We discovered uncrowded Thailand in Khao Lak, and our kids loved it

Last updated 3rd October 2023

Thailand holidays are popular with good reason. That can make for a crowded country, but you can still find idyllic pockets of peace for family holidays if you know where to look, as John Lewisohn recently found out at ROBINSON Resort Khao Lak.


Beachfront ROBINSON Resort Khao Lak, Thailand

Paradise still exists, if you know where to look

Goodness but Thailand is busy. Close to 12 million people visited in 2022 and the Tourism Board is predicting an ambitious 30m visitors in 2023: I think I may have seen most of them in Phuket in early February, so I’d definitely advise trying a more peaceful destination with kids.

That’s not to say lively Phuket doesn’t have its charms, not least of all 20-plus beaches. But many visitors, like me, simply use it as a jumping off point to other places. I was heading north to Khao Lak, which, although not an island, is a lot closer to unspoiled for Thailand holidays than some of the better known ‘paradises’ these days.


Uncrowded beaches, Khao Lak, Thailand

Find yourself at ROBINSON Resort Khao Lak

If Khao Lak is new to you, then you probably haven’t heard of ROBINSON Resort Khao Lak which sits on a peaceful, 13-kilometre long beach edged by the Andaman Sea, about two hours’ drive from Phuket Airport. Family-friendly ROBINSON is a much loved German brand that’s been around for more than 50 years and is now part of TUI. So I was very much looking forward to seeing what they were up to in Thailand.


Pool Villa, ROBINSON Resort Khao Lak

ROBINSON Resort Khao Lak features 320 rooms in a range of styles and even the more budget-conscious options are spacious and have their own private balcony. We chose a pool villa room with a surprisingly good size pool and the added seclusion of a garden setting.


Active families love ROBINSON Resort Khao Lak

Fun Thailand holidays made for active families

The resort grounds are huge so you’ll probably use the free golf buggies a lot during your stay. They come in particularly handy to ferry tired kids back to homebase after indulging in one – or more – of the activities on offer. Depending on ages and stages, young guests can try anything from volleyball and football to archery and tennis, even Muay Thai Boxing is up for grabs.

Every building at Khao Lak is framed by manicured lawns, colourful shrubs and views of the sea or a swimming pool. Word of warning: signage can be a little confusing, but after a couple of days your kids will know their way around, so just follow their lead.


Unspoiled Khao Lak is endlessly exciting for kids

Try outdoor adventures and authentic experiences

If you want to stray further afield, the resort can also arrange a variety of activities around the local area. We chose to go canoeing on the Klong Sung Nae River and within 30 minutes were paddling through a hidden banyan tree forest accompanied by a calm guide and the sound of birdsong. If you opt for this day out, I can recommend adding on a trip to Takuapa Old Town for its vibrant market and romantic Sino-Portuguese architecture.


Main restaurant, ROBINSON Resort Khao Lak

Thai food is world famous and ROBINSON does it full justice from their main buffet restaurant to the gourmet beach restaurant – the latter has an extra charge, but is
so worth it.

Alternatively, you might want to go B&B only and explore local restaurants instead, you’ll find plenty of options just a short taxi drive from the resort.

Or, if you’d like to know how it’s done, take one of the lunchtime cooking lessons. They’re taught by the resort’s head chef and with her expert guidance we learned how to create authentic Thai mango Salad, Tom Yum soup and an iconic green curry.


ROBY CLUB, Khao Lak, Thailand

ROBINSON Khao Lak thinks of everything

Under 12s will love ROBY CLUB, right at the heart of the resort. Staffed by a well-trained, enthusiastic and multi-lingual team, it’s divided into two different age groups (3-6 or 7-12 years) and focuses on indoor and outdoor fun from eight in the morning until nine at night.

Although under-threes miss out on the supervised club, they can still still enjoy ROBY CLUB’s excellent facilities, as long as you join in the fun with them. Plus, the resort also organises children’s sporting activities during all the main UK school holidays. In fact, this thoughtful approach to family holidays really wowed us, ROBINSON is a genuinely premium brand and the staff take a huge amount of pride in their roles.

Friday night is cocktail night at the lovely pool bar and gregarious General Manager, Adam, introduces all the divisional managers to guests in an amusing floor show and it really does feel like a club, although not a cliquey one. There’s also a broad range of visitor nationalities and no language or culture dominates here. So if you think Thailand holidays with kids are all crowds and hard work, ROBINSON Resort Khao Lak will change your mind.


How to plan Thailand holidays with kids

How to get there

TUI direct UK flights to Phuket take from 11 hours, 30 minutes

ROBINSON Resort Khao Lak is 2 hours’ drive north of Phuket

Where to stay

ROBINSON Resort Khao Lak, 7-nights, full-board, from £1,300 (2 adults, 2 children)

Take a closer look at ROBINSON Resort Khao Lak