I am a big fan of southeast Asia, having been there three times now as a family. I remember the first time that I planned to go to Thailand, I had a three year old and a 15-month old and everyone just asked WHY?! Why did we want to take children there?! My response, why not?! Having been back to Thailand with a five year old and a seven year old, and also going to Bali when the children were four and six. Yes, the flights are long. But there are so many reasons why heading over to Thailand is a good idea, and why it is a great destination for families.
I’ll just add to this that we only aim to do ethical things on trips abroad. There are a few places that don’t treat animals very well. For example, Phuket Zoo might be something that you would normally consider good for kids, but after looking into it, we decided against it. Same for elephant rides and so on. There is still so much to do though! It would be great to hear what you think.
The part of Thailand that we have been to is Phuket. Being an island, surrounded by a number of smaller islands, hopping on a boat trip is a must. We love boat trips anyway, but it is a great way to spend the time as a family and see a whole range of other places. Some of the good news is that children cost hardly anything on a boat trip, and in fact, tend to be free if they are three or under. The boat trips that we have been on give you food and drink thought the day (handy with little ones) and are completely set up for families to be there with life jackets for children and snorkelling kits for children too.
You get to visit some of the smaller islands that are literally untouched like paradise. You can snorkel, canoe through mangrove forests and cave walking.
There are a number of elephant sanctuaries in Phuket, which is a great thing to do with children. It is either a morning or afternoon session where you help to learn about, care for, and feed the elephants. There is no riding the elephants, making it a much more ethical choice and teaching children about treating animals well. You can get in the water with the elephants, and generally wander around the area. Food also tends to be provided.
Thai food is some the best, and there is nothing like the real thing. The best places to eat are at the little beach hut restaurants and the smaller restaurants and cafes in the towns, if you are looking for something authentic and genuine. With a lot of recipes involving veggies, rice, and noodles, the food is completely kid-friendly! Just make sure that you don’t request chilli or spice for them though, as most Thai chefs don’t hold back!
Experience a different culture
When we have visited Phuket we have made a visit to the Phuket Town are of the island, which is the ‘capital’ of the island. As you might imagine, it is quite a busy place to be, but it is one of the best places experience the Thai culture, rather than just sticking to our resort hotel. There are Buddhist temples that you can visit. We went to the Wat Mongkol Nimit shrine in Phuket Town, and it was such an amazing experience. It was really fascinating, and the children even talk about it to this day.
The people are so lovely in Thailand too. They are very respectful, especially of children, and nothing is too much for them. It is a really lovely culture to experience.
Beaches and Swimming
You can’t go to Thailand and not visit one of the beaches. There are many stunning beaches, as well as water sports. Of course, you can visit beaches in many island locations around the world, but they really aren’t busy or packed like a lot of beaches in somewhere like Spain or Greece. They are so stunning too, with clear waters and white sands.
This is just the start when it comes to Thailand with children. Although we haven’t been to the mainland with the kids, I would completely recommend Phuket as a Thai destination for families. Even the restaurants cater for children, so don’t be put off going. Phuket is amazing and well worth the trip with children.
Thailand is opening up for tourists who are vaccinated from July, with a staggered opening starting with Phuket. More regions will be opening up from October. You can find more information here: https://fanclubthailand.co.uk/coronavirus-covid-19-thailand-travel-advice/.
The requirements are:
- obtain a valid visa or re-entry permit
- obtain a Certificate of Entry (CoE) before departure issued by the local Royal Thai Embassy or Consulate
- present official proof of full vaccination against Covid-19
- present a negative PCR test result (within 72 hours of departure from the UK)
- download the Thailand Plus track and trace application before departure and upload the required information
- Obtain travel insurance with Covid-19 cover (minimum of US $100,000)
- Provide confirmation of a minimum 7 night stay at the point of entry
It will be so great to be back in Thailand again at some point!
*this is a collaboration with the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT).