Exotic and beautiful as it is, Thailand is also one of the best countries in the world for ticking all the right family vacation boxes.
Children are pretty much welcome everywhere and treated like honoured guests most of the time. The combination of fantastic beaches, wonderful weather, thrilling wildlife and endless natural and manmade wonders works for every age from toddler to teenager.
Travel times to resorts can seem daunting but usually turn out to be just another part of the adventure.
And surprisingly, for one of the most popular places to visit on earth, it’s still possible to escape completely in Thailand and find quieter beaches, undiscovered lagoons and pockets of complete peace.
The dry season is from November to March. Highest rainfall between April and late September.
Wide range of family friendly resorts, vacation villages, spas and international brand hotels in all tourist areas.
Thailand has 127 National Parks and 22 National Marine Parks for day trips by boat or overnight stays.
Traditional Thailand is never too far from even the busiest beach resorts, whether it’s street food, Buddhist shrines, local markets or trekking in the untamed jungle.
Siriraj Hospital and Phra Nakhon museum are just two of Bangkok’s many truly eccentric museums.
Bangkok has over 50 different districts, is a culture shock to kids at first but one of the most fascinating and deeply historic world capitals to explore.
Thailand’s largest island enjoys the warm, clear waters of the Andaman Sea in the sheltered south west. Phuket’s popular and on the plus side that means a wide choice of family hotels, good transport and plenty of activities for kids. Busy beaches and Phuket Town are easy to escape and there’s more than enough here that’s unspoiled and lovely to meet all paradise expectations.
Koh Samui floats in the Gulf of Thailand, beautiful but less busy than Phuket and perfect for a first time family holiday. With more beaches than other island, there’s always space on the sand here whether you choose lovely long Chaweng Beach or give kids the gentle waters of Bophut and Maenam to splash around in.
The tiny Phi Phi islands are paradise and if they weren’t so idyllically lovely they’d almost be a cliché right down to the towering limestone karst, vivid seas, impossibly white beaches and dense, lush jungle.
Thailand’s beach capital has Phuket’s gorgeous, deep blue Andaman Sea with a hint of Pattaya’s lively spirit and it’s a great mainland holiday base for teenagers. Night markets, island hopping and the buzz of Krabi Town mixed with a soaring, cliff-strewn coastline and gorgeous (seemingly endless) sands, work plenty of magic for younger kids too.
Thailand’s most visited Buddhist temple, Wat Prachetuphon Vimon Mangkararam AKA Wat Pho, is in the city’s Phra Nakorn district. A UNESCO Memory of the World site and best known for its 46m long reclining gold Buddha.
Considered to be the best diving site in Thailand, Koh Tao is a 90 minute sail from Koh Samui.
152km² national park reached by ferry from various islands and Krabi. The park’s home to the traditional Chao Le people. Ancient Moon Festivals here in November are breathtaking.
Now one of Thailand’s best known bays, Maya was the paradise beach in ‘The Beach’. Great place to see iconic limestone karst.
Just over an hour’s drive north of Bangkok, this working water buffalo ranch gives kids a glimpse of Thai rural life and customs.
A must-do in Bangkok, this 88 storey tower is filled with shops and restaurants but the showstopper is the 360˚ revolving deck on the top floor, best views of the city, in the city.
Guided cycle through the jungle in the middle of frenetic Bangkok. Exciting way for older kids to see several only-in-Thailand sights like floating markets and city canals. Bang
One of the largest and most elaborate shrines on the island. Fascinating for the intricate architecture and frequent local rituals.
50 island archipelago and one of Thailand’s most accessible natural wonders. Site of the stunning Koh Mae Ko lagoon sunk into the summit of a limestone mountain.
For a hint of how culturally significant Phuket was in the late 18th and early 19th century take the kids on a tour of Old Phuket Town to see the merchant’s mansions and historic shophouses.
Tuk-Tuk, taxis or on foot is the best way to get about cities. Charter boats and ferries connect most islands to the mainland, national parks, more remote beaches and lagoons. Songtaew (open air buses) and taxis are great on islands – micro-buses with air con are good in very hot weather. Most resorts and hotels will arrange transport to attractions and very few towns and villages aren’t walkable.