The Best Family Hotels in Bangkok

Updated: June 12, 2016

Bangkok with Children – Khao San Road

Tips and Recommendations

  • HotelsCombined.com – Great website for finding the best hotel deals in Bangkok.
  • The best time to visit Bangkok is from late November to early March – which are the coolest, driest, and least humid months of the year.
  • The best luxury hotel for families in Bangkok is the Anantara Riverside Spa & Resort. The Anantara Siam Bangkok is a little less kid-friendly but in a much more central location.
  • The best budget hotel for families in Bangkok is the Viengtai Hotel (large pool and family rooms) near Khao San Road.
  • The best playground in Bangkok is at Lumpini Park – walking distance from the Holiday Inn Bangkok and the Anantara Siam Bangkok.
  • The best areas of Bangkok to stay for families are the Riverside (quieter, more luxurious hotels), Khao San (touristy, fun, best place to shop for cheap western clothes), and Siam Square (central location, big malls).

The 9 Best Kid-Friendly Hotels in Bangkok

Anantara Riverside Spa & Resort – Riverside

This is the best kid-friendly hotel in Bangkok by a good measure. It has large rooms, several restaurants, and a quiet location. The pool is huge, one of the best in Bangkok, and sits amid beautiful green grounds. The hotel is located across the river from central Bangkok but remains a short taxi or free shuttle boat ride from the action. It feels more like a resort and is great if you need a break from the chaos of the city. The air here is also noticeably cleaner making this a good choice if someone in the family suffers from allergies. (My son does and within a few hours of moving from a Sukhumvit hotel to the Anantara he was breathing more easily.) The kids club is great and has some fun activities (including Thai boxing). Phone: +66 2 476 0022
The best kid-friendly hotel in Bangkok: Anantara Riverside

Holiday Inn Bangkok – Siam Square

Large family suites have separate rooms and bunk beds for kids. Wonderful location steps from the Skytrain, Central World, and many malls. Thailand’s largest aquarium (in Siam Paragon mall) is within a short walk on a covered footbridge. The hotel has a great swimming pool, free wifi, and free breakfast. This is one of the best value hotels in Bangkok. Phone: +66 2 217 7555
Cheap Hotel in Bangkok with Kids

Anantara Siam Bangkok – Siam Square

Large luxurious rooms, huge beautiful pool, great restaurants with a family-friendly vibe. Convenient location in the center of the city, close to several shopping malls, and steps from a Skytrain station. The Sunday brunch is one of the best in Bangkok. (This is formerly the Four Seasons Hotel). Phone: +66 2 126 8866
Luxury Hotel in Bangkok with Kids

Swissotel Nai Lert Park Hotel – Sukhumvit

An oasis in the heart of the city. Great pool area and breakfast buffet. Good sized rooms and free wi-fi throughout the hotel. Located halfway between the malls of Siam Square and restaurants and street life of Sukhumvit. Easy access to the canal ferries. Phone: +66 2 253 0123
Good value hotel with Kids in Bangkok

Amari Watergate Bangkok – Pratunam

Good sized rooms and a great location if you want to shop at the Pratunam market or the Platinum Fashion Mall (for cheap clothes). Beautiful pool on the 8th floor offers wonderful views of central Bangkok. Phone: +66 2 653 9000
Hotel in Bangkok that has good swimming pool for Kids

Chatrium Residence – Sathorn

The best hotel for a short-term rental in Bangkok. It’s both a hotel (rent by the night) and an apartment (rent by the month). It has fully furnished 1 and 2 bedroom suites with large fully equipped kitchens. The pool is huge and very kid-friendly. Lots of families stay here so kids are likely to find playmates easily. It’s located in a quiet neighborhood but still a short taxi ride to a Skytrain station. Phone: +66 2 672 0200
Bangkok Apartments with Kids

Viengtai Hotel – Khao San Road

The nicest pool of any budget hotel in Bangkok – with a very nice kids pool. Rooms are clean and simply decorated. The triple rooms are great for most families. The family suite (there’s only one) is huge and has 4 full beds. Phone: +66 2 280 5434
Bangkok Budget Hotel with Kids

Dang Derm Hotel – Khao San

Central location off Khao San Road with large family rooms and a nice rooftop pool. Thai style hotel with mattresses on the floor. Phone: +66 2 629 2040
Large inexpensive room for families in Bangkok

Somerset Lake Point – Sukhumvit Road

Apartment-style suites are huge (2 and 3 bedrooms available). Indoor and outdoor pool, full kitchen, washer and dryer, children’s playroom, free wi-fi. Location is a small drawback. Nice neighborhood but not a lot of attractions nearby. Free shuttle bus takes you to Asok Skytrain station and subway. Phone: +66 2 663 1234
Large Apartment with kitchen for families

More Bangkok Hotels for Families

  • Anantara Bangkok Sathorn
    2 bedroom suite with one king bed and 2 twin beds. Kitchenette and dining area.
  • Tara Place
    Great budget hotel. Family rooms have 1 queen and 2 twin beds. Free wifi.
  • Tenface
    2 bedroom suites have 2 twin and 1 king bed. Welcome kit includes prepaid BTS Skytrain card, a SIM card, iPod Nano and good map
  • Kempinski Residences Siam
    Luxurious 2 bedroom suites feature a living room, fully equipped kitchen, washing machine and dryer, and 3 flat-screen TVs. Great location for shopping.
  • Renaissance Bangkok Ratchaprasong
    3 bedroom suites are huge and have 3 king beds and a sitting area.

Bangkok Apartments for Families

Recommended rentals for families. Most units have kitchens, washer/dryer, swimming pool, and internet.

Hotels with Swimming Pools

Recommended and Helpful Links

316 questions and comments

  1. Closest Beach to Bangkok for Family

    What is the closest beaches to Bangkok suitable for family with good hotels and what is the travel time and method of travelling (Vehicle or Train) from Bangkok?

    Reply
    1. DavidDavid Post author

      The closest good beaches are Cha’am and Hua Hin. Lots of good 4/5 star resorts. It’s about 2.5 hours by car and a little longer by train. Koh Samet has nicer beaches but takes more like 3.5/4 hours to get to with car and ferry.

      Reply
  2. Thailand in Summer

    Hi David. I’m after some advice, my wife and I are very undecided as to what to do at the moment. We are looking at spending 5 weeks of the kids holidays with our 2 sons in possibly Thailand. They are 6 and 8. My only concern is the weather, we re not looking at going inland, just spending some days in Bangkok then taking the train south. We were just going to island hop on the gulf side. The last time my wife and I went was for a month in October, the weather was nice Andaman side but bad the gulf side. We currently live in Cyprus but we’re moving back to the UK in summer so thought whilst waiting for our stuff to get shipped back we’d go exploring. We have thought about going Bali/Lombok as it’s dry season then but we’d prefer Thailand 1st time with the kids. Any suggestions would be welcomed. Rob

    Reply
    1. DavidDavid Post author

      Good weather is not guaranteed in July and August but it’s still a pretty good bet. I think you’ll be fine on the Gulf coast which usually has better weather than the west in July and August. That said, Bali is wonderful that time of year (though gets busier in August as Australians on holiday arrive).

      Reply
  3. Rent Car / Hotel with Pool

    Hi David

    I’d really like your advice, we are travelling to Thailand end of July for 7 nights with 16, 14, and 8 year old children my wife and myself.

    We want to spend 2 days in Bangkok, 2 or 3 days in Chiang Mai, and 2 in Chiang Rai.

    We want to go to Chiang Mai by night train.

    Do you recommend me to rent a car in Chiang Mai? We are 5 people.

    Any hotel with pool in our destinations?

    Regards Jesús

    Reply
    1. DavidDavid Post author

      I do not recommend renting a car. Taxi and transportation are so cheap and renting a car such a hassle (and the road rules and customs are hard to figure out for a foreigner) that hiring a driver for the day is a much better way to go.

      Good hotels with pools:
      • In Bangkok: Anantara Riverside (huge pool, great for families)
      • In Chiang Mai: Yaang Come Village (large family rooms, great location and pool)
      • In Chiang Rai: Diamond Park Inn (great rates, good pool)

      Reply
  4. Khao Yai with Kids

    Hi, We are thinking of a family trip to Khao Yai.
    We will land in BKK but not sure how to travel to Khao Yai and the best option as we have 2 kids age 2.5yr old and 4.5yr old.
    Please advice.

    Is Montana good place to stay in Khao Yai and how many days would you recommend to stay in Khao Yai?

    Reply
    1. DavidDavid Post author

      The easiest way to Khao Yai National Park from Bangkok is by taxi or minibus which takes about 2.5 hours from Bangkok. You can arrange the trip either with your Bangkok hotel or your hotel in Khao Yai. A taxi would be the most expensive choice but would give you the most freedom to stop and stretch legs/go to the bathroom with the little ones.

      Montana Cotswolds Resort is a good choice, especially for the kids. The tents can be noisy however so you’ll definitely want to go for a room. The kids will probably love the park so two to four days should be a good time frame.

      Reply
  5. Thailand with 7 Year Old in April

    Hi David,
    I love your site. We are considering going to Thailand for my 7 year old daughter’s spring break (April 9-16). We are thinking to go to Bangkok for three nights and then to a beach for 3 nights (e.g., Koh Samui, Krabi, Koh Samet, Karon, Kala), but cannot decide which. With only a week, we would like to minimize travel time. Questions:

    1. Best beach area for weather/air quality in April?
    2. Best connections (trying to keep budget in minds)?
    3. Songkran Festival and traveling with a child: Is it scary for an easily scared child? If so, recommendations for avoiding the celebrations?
    4. We normally try for 4 star hotels (boutique and/or resorty for kids) but have a tighter budget in mind. Any suggestions for Bangkok and/or the beach areas.
    5. Is it better to fly from the beach destination home? (9 hours with a connection) or, to return to Bangkok on the 15th and stay at a hotel close to the airport for an early morning direct 3.5 hour flight? If the latter…
    6.What hotel would you recommend near the airport for an early flight?

    Thanks so much. I look forward to hearing from you.
    Lisa

    Reply
    1. DavidDavid Post author

      1. Air quality is not usually an issue on any of the southern islands. And the weather in early April is sunny and dry pretty much everywhere in the south (though it is getting hot and more humid). So any of the destinations you’re considering would be good choices for weather and air quality.
      2. Bangkok to Koh Samui is the easiest connection to get to a beach quickly. Not only is it the shortest flight (1hour 5minutes to Samui, 1hour 20minutes to Phuket and Krabi) but there are great beach towns within a 10 minute drive of the airport. From Krabi and Phuket you’re looking at an hour or more for most destinations.
      3. Songkran is fun but yeah, it can be intense if you’re a 7 year old. That said, it’s pretty easy to avoid if you stay by the pool in your resort (the craziness never seems to enter into hotel property). But if you go out on the streets then expect to get soaked. In most places the celebration lasts for 2 or 3 days, but Koh Samui is one place where it’s pretty much just the one day (April 13 for 2016) and then returns to normal.
      4. In Bangkok, Khao San Road area has inexpensive, clean 2 and 3 star hotels. On Koh Samui, Mae Nam has a good collection of affordable hotels.
      5. I like breaking up the trip, but of course you do lose a day at the beach, so there is a tradeoff.
      6. The Novotel at BKK airport is great. Nice outdoor pool and good restaurants. It’s an easy walk to the terminal (but there’s also a free shuttle if you have lots of luggage). We love staying here when we go through Bangkok.

      Reply
  6. Koh Samui or Railay

    Hi David

    I’d really like your advice, we are travelling to Thailand end of April with our 18 month old, we’ll be in Koh Phangan for 1 week and looking for another island for our second week, Koh samui makes most sense but we’ve been before and looking for somewhere a bit more special, we’re considering Railey Beach but I’m quite worried about it being a big journey with a little one, is this doable? Or should we stick to that side of thailand, and if so, do you have any suggestions? We leave in just over a month, thanks, Gemma.

    Reply
    1. DavidDavid Post author

      Railay is wonderful and it’s probably worth the effort. I’d suggest spending 2 nights on Koh Samui to break the trip up. So 6 nights on Koh Phangan, 2 on Samui, and 6 in Railay. If you stay in Bophut you’re a short taxi ride to both the ferry and airport, and it’s a great little town with a fun walking street. Definitely fly from Koh Samui to Krabi as the ferry/bus/taxi/boat to get you from Samui to Railay otherwise makes for a very long day.

      Reply
  7. Thailand in November with Kids

    Hi David. My husband and I are hoping to go to Thailand in November with our little girl who will be 14 months at the time. We would like to go to Bangkok, Chiang Mai and then a beach location. My questions are:
    Where would be best to travel in November?
    How many days should we spend in each? We have a maximum of 14 days in total we can do.

    We are looking for something authentic and cultural and away from the crowds (as much as is possible) and we like to go into local towns and explore local places so somewhere easy to do that would be great.

    Excellent site – not easy to find someone telling to you travel long haul with little ones 🙂

    Begona

    Reply
    1. DavidDavid Post author

      November is a good time to visit Bangkok and Chiang Mai. For beach weather the west coast will be better than the east coast in November – though still could be wet. The farther into November you can visit the south the better the weather will likely be. Khao Lak (an hour’s taxi drive north of Phuket airport) would be a good mix of local culture and beach that you’re looking for.

      Reply
      1. Koh Phi Phi with Kids

        Thank you David. One other question – my husband has his heart set on Koh Phi Phi as he feels we will be getting the culture elements in the other locations and he really likes the look of the beach and the cliffs there – would this be a silly place to go with a child? Obviously we would look to not stay in Tonsai. I am worried about getting there and also medical facilities considering we have a child – am I worrying for no reason?

        Begona Castro

        Reply
        1. DavidDavid Post author

          Hi, Koh Phi Phi is a fine place to go with a child (you don’t mention the age but all ages love the beach!) if you make a wide berth away from Tonsai and the noisy party scene. There are some medical facilities on Phi Phi for minor injuries and illnesses and the Thai hotels are usually great about making sure guests get out and get the care they need in the case of an emergency. With regular boats to Phuket, medical should not be a problem. I personally wouldn’t let that stop you from going and you can also voice concerns in advance with your hotel and find out what services they can offer.

          Reply
  8. Where To Go with Kids in March in Thailand

    Hi DAvid,

    I came upon your website while looking for a not too touristic place to go with children (2 years and 9 months) and a first-time visitor to Thailand (mother in law) for a one week vacation mid-march 2016.
    We want to go to the beach and thought of Ko Lanta, Ko Samui, Ko Chang, Railay. We can’t decide on where to go (we’ll stay for 5 to 7 nights and are looking for the easiest and safest trip to the destination (plane or train).

