Family holidays in Thailand offer an expert balance between fresh adventure and total relaxation in well-equipped surroundings. Our Destination Specialists have shared their favourite places to go in Thailand with kids, and offer tips to give your family holiday that extra wow factor. Here are a few ideas to get you started...
Whether you’re staying in the middle of the urban hubbub, or travelling out to soak up the southern beaches or northern hills, trips to Thailand often begin in Bangkok. This world class metropolis has a lot to offer visiting families, from the glitzy wonder of its neon skyline, to amusement parks and ice rinks, to gorging on mango and sweet sticky rice at a night market.
Selective Asia’s founder Nick suggests getting the most from your family time in the capital with an action-packed City Safari tour, which uses every mode of transport available, from Skytrain to tuk tuk! Take an early morning boat trip along the Chao Phraya river, as the sun rises high over the stilt-houses balanced along the bank; explore the golden Buddhas and glittering spires of Wat Pho and the Grand Palace, imagining the extravagant lives of the royalty who lived there; and take a tuk tuk through the traffic to the pier, where you'll hop aboard a local ‘bus boat’ along the city’s historic canals.
You’re spoilt for choice in Bangkok when little tummies start rumbling. Thai cuisine, especially in Bangkok, gives you a dizzying array of eating options and a flexible, kid-friendly attitude so that even the pickiest palates can find plenty to choose from.
We love grabbing quick streetfood snacks on the go, but to make some really ‘out there’ family meal memories, try one of the city’s more unique eateries. Head to the Unicorn Café in Bang Rak for rainbow waffles with extra sprinkles, watch a unicyclist catch whole fried chickens on a spiked helmet (yes, really!) at the descriptively-named Kra-Thon Flying Unicycle Chicken restaurant, or have your food brought to the table by roller-skating and zip-lining waiters at the Royal Dragon restaurant, which serves displays of Thai boxing and traditional dance on the side.
If you’re headed to northern Thailand, add some extra wonder by visiting during one of Chiang Mai’s many annual festivals, which range from the delightful Umbrella Festival in January and the fragrant floral floats of February’s Flower Festival, to the breathtaking sight of hundreds of lanterns floating into the November sky during Yee Peng. Chat with our Destination Specialists to find out what’s happening during your visit, and how to get the best festival experience.
Chiang Mai has plenty of year-round attractions to catch the attention of kids of all ages. Star in some some surreal photos at the Art In Paradise museum’s 3D optical illusion installations, whizz over the rainforest on an 800m zipline, and immerse yourselves in the gravitas of ancient temples. Overwhelm the senses with a wander through new sights, sounds and scents at the night market, and enjoy a little chill-out time with some fluffy friends in Chiang Mai’s cat café.
Away from the city, you can get a glimpse of what family life is like in a remote hilltribe community with a stay at Khum Lanna lodge. Learn to cook traditional dishes, chat with the locals, and enjoy a couple of days ‘off grid’ without screen technology to distract from the moment.
Taking a family holiday in Thailand gives kids the chance to get closer to the region’s extraordinary wildlife, with elephants often topping the excitement list. One of our all-time favourite wildlife experiences in Thailand’s is the extraordinary Elephant Hills in Khao Sok National Park.
Stay with kids over 4 years old in the main tented camp within the jungle, or - if they're over 7 yo - in a floating chalet at the Cheow Larn lake Rainforest Camp, and spend leisurely days with the project’s rescued elephants. Watch them bathe, walk with them through the trees, and help the rangers prepare their food, with the complete confidence in the resort's exemplary conservation and welfare credentials– a truly magical experience.
If you’re heading for some quality family time on Koh Samui’s superstar beaches, the Belmond Napasai helps young families enjoy a smooth stay with children’s menus, a babysitting service and onsite kids club. For families with older children, the Anantara Bophut resort combines high-end luxury with varied activities such as Thai boxing classes, tennis courts, quad biking and even a treetop canopy zipline.
Coconut Island, near Phuket, is more low key, and makes an ideal place to truly get away from it all. Relax in secluded villas at The Village resort, where you move at your own pace, splash in the pool with the kids, and take advantage of being ‘off duty’ by making the most of the all-inclusive facilities.
Being just 3 hours drive from Bangkok, Hua Hin is ideal for a family holiday which combines a few days under Bangkok’s bright lights with time relaxing on the beach, while keeping transfer times to a stress-free minimum. We recommend the Anantara Hua Hin for top level luxury in gorgeous tropical garden surroundings that lead right down to the sand. Chill on the beach, play tennis and golf, and treat yourself to some spa time while the kids have fun at the onsite club.