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Thailand family holidays

Having fallen head over heels for Thailand in our backpacking days, many of the SA team have returned with our families to discover the country’s magic through a different lens. It’s a remarkable place to visit, and even after half a dozen trips none of us would lay claim to having 'done Thailand'. Every trip really can herald something new. With so many different experiences, it's a top fit for families who want excitement and flexibility.

Whether you’re cycling around Chiang Mai, kayaking along Bangkok’s klongs, or getting inspired by ethical wildlife conservation, your family holiday can be tailored to spark everyone’s imagination. Balance the high-adrenalin of a Bangkok Muay Thai workshop with chilled out time on a Thai island beach, and make memories to fuel a lifetime love of travel.

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Family holidays in Thailand offer a balance between fresh adventure and total relaxation, with frequent opportunities for extra wow factor.

Kate - Indonesia specialist
Elephant Hills

Walk beside rescued elephants at inspirational conservation projects

Cycle northern thailand

Pedal and paddle around Thailand’s lush northern landscape

Chiang Mai market

Scoff delicious pad thai on a Chiang Mai streetfood tour

Bangkok at night

Go treasure-hunting through Bangkok’s neon landscape

remote beach

Imagine yourselves as castaways on remote island beaches

What to expect when visiting Thailand with kids

Thailand is one of our best-loved family destinations, offering a relaxed and easy pace without feeling like a cookie-cutter experience - you can stay on or off the usual path, as you wish, and fine tune every aspect.

Island adventures

Many of Thailand’s islands are just as idyllic in real life as they appear in the glossy photos, and it’s worth taking time to find your family’s perfect fit. The sheltered archipelagos off the country’s coast offer a wealth of picture-perfect hideaways with crystal clear waters and shoreside reefs to snorkel over. From Krabi to Koh Mak, there are pockets of unspoilt tropical paradise with relaxed family-friendly facilities, which are still conveniently close to the mainland. Settle into the gentle rhythms of beach life and venture out to explore incredible underwater worlds. Watch the fishing boats bobbing by Koh Chang’s shoreline, or immerse yourself in community projects on Koh Yao Noi. The islands are your family’s proverbial oysters…

Thailand islands

Wild at heart

Ethical wildlife conservation is high on many families’ wish lists, and Thailand has a few inspiring projects to discover. Stay in the heart of the jungle at Elephant Hills in Khao Sok National Park, learning about how the rescued elephants are cared for, and encounter these gentle giants on their own terms. Further north, the waterfalls and evergreen forests of Khao Yai National Park are a wonder-filled wilderness. Learn about the habitat’s diverse flora and fauna from a skilled naturalist, visit a ‘mineral lick’ to see large mammals gather at sunset, watch flocks of birds take flight from Khao Kheaw viewpoint, and head out on night safari to spot nocturnal species such as civet, porcupines and owls…

Elephant hills

Northern spirit

Chiang Mai offers families a less frenetic pace and a true slice of Thailand’s northern soul. Take a tuk-tuk ride through chilled-out streets between intriguing temples and bustling markets. Go trekking in the surrounding jungle, and get a glimpse of rural family life with a stay at a farming retreat. Immerse yourselves in northern Thai culture with a cooking class in a family home, strolling around the garden gathering fresh ingredients before learning to cook traditional recipes and sitting down together to enjoy the fruits of your labours. Learn about local cottage industries, stay at wilderness camps, pick tea on remote hillsides and cycle through unspoilt jungle landscapes straight out of an intrepid adventure tale.

Chiang Mai

An alternative side to the city…

Bangkok’s famous contrast of temples and bright lights is dazzling, with plenty to keep families engaged, but a small step off the well-trodden path shows you the capital from a fresh angle. Venture through the streets to fill up on mango and sticky rice from a street food stall, get active with a Muay Thai class, and embark on a treasure hunt through the city’s thriving artisan community to discover handicrafts and silk weaving. Take a traditional long-boat down the city’s vast network of historic canals to discover the true heart of Bangkok and learn more about the local way of life. Discover old teak houses, vendors selling vegetables from wooden boats, and children splashing at the canal edge. 