    What is your suggestion on this? Is it better to go in the Gulf of Thailand or the Andaman sea at that season?

    Thank you very much for your advice and suggestions!
    Jonathan

    Reply
    1. DavidDavid Post author

      The weather on both coasts is great in March so that shouldn’t be an issue. Koh Samui is the easiest of those places to get to and is wonderful island with great beaches and food. The airport is a 10 to 15 minute drive from several good beaches (Chaweng, Choeng Mon, Bophut are different but all great for kids) and has quick direct flights from Koh Samui. Railay and Koh Lanta are also wonderful but require a bit more effort to get to.

      Reply
  9. Thailand with Kids during Christmas Holidays

    Hello David
    Please could you help me. We are a family of 5, 2 adults and 3 children (15, 12 & 10). And are looking to go to Thailand for Christmas and New year. The holiday will be 14 nights in total, travelling from 17 December and returning New Year’s Day. We are hoping to do a couple of nights in Bangkok and then from there head south-although we aren’t sure where exactly to go and then return to Bangkok for 3 nights for New Year’s Eve before going home. Please could you offer some advice about where to stay for the Christmas period, and whether It would be a good idea to get the sleeper train down towards Phuket. Ideally we would like to be away from the youths partying at the full moon, but near to amenities. Just too much choice and I’m getting very confused with where we should go.
    Many thanks in advance.

    Zoe Sage

    Reply
    1. DavidDavid Post author

      A wonderful beach town during Christmas is Bophut (on Koh Samui island). It’s lively, festive, and fun. For a bit of an adventure you can take the overnight train from Bangkok to Surat Thani and then the boat over to Koh Samui. It’s a nice trip and worth the effort. There are also direct flights to Koh Samui so you could then fly back. It’s not so easy taking the train to Phuket as you’ll need to take a bus or private van across from the east coast to the west coast and it’s not a very fun or interesting trip. So if you do go to Phuket just fly both ways.

      Reply
  10. Good Base in Krabi

    Hi,

    Very helpful site.

    Planning a 2 1/2 week trip to Thailand late March, me wife, and two daughters age 3 and 7, already booked 3 nights Bangkok, and 4 night’s Chiang Mai, then have flights down to Krabi. We did plan on staying in Ao Nang as a base to see the islands and around Krabi, but have read mix reviews. Can you suggest aware else to stay as a base?

    Thanks,
    Kevin Sands

    Reply
    1. DavidDavid Post author

      Yes, Ao Nang would not be my first choice for a base (though it is good for transportation and arranging day trips). Railay is my favorite beach town in the Krabi area.

      Reply
  11. Air Quality in Chiang Mai in April

    Hi,

    Great resource for Thailand! We (myself, husband and almost 2 yr old) are planning to travel this Easter for just over two weeks, flying into Phuket and then staying at Khao Lak for 6 nights. We were then looking at heading to Chiang Mai for a week but have been slightly put off by the smog/smoke/heat at that time of year, particularly with having a toddler in tow. Is Chiang Mai doable at this time of year? Or better to head else where early April? Thanks in advance!
    Lauren

    Reply
  12. Hotel with Water Park in Thailand

    I’m looking for a place in Thailand that has a good water park attached, we found the hotel Centara Grand West Sands Resort & Villa Phuket seems to be ideal – except it gets quite a lot of bad reports for being rundown / cleanliness and general quality of the hotel.

    Any recommendations, I like the idea of Koh Samui but this seems to be lacking in any big complex hotels I suppose because it’s a little island. First time to anywhere in Asia, so I have no idea what I’m looking at.

    We like to have a nice beach attached, I think that’s also a downfall of the west sands place.

    Neil

    Reply
    1. DavidDavid Post author

      Yes, the water park at West Sands is excellent and the best and biggest in Thailand. I think the hotel is fine for cleanliness and amenities (suites are huge). What it lacks is anything very interesting nearby. The beach is beautiful to look at but not great for swimming. The food at the hotel is average at best. Centara also has a water park hotel in Pattaya. Very nice too though not a full water park like the West Sands. (And Pattaya is not the most family-friendly place in Thailand.) Koh Samui has a small water park in Lamai (good for a visit if your kids are under 12 but teens would be very bored). No hotels on Samui have water parks.

      Reply
  13. Family Trip to Thailand for Christmas 2016

    Thank you for your blog, we’ve found lots of helpful information already.
    We are planning a family trip to the Andaman coast area of Thailand for Christmas 2016, almost 2 weeks. It will be 6 adults, a 2.5yr old, & a 10mo old.
    We’d like to spend at least a week renting a house with a pool. But are open to traveling w/in the country before/after that. Or even using the house as a “base camp” and doing day or overnight trips from there.
    Some requests from people in my group: great Thai food, cheap massages, snorkeling, rock climbing/cliff jumping, and beaches!
    We’ve been going back and forth between Ko Lanta and Railay/Ao Nang. Which (or elsewhere) would you recommend? Is Ko Phi Phi in a day reasonable or should we plan on an overnight?

    Thanks in advance!

    Phoebe

    Reply
    1. DavidDavid Post author

      For great food nothing beats Bangkok. Doing a food tour is a great idea for Bangkok. Ko Lanta is good for relaxing and beach time (and has better food than the Railay area). Railay and Ao Nang are better for more active pursuits (like rock climbing) – but also have great beaches. Staying a night in Ko Phi Phi is better than arriving with the day tripping crowds and leaving with the same pack.

      Reply
  14. Recommended Elephant Camps in Thailand

    Hello David,
    How lovely to find a blog about travelling with children to places other then the typical destinations. There is a lot of useful information here, however I am concerned with some of the places you suggest to visit in Chiang Mai. Have you ever heard of the ‘training crush’; young elephants are torn from their mothers put in a tiny cage and made to endure weeks of brutal beatings, starvation and sleep depravation and other horrors in order to make them suitable for riding and training to do tricks. Most elephants in Thailand are sadly mistreated and if tourists continue to support these types of excursions the abuse will not stop.

    There are a few places that are working towards change.

    I highly recommend the Elephant Nature Park. It is excellent for all ages and there are a variety of different programs to choose from, both day trips and over night. There are some very sad stories in regards to many of the elephants here but this is a place of healing. Visitors get the opportunity to feed, bathe and interact with the resident elephants, it is lovely.
    BLES – another amazing sanctuary suitable for all ages however it is for over night stays and is usually booked up to a year in advance.
    BEES – Chiang Mai area, volunteering, over night stays however very basic conditions.
    Elephants World – Kanchanaburi
    Elephant Hills – you can arrange transportation from various locations. They have a variety of programs, the lodging is very luxiourious tents.

    I haven’t visited all of these places but I have researched them and they all seem legit. We will be travelling around Thailand with our 2 year old in a few weeks. Wish us luck 🙂
    Stephanie

    Reply
  15. Best Hospital near Beach Locale

    Hi David
    Your website is very informative, thank you! We are thinking of going to Thailand in April, myself and my husband have been before, but this time we would like to take our two boys aged five and seven. My eldest son has epilepsy, which is well controlled, but has required a quick trip to A and E before over a year ago. I wanted to know if there was an area that had better hospital facilities than others? I was thinking about Krabi? Any advice would be greatly apreciated.
    Many Thanks
    Abi

    Reply
  16. Thailand with Kids / Red Light Worries

    Hi,

    We are planning a trip to Thailand during our 9 year-old daughter’s semester break. A few friends told us not to go to Thailand as a family due to many places being like a red light district. Do you think that visiting the usual tourist places in Bangkok, Phuket, or Pattaya is risky in terms of being exposed to red light district-like sights?

    Thanks,
    Nevra

    Reply
    1. DavidDavid Post author

      Red Light Districts are not the norm in Thailand. You have to go out of your way to find them and they are certainly easy to avoid. I’ve been all over Thailand with my kids and have only encountered a few undesirable areas in passing. I would avoid staying in Pattaya or Patong (on Phuket). And I’d highly recommend places like kata Beach (on Phuket), Khao Lak (north of Phuket), and Bophut or Choeng Mon (on Koh Samui) as places where you won’t see anything red-light in nature. And they all have beautiful beaches.

      Reply
  17. 3 Weeks in Koh Samui with Kids

    Ciao David,
    In this website you provide such in depth information and you take the time to reply. I’m impressed.Thank you so much for answering questions and helping with planning. For me, it’s a real blessing!
    I’ve followed your advice and decided against 3 weeks in Railay. I opted for three weeks in Koh Samui instead. So, as stated previously, it’s me, my three kids (7,3, and 8 months) and a babysitter.
    I’m looking for a peaceful laid-back spot where kids can interact with nature and other little ones and where I can interact with like-minded people, more of the backpacker/hippie type than resort dwellers, and maybe even listen to some live music.
    Mae Nam vs Boput vs Choeng Mon: where I am most likely to get away from the charter crowds and find some peaceful place where there’s still some Thai culture?
    What is the south side of the island like?
    Can you recommend any specific host for a two-bedroom house with kitchen in any one of these localities?
    Do you know any guest houses with a shared kitchen?
    If there’s a pool all the better. My max budget is of Euro 50 per night.
    I’ve backpacked around the world for a long time also with kids, but it’s the first time making all these decisions on my own and I’m overwhelmed. Thanks again for your time and kind advice.
    Stephanie

    Reply
  18. Last Minute Hotels in Chiang Mai and Phuket

    This info has been extremely valuable to me as I plan my family’s first trip to Thailand. We will be there for 4 weeks in January. The primary purpose is to spend about 10 days in Mae Sot for a school project. The rest of the time we will be traveling probably to Chaing Mai and Phuket. You mentioned that it is necessary to book hotels well in advance as this is the busy season, however we have the constraint that we will not be told the timeline for the 10 days in Mae Sot until we arrive in Thailand. Unfortunately there is no way around this. How difficult is it to book last-minute hotels in January in Chaing Mai and Phuket? Thank you!!
    Kathryn

    Reply
    1. DavidDavid Post author

      You’ll be able to find something in Chiang Mai – but it won’t be your first, second, or third choices. Phuket is trickier and it’s possible you’ll have a difficult time finding anything suitable. Once you find out your available dates I would look to book Phuket first and then depending on what you find base the rest of your travels around the dates that work best for Phuket.

      Reply
  19. Best Way for Family from Airport to Bangkok

    Wonderful site. So helpful. We are on a 3 week trip around Thailand (and then Singapore). Got 2 kids. We’re staying at the Anantara Riverside. When we arrive in Bangkok it will be 9pm. What will be the best way to get from the airport to the Anantara, taxi or train/metro? And our flight to Koh Samui leaves 3 days later at 2pm. Would that make any difference in choosing the best transport method?
    Thanks,
    Alice

    Reply
    1. DavidDavid Post author

      Taxi is definitely the best way to get from the airport to the Anantara Riverside. For hotels around Siam Square and central Bangkok it can be better and faster to take the train. Especially during rush hour when traffic into Bangkok can come to a standstill. But to get to the Anantara it would require 1 train, 1 Skytrain, and then a taxi for the final mile. And you won’t be arriving or departing during the thickest rush hour so I’d just hop in a taxi. There are bigger taxi vans too if the typical taxi sedan won’t fit all 4 of you and your luggage.

      Reply
  20. Northern Thailand with Kids

    Hi David,
    I am enjoying reading your site and reading all the fellow travelers questions and replies. My husband and I will be going to Thailand in November for a month with our 2 children (5.5 and 2.5). We have been 4 times before, once with our daughter when she was 20 months old, backpacking every time. We love Chiang Mai and would like to do the Mae Hong Son loop, then fly to Koh Samui from CM. We were thinking of taking our time to get to CM from BKK, taking buses/trains and stopping in Sukhothai and onwards to CM. We have been to Pai but no further and that was 8 years ago. I am interested in your input on places to see/stop at on the loop and whether you feel it would be good for young children. They have traveled lots already but not sure about the windy roads.
    Thank you in advance for your input.
    Rebekah

    Reply
    1. DavidDavid Post author

      It sounds like you’ve got a pretty good grasp of it all so not sure what I can add. Traveling by train is certainly easier (for both kids and adults) than bus so that might be a consideration in choosing where to go. It can still be pretty wet in early November so be prepared for that.

      Reply
  21. Air Quality in Bangkok – Where To Stay?

    Our son is very sensitive to dirty air and pollution. It’s not life or death but he does get a runny nose when in polluted areas for more than a day or 2. We’re aware that Bangkok doesn’t have great air quality but have 36 hours there between flights from Sydney to London. Can you recommend a hotel to stay that will not be too bad and not in the worst of it. We don’t want to be way out in the countryside though. Suggestions?
    Thank you,
    Nancy.

    Reply
    1. DavidDavid Post author

      The air quality in Bangkok is not great. Not horrific, but not great. Staying across the river in Thonburi does make a huge difference. It’s still easy (and fun by boat) to get across the river to the main side where most attractions are found. The Anantara Riverside is the best family hotel on the “opposite shore”. The hotel has a huge pool and is one of the most kid-friendly hotels in Bangkok. Boats pull up right to the Anantara’s dock and makes getting across the river quick and easy. Highly recommended.

      Reply
  22. Anna Worby

    Your childs are so lovely and your family is so cute. I would recommend Phuket Fantasea when you are in Phuket next time. Last month I visited Phuket island of Thailand. One of the places we really enjoyed was a Thai Cultural Theme Park – Phuket FantaSea. Every service area there was beautiful and neat. We enjoyed watching their beautiful, costumed parade culminating at an outdoor stage with a Bangok theme show. The place is really somewhat like Disneyland of Thailand! The highlight their main show held at a beautiful Palace of the Elephants Theater. I must say it was pretty amazing, I left overwhelmed by their beautiful culture. International buffet dinner was good, particularly the noodle soup. We remember it as one of our nicest outings in Phuket and do recommend it for a quality evening-into-the-night entertainment. Don’t miss it!

    Reply
  23. One Week in Thailand with Kids

    Hi
    We are planning a week long trip with family and friends to Thailand in mid Nov – will have kids from age group of 4 to 14 with us. Can you suggest a 2/3 places that we can cover in a week without too much time spent on inter city travel? Also suggest good hotels, places to visit in these places.
    Thanks in advance!

    Reply
    1. DavidDavid Post author

      My 3 favorite places in Thailand are Bangkok, Chiang Mai, and Koh Samui. If you follow that route you’ll get a bit of everything: great city, great outdoors and adventure, and great beaches. All 3 have great food if you seek it out.

