If there’s one exotic location you know the kids are going to love, it’s Thailand. There’s pools with water slides! Unlimited fruit mocktails! Other kids to play with! More pools! Thailand really does tick all the right boxes for an incredible family holiday.
There are, however, some Thailand holiday destinations that are more family-friendly than others. So think of this as your Thailand travel guide; we’ve got the lowdown on the best places to visit in Thailand, the best Thailand holiday destinations and the best Thailand beaches.
The kids are going to love you for it, and we promise you’ll have an amazing time too.
For the family favourite: Phuket
When it comes to fail-safe locations for a Thailand family holiday, look no further than Phuket. Home to stunning beaches and an impressive variety of tours and activities, it’s also a relatively cheap, safe and easily-accessible destination. And it’s no secret that the Phuket family resorts are out of this world. Boasting everything from kids’ clubs, pools, playgrounds and kid-friendly restaurants, some resorts even offer cooking classes, traditional Thai dancing lessons or stand up paddle boarding sessions – talk about being spoilt for choice! Just make sure you bypass Patong and Bangla Road. Head to the quiet, relaxed areas of Mai Khao Beach or Karon for an escape from tourists, rowdy bars and crowded beaches. It’s here you’ll be able to enjoy a slice of the real Phuket.
For an exciting city change: Bangkok
Loud, overhwelming and crowded; although it may not be the first destination that comes to mind when you think ‘family holiday’, there are hundreds of reasons to make the trip to Bangkok with the troop. Yes, it’s all of the aforementioned things and more, but it’s a vibrant city with plenty to offer in terms of culture, activities and dining experiences. Start your exploration of Bangkok with a cruise through the canals, which weave through quiet neighbourhoods, under wooden bridges and past floating marketplaces. Bangkok’s many revered temples are well worth a visit, and the palatial Grand Palace and gold-plated Temple of the Emerald Buddha are incredible highlights. And the Thai street food in Bangkok is exceptional – from noodle dishes to skewered meats and sweet mango sticky rice with coconut cream, there’s no chance of anyone going hungry.
For the ultimate beach break: Koh Samui
Ask any frequent Thai traveller and they’ll tell you why Koh Samui is great for families. Located off the east coast of Thailand, it’s an island paradise renowned for unspoiled natural attractions, gorgeous beaches and, you guessed it, ridiculously good family-friendly resorts. Expect to pay top dollar for a hotel with all the kid-friendly luxuries though, as Koh Samui can be significantly more expensive than Phuket. Some of these resorts also offer nanny services, action-packed activities and water sports, gaming areas and family-sized villas. Must-dos in Koh Samui include a visit to the lush Secret Buddha Garden, a boat trip out to Ang Thong Marine Park, or a day at Aquapark, because sometimes all kids want to do is slip around on giant inflatable water slides all day.
For inland adventures: Chiang Mai
Wondering where to go in Thailand that isn’t a beachy tourist hotspot? You should definitely consider Chiang Mai. Tucked away in the misty mountains of northern Thailand, this ancient settlement offers a cool and calming antidote to the heat and hustle of Thailand’s beaches. For the active family, Chiang Mai is an explorer’s playground. A number of awesome hiking trails (of varying difficulty levels) snake through the surrounding mountains. There’s also the Flight of the Gibbon, an eco-friendly adventure park where you can zoom through the air along some of the longest and highest zip lines in Asia. And if you’re a family of cyclists, exploring Chiang Mai on two wheels is one of the best ways to see the city.
For something a bit different: Hua Hin
Long before Phuket became the go-to Thai destination for sun-seeking families, there was Hua Hin. As the country’s original beach resort town, it’s one of the most underrated places to visit in Thailand with family. Just a short flight from Bangkok, this former fishing village is even the holiday location of choice for the Thai royal family, who have been vacationing here since the 1920s. Everything you could possibly need for an unbeatable family vacation is here: the beach is clean, relatively uncrowded and shallow, the resorts are world-class and lack nothing in the way of kid-friendly amenities, and a visit to the Summer Palace of King Rama VI is the perfect cultural excursion for youngsters of all ages. Plus, there are seven (yes, seven!) golf courses to practise your swing on. What more could you want?