Our Thailand Specialists’ top tips for families

Whether you’re a seasoned Thailand traveller or a first-timer, don’t be afraid to include a few unusual experiences alongside the beach days and wildlife watching. Thailand’s strong infrastructure makes going a little ‘off piste’ much more feasible, and you’ll be able to have an experienced guide by your side whenever you wish.

On the flip-side, although it’s tempting to cram in as many mind-boggling experiences as you can, we’ll make sure you include some proper downtime too. It helps reset everyone’s energy levels, and means you can enjoy those extra-special experiences even more. All those beautiful beaches are just waiting to be relaxed on, after all!

Thailand is a popular destination for honeymooners too, but don’t worry unnecessarily about choosing hotels specifically for families, or avoiding couples. It’s not as much of an issue as it sometimes seems, for either party! On the ground, there’s usually plenty of room for everyone, and travellers of all sorts sit happily side-by-side.

Much of Thailand has a typical tropical climate with distinct wet and dry seasons, while the southern peninsular is more monsoony. You might have to juggle your plans a bit to get the best of the weather, but these differences mean you can usually find sun on a beach somewhere! High season is between November and March, so Christmas breaks to Thailand are very popular. If you’re planning on spending the festive season building sand castles on a Phuket beach, make sure you book early!

Having an experienced, knowledgeable and welcoming local guide on hand during your trip is absolutely invaluable. They’ll be able to meet you upon arrival, act as translator, transfer you between locations, and generally make everything go as smoothly as possible. They’ll leave you to your own devices as much or as little as you wish, and your Destination Specialist will discuss this with you while planning your trip.

Thailand remains one of Asia’s most popular destinations for family holidays, and there’s far more to the country than its stunning beaches! It combines a warm welcome with an efficient infrastructure which makes for smooth travel, and is a great starting point for families who want to begin venturing a bit further afield. Thailand is a safe, supportive and reassuring destination and, like much of Asia, kids will be fussed over constantly! You’re likely to find some things different from what you’re used to, and if you’re unsure of anything at any time, our fantastic guides are always on hand to help.

When planning a trip to Asia, it’s always important to consider the possible requirement for vaccinations and immunisations. Most importantly, we stress that you should contact your doctor or medical practitioner well before you depart to get their advice on any vaccinations and medication you may need for your trip. If you’ve travelled recently and believe that you are already up-to-date, it is still worth checking as vaccinations have a varying life span. Most of Vietnam has been declared low to no risk for malaria on the NHS Fit for Travel map, and NHS Travel Vaccinations site has lots of up-to-date information on vaccinations and general travel health.

ATM machines are widely available throughout Thailand, including at most airports, so there’s no need to obtain baht in advance of your arrival, although it is possible to do so. ATMs usually offer good, if not better, rates of exchange than currency exchange bureaus and hotels. In most shops and restaurants, only baht cash and card payments are accepted.

Sometimes. Citizens of the UK, Australia, New Zealand, most EU countries, Canada and the United States do not require a visa to visit Thailand for up to 30 days. If entering Thailand by land border then they will usually only be granted a visa valid 15 days. EU citizens and other worldwide nationals not listed above should check with the Thai Embassy in their country of residence for the most up-to-date information. In the event of a visa being required, arrangements should be made with the Thai Embassy in advance of your departure to Thailand. It’s usually a single entry visa that allows you to travel in the country for 60 days. Many embassies offer an express service as well as a multiple entry visa, both at additional cost.

Though you can pick up many items once you’re there, we’d recommend taking supplies of any essentials, such as favourite nappies, formula etc., as well as your preferred brand of sunscreen and a good insect repellent. Light, long sleeved shirts, a light scarf or two, and long trousers or skirts will mean that you’re prepared for any eventuality, including modest dress codes at sites of religious significance. They’ll also help provide valuable protection against strong sunlight and mosquitoes. If you’re travelling with tinies, consider taking a really good baby carrier, as push-chairs might be difficult to get around with.

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