      Reply
  24. Remote Island with Kids

    Hey David!
    We’re taking our 4 kids (ages 10, 8, 8 & 7) to Thailand in August and want to enjoy Thailand’s best natural beauty (the less man-made the better!). We have a week planned in Khao Sok national park (been there twice before, pre-kids, and love it), but want to find a remote beach destination for week #2 (we’ll be traveling from Khao Sok, then flying out of Phuket after the beach week). I was at PhiPhi in 2000 and then my wife and I found Koh Racha in Jan 2005 (right after the tsunami), and what we loved best was the “nearly deserted island” feel. Fast forward a decade and it’s time to bring the kids with this time… what island would you recommend? We’re the “quiet bamboo bungalow on a beach” kind of family.
    Josh

    Reply
  25. Phuket or Koh Samui with Kids

    Hi

    Super information.

    We are planning on stopping in Thailand on way back from Australia, we have three kids under 6yrs old. Travel agent is recommending flying to Phuket from Singapore and staying in Phuket, Swissotel. I just want to check if we will be missing out, if you had a choice of just going to one place (we don’t want to lug them around too much as we will already have a big journey home to Ireland ahead!) Would you choose Phuket over Ko Samui?

    Is there enough to do for kids in Phuket?

    Thanks so much!
    Anna

    Reply
    1. DavidDavid Post author

      I much prefer Koh Samui to Phuket. Seas around Phuket can be rough and not good for swimming from June to October – Samui generally does not have this problem.

      Reply
  26. Is Thailand Safe for Kids?

    Hi David,

    I have dreamed of a trip to Thailand since I was little and just booked a trip leaving new years eve 2015 for me, my husband and my 11 year old girl and 9 year old boy. I was super excited but now I am terrified because everyone I know has told me stories about kidnapping and terrorists to the point I am thinking about forfeiting my flights. We are flying into Bangkok, then want to go to Chaing Mai and then spend a week on the beaches somewhere safe for swimming and relaxing. When I look “is thailand safe for kids” up on the internet I get conflicting stories yes and no and the american and australian governments are warning people not to go. I am sick and just need to know the real scoop as I have no one to get it from. You seem like my best source. I am fine with forfeiting my tickets if need be. I just need to know.
    Do I need to be concerned?

    Worried Mom,
    Alisa

    Reply
    1. DavidDavid Post author

      Your biggest danger in Thailand (as in pretty much any country) is the risk of being in a car accident. If you wanted to do the most for your safety (and children’s safety) look for taxis that have working seat belts. As in any country, flying is always safer than driving by car or bus. The chance of dying in a terrorist attack or kidnapping is pretty close to zero. For example, the number of terrorist-related deaths outside of countries with active wars or unrest is (very roughly) around 1,000/year. The number of road deaths in the world is about 1.3 million/year. That’s 1300 times as many deaths from vehicles as from terrorists. If you’re worrying about the terrorists you’re worrying about the wrong thing. And the warnings from the U.S State Department are for southern Thailand where there is active unrest – very few tourists go to these parts. The warnings do not include tourist destinations like Krabi, Phuket, or Koh Samui.

      Reply
  27. Fishing Tours in Thailand/Beaches

    Hi David
    Fabulous site! I have found a couple of my answers already just reading through. We will be visiting Thailand for the first time next April with out 10 year old son, we are looking at staying for just over two weeks. The boys would like to include lots of fishing trips while we are out there, and I would like to spend time on the beaches. Can you recommend anywhere? we are hoping to travel to around 3 different places.
    thanks
    Anna

    Reply
    1. DavidDavid Post author

      The fishing (both deep sea and game fishing) are better on the west coast: Phuket and out to the Similian islands). Both Phuket and Koh Samui have fishing day trips that get good reviews for being fun even if there aren’t a lot of fish caught. For Beaches Koh Samui, Railay, Koh Lanta, Khao Lak, Phuket and many more all have great beaches. The weather in April is good all over the country so you’ve got lots of choice.

      Reply
  28. Thailand with 2 Kids

    Hi David

    I am planing to go to Thailand late May with a 1 year old and possibly a 10 year old. Where would be the best place to go, I have never been before and am travelling as a single mum.

    Great site btw!

    Thanks 🙂
    Serena

    Reply
    1. DavidDavid Post author

      There are many destinations that could work for you but I’d put Koh Samui right at the top. Direct flights from Bangkok. Good beach towns that are a short drive from the airport. Great kid-friendly beaches.

      Reply
  29. Best Time of Year for Thailand with Kids

    Hi David,
    I want to travel with 2 girls 10 and 11 years old. I would like to go around 20-25 days all around Thailand. when is the best time of the year. I Was thinking to go in middle December to January. What is the best way to travel to one city to another? Bangkok, Golden Triangle, Phuket, Hua Hin, Ko Samui, Ko Phangan. Did I miss something?

    Thank you in advance for your help.

    Sofie

    Reply
    1. DavidDavid Post author

      February is probably the best month to experience the whole country. But anything from late December until April is good.

      Reply
  30. Thailand with 2 Kids in August

    Thanks so much for this valuable resource!! Traveling in August with 12 and 15 year old kids. Starting Bangkok then staying with friends in Kanchanburi. After that we would like a beach stay in a nice hotel/resort/bungalow in the beach in a location with the least rain and the ability to snorkel and/or dive. Ideally the location would not be overly touristy but we would like some options for dining out. Any recommendations? Thank you, Wendy

    Reply
    1. DavidDavid Post author

      Koh Samui would be your best bet for weather. Mae Nam or Choeng Mon are great beaches and probably just what you’re looking for. Snorkeling on Koh Samui is not great so you might want to make a day trip to Koh Tao.

      Reply
  31. Where To Go with Baby in Thailand

    Hi David,
    I am planning a trip to Tailand for this Christmas holidays.
    We have a 7 months baby with us, and we want to spend 25 days in Tailand, with plenty of time on a nice relaxing beach.
    Due to our baby, we would like to be on a beach that will not be difficult to get there.
    What would you suggest?
    Thanks in advance
    Pablo

    Reply
    1. DavidDavid Post author

      Koh Samui is the best combination of great beaches and easy-to-get-to. There are direct flights from Bangkok to Koh Samui and great beaches like Choeng Mon, Bophut, Chaweng, and Mae Nam are all within 15 minutes of the airport.

      Reply
  32. Travel Safety in Thailand

    Hi, we are planning a trip to Phuket for February. Taking 3.5yr old and a 9 month old, do you think it is necessary to take car seats for their safety? Also should I bring life jackets that fit them for day trips to Koh Phi Phi etc?

    Thanks,
    Jessy

    Reply
    1. DavidDavid Post author

      If you want car seats then you’ll need to take them. But depending on your itinerary you might not use them much. Life jackets for kids are usually available (not sure on a 9 month old though) but their quality and condition will likely not be up to western standards. Take them if you won’t be comfortable without them.

      Reply
  33. November/December in Thailand

    Hi David,
    My husband and I are headed to Thailand in late November-early December with my in-laws and our 3 and 5 year old children. Your site is a wealth of information, thank you. We’d like to go to Chiang Mai, Bangkok and Phuket or Ko Samui. What would be the easiest form of travel between cities? We are looking for nice family friendly hotels and activities for us and our children.

    Thank you in advance,
    Megan

    Reply
    1. DavidDavid Post author

      Flying is the easiest by far but doing one overnight train trip is fun and what I recommend. Bangkok to Chiang Mai is a good candidate for an overnight train trip as you’re right in the city when your train stops, unlike if you were heading to Koh Samui or Phuket where you would have a bus and/or ferry trip after you get off the train. Check Nok Air and Air Asia for inexpensive flights in Thailand. The weather in Phuket should be much better than Koh Samui in late November and early December.

      Reply
  34. One Week in Thailand with Kids

    I am planning for a trip to Thailand with family. Request your help to propose an itinerary. Following are the details

    Duration – 6 nights and 7 days

    Date of travel – start date 21st Nov

    Type of vacation – I would be with my kids and hence would want trip to be focused around kids. Would want to cover, zoo (wild life sanctuary), amusement parks, beaches (quite & peaceful), Thailand original culture.

    Would await your revert. Kindly let me know if you need any additional information

    Regards

    Reply
    1. DavidDavid Post author

      I would do a combination of Bangkok, Chiang Mai and Phuket. Try to book air tickets now so you can get a direct flight from Chiang Mai to Phuket (and save time).

      Reply
  35. Calm Beaches for Kids

    Hi David
    Lots of great advice on your site, thank you. My daughter (5) and I are spending a month in Thailand this Nov-Dec and I am in need of a bit of direction :o) Since I am travelling as a solo parent it’s important that we stay/go places where we will meet other people. I’m a seasoned backpacker…
    My daughter wants to start with the elephants (Chiang Mai and the nature park). Then I am contemplating a lake house “safari” on Khao Laem Lake. And then I want to hit the beaches for the remainder of our time. Just two, kids don’t like to move too much. But which ones???
    I’ve looked at Koh Pha Ngan (fond memories) – my no. 1 priority is a kid-friendly quiet beach with shallow water and a bungalow on the beach. I checked out Koh Samui too but I reckon I get more value for money in Koh Pha Ngan… And then there’s the West Coast… I’m drowning! I’m looking at 1500-2000 baht per night.
    I would love your input :o) Thank you!
    /tina

    Reply
    1. DavidDavid Post author

      Sounds like a great trip. For beaches I’d recommend Choeng Mon and Bophut on Koh Samui – quieter calm beaches that are still close to Chaweng if you want more shopping, restaurants, energy. Koh Phangan is great but if you’re wanting to limit travel and moving about maybe not the best choice. It’s another boat ride from Koh Samui and then a longish drive from the port up to the quieter beaches. All very doable and not too taxing but Koh Samui is definitely much easier. The airport is right there just 10 minutes from the beaches.

      Reply
  36. Jomtien Beach

    Pattaya has its seedier side but like anywhere it’s only there if you look for it. The number of activities that are available for young people and children is unrivaled anywhere else in Thailand.

    Reply
  37. Rikke

    Dear David
    I’m from Denmark – just overlooking your site with pleasure:-)
    We are a family of 2 adults and 4 kids (age-12-14) planning to go to Pran Buri 2 weeks during Christmas and new year time – 2015.
    We would love to make some special things with our teen kids. For instance elephant riding, cooking lessions – how to make the thaifood, visiting an International/or Thai school, visiting a reservat for baby animals (monkeys/elephants etc.) …. or just some of it, depends on possibilities. We think the best way will be to find a local guide to coordinate and make agreement for us to come and visit… Do you have any idea to help us…?
    We have planned this area because we also would like to play 3-4 rounds of golf during our time there, and this area are wonderful to golf.
    A second question… I have a little doubt whether we have choosen the wrong area… could it be better to choose Chiang Mai to full fill our whiches for the kids?? It is possible with golf in Chiang Mai area as well??
    Hope to receive your kind help.
    Thanks a lot.
    My best
    Rikke:-)

    Reply
  38. Weather in October in Thailand

    Hi David, My husband and I are travelling with our 2 boys aged 10 & 8 and are planning a week in Thailand half way through October. We want to do some snorkelling and elephant rides and general beach relaxing. Where is the best place at this time of the year for the beach? What would be the best way to combine a few days in Chiang Mai with a good beach as well. Thanks heaps for your time.

    Reply
    1. DavidDavid Post author

      Chiang Mai in October is over the heavy rains and should be good for elephant rides and exploring. Unfortunately southern Thailand is getting hit with a lot of rain in October and good beach destinations are hard to find. Koh Samet in eastern Thailand is known for its drier climate so it might be a good choice but even there you can still see a lot of rain. I’d probably go for an island in western Thailand but it’s really just a flip of coin for that time of year.

      Reply
  39. Gairat

    Other than Samui, what do you advise close to Bangkok within an hour or so distance. We’ll be flying more than 6 hours from Tashkent and taking another plane with kids wouldn’t be enjoyable.

    Reply
    1. DavidDavid Post author

      Pattaya (1.5 hours from Bangkok by car) and Hua Hin (2.5 hours from Bangkok) are both nice beach resorts. Pattaya has more to do but also has a seedier side. Hua Hin is quieter and more family-friendly.

      Reply
  40. Travelling to Thailand in October first week with 4.5 month old baby

    Hello David,

    At the outset thanks for taking efforts in providing such insightful information.

    I had visited Bankgok Phuket and Phi-Phi in Aug 2008 and thought of revisiting our sweet memories, of course with expanded family of 2 boys accompanying us. My elder son is 5 years and younger one will be turning 4.5 months in October and was thinking whether it will be safe to travel to Thailand in October with lil one..especially considering the rains..Plan to cover Krabi / Bangkok.

    There have been some other blogs which do claim it is safe, nevertheless reading your posts – I was tempted to ask you this lingering question.

    I have had some prior experience travelling with my elder boy who was 5 months when we travelled to South Africa (that was more of a long term stay and not island hopping as this one would be).

    Will appreciate your response and do look forward to visit Thailand (If not this time – hopefully few years down the line!!)

    Many thanks in advance

    Yash

    Reply
    1. DavidDavid Post author

      I consider Thailand a very safe country. Like pretty much everywhere the biggest risk is driving and being on the road – the single biggest thing you can do is try to only hire cars that have working seat belts in front and back (easier said than done and we’re far from perfect on this one). It will be rainy season so sea can be rough and unsafe at times but just use common sense and watch for the red flags which indicate dangerous swimming conditions.

      Reply
  41. How to break things up?

    Hi David,
    Thank you so much for this site. This is the best discussion I have found on the web about Thailand.

    I am planning to visit Thailand June 28-July 12 (2 weeks) with my 10 year old daughter (I am a single mom).

    I have already decided that we’ll visit Bangkok, Chiang Mai, and the Koh Samui area. But I’m trying to decide whether to spend more time in Bangkok (4 days instead of 3 and do a day trip to Ayuthaya), or more time in Chiang Mai (and do day trips to the villages, as you suggest, or the caves, which sound interesting), or just do a 3/3/6 split and get at least 6 days on the coast.

    Assuming the weather will be just ok in July, what will be our better bet? Will Ayuthaya (potentially in the rain) be worth losing a day on the coast? Ditto for the villages around Chiang Mai?

