The Ultimate Guide to a Family Vacation in Thailand
Published on: October 12th, 2017
Last modified: July 27th, 2023
This Southeast Asian gem is a dream come true for many travellers – but is Thailand good for families? Absolutely. From bustling cities and flavourful food to idyllic beaches and majestic temples, it’s bursting with family-friendly activities. Whether you’re seeking adventure, wildlife, culture or cuisine, Thailand is an ideal destination for all ages.
We’ve asked our travel designers to share their tips for the perfect family trip to Thailand. According to them, this is an incredibly friendly country where family is highly valued – plus, it boasts lovely weather and plenty of family-friendly accommodation. With that in mind, here’s our ultimate guide to Thailand for families.
What to Know When Travelling to Thailand with Children
When preparing for family holidays in Thailand, there are some important things to consider. For example, what’s the best time to visit Thailand with kids? And how long should you stay in each place? Below we’ll answer these questions and more.
The Best Time to Travel to Thailand with Children
In Thailand, the year is divided into three seasons: rainy (June – October), cool (November to March) and hot (March – June). Each one has its pros and cons; temperatures soar in the hot season, but it’s also full of fun festivals. The rainy season brings monsoons, as well as lush green landscapes.
The cool season is generally considered the best time to visit Thailand, as the weather is less extreme – so everyone in your family will be comfortable. But you might prefer the shoulder season from April to June (when it’s less rainy) or September to October (for smaller crowds).
How Long Should a Family Trip to Thailand Be?
For family trips to Thailand, we recommend spending at least a few days in each place – so the length of your trip will depend on how many places you want to visit. To start with, our travel designers suggest spending two nights in Bangkok to enjoy its food, culture and history.
Then you can head north to Chiang Mai or Chiang Rai, where the whole family will be enthralled with ancient temples, local traditions and thrilling outdoor adventures. You’ll need at least three nights here to fully experience it.
Finally, we suggest spending up to five nights in one of Thailand’s top coastal destinations, like Phuket or Koh Samui. Travellers of all ages will love the sandy beaches, turquoise waters and relaxed vibe – not to mention some of the best family resorts in Thailand.
If your family is interested in history, you can also tack on time in the ancient city of Ayutthaya, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Or if remote beaches and fishing villages are more your style, get off the beaten track for a few days in Koh Kood.
How to Respect Thai Culture
Thailand is a Buddhist country, and there are some cultural practices that travellers of all ages should be aware of. When visiting a temple or rural area, you should cover your shoulders and legs out of respect – so make sure to pack thin layers for everyone in your family. It’s also common to remove your shoes when entering Thai houses and certain temples.
Remember that you should always ask permission before taking photos of people, and avoid touching anyone on the head, as this is considered disrespectful. As long as you and your family stay aware and open-minded, you’ll find that Thai culture is incredibly welcoming.
Where to Go in Thailand with Family
Every region of Thailand offers an endless array of activities, whether you’re looking for a deep dive into local culture or a meaningful experience with wildlife. No matter where you are, you’ll find something to entertain and amaze each member of your family.
That said, different parts of Thailand are ideal for certain interests. In this section we’ll share the most family-friendly aspects of each destination, with suggestions for what to do and see in some of our favourite cities and regions.
Chiang Mai – Best for Cooking Classes
There’s nothing else quite like Thai cuisine, and there’s no better place to learn about it than Chiang Mai. Here your family can take a Thai cooking class to discover the secrets of local dishes. You’ll visit the market for ingredients, prepare a traditional meal and enjoy the fruits of your labour together.
Bangkok – Best for Markets & Street Food
If you want to taste as much Thai food as possible, Bangkok is the place for you. This lively city is chock-full of street food stalls and local markets where you’ll find authentic cuisine. Make sure to check out the fascinating floating markets and explore the city on an exciting tuk tuk tour.
Chiang Rai – Best for Culture
Some cultural experiences can be exhausting for families, but Chiang Rai has much more to offer than museums. Here you can tour the magical White Temple or visit the surrounding hill tribes to get a glimpse into local culture. We guarantee that these excursions will hold the attention of children and adults alike.
Phuket – Best for Outdoor Activities
Phuket is an ideal destination for adventurous families. Hop in a kayak to discover hidden caves, go ziplining through the forest, hike to a waterfall or arrange a private boat trip to go island hopping. After all the exploring, parents can enjoy some much-deserved relaxation on the beaches of Phang Nga Bay.
Kanchanaburi – Best for Elephants
Located west of Bangkok, Kanchanaburi is among the best, responsible, places in Thailand to see elephants. It’s home to Elephant Haven Thailand, where the animals roam free and the focus is on education and observation. Here kids can learn about these majestic creatures in an ethical and sustainable setting.
Koh Samui – Best for Snorkelling
If you want to discover Thailand’s brilliant underwater world, Koh Samui is hard to beat. This pristine island offers some of the country’s best snorkelling, which your family can enjoy on a private boat expedition. In Ang Thong Marine Park you can expect to see coral reefs, tropical fish and even whale sharks.
