday Package Deals and Tips
Family holiday packages can take the stress out of planning a Thailand trip. Here are key things to look for:
All-inclusive resort packages include accommodation, meals, and activities. Club Med operates family-oriented all-inclusive resorts in Phuket and Khao Lak. Some Phuket hotels also offer all-inclusive options. Takes the guesswork out of budgeting.
Many hotels, tours, and transportation providers offer discounted child rates. Air Asia and Bangkok Airways have cheap fares for kids under 12. Always ask about child pricing when booking anything in Thailand.
Instead of just one destination, visit multiple places like Bangkok-Phuket or Chiang Mai-Krabi. Multi-city packages arrange all transport and hotels at a bundled price. Allows families to maximize experiences.
Hiring private transfers to/from airports and between destinations is worth the splurge for family convenience and comfort. Kids avoid tiring public transit. Many reputable tour companies offer transfers.
Getting Around Thailand with Kids
Navigating Thailand with a family presents some challenges but options exist:
Flying domestically between regions with kids is easy and affordable. Bangkok Airways, Thai AirAsia, Nok Air all cater well to families. Flights under 2 hours eliminate long road journeys. Airport nursing rooms and play areas help.
Hiring private minivans or cars and drivers takes the hassle out of travel between destinations or for day trips. Kids can relax and sightsee. Companies like Personal Thailand arrange family-friendly vehicles and child seats.
Bangkok’s BTS SkyTrain, MRT subway, and bus systems work well for families. Chiang Mai and beach towns also have basic buses and shared songthaew vans. Just avoid rush hours and have snacks/entertainment for long waits.
Kid-Friendly Dining in Thailand
Finding places to eat that appeal to both kids and adults is key to family happiness at mealtimes:
Markets and Street Food
For quick, cheap Thai meals, head to street food markets popular in all regions. Let kids pick out snacks like fresh mango, coconut ice cream, grilled satay sticks, and pad thai. Fun, fast, and easy.
Shopping malls and tourist zones have chain restaurants like Dairy Queen, McDonald’s, and KFC for familiarity. Local spots like MK Restaurants and The Pizza Company cater well to families.
Hands-on family cooking classes allow kids to prepare and eat Thai food themselves. Classes available country-wide with kid-friendly menus of mango sticky rice, spring rolls, and chicken satay. Great for picky eaters!
Staying Healthy and Safe While Traveling
Travelling in Thailand is generally safe but families need to take some health precautions:
Recommend vaccinations for Thailand include Hepatitis A and typhoid. Malaria medication may be prescribed if visiting rural areas. Discuss other health risks with your doctor pre-trip.
Motion Sickness Remedies
Windy roads and boat rides can cause motion sickness. Prepare by bringing medication, wrist bands, ginger candies, and having children look towards the horizon. Hydrate and eat light.
Thailand’s tropical sun is powerful, especially at beaches. Use high SPF sunscreen liberally, have kids wear UV protection swimwear and hats, and avoid the midday sun. Reapply often.
Take care with kids around pools, ocean beaches with strong waves, and fast-moving inland rivers. Ensure kids have proper swimming skills for conditions. Use life jackets when boating or doing water sports.
Bangkok and major Thai destinations have international hospitals but travel insurance is still essential. Bring prescriptions and medications needed for existing conditions. Keep emergency contacts and documentation handy.
Packing Tips for a Family Trip to Thailand
Packing strategically makes travel with kids much smoother. Must-have items and things best left at home:
Lightweight, quick-dry clothing; sun hats; swimwear and goggles; closed-toe shoes for adventures; rain jacket; baby carriers; tablets/headphones; kid-friendly snacks; reusable water bottles; first-aid kit.
Items to Leave Behind
Valuables; expensive electronics; most make-up/hair appliances; travel irons; hardside luggage; anything that would be heartbreaking to lose. Travel light!
Top 10 Tips for an Amazing Family Holiday in Thailand
Follow these expert family travel tips for an epic and stress-free holiday in Thailand:
- Discuss trip rules and expectations with kids beforehand. Set realistic goals for daily activities.
- Pre-book family rooms or adjoining rooms at hotels. Request cribs, barriers, baby-proofing in advance.
- Fly overnight if coming long-haul. Have plenty of in-flight entertainment and snacks on hand.
- Slow down and don’t over-schedule days. Include pool/beach time to recharge. Let the kids decide some plans.
- Research family-friendly restaurants at each destination. Have snacks on hand for impatient eaters.
- Pack a medical kit with children’s meds, stomach relief, antibiotics, first aid essentials.
- Get travel insurance covering health, lost baggage, cancellations. Have documentation handy.
- Have realistic expectations for temples, markets, and cultural sites. Alternate with kid-oriented activities.
- Use family apartments or villas for multi-generational trips. Gives kids play space and adults privacy.
- Splurge on private drivers and guides when possible. Worth it for door-to-door service at your pace.
A family trip to Thailand offers an enticing blend of culture, activities, beaches, sightseeing, and lots of quality family bonding time. With kid-friendly destinations like Bangkok, Phuket, Krabi, and Chiang Mai, Thailand has something amazing to offer families of all ages and travel styles.
Booking a family holiday package takes the hassle out of planning, while private drivers and guides provide seamless transportation. Focus accommodation choices on family-oriented resorts, hotels, apartments and villas that cater to kids. Thailand is an exceptionally budget-friendly destination with discounts for children.
Most importantly, keep kids involved in making decisions during the trip and strike the right balance between must-see sights, relaxing beach time and cultural activities. With some planning, Thailand can exceed any family’s expectations for an unforgettable holiday that forges lifelong memories. The perfect blend of adventure and quality time together awaits in Thailand!