    Thanks,
    Monika

    Reply
    1. DavidDavid Post author

      We enjoyed Ayuthaya but it’s not a must see. If you’re going to Chiang Mai then you can easily skip Ayuthaya. (On the other hand you can visit Ayuthaya for a day then hop on the night train as it’s coming through from Bangkok and take it to Chiang Mai.) And just to make your decision harder still, the coast can get very nice weather in July. Just make a decision and go with it. No regrets right?

      Reply
  42. Ash

    Hi David,

    Very nice site and very pertinent information. Me, Wife & my 13 year old daughter are planning to go to Thailand in April End. I will spend 2 full days in Bangkok showing them around. Then I want to head to the beach for 4-5 nights. Can you please recommend an island & resort which suits our requirement. I want to chill and enjoy for 2 days like get massage, soak the sun on the beach and read a book, walk around, swim, drink, eat etc. Other 2 days we would like to do some activity like a day trip to some attraction, snorkelling or things that will interest a 13 year old girl.

    You help will be appreciated.

    Reply
    1. DavidDavid Post author

      Koh Samui sounds perfect for you. Either Bophut or Choeng Mon for chilling out, or Chaweng for a bit more activity. Samui has direct flights from Bangkok which makes it great for a short trip. Good luck.

      Reply
  43. December in Thailand

    Hi David,me an my partner an 4yr old daughter are planning to come to Thailand in December an we enjoy family day trips,markets,shopping where would you recommend to go/stay where we could do a bit if both?.

    Reply
  44. Jamie

    Hi, Have found your site very informative, however am still trying to decide where to go. We (myself, husband and 2 children ages 8 and 6) will be going to Si sa ket to visit extended family for 4 days then Bangkok, Kanchanburi (don’t know whether to stay for 1 or 2 nights) then not sure whether to go to Koh Samui or ??. Ideally, I’d like to stay somewhere where the beach is breathtaking, but don’t want it too touristy. We will be going late Dec and only for 2 weeks.
    Thanks in advance 🙂

    Reply
    1. DavidDavid Post author

      Yes, Koh Samui would be great. Easy connections by air. But lots of choices. Koh Phangan and Krabi area would also be great.

      Reply
  45. Chaweng Kid-friendly Hotels

    Dave,

    I’m struggling to find accommodation on Chaweng beach for my family of 5. 2 adults 3 kids (11, 9 & 5)

    Any suggestions?

    Kathryn

    Reply
  46. AD

    THANK YOU so much for putting all of this together. We’ll be travelling in December. This information is extremely helpful. I’ve been a little overwhelmed about where to go and what to do, as it’s our first time there, but now feel so much better.

    Excellent information 🙂

    Reply
  47. Kirsty

    Hi David, Great site.
    I am planning to travel to Thailand with husband and 4 kids (5-11) around March 2015. Dont have a timeframe yet, but a couple of months at least, could be longer depending on how much we spend! Do you know of any sites I could find some longer term cheap family accomodation, thought we may want to hang out at a beach or in the hills for a few weeks at a time. Also not too keen to do much plane travel, do you think we could train around the whole country easily/cheaply or do you think its worth booking some fights? Thanks

    Reply
    1. DavidDavid Post author

      Hi Kirsty.

      For long-term accommodation look at AirBnb.com/Thailand.

      Getting around the country by train is cheap and easy – but some flights are so cheap and save so much time (e.g. getting from Chiang Mai to Krabi) that they make good sense. Book flights early and you’ll get the cheapest fare.

      Reply
  48. Prachi

    Hi David,
    your web site is very helpful, lot of information.
    but i am still confused in deciding what place to visit so that i get a complete feel of Thailand.
    I will be traveling with Kid (4 yrs old) n my husband. I am interested in Bangkok and Pattaya but I am not able to decide between Koh Samui/Chiang Mai/ Hua Hin. which will be the best to visit. Oh Totally confused.. all sound same in terms of beaches. please help me in “selecting one” as i have budgetary constrains too.

    I am planning to visit in December end.

    Reply
    1. DavidDavid Post author

      In December both Koh Samui and Chiang Mai should have good weather (though there can still be rain until mid-December on K.S.). So I’d recommend those.

      Reply
  49. Emma

    Hi David,

    I leave for bangkok first week of August and going to Thailand for 3 weeks I’ve booked 5 nights in Bangkok and there are lots of things I want to do and see. I was planning to take the night train and go to Phuket and koh Lanta but I’ve just realised its rainy season. As I haven’t booked that part of my trip is it worth changing it to the other side, I want a mixed of fun activities , elephant trekking, cooking, water activities, site seeing and also pampering with maybe a bit of yoga or something to relax on before heading back.

    I’m also traveling alone as a female so any advice would be great.

    Money isn’t too much of a bother I’ve budget £1k for 3 weeks not including the flights and hotel in Bangkok I’ve already paid. So Hotel suggestions would be great.

    Thanks

    Emma

    Reply
    1. DavidDavid Post author

      Hi Emma. It’s rainy season on both coasts. Considering your interests I think Phuket and Koh Lanta would be more in line. Perhaps fly one-way, Bangkok to Phuket, and then plan on the train north from Surat Thani to Bangkok (the train doesn’t go directly to Phuket so the closest stop is a 3 hour drive away). If the weather is lousy in Phuket you could stop in Hua Hin (which is on the train line to Bangkok) on the way north as it usually has better weather than the islands farther south. Just an idea. Hope that helps. Good luck.

      Reply
  50. David Viers

    Hi David,
    Going to Thailand with my two kids, ages 4 and 10, can’t wait. I was wondering if in the bigger ruins and temples that require biking around, is it ever possible to have a child seat in the back? Would you recommend Sukhothai with children?
    Thanks so much you’re site is so very helpful!

    Reply
    1. DavidDavid Post author

      I’ve never heard (or seen) a child seat on a bike. Some places do have bike carts (or bike taxis) that will seat multiple people. Sukhothai has a park-like setting and would be good if the kids are into sightseeing.

      Reply
  51. andy

    Hi David,

    My wife and i are hoping to spend up to a month in thailand with our kids who will be 4.5 and 2 looking for recommendations on maybe a 2/3 stop stay – thinking maybe a few days in bangkok, then up north somewhere and then to an island. I have travelled thailand on my own before and spent a long time in chaing mai – is chaig rai or pai which i never went to child friendly ?

    cheers.

    Reply
    1. DavidDavid Post author

      Both Pai and Chiang Rai have a family-friendly vibe. If you want a place to hang out and spend a few days relaxing they’re great. Just don’t be expecting kid-oriented attractions like in Bangkok or Chiang Mai. Lots of interesting and fun day trips from both if that’s what you’re looking for. Pai is much smaller than Chiang Rai but has a nearby waterfall and hot spring that kids will like.

      Reply
  52. Andrea

    Love your site and wish I had found it earlier. We (my husband, myself, and 11 year old son) will be traveling through Thailand from June 22- July 22. We have nothing booked after our 3 nights in Bangkok, but our rough itinerary is night train to Chiang Mai, 5-7 days there. Get a rental car and travel south, stop at Sukothai, and on to Hua Hin. Drop the car and bus ferry to Koh Phangnan, 5 days on Bottle Beach. Go (how?) to Khoa Sok Park for three days and then to Phuket where we have a return flight home. First question do you think Bottle Beach will be good for swimming in July? The second question is do you have suggestions for sights/stops between Chiang Mai and Hua Hin if we drive? Third question do you think we are being too ambitious with distances, etc? We’re all experienced travelers, but have never been to Thailand. Thanks.

    Reply
    1. DavidDavid Post author

      Bottle Beach will be fine in July. As for driving and distances, driving in Thailand (and from CM to the south) is challenging but doable. That is a good distance. Personally, unless you had a week or more I would fly or take the train. Stops along the way would include Lampang, Ayutthaya, Kanchanaburi (a bit out of the way), and Prachuap Khiri Khan. Both Avis and Budget have car rentals in CM and Hua Hin so either would work. Hope that helps.

      Reply
  53. Nigel

    Hi David, Great site! My wife and I are coming to Thailand with our four and one year old boys. Two weeks from Dec 21st to Jan 5th. My wife’s sister has just moved to Khon Kaen with her Japanese husband. Wanting to spend a few days there and then travel with their family (2 girls aged 5 and 2) somewhere. Ideally would like some local village, elephants, national park sort of stuff for a few days (I’ve been to Chiang Mai years ago and would like somewhere different) and then a week or so on a beach (I’ve been to Koh Samui three times)..ideally nothing too tourist resorty, but nice-ish huts on a great beach (not in the old Charlie’s Huts style on Chaweng but the equivalent now I’m 38 and have kids!!) and then a day or so in Bangkok before flying out. Have read your other suggestions above and can’t quite make my mind up. Also what is Ko Chang like? Many thanks.!

    Reply
    1. DavidDavid Post author

      I’d visit Kanchanaburi (about 3 hours by bus or train from Bangkok). Lots of outdoor activities for kids and adults. There’s swimming in waterfalls, the Tiger Temple, elephant camps, and some of Thailand’s best national parks. It might be just what you’re looking for.

      Reply
  54. Jackie

    Hi David: Our family will travel to Thailand this July. We are really liking the sound of places like Railay and the islands on that side of the island. Are we really taking a risk with weather and things being open because it is low season? We don’t need a lot of touristy things but definitely will want to snorkel and enjoy the beaches and hike. Are there any islands that you would recommend as better during the low season? Otherwise if we stick to the east coast – what beach would you rank as most beautiful with good snorkeling? Thanks for any info! Love your blog.
    Jackie

    Reply
    1. DavidDavid Post author

      Yes, I guess I would say you are taking some risk with the weather. But you can also get a stretch of great weather in July too. The east coast (Koh Samui and Koh Pha Ngan) will usually get better weather in July than the west coast. Resorts in the north gulf coast (e.g. Hua Hin and Koh Samet) often have great weather all year round so they’re your best bet if you really want dry weather.

      Snorkeling and scuba diving are not great during the west coast rainy season so even if the weather is ok I would have modest expectations with clear high-visibility water.

      Hope that helps.

      Reply
  55. Karin

    Hi David

    My husband and I are travelling with our 2 boys, ages 7 and 9, to Asia for 2 weeks in late December early January. We will have 15 days total, approx 7 of which will be spent in Hong Kong visiting Canadian relatives. The remaining 7 or 8 days we are going to Thailand, and are trying to decide between spending it in/around Chiang Mai, or in the south, likely Koh Samui. We’d love to do both the north and south, but are concerned we will be too short on time. We are looking for adventure and Thai culture, but the kids also love the beach. I realize due to time we probably can’t get too far off the beaten path. We are coming from Toronto, Canada, and will likely not be back that way for a while, so want to make sure we maximize our time, and that the kids have a really fun, interesting and unique experience.

    Reply
    1. DavidDavid Post author

      I would do an overnight train from Bangkok to Chiang Mai (the kids will love it) and then fly direct from Chiang Mai to Koh Samui (book early). You’ll have 3 full days in each place which isn’t a lot but is enough.

      Reply
  56. Naima S

    Hello there…

    I’m planning for my first Thailand trip this June ’13 with my husband and a 2 yrs 8 months old hyper active son…. it will be a short trip of 5 n / 6 d so I need your help to plan it in such a way that we all enjoy our vacation without spending too much time in travelling from here and there…

    Reading through the comment above, I’m thinking of a combination of Bangkok and Chian Mei instead of the typical Bangkok and Phuket / Pataya. Will this be a good idea considering the duration and weather in particular at this time of the year?

    Also I’m very concerned about my son’s meals during the day as he’s not much exposed to restaurant foods and can’t handle hot and spicy food… will this add any limitations in my tour plan? Pls suggest…

    Also suggest me of some cheap but good hotels / serviced apartments (with refrigerator, microwave, bowls etc) in each of these cities.

    Regards…

    Reply
  57. Maria

    Hello David, this site is so fantastic & just what I was looking for.

    Im planning a holiday to Thailand for 3weeks in mid December. Travelling from Paris with my husband and two children who will be aged 3 & 15months. Looking to head to chaing Mai (I’m convinced this is what we should do after reading this site). Where should we stay there given the ages of the kids? Planning to stay for 4-5 days max then I’m looking for a relaxed, beautiful, island beach. Those picture post card places that I’ve never been to. I’d like to do a bit of exploring on the island. Where would you recommend? Really struggling with this decision – it has to be ‘right’ and it has to be workable with the kids. Plus staying there for Xmas & new year & I want it to be special. Not asking for much then!!! 🙂 any help would be massively appreciated. Maria

    Reply
    1. DavidDavid Post author

      I would fly from Chiang Mai to Koh Samui (book early so you get a direct flight without stopping in Bangkok). Easy with kids as the airport on Koh Samui is minutes from some of the island’s best beaches. For New Years, I’m guessing that either Bophut or Choeng Mon would have a great family-friendly vibe.

      For hotels check these pages:
      Chiang Mai Family Hotels
      Koh Samui Family Hotels

      Good luck.

      Reply
  58. Dean

    Hi there david im glad i found this site just a couple of questions to ask ..i am a single father of 2 young girls whom i see each fortnight and have them for the holidays ..im looking too take them too thailand or bali this yr not sure when but sometime around mid yr my kids are 5 and 6 yrs of age do you know of any good resorts that are catering for this age group and are farely resonabley priced bareing in mind im a single father on a budget..plus some good site seeing and places we would enjoy i also love golf and would like to play golf there aswell are baby sitters a concern within trust and safety of your child ..regards dean

    Reply
    1. DavidDavid Post author

      You usually have to stay at a luxury hotel to find kids clubs. World Resort Koh Samui in Bophut is a great mid-range hotel with a nice pool and located right on the beach. Most hotels will be able to hook you up with a babysitter.

      Hope that helps. Cheers.

      Reply
  59. Ly

    Hi David,

    We are planning to go to Thailand in Feb. with our 6 yrs old daughter and was wondering if we all need to take any vacinnes shot for precaution?

    Thanks…

    Reply
    1. DavidDavid Post author

      It can vary depending on their age, what shots they’ve already received, when you’re traveling, current conditions in the country, and where you’re going.

      Check with your doctor and read the CDC page on Thailand.

      Good luck.

      Reply
  60. Sapna

    Hey there, you’ve got a wonderfully informative blog. My husband and I plan to take our two kids, aged 6, to Thailand in early June for about 10-12 days. I gather from your blog that the Andaman coast will have major rainfall during June and hence, going to, say, KohSamui, would be better than Phuket. We were thinking of 3-4 days in Bangkok, about 4 days in Koh Samui. Is it possible to take a train from Bangkok to Koh Samui? Is there another place we can visit, apart from these two? Thank you!