Luxury family accommodation in Thailand
Four Seasons Koh SamuiThis lavish resort, comprised of a series of open-plan villas perched on Koh Samui’s north western coastline in the Laem Yai Bay with its own private beach, is arguably the most exclusive hotel on the island. Each villa here has sweeping views of the Gulf of Siam and is decorated in a contemporary blend of southern Thai rosewood furnishings, accents turquoise blue and sea green, palatial bathrooms and your own infinity pool. Expect immaculate service too. Choose to dine in either of the resort’s two restaurants. Lan Tania specialises in Thai and Italian cuisine in a teak wood and thatched-roof setting. Pla Pla is located on the beach below, serving a menu comprised largely of fresh seafood to complement the marine setting.
Anantara Golden TriangleJust seventy kilometres from Chiang Rai, ensconced in the jungle overlooking the Laos and Myanmar borders, Anantara Golden Triangle boasts luxury and fantastic service. This charming hotel provides 77 rooms and suites, all of a high standard with king size beds, large balconies in contemporary Thai design. There are plenty of interesting and thought-provoking excursions on offer here. There’s private tours to hill tribes, expeditions to Laos or Myanmar, and longtail boat rides down the Mekong River are also available. With three choices for dining here, feast on a variety of dishes from Thai to Italian and Mediterranean cuisine all while enjoying jaw-dropping scenes of Myanmar and Laos.
Banyan Tree KrabiWith breathtaking views of the ocean and tropical gardens, this five-star beachfront resort presents itself as a heavenly oasis on the shores of Krabi. Each of Banyan Tree Krabi’s 72 luxurious suites and villas has its own private pool, offering privacy and intimacy in a tropical rainforest setting. During the day, guests can enjoy snorkelling and kayaking among many other water sports. After an excursion at the nearby Hong Island, return for a delightful massage treatment at the Banyan Tree Spa – The Rainforest, Krabi’s first hydrotherapy spa.Then, settle down at the beachfront Kredkaew Bar, an undeniably sweet spot for a special romantic moment with dramatic sunset views. When it comes to dining, the hotel offers several options, with a contemporary take on Thai, International, Rustic and Mediterranean dishes. Experience dining in one of the ‘Bird’s Nests’ at Banyan Tree’s signature Thai restaurant, Saffron, or try their all-day dining with creative and international rustic cuisine at The Naga Kitchen.
Peninsula BangkokThe vast W-shaped tower of The Peninsula Bangkok offers everything you would expect from a world-class hotel; exceptional hospitality, a great location and a huge range of facilities to keep you amused. The hotel’s unique shape ensures magnificent views across the river and cityscape from every room. Some of the largest in Bangkok, these are appointed in a traditional aesthetic – dark wood panelling, fine fabrics feature throughout and large, marble bathrooms – but contain all the vital amenities for the modern traveller. The premier suites include opulent details such as open-air terraces and outdoor Jacuzzis. During your stay, you’ll enjoy relaxing by the pool area, serviced by its own bar and dining at the numerous, fine in-house restaurants that serve a range of Cantonese, Thai and international cuisine.
Rosewood PhuketNestled along an idyllic 600m stretch of beach on the beautiful Emerald Bay is the Rosewood Phuket. The hotel features 71 pavilions and villas hidden among the tropical vegetation just moments from the beach. Floor-to-ceiling windows flood rooms with natural light, and a soft neutral colour schemes gives a contemporary, fresh feel. All villas and pavilions come with private pools and outdoor space in which to relax. Eating at the Rosewood is a real treat. Dine by the ocean on fresher-than-fresh seafood at Ta Khai, enjoy Italian cuisine at Red Sauce and delicious food cooked on the characoal grill at The Shack. End every day with a cocktail while watching the sun set from Mai bar which overlooks the sparkling waters of Emerald Bay. The beach and the Andaman Sea are on your doorstep but there is plenty to keep you busy at the Rosewood. Unwind with a treatment at the Asaya Spa, enjoy a workout in the fitness centre and take a dip in the sprawling pool which is divided by wooden walkways and sunbathing decks.
Six Senses Yao NoiWith 56 private villas sprawled along the jungle-clad Koh Yao Noi coastline, the Six Senses Yao Noi offers an idyllic experience in a tropical island setting, enclosed by spectacular seascape scenes. By taking a sustainable approach to hospitality, this resort implements an Environmental and Social Sustainability Policy, focusing on protecting the environment, energy efficiency, water and waste management, noise control and air quality. Choose from ocean, beachfront or hideaway villas; you can be perched on the cliffs with sweeping panoramas, hunkered down in the treeline just steps away from the white-sand beach, or secluded in the lush confines of tropical forest. The dining experiences at this resort reflect its eco-conscious outlook, with menus designed around a farm-to-table initiative, ingredients homegrown, and many products made on-site or sourced from local suppliers to eliminate plastic packaging and the carbon footprint of deliveries. Guests can pick from three atmospheric restaurants, spread across the island, serving Western, Asian and international dishes, as well as two bars. Relaxation is key to your stay here at Yao Noi, and each of the teak, traditional-style villas comes equipped with its own private infinity pool and terrace, perfect for soaking up the sun and al-fresco dining. Each villa is serviced by a personal butler, meaning you’ll never have to lift a finger – unless you want to. In that case, there’s a large range of activities available, including Thai kickboxing, rock climbing, water sports and a variety of cycling trails. The resort also caters well for children and promises an array of entertainment options to keep them happy throughout the holiday.