    Reply
    1. DavidDavid Post author

      Yes, there is a train from Bangkok to Surat Thani. It’s best if you can do an overnight train. Book in advance or immediately after you arrive (at the train station). 3 days in advance will usually be enough to secure sleeper tickets – but no guarantees. From Surat Thani you take a bus to the ferry terminal (about an hour) and then a ferry to Koh Samui (about an hour+ as well). Buy a combination ticket when you buy your train which will include the train, bus, and ferry tickets so you needn’t worry about separate tickets. (More info here on the train to Samui.) Koh Pha Ngan is a great island just north of Samui. You can take a ferry there from Samui that will take about 30 minutes. It’s less developed than Samui and a nice change of pace.

      Good luck.

      Reply
  61. Catherine

    Hi David, I am going to Thailand in July with my husband, a 4 and 6 year old and my 75 year old Mother. We have 5 days booked in both Bangkok and Phuket. We we hoping to add five or so days in another place, and were considering somewhere like Chiang Mai. My Mum’s asthma has recently flared up and I am now concerned it might be too polluted in CM. Any other suggestions for a non- beach stop? Thanks so much, Catherine

    Reply
    1. DavidDavid Post author

      Yes, the air in Chiang Mai can get bad but the worst months for air pollution are February and March. The rains arrive in May which brings humidity but clears the air a bit (and the farmers can no longer burn their fires which causes the smoke in the first place).

      Kanchanaburi is a good alternative to Chiang Mai. A beautiful area with national parks, elephant rides, waterfalls. And much closer to Bangkok than Chiang Mai.

      Good luck.

      Reply
  62. Ian Morris

    Hi David

    My wife and I are looking at around a 3 week holiday in Thailand after Christmas/New Year, spending a few days in Bangkok, and then the remaining bulk of the holiday in a beach location (Phuket or Ko Samui).

    We are considering booking flights and hotels seperately, rather than as a package, and wondered if you knew of, perhaps, a website where you can get deals on hotels if you’re staying for several days?

    Ian

    Reply
  63. Francesca

    Hi David,
    I would like to go to koh Phayam, near Ranong. I am in Chang Mai and I don’t know how to plan the trip down with our 2 children. There is only one flight going from chang Mai to Puket. But there it is pretty far from the island. What do you suggest for traveling down there?
    Thanks
    Francesca

    Reply
    1. DavidDavid Post author

      There is a ferry twice a day from Phayam pier to Koh Phayam (9:30 and 14:00). If those times don’t work for you, you can take a speed boat that will leave at pretty much any time but costs twice as much.

      Reply
  64. Julie

    Hi there, we are looking to travel to Thailand with our 2 boys age 2 and 4 years. We will probably have around 2 weeks. We thought we would try and head to one beach place and one other, limiting travel as much as we can within Thailand. We’ve been to Koh samui pre kids so we thought we’d give that a miss. We’d add in Ko Sok for a few days if we can without too much of a detour. Where would you recommend, trying to keep internal travel to a minimum?

    Reply
    1. DavidDavid Post author

      There are so many places. The Krabi area has some great options and the airport has direct flights to Bangkok which saves a lot of time and effort. Railay makes a great base for seeing the area.

      Reply
  65. Brad

    Hi David. Your blog has been very helpful. We will be in Thailand with some Thai friends over the holidays and wanted to visit Koh Samet right after New Year’s. Any recommendations for hotels? We have an 11 year old boy and would like to do some snorkeling. Thanks!

    Reply
  66. Going To Bangkok

    Hi
    What an amazingly informative website, thank you so much.
    My husband and I are hoping to fly into Bangkok towards the end of July for 3 weeks (we realise this isn’t the best time of year but we are tied to summer holidays).
    We will be travelling with our 3 children (12, 9 and 2 years old). We want to stay in Bangkok for a couple of days to recover from the journey and see the sites and then we want to head south to Koh Sammet, for 10 days, as we have been advised this is a great destination. We then don’t really know what to do for a week before heading back to Bangkok. Do you have any ideas?
    We are wanting to try an overnight train somewhere as we have read from your site how fun it is for families (although I’m happy to save that for another trip to Thailand if necessary) and we also would like to do elephant rides. Apart from this we are clueless!
    Any help or advice would be much appreciated. Many thanks.

    Reply
    1. DavidDavid Post author

      I’d do the overnight train ride to Chiang Mai. It’s the best place in Thailand to ride and see elephants and also a great way to see “the real Thailand” as there are many non-touristy towns and villages that you can visit from CM.

      Good luck.

      Reply
  67. Francesca

    Hi dave, We’re going with 2 children (7,11) to thailand over christmas holiday for 3 weeks. We wanted to spend 2 weeks in the north/east and then go to the beaches for one week. We don’t like very much the “resort lifestyle”. Can you suggest an island or spot where we can spend time by the see but still keep contact with the inhabitants life, going to markets, etc..not stay only in a place with tourists? Is it still exhisting in thai a place with simple bungalow by the sea, in a village? Can you suggest the best place? Thank’s a lot

    Reply
    1. DavidDavid Post author

      I’d suggest Mae Nam on Koh Samui. It’s still touristy, for sure, but it feels more like a little Thai town than most places. It has two markets that are fun to visit (one is in the morning and starts at about 4am). Nathon is the main town on the island, has some great markets, and feels the most Thai – but it doesn’t have any good beaches to speak of. And that pretty much sums up the trade-off: if you want to be by a nice beach you’ll need to be around other tourists. If you want to be around the locals you’ll need to forego the beaches.

      Reply
  68. Sharon

    Hi David, I am taking my 2 teens, 16 & 14 to Thailand this Jan. The kids wish list is Tigers, Monkeys & Elephants. As we live in Queensland, we have had several holidays on the Great Barrier Reef, and I plan to take spend some time in Bangkok and head north. My daughter really wants a beach holiday, so I was thinking Railay or Samui after reading your posts. Is there beaches up north with as dramatic coastlines and available snorkeling or do you think it best to catch a few days south or would Hua Hin be a good alternative. At this stage I think we will only have 2 1/2 weeks holiday. So thinking a few days in Bangkok, overnight train to Chiang Mai, overnight village stay, and ….. what would you recommend? Also, should I try and book accommodation now online for best deals as well as trains / flights or is it better to do once in Thailand?

    Reply
    1. DavidDavid Post author

      The train is definitely “easier” to book in Thailand but since it sounds like you’ll be on a tight schedule I’d get it done in advance (and delivered to your hotel). Good info here on how to buy tickets online: How to buy train tickets from outside Thailand.

      Buy your plane tickets in advance too – and do this first before you book hotels or train as it has the least flexibility.

      You can get away with not booking hotels in advance but once again as you don’t have too much time no sense wasting your time hunting for hotels. January is also high season so you’ll do best having something booked.

      Samui or Railay are the way to go especially if you can get direct flights from Chiang Mai down to either Samui or Krabi airports. Semi-direct flights that go through Bangkok are nearly as good and will save you a big chunk of time from taking the train from the north to the south. Book soon as the cheapest tickets get snapped up early. Check flyorientthai.com, nokair.com, bangkokair.com, and airasia.com.

      Hua Hin is nice but takes just as much time and hassle to get to as flying to somewhere farther south. Good luck.

      Reply
      1. Sharon

        Thanks for the info David. we are back and had a great time. I got train from Bangkok to Chiang Mai, but couldn’t get sleeper back so took VIP bus over night which was 6 hours faster and very comfortable having bigger seats and more leg room. I found public transport and taxis fabulous and easy in Bangkok, but in Chiang Mai I ended up renting the red cabs (?) for the day which was an excellent way to see everything at our own pace and very cheap. I think for parents worried about safety of child seats, forget the tuk tuks and go cabs or red cars. Koh Samui was much more expensive for public transport. Hiring bikes was off the table with my kids (too young for driving themselves and too old to get on back of me). Bikes were 200 baht and cars 1500 baht for the day. Both much cheaper than taxis, but I didn’t want the worry of driving, so opted for tours which were quite cheap. I was very impressed with how safe we all felt and the padlocks for the suitcases and money belts were unnecessary. Overall a very family friendly country 🙂

        Reply
  69. Jamie Mayoh-Bauche

    Hi David,

    My husband and I are heading to Thailand this March with our 18 month old for 3.5 weeks. Our itinerary is not confirmed but right now we are thinking of spending a bit of time in Bangkok, a few days in Ayuthaya and then heading to Ko Mak for a bit. We then want to head to Khao Sok National Park by train from Bangkok and finish up at Railay Beach.

    My biggest concern right now is travel in locations such as Bangkok. I have read that many taxis don’t have seatbelts so there is no point in bringing a car seat. Also in many smaller places travel by bike is recommended but I am guessing it is difficult or impossible to rent bikes with child seats. We obviously want to be as safe as possible but don’t want to drag around a lot of extra gear if it will not be helpful. What would you recommend in terms of getting around within a city or island.

    Reply
    1. DavidDavid Post author

      Yeah, you’re right. Many taxis (even the nicer looking ones) don’t have seatbelts in the back. Some do however, so if you look around and ask your hotel for help you’ll eventually find something that works. Many people will do this for the longer trips, say if you’re hiring a car for the trip from Bangkok to Hua Hin, but for local stuff they just do it the Thai-way.

      Good luck.

      Reply
  70. Wedding in Thailand

    Hi David,

    Great reading here thanks for all the info. I am trying to plan a trip with my fiance and two children (7 and 3) The main purpose of the trip is to find a location for our wedding. We were wanting to go to Vietnam and Thailand and compare the two to see which we prefer. We don’t want to waste the trip though and were hoping to do 10 days total whilst entertaing our kids in the process. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

    Thanks in advance – Dylan Brisbane Australia

    Reply
    1. DavidDavid Post author

      Bophut or Railay both come to mind as great places for a wedding. In both cases, very nice hotels on a beautiful beach. If you’re looking for something quieter and more secluded then try northwest and north coast of Koh Pha Ngan.

      Reply
  71. Kevin

    Hi David,

    My 12 year old son and I have 11 days over Christmas with a start and end out of BKK. Chiang Mai seemingly a must-see and would like to spend a few days at family-friendly beach, avoiding Phuket and party atmosphere. Also considered Angkor Wat since I teach history. Any thoughts on the best itinerary? Thanks for your kind help!

    Reply
    1. DavidDavid Post author

      There are direct flights on Bangkok Air to Siem Reap from Bangkok. You could also fly to Phnom Penh, boat to Siem Reap, then bus and train back to Bangkok. Do the overnight train at least one-way between Chiang Mai and Bangkok.

      Reply
  72. Su

    Hi David,

    Can I say how wonderful it was to stumble across your webpage! I have a 2 yr old and a 4 yr old and. We took the kids to India back in January, our first travelling experience with them and had such fun over there. Everything you say in your blog is so true and some of the moments were truly rewarding! We are planning our next few trips which I would appreciate some advice on.

    This December my husband and I are planning to take the kids to Thailand. We will be splitting our stay between Phuket & Bangkok. We have not booked our flights into the country yet and do not mind which place we visit first. We are also thinking about travelling to Cambodia from Thailand. Do you have any recommendations on where to go in Cambodia with kids and advice on how best to travel there from Thailand?

    Reply
    1. DavidDavid Post author

      You can fly one-way from Bangkok to Phnom Penh on Air Asia, then a 4 or 5 hour boat trip to Siem Reap. From Siem Reap you can hire a car or take a bus to the border (3 hours), then train back to Bangkok (4 hours) – or fly Siem Reap to Bangkok on Bangkok Air (which I believe is the only direct flight). It’s a nice loop, with lots to see, and not too painful.

      Reply
  73. SK

    Hi David,

    Great blog with lot of information. I wonder you can help us out in planning 7 nights in Thailand. We are looking for family holiday where there is good activity for kids but at the same time we can relax as well.

    Reply
    1. DavidDavid Post author

      Phuket and Koh Samui have the most family-friendly activities. One way to get a good combination of fun for the kids and relaxation for the parents is to go to a resort that has a kids club.

      For example, the Four Seasons on Koh Samui has a top notch Kids’ Club that would keep the kids entertained through most of the day.

      Reply
  74. Jen

    Hello! What a great site 🙂

    Just wondering if you think Railay Beach for 1 week would be ok with a 6 mth old and a 2 yr old? Just concerned about it being only accessible by boat if medical attention was needed? Also, enough to keep a 2 year old happy for a week? Your thoughts would be greatly appreciated.

    Thanks

    Reply
    1. DavidDavid Post author

      There are simple medical clinics in Ao Nang and a hospital in Krabi. Really serious stuff and you’d have to get to either Phuket or Bangkok.

      There isn’t a lot in Railay besides the beach and the pool but if they’re like my kids that should be lots. We loved our time there.

      Reply
  75. Jen

    Hello! I am starting to plan our trip to Thailand and was feeling overwhelmed, but finding your site I am starting to feel like it will be doable 🙂

    I would love your advice for our best options for our travels. My husband and I would like to spend 2 weeks in Thailand from approximately Dec 14-28. We have 2 children aged 2y & 6mth. From reading your blog we are thinking Bangkok, train to Chiang Mai, then fly to Railey. We would like to combine adventure but end with a relaxing beach atmosphere. Could you recommend timelines for these 3 areas, activities and transport between the 3 and accomodation? Your help is greatly appreciated.

    Thank you

    Reply
    1. DavidDavid Post author

      I’d do 3 nights in Bangkok, the overnight train to Chiang Mai, 3 nights in Chiang Mai, and then fly to Krabi (you’ll probably have to go through Bangkok). From Krabi you get a taxi to Ao Nang and from there take the boat to Railay (which takes about 30 minutes).

      There is a boat from Ao Nang to Phuket if you wanted to go there for a few nights and then fly from Phuket to Bangkok.

      Good luck.

      Reply
  76. Ian Morris

    Hi David

    Great site you have here, and so kind of you to share your knowledge and advice with so many people. Me an my wife are thinking of going to Thailand for a post Christmas/New Year holiday with our son, who will be 6-7 months at the point. It’s either Thailand or Cuba, but we’re tending towards Thailand. It’s a long flight, but sure he’ll be ok and will be worth it. We definitely want a few days in Bangkok, and are then thinking of a beach holiday for the rest of the time. Chiang Mai does also sound nice, however. We’ve been the backpacking type, but are thinking an all-inclusive holiday might not be a bad idea with such a little one. We have seen all-inclsuives in Cuba where you spent some time in Havana, and then the rest of the time at a beachside location, and are thinking we will try and get the same for Thailand. We’re not a fan of the all-inclusive concept, but just seems as though it will be so much cheaper.

    Is there any particular place or places you’d suggest for the beach location? I suppose a bit of an island-hopping excursion would be a nice thing if that helps narrow it down?

    Also, if you have any suggestions for all-inclusive holidays, or if you have any experience that suggests we should avoid them, then would be great to hear.

    Many thanks in advance,

    Ian

    Reply
    1. DavidDavid Post author

      Hi Ian. There are very few all-inclusive resorts in Thailand. The Club Med in Kata is one of the few I know of. Many places include breakfast but a large part of the appeal of Thailand is eating out so few hotels offer such a package. It wouldn’t make sense for the majority of visitors.

      Hope that helps.

      Reply
  77. Emma

    Hi David,
    We are 2 families travelling to Thailand for abit short of 2 weeks first half of March. We have in all 7 kids (3-7-8-11-15). We were thinking Bangkok and an island south (avoiding Phuket). Do you have any recommendation on which Island best to go at that time of year where we could combine beach, snorkelling. I am sure the kids would love to see elephants without mass tourism.
    We thought we would not have time to go to Chang Mai, but reading the reviews and from what I have heard, it seems a great place to go. Touring with so many kids, do you think it is too much of a rush to add a stay in Chang Mai?
    Is it easy to find cars to carry so many of us? We dont want to drive ourselves.
    All your recommandations and advice will be greatly appreciated.
    Thanks, Emma

    Reply
    1. DavidDavid Post author

      Koh Samui is your best bet for what you’re looking for. Some parts are touristy but others (like Bophut and Choeng Mon) are quiet and laid back. I think you could include Chiang Mai in your plans but I’d recommend having your train and plane tickets (to travel within the country) booked before arrival. It is tricky pre-booking train tickets. Cars won’t be a problem to hire though you’ll need to get several I’m sure. Good luck.

      Reply
  78. M B

    Hi David,

    Thank you for the useful info.

    We are planning to go to thailand in January next week with our 3 months old daughter (she will be 7 months by then). We would like to go Phuket, Phi Phi and Koh Lipe and was wondering whether Koh Lipe is safe for children. Would you be able to give us any advice?

    Reply
    1. DavidDavid Post author

      Koh Lipe is definitely kid friendly. It’s not nearly as developed as Phuket or Phi Phi (and wouldn’t have the medical facilities that Phuket has) but other than that concern it shouldn’t be a problem.

      Reply
  79. January in Thailand

    We are Peruvians and are planing a trip to Thailand for January, for my 40th bday. We have a 12yo son and a 10yo daughter. We’ll start in Siam Reap, then Bangkok, Khao Yai, Chiang Mai and then a beach. The agency we are working with recommended going to Ko Phi Phi, but we have heard it is very commercial and crowded, we are looking for a relax beach not so commercial, very simple, a comfortable, but not necessary luxury hotel. Can you please give us a hint?
    thanks a Lot.

    Reply
    1. DavidDavid Post author

      Yes, Koh Phi Phi is very touristy and commercial. Railay is a great mix of beautiful beaches without being too crowded. It’s very low key so no big parties. Koh Pha Ngan is another great choice (as long as you avoid Haad Rin where the big full moon party takes place).

      For hotels, Santhiya Resort And Spa Koh Phangan is great. A luxury hotel that offers great value for the money. It has a huge pool (and kids’ pool).

      In Railay, Railay Bay Resort & Spa is very nice, has a nice pool, and is right on a great beach.

      Good luck.

      Reply
  80. N Sachar

    Hello David

    I come back to you again.

    For a visit in Oct between Koh Samui and Chiang Mai, which is better from the perspective of Rains ? Having a 10 year old son, Koh Samui looks exciting because of the beaches but then wondering if it is too much rain….pls let me know your point of view ?

    Reply
    1. DavidDavid Post author

      The weather in Chiang Mai is (usually) drying out in October but last year the flooding was still bad in October – so you never know. Generally though, Chiang Mai should have better weather. Good overview here.

      Reply
  81. Al

    Hi David, thanks for all the useful info that you’ve given as replies to other people.

    I am going to Thailand with my wife and 2 year-old daughter for the month of September. We know that it’s not the best period, but it’s the only time of the year that we can make it.

    More than the rain that might keep us indoors sometimes, we are concerned about the humidity. We had an experience in a hot & humid place with our daughter last year and she suffered from a skin rash and fell ill often. In your experience, do the kids in rainy Thailand suffer from similar/other problems?

    We would like to spend the time on a island where there are nice beaches, the possibility to rent a house & ideally some things to do with small people when it’s raining. From what we’ve understood already Ko Samui, Ko Phangan or Ko Tao might be our best bet. Any recommendations?

    Much appreciated,
    Al

    Reply
    1. DavidDavid Post author

      I’ve never had any experience with skin rashes from the humidity so can’t say. It tends to feel hotter in April and May before the rains arrive so maybe it won’t be as bad as you fear.

      The good news is that visiting during September will make renting a house or villa very easy and cheap. Samui probably has the most choice and selection. You’ll get the best deal doing it in person. Ask around at cafes and restaurants on where to rent. Mae Nam in particular has many rentals for longer-term visitors. Good luck.

      Reply
  82. N Sachar

    Hello David

    We intend to visit Thailand in mid Oct . While Chaing Mai weather looks to be very good,there no beaches. Koh Samui is another choice but the it may be too rainy . Would you have any recommendations here ? Ideal if we can get some get a combination of good weather & beaches not to mention night life & shopping.

    Reply
    1. DavidDavid Post author

      Koh Samet is close to Bangkok and has good year round weather and nice beaches. Maybe that might work for you.

      Reply
  83. Rosa Tate

    Hello!
    I’m wondering if you can help me out whilst I try and book a family holiday! We live in NZ and are going back to the UK for Xmas – on the way we are taking 8 nights in Thailand! There is my husband and I and our 2 daughters – 4 and 6 years. Our 6 year old has special needs, but is able to walk! We arrive 1am on the 9th Dec and leave 9.30am on the 16th Dec. We were thinking straight to Hua Hin via car transfer and then 1 night at the end in BKK? Or do you think 1 night in BKK on arrival as well? We have looked in Dolphin Bay – but there are so many properties it is hard to know which one to pick? A friend recommended a private pool villa after a week in Koh Samui – this might be an idea as evenings would be more enjoyable once the kids have gone to bed with a private pool area? But we really have no idea and would love your thoughts on this?

    Reply
    1. DavidDavid Post author

      If you can manage it then try to hire a car directly from the airport to Hua Hin. One night on your way back would be a nice break – especially if you can arrive early enough to see an attraction or two.

      In Hua Hin the Centara Grand Beach Resort & Villas is very family friendly (and very luxurious).

      Good luck.

      Reply
  84. faye lu

    i just discovered your blog while googling *thailand beaches* – what an enjoyable read. i am in my late-20s and while kids are not on the agenda any time soon … it’s nice to know the adventures don’t stop – in your case, they only get better with kids =)

    Reply
  85. kerry

    Hi there,

    I am travelling to Thailand next April – myself and my two girls aged 8 and 10. We are planning on arriving in Bankok and looking around for a few days, catching the sleeper train to Chiang Mai ( a friends brother is a Thai national and will book in advance for us),up to Chaing Rai and then somehow getting down to Phuket to meet up with a friend and her son. Kind of a roughing it trip until the beach hotel at the end. Any tips for single parent travel? and whats the best way to get from Chaing Mai to Phuket?

    Thanks in advance,
    Kerry

    Reply
    1. DavidDavid Post author

      Hi Kerry. When I travel with the kids on my own I think it helps if I have a plan for the day. If I wander out the front door of the hotel without any idea what we’re going to do I find it leads to difficulties. But if I have a plan (where are we going, where do we catch the bus, what’s our plan for lunch?) it’s all easy. You want to remain flexible too, and willing to change on a dime, but at least have an initial plan.

      AirAsia has 2 flights per day from Chiang Mai to Phuket. If you book early enough you can secure some seats and not have to take the longer route via Bangkok.

      Good luck.

      Reply
  86. Shirley Singer

    Hi David,
    We fly to Thailand tomorrow, straight to Koh Samui. Booked 4 nights in Koh Samui, and 4 nights in Ko Phangan. We heard good things about Railay Beach and Koh Lanta, so we may go toKrabi if the weather forecast ‘s good (not too rainy) . What’s the best way to get from Koh Samui to Krabi? I saw there’s 1 flght a day in Bangkok Airways. Are there any boats or buses? How long does it take?
    Thanks for your help,
    Shirley

    Reply
    1. DavidDavid Post author

      Yes, there are flights from Samui to Krabi – though they fill up early so not sure if you’ll be able to book one now. The bus from Koh Samui to Krabi will take about 5 hours. You can buy ferry and bus combo tickets from any travel agent in Samui. Try to get a pickup/dropoff at the ferry pier included in your ticket price so you won’t have to pay for a taxi. You board the ferry in Nathon and it takes you to Don Sak port on the mainland. Buses will be waiting for you there. The ride to the Krabi bus station takes between 2 and 3 hours.

      Reply
  87. Gen

    Hi,
    Wow…Thank you for this site. My husband and I are travelling with our 3 kids ages 12, 7 & 6 in December for about 6 weeks. This will be our first trip with all 3 kids. Our plan is to stay one night in Bangkok and then leave for Chang Mai. I’m not sure how long we should stay/allocate. From here, I was looking at heading to Koh Lanta. What kind of info can you share about Koh Lanta and area. We are booked at the Seaflower resort on Koh Panang from the 21st to the 4th of January. From here, we’re thinking of heading to Vietnam for approx 2 two weeks. Any advice/suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Thanks

    Reply
    1. DavidDavid Post author

      Here is an excellent overview of Koh Lanta. You can fly to either Krabi or Hat Yai to get to Koh Lanta. You should be able to find direct flights from Chiang Mai to both cities.

      To get to Vietnam you’ll have to go through Bangkok as I don’t think there are any direct flights from Krabi to Vietnam. I’d highly recommend flying into Ho Chi Minh and departing from Hanoi. That way you can take the train northbound, see many of the country’s highlights (with a few sidetrips) and won’t have to retrace your steps back to HCM. AirAsia has direct flights from both Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh to Bangkok.

      Good luck.

      Reply
  88. Tanva

    Hi David,
    I am Thai and have not been back in a while and plan on taking my husband and my 2yr old and 5 yr old for their first time. The only month we can go is June because my son will be on summer break and I was concerned about weather. I wanted to visit Bangkok, Chiang Mai and Phuket but not sure if it would be safe with the kids. How worried should I be? Do you think they are too young? (weather, mosquitos, food, transporation) Also, I am very concerned about getting around with kids and the car seat issue. Do I just let go and travel with out them? Any advise would be greatly appreciated.

    Reply
    1. DavidDavid Post author

      I think they’ll be just fine. You do have to let go a bit and accept that things are different there. The car seat problem, in particular, is a tough adjustment. If you’re very committed and take your own car seat you should always be able to find a car (with rear seat belts) that will accomodate it. It does require patience and perseverance however. I hope that helps.

      Reply
  89. Kylie

    Hi David,
    I love all the information you have given. My husband and I are thinking of taking our 4 children (13, 10, 6, 3) to Thailand in July next year after reading all the blogs I’m thinking maybe we should change it to April????
    Our budget will be tight and we are thinking of going for 10 -14 days. We would like to have a beach holiday where it isnt crazy busy and isnt too quiet. We would like to stay somewhere were the kids get to experience the Thai culture and we would prefer to be able to walk to village for meals, I have read that in Koh Sumi you need a car, is this true?? Due to our limited time we would need to stay either in the one spot or two but without too much time travelling. Are we dreaming or is this a possible holiday in Thailand

    Reply
    1. DavidDavid Post author

      Hi Kylie. You do not need a car on Koh Samui. There are Sawngthaews (which are pickup trucks with seats in the back) that take tourists around the island. They’re fairly cheap, though taxis aren’t much more for a family.

      The World Resort Koh Samui is one of my favorite mid-range hotels on Samui. Very nice pool and a short walk from Fisherman’s Village which is a lot of fun – lots of restaurants and places to shop.

      Harrys Bungalows And Restaurant is in Mae Nam which has more budget accommodations than Bophut. Nice beach and lots of places to eat along the beach.

      Both are great options.

      Good luck.

      Reply
  90. David R

    Great Blog – I am fearful of reading so much I am scared to book anything for getting it wrong!

    Is this a realistic itinery for 14 days more or less to emcompass (in this order) the sites of Bangkok, then slightly calmer atmosphere to enjoy beach and nightlife and then to completely unwind in what I consider to be the postcard picture of Thailand;

    3 nights in Bangkok
    5 nights in Karon Beach (Phuket) and lastly
    6 nights in Krabi – Railay Beach

    Is transport from Karon to Railay an easy option?

    Thoughts most appreciated! thank you David

    Reply
    1. DavidDavid Post author

      That sounds like a great itinerary. Getting from Karon beach to Railay is easy if you charter a speed boat. Otherwise you’ll have to catch the ferry to Phi Phi and then a different one to Ao Nang. And then a long tail boat from Ao Nang to Railay. It would all take about 5 hours. Speed boat is much faster (about 3 hours). But don’t take a speed boat during the rainy season (roughly June to October) as it could be very rough – even the larger ferries can often be canceled due to rough seas. You could also take a bus from Phuket to Krabi which would take about 4 to 5 hours. Catch a minibus or public bus from Phuket Town.

      Reply
  91. Mark McDowell

    Hi David, my wife, I and our 20 month old girl will be spending 5 days/4 nights in Thailand at the beginning of October, we’d like a mix of beach with good weather, cultural experiences and animal attractions, where do you recommend we go ? cheers

    Reply
    1. DavidDavid Post author

      October is a tricky time to visit. The rainy season is just ending on the west coast and the stormy weather is hitting it’s peak on the east coast. I’d probably go with a east coast island like Koh Samui or Koh Pha Ngan but be prepared for some rain. There’s lots to do on Samui if the weather is nice and you may luck out and get 5 days of sun. For nicer weather but less to do there’s Koh Samet or Hua Hin closer to Bangkok.

      Reply
  92. Louise

    Hi, I was wondering how safe it is to travel on a train to Chiangmai
    By myself as a single mum with an 8 year old boy. I was originally going to go straight to Phuket but your posts have made me think about other possibilities. Is karin beach good? Does it have traditional markets and shopping or is it too touristy? I was hoping to do the usual touristy things with my son like elephant rides, fantasea phi phi etc but would love to experience more tradition Thai elements such as markets, local Thai cooking classes, quirky Thai restaurants, dinner on the beach. What would you recommend keeping in mind that I will be traveling by myself with my 8 year old from australia. Thanks heaps 🙂

    Reply
    1. DavidDavid Post author

      I consider the train very safe. You can get single compartments with their own sink and a door you can lock when you go to sleep. They’ll have 2 beds in them. Here’s a collection of pictures showing what train travel is like in Thailand.

      Karon beach is great and one of the nicest in Phuket for kids. (As long as you’re visiting between November and May, otherwise it’s not safe to swim there.) It does have the Karon Bazaar which is great for shopping – though, obviously, oriented towards tourists, but still some great stuff. Cooking classes are available in Phuket and Chiang Mai too.

      Reply
  93. Emma

    Hi David

    As the ‘man in the know’, can you make some suggestions please for a 3 week itinerary, starting and ending in Bangkok. We arrive at the end of July. We’re in our 30s. I’m totally baffled by so much info and options!

    Thank you so much

    Reply
    1. DavidDavid Post author

      There are so many options it’s hard to sum up. Chiang Mai and the north will be seeing their first rains in July – most would say not the best time to visit up there but you could still see nice weather even in the rainy season. Down south the east coast (Koh Samui) will have nicer weather than the west coast (Phuket). Koh Samet is a good option if you’re worried about the weather but want some beach time (though it does get busy with escapees from Bangkok, especially on weekends).

      Reply
  94. February Thailand Trip

    Hi. My son and I are planning to travel in Thailand in Feb. Can you please give me some ideas about some interesting places to visit for my son?He’s 12 years old. We might be visiting Laos, Hong Kong and Singapore as well. He’s not into swimming so perhaps some adventures. Thanks

    Reply
    1. DavidDavid Post author

      That’s a great time of year to travel north to Chiang Mai and nearby towns. You can do all sorts of (safe) adventure activities up there from hikes to overnight treks, elephant rides to kayaking and mountain bikes.

      Reply
  95. Shirley Singer

    Hi David,
    My husband and I are planning a trip to the Thailand beaches for 2.5 weeks in August. We have a 3 year old boy and a 4 months old baby girl. What are the best beaches and islands to visit in August? Can you recommend a family friendly resort? Thanks.

    Reply
  96. Warood

    Hi I also need advice for Thailand trip with my husband and 3 girls 9,5 and 2 yrs old in July August for 10 to 12 days. Can u plz tell me is that a good time to go and which places r good for kids. We want some relaxing vacation with shopping.

    Reply
    1. DavidDavid Post author

      You might see some rain in July and August (you might even see a lot of rain) but you might have nothing but sunny skies. I’d guess, in 10 days, you’d see something like one day of full-on rain, 4 days with an afternoon or morning shower, and 5 days that were sunny from start to finish. Just a guess, but that’s the kind of thing I’d have in mind. Choeng Mon, Bophut, Silver Beach (in between Chaweng and Lamai) are all great beaches for kids. Chaweng is nice too but is busy and crowded. Chaweng is definitely the place to shop.

      Reply
  97. Soo Beng

    Hi There David,
    Great write up about Hua Hin! Besides taking a bus or the train another option would be to take a minivan from Victory Monument in Bangkok, which costs THB 180+ per person though I wouldn’t recommend to take it at night.

    Reply
  98. Daniella

    HI David,
    I am planning our first trip back to Thailand in 16 years. We will be travelling as a family of 4 (2 kids 6yo + 9yo). We have 3 weeks, and plan to arrive mid December.
    i was hoping to do a few days in Bangkok, some time in Chang Mai, and the balance of the time on an island.
    i feel like 3 weeks is not much time to cover all these locations, so was hoping for your advice as to how much time to spend in Bkk and Chang Mai. i would also consider taking some flights to save on travel time.
    The part of the trip that i am finding most confusing to arrange is the Island location. What i loved most about my backpacking travels 16 years ago, was the beach shacks we stayed in on various islands around the country. Clearly things are no longer as they were. But i would love to find a part of thailand, where we can still feel the essence of what we loved so much many years ago. Ideally would love a bungalow on the beach. Does not need to be fancy (but would prefer the little extra that we went without last time just for the kids sakes – electricity, private toilet, etc). if you have any suggestions that may suit – please let me know. i was think Koh pangan or Phi Phi == but i would not know which beach to head to for that sense of peace and tranquility. also for the kids sake do not want to be completely isolated.
    Any suggestions or recommendations would be greatly appreciated.

    Reply
    1. DavidDavid Post author

      Yes, Koh Pha Ngan still has many beaches with this low key style of accommodations. The beaches along the northwest, north, and northeast coasts are where you want to look. If you went to Koh Samui then Mae Nam has a couple places that would fit the bill. On the east coast Koh Lanta will have what you’re looking for.

      I would spend 3 nights in Bangkok, do an overnight train ride to Chiang Mai, 3 nights there, and then fly directly to the south (Koh Samui, Surat Thani, Krabi, or Phuket airport).

      Reply
      1. Daniella

        Hi David. Thank you for you help. I think we have decided on Koh Pha Ngan. Do you have any specific beach bungalows you could recommend? Any specific beaches better for the kids but still peaceful and low key?
        Also suggestions for quickest way to get from Chang Mai to Koh Pha Nan?
        Your help is greatly appreciated!!

        Reply
        1. DavidDavid Post author

          The quickest way from Chiang Mai to Koh Pha Ngan is to fly to Koh Samui. Then grab a boat across from either Mae Nam, Big Buddha, or Bophut to KPN. If you book early enough you can get the direct flight on Bangkok Airlines – if not you’ll have to go through Bangkok which adds 2 hours to the trip, but there are 10 or 12 flights a day.

          For beaches, Haad Salad or Haad Yao on KPN’s northwest coast are great. Bottle Beach on the north coast if you’re looking for something very quiet.

          Salad Beach Resort Koh Phangan (on Haad Salad) is a good choice for a kid-friendly resort.

          Hope that helps. Good luck.

          Reply
  99. mark27

    Hi David

    Thanks for providing us a great source of info.

    I am in a big dilemma at the moment on deciding where to go Thailand. I am visiting Thailand on the way to India in mid Nov for 7 days. We want to relax and have a holiday before going to India to visit family and friends (this will be pretty full on tiring and busy). We (me and my wife) are traveling with our son who will be 23 months in nov.

    Initially we were planing to stay all 7 days at Bangkok and stay at Amari (according to you recommendation) and visit places around, day trips , shopping and relax. I want to keep the holiday very simple cruisey.

    Now we are thinking of skipping Bangkok and go straight to some other places like Chiang mai, or one of the island and spend all 7 days.

    I am a little bit reluctant to travel between two states or places in Thailand since that will take time and packing and carrying around our luggages even if we fly every time. I have not done a lot of overseas trip before and this being a first one with a son i am a little confused what to do.

    What are your recommendations David.

    Reply
    1. DavidDavid Post author

      There are pros and cons to each approach. If “easy” is the priority I would probably recommend staying put at the Amari, enjoying their great swimming pool, and doing small day outings around the city. However, Bangkok is very busy and crowded. Every time you walk out the door it’s a pretty full-on experience. That could get tiring after a week of hailing taxis and crossing busy roads.

      An island would have a much quieter and relaxing vibe, but you’re right, when factoring in packing your bags, getting to the airport, and through security – it’s another day of travel that you could avoid.

      If you do choose an island then Koh Samui is the best choice. There are short direct flights there from Bangkok and beaches like Choeng Mon or Bophut are just minutes from the airport.

      I hope that helps. Good luck.

      Reply
      1. mark27

        Thanks for the reply David,

        If compared to staying all 7 days at Chiang Mai or Bangkok or Koh Samui what would you recommend.

        I think there are enough activities to do around Bangkok but was wondering it is same in Chiang maii or kohsamui too to keep is engaged for at least 3-4 days days. mind you we have have almost 2 year old son.

        I am more tending towards chiang mai since its slightly cooler than Bangkok and quieter i guess.Another reason is beach holiday is not very rare for us since we live in Melbourne, Australia and beach is only 20-30 min away.

        Reply
        1. DavidDavid Post author

          All 3 places are quite different. Bangkok has the most “attractions” so it’s easy to find something that’s only a taxi ride away. In Chiang Mai you somewhat have to make your activity. Find a place or tour or hike that you want to do and seek it out. In Samui, of course, you always have the beach – and some low-key but fun touristy things to do.

          Reply
          1. mark27

            Thanks Again for the reply David.

            We decided to fly straight to Chiang mai and spend all 7 days there. We are staying at rimping village Hotel they seem to have very good reviews. Now i am searching for little day trips i can do in chiangmai. I hope to find some nice small walks and good scenic lookouts around the area which will be easy accessible and suitable for us.

  100. Thailand in December and January

    HI David. My husband and I will be travelling to Thailand in December/January with our twin boys aged 13. We are thinking of splitting our trip between Chiang Mai and Phuket with stop overs in Bangkok. I am a little concerned about the boys being suitably entertained as one of our children has a medical condition that prevents large amounts of physical activity. Do you believe there is enough for our son to do in Chiang Mai that doesn’t require massive amounts of walking??

    I have heard that we may be able to hire scooters/motorbikes – is this true and if so are the boys old enough to ride a bike on their own??

    Any advise or assistance you could provide would be greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance
    Regards
    Denise 🙂

    Reply
    1. DavidDavid Post author

      I think Chiang Mai will provide lots for you guys to keep busy (that doesn’t require a ton of physical activity) – whether it’s a night market in the city or an elephant ride out in the countryside. Unless they had had a lot of motorbike experience and were very good riders I wouldn’t recommend for a 13 year old to ride a scooter or motorbike in Thailand. Drivers are fast and aggressive and the rules of the road are very different than in a western country.

      I hope that helps. Good luck.

      Reply
  101. nadine

    hi David thanks for your reply..
    our dates have changed and its looking like the middle of august we’ll be going as its the cheapest flights.
    we’ll be flying into bangkok as a workmate has a condo there so we’ll catch up on sleep there for a night..now is august a lot worse weather wise than july?! we went for june and july all those years ago and it was fine probably 5 days of rainy days! we want to take the boys to kanchanaburi to see the waterfalls we visited before then head off to islands…is koh samui still the best option for us for sun out of everywhere? we are planning to backpack as we’ve done it before so any cheap old place will do as its only to sleep in we dont mind about that! we’ve been to some very basic places in our travels!

    Reply
    1. DavidDavid Post author

      Out of the islands down south, yes, Koh Samui should have the best weather (or neighboring Koh Pha Ngan). August and July are pretty much the same for weather. For the cheapest hotels it’s best to look after you arrive in a location. So maybe book your first night in Samui and then wander around in person and find a little place you like. Mui Ne and North Chaweng have the best collection of cheap accommodations.

      Good luck.

      Reply
  102. nadine

    Hi David
    Me and my husband have just decided to take our boys (7and4) to thailand in july for 2 weeks,darn it I could take them for longer as I work in a school but my hubby doesnt and can only get 2weeks off! we went travelling around the world in 02 before we had kids and we really want to take the boys..what we need is sun sea and pool! that’ll keep the boys happy and we can fit everything else around that! if you have any advice of where to go in july thatll be fab! we dont mind train trips/boat trips etc as that adds to the adventure :o)

    Reply
    1. DavidDavid Post author

      I recommend this hotel in Bophut to everyone but it’s a great little place with a nice pool and lovely beach. You can get to Koh Samui by plane or by taking the train to Surat Thani and then bus and ferry over from there. Lots of great things to do on Samui if you choose and it has pretty good weather in July as compared to the west coast.

      Good luck.

      Reply
  103. Angie Hussein

    Hi David
    I am trying to find a suitable holiday at the end of October to suit 2 x 50yr olds and 2 sons 1 is 21 and the other 16, we will be flying from London. Thailand sounds fantastic but is totally new to me. We would need a good mix of beach and activity (the beach for me…) and good night life (for us all….). Any guidance you could give would be greatly appreciated as this is a very special ‘one off’ holiday.
    Many thanks & kind regards.

    Reply
    1. DavidDavid Post author

      Phuket and Koh Samui would both be good choices. The other islands will likely be too quiet for any significant night life. Samui will probably have a little nicer weather at this time of year – though both can still see plenty of rain. The seas around Phuket can be rough and not safe for diving during the rainy season. Hope that helps.

      Reply
      1. Angie Hussein

        Thank you David for your reply. Would going in February give us better weather and more options resort wise?
        Kind Regards.

        Reply
        1. DavidDavid Post author

          The weather will definitely be better in February, boats run everywhere, diving is good on both coasts. But it’s also a lot busier. The off season is a great time to get huge discounts on resorts and hotels.

          Search here for Phuket hotels in the off-season and you’ll see what I mean. There are some phenomenally good deals.

          So it’s just what you’re looking for.

          Reply
  104. Carly

    We are looking at moving to Thailand with two kids(7&1) for 6 months . Any recommendations. We would like amenities,, but beach town feel.

    Reply
    1. DavidDavid Post author

      I would consider Mae Nam in Koh Samui (very laid back) or one of the beach towns in Phuket (if you’re looking for a bit more infrastructure and things to do).

      Reply
  105. jules

    Wow! This is a great blog. We are planning to travel from Beijing to Thailand Dec.22 – 30. We have 3 children (4,6,8). We’re looking for lots of beach time with a little activity here and there. Is Ko Lanta too much traveling time for us? Maybe Railay instead?

    Reply
    1. DavidDavid Post author

      Railay is definitely easier to get to than Koh Lanta. It has fantastic beaches and there’s lots to do there so you certainly won’t get bored. Getting to Koh Lanta isn’t a deal breaker though but it will take a day of travel, give or take.

      Reply
  106. jessa

    Hi David! Thank you so much for your site! I’m doing research for my friend who is taking her 8-year-old son to Thailand in June. They want to avoid the super touristy areas when possible.

    1) I had many days and activities and ideas for them in Chiang Mai but if the air quality gets too bad where would be a good familly-friendly alternative that has culture and isn’t as hectic as bangkok?

    2) I also need help choosing a beach area where they can spend several days where the beach swimming isn’t too dangerous in June (and again, not super touristy).

    Thank you for your help!

    Best, Jessa

    Reply
    1. DavidDavid Post author

      The air quality should be better by June in Chiang Mai. An alternative could be Kanchanaburi which is 3 or 4 hours by train west of Bangkok. It doesn’t have the same cultural/urban feel as Chiang Mai but there is lots of active outdoors attractions. For beaches I’d recommend something on Koh Samui (which has a direct flight from Bangkok). Either Mae Nam or Bophut would be good quiet choices for a family. The swimming should be fine in June.

      Reply
  107. Cheyenne

    Hey David,

    Great site thanks for taking the time. I’ve been to Pa tong with a mate and partied like it was 1999, but now I’m heading back for 10 days with my 3 girls 11,13 and 16 and don’t think I want to take them to Pa tong. I have faith in your experiences so were you recommend we will go. Thanks heaps…

    Reply
    1. Lenny

      Kata Beach is good for kids. If you prefer something even more quiet than Mai Khao or Nai Harn/Rawai Beaches are all very nice!

      Reply
  108. Shabaz

    What a brilliant website !!
    Going to do Thailand for 10nights, last week of May. Wife & 3 kids, girls aged 11 and 8, and boy aged 6.
    We want the focus to be the kids, and don’t want to be n Bangkok.
    What is the best combination of tolerable weather and Kids interests, be that beach or activity, i’m not too fussed, i would put the premium on the best weather for the time, and value for money in a 4star environment.
    Can you please advise David ?

    Reply
    1. DavidDavid Post author

      I think Koh Samui or Phuket would probably be your best bets. Phuket has the most kid-friendly attractions (in a touristy sense) of any beach destination. Good luck.

      Reply
  109. Best Time to Visit Chiang Mai

    Hi David,

    You’ve gathered an impressive amount of information on visiting Thailand. We would changes the Chiang Mai visiting months though. We were there in February and the air pollution was horrible. Apparently that’s when the burning season starts. Here’s our take on Chiang Mai.

    Cheers,

    larissa and michael

    Reply
  110. Melissa

    My husband and I are planning a 3 week trip to Thailand with our two children ages 8 and 3 1/2. We have never traveled outside of the United States and are trying to decide how to break up our trip. We were thinking one week in each of Phuket, Bangkok, and Chiang Mai but wanted to make sure we would be able to easily travel throughout the country with our children. Does this seem doable? Do you have any recommendations for first time travelers?

    Reply
    1. DavidDavid Post author

      It sounds fine. I might suggest flying from Phuket to Chiang Mai (book early as there are only 1 or 2 direct flights per day) to save some time. But the kids will love the overnight train from Chiang Mai to Bangkok.

      Reply
  111. Daniela

    Hi David!
    We are thinking to go to Thailand on January, to celebrate our 10th anniversary with our almost 4 years old, we are really into beaches and nice hotels, what could you suggest?
    3 days in Bangkok, 8 in Phuket and Krabi?
    or 8 in Ko Samui?
    I have never been there and I do like shopping but I rather be in a very authentic type of place, with fun too? and a good kid club for our daughter, and animals to visit too:)
    Thanks!
    Daniela.

    Reply
    1. DavidDavid Post author

      Phuket, Krabi, and Samui are all great. Phuket is more touristy. Krabi the most beautiful. Samui the most laid-back. The weather should be great in January at all 3 so you needn’t worry about that.

      Reply
  112. ames

    hi david! we plan on visiting Siam Park City (the amusement + water park) and was wondering if you know of any westerners that have gone there. i’m particularly worried about getting sick from the water, as i have gone to asia and drank same water as the locals and gotten sick while they were fine (apparently, there are bacterias that locals are immune to that westerners may not be immuned to). Any stories you know of from people that have gone to the water park? thanks!!

    Reply
    1. DavidDavid Post author

      I haven’t been to Siam Park City but have done many water parks all over South East Asia and Mexico and never (seemed) to have any problems with sickness. Remind the kids to keep their mouth closed. The ones I’ve visited have been very well run and clean. They tend to attract the wealthiest of the locals so they really sell themselves as a being a high end attraction.

      Reply
  113. Michelle

    Hi David,

    Wonderful and very informative blog you have here. Thank you for creating it! I’m visiting Bangkok this May with my husband and 4 and 7 year old children. Wonder how you would break up a week there? I’m trying to decide if we stay in Bangkok the entire week or if we try to do a trip to Chaing Mai in the middle of the week?

    Reply
    1. DavidDavid Post author

      There’s enough to do in Bangkok to keep you busy for a week. Chiang Mai would be a nice diversion though. And the overnight train up there is fun. However both Chiang Mai and Bangkok will be very hot in May so be prepared. If you’re looking for an island Koh Samet is a half day’s journey away and has good year-round weather.

      Reply
  114. Ganesh Sharma

    Hey David,
    Thanks for all the information. Your write-up has some of the best information on the web about Thailand.
    I am traveling with wife and 2 toddlers this July to Thailand. Short trip 6-7 days. I was told that it would be ok, but now the weather is intimidating me. We were thinking Bangkok (for us) and Phuket (for the kids, they love the beach), but am having 2nd doubts. What would you suggest?
    Two things that i can think of
    Phuket – Make sure to stay on the west.
    Ko Samui – ?? But, may be deserted in July.

    Thanks,
    Ganesh

    Reply
    1. DavidDavid Post author

      Hi Ganesh. I would go for Ko Samui over Phuket in July because of the weather. I’ve been in July and it can be rainy and overcast for a few days and then beautiful sun shine for a few days. I’d just go and it should work out as long as you’re prepared for less-than-perfect weather. Good luck.

      Reply
  115. Chrissy

    this blog is exactly what we needed! we’re not planning our thailand trip until winter next year when our kids are out of diapers….this is all so informative though. thanks!

    Reply
  116. jay

    Hi David

    Myself and a few friends would like to visit thailand for the first time in December. Where would you suggest to go as we would like to do a lot of activities and enjoy the the night life, not too touristy?

    Reply
    1. DavidDavid Post author

      I would probably recommend Koh Pha Ngan. It’s “touristy” but not resort-touristy. Lots to do. You could also do a day trip to Koh Tao to do some scuba diving.

      Reply
  117. Zoe

    Hi David, thank you for your earlier reply to my question. I have been doing some research and there is more rain in September on all the charts it peaks. I was wondering if you can confirm the rain and how bad it is, we are thinking of travelling to Chiang Mai, Yao Noi a little island beyong Phuket and then as you suggested Koh Samui. People keep suggesting Bali, have you been there? Thank you for your time. kind regards Zoe

    Reply
    1. DavidDavid Post author

      The rains on the islands never “seem” as bad as in the cities and in the hills where flooding is more typical and more of a deterrent to traveling about.

      Yes, Bali is great and a wonderful island to visit. The beaches aren’t quite as nice as in Thailand but the culture and feel of the island is an incredible experience.

      Reply
  118. Caro

    Hi there. We are travelling to Thailand in april with our 5 year old son. We are there for 12 days and plan 1 night bangkok, last 6 nights Koh Lanta staying at Pimalai. Wanted somewhere in between the two that was less resorty and thought about Ko Tao. But am now thinking (having read your blog) Railay…. ??? What would you do? All advice gratefully received

    Reply
    1. DavidDavid Post author

      I love Railay so would whole-heartedly recommend that. Koh Tao is very touristy so would be reluctant to suggest that based on what you’re looking for.

      Reply
  119. Tania

    Hi David. We’re planning trip to southern Thailand with my mum who has weak knees (so in wheelchair). Are ferry trips to Railey, Kolanta, Phi Phi or Ko Samui suitable for a person in wheelchair? Our other option is to stay in Aonang.

    Reply
    1. DavidDavid Post author

      The ferries to Koh Lanta, Phi Phi, and Koh Samui should be doable. Require a little effort but doable. The boat to Railay is a long tail boat (basically a really big canoe) and is not suitable at all. I hope that helps.

      Reply
      1. Steve Davidson

        Hi dave have been reading you reviews, myself and my wife intend to take a holiday in thailand for 2 weeks, in november,(2nd week in november) not sure which would be the best area to go for a beach holiday, looked at samui, but would this be the rainy season, we wants lots of sun, hope you can help

        Reply
        1. DavidDavid Post author

          Samui would have better weather than the west coast but still might get some rain and cloud cover. Koh Samet has the best weather during rainy season of pretty much any island.

          Reply
  120. Julie

    Hi David
    We are traveling to Phuket early July 10 days with 3 kids ages 15,13,10. Not sure where to stay because of the wet season. Thinking of splitting between Phuket and khao lak , but heard khao lak is very quiet during this time with many restaurants closed. Not sure now and tossing up koh samui as well. Really unsure of best place to go during this season. I want to mix up the holiday between sightseeing and relaxing. I hear that you can’t really snorkel , or swim during these months.

    Reply
    1. DavidDavid Post author

      I usually err on the side of going to the east coast during the summer and autumn months. But you can have a fine trip on either side. You’re right though, Khao Lak will likely be quiet. Koh Samui will be much much busier so if you’re looking for some fellow travelers that’s the place to head.

      Reply
  121. Helen

    Hi, We were considering a trip to Thailand in late June with our 2 children (3 years and 7 months). We were thinking of Bangkok and then on to Koh Samui. Any suggestions with having such little ones? Also a little concerned about the weather at that time, would you suggest delaying?

    Reply
  122. NS

    My wife and me are planning to be in Thailand in the last week of October for a week. We will have our kids (10 yrs and 7 years) with us. Please suggest the places we should visit given the weather and that kids too should enjoy. Thanks.

    Reply
    1. DavidDavid Post author

      That’s a tough time to find good weather in Thailand. But even when it rains it’s usually not a full day event and the sun will come out later. The east coast (Koh Samui) will usually have better weather at this time of year than the west coast. Good luck.

      Reply
  123. magicbelly

    Any recommendations on a hotel to stay in March in Chang Mai (2 adults and 6yo). We would like a nice hotel, great pool etc. I am confused on the best area to stay.
    THANKS

    Reply
  124. Zoe

    Hi David, I have just stumbled upon your blog after googling Thailands best 5 bests. My family and I are planning a 3 week holiday in mid September to Thailand, we are travelling from Australia. My thoughts are 6 nights in Chiang Mai, 3 nights in Bangkok and then 8-10 in Hua Hin, at the Six Senses (the beach doesn’t look that great though), after reading your info I realise September is the rainy season. Does it rain all day? Is there anywhere that there is less rain? I am looking for adventure and opening my daughters (7 & 9) eyes to another culture and then sitting on a gorgeous beach and relaxing. It is my big 40 so I would like the beach sitting to be gorgeous and the resort heavenly. I have googled Phuket (it looks quite built up), Krabi, Khoa Lak, Koh Kham, Koh Samet, and Koh Chang and I am kohfused I mean confused. I would love some advice, I am open to all suggestions. Thank you so much for your time and your excellent advice. Zoe

    Reply
    1. DavidDavid Post author

      HI Zoe, the weather on the east coast will likely be better than the Phuket side of Thailand. Personally, I would fly down to Samui with your girls. The beaches are nicer and there’s more to do there. If it rains, there are hotels where you could take a family cooking course for 1 to 5 days. They’d probably love it. It usually involves tours to the local markets where you buy all the ingredients for the dishes you’ll make that day. (Just an idea.) Good luck.

      Reply
  125. Janette

    Love this forum and it is so informative. We are travelling to Bangkok in early July and have just over 2 weeks. We have 2 kids aged 8 & 10. The plan was to spend a few nights in Bangkok, a few nights in Kanchanaburi then the remainder in Hua Hin. Recent reports I have read however describe the beach at Hua Hin as muddy and dirty. I was there 5 years ago (stayed at grand central hua hin) and found the beach to be fantastic so just wondering if it has changed?

    Any suggestions on an alternative itinerary would be welcome.

    Thanks

    Reply
    1. DavidDavid Post author

      Hi Janette. I can’t speak to what it’s like right now but beaches in Thailand can change a lot depending on the season. For example, the beaches on the west coast of Koh Pha Ngan can turn to mad flats in May and June when the tide is really low. So if you talked to someone who visited then, you’d get reports of the beaches being terrible. So, if possible, take a look at what time of year those travelers visited Hua Hin and see if there’s a pattern to when the “muddy-reports” appear. Good luck.

      Reply
  126. Magicbelly

    What a great forum. I am confused with my decision on where to go in Thailand with my 6yo and husband from 20 march. We need to do a visa run from bali to Bangkok (takes 3 days but will allow 5 days just in case). I was thinking I would want to relax on an island ?Phuket after being in the city but having read these reviews Chang Mai and Railay sound like a great trip too. We have maximum 2 weeks and would prefer to fly back to bali from the last destination. We like swimming, want somewhere big enough that we can explore but can also relax and eat great food. We have a budget but enjoy a little spoiling as well. Could you please help me with my final decision. . Bali > Bangkok 4-5days >? Overnight train Chang Mai >? Island or coast > bali. Thank you so much in advance as I am getting very confused.

    Reply
    1. DavidDavid Post author

      I’d start in Bangkok then over night train to Chiang Mai (stay at The Chedi) then fly Air Asia to Phuket and Air Asia again from Phuket to Bali. That’s what I’d do. Good luck.

      Reply
  127. Aj

    we are thinking of taking a trip to thailand with our kids (4,9). we are planning to go during Apr-May timeframe. is it going to be too warm? . what part of thailand we should go where we can enjoy beaches and some outdoor activities without worrying about weather?

    -thanks in advance

    Reply
    1. DavidDavid Post author

      Bangkok will be very warm that time of year but either coast should be great for swimming. Samui, Krabi, or Phuket should be perfect. Good luck.

      Reply
  128. Karen

    Hi David,

    We are planing a trip to Thailand maybe february or march for 1 week. We have two kids (4 and 2 years old) but we don’t know where to go, it’s Phuket or Krabi. Which one do you recommend?? We want to do the elephant rides, I’ve heard about the baby tigers. Maybe take a boat to Phi Phi island. But still don’t know where and which hotels. Do you have any suggestions?

    Thanks,
    Karen

    Reply
    1. DavidDavid Post author

      Hi Karen. It probably sounds a bit more like Phuket to me. You could also fly into Phuket, go to Phi Phi, and then boat to Krabi and home, though that might be a bit too rushed.

      hotelscombined.com/Phuket is the best site for finding hotels. Good luck.

      Reply
  129. Beatrix

    David
    This is a great website and is making me look forward to our 4 week trip to Thailand. We are a family of 6 (2 parents, 2 boys aged 4,5 and 2,5 and twins aged 4 months). At present we plan to fly in to Phuket and take it from there. Any thoughts on travelling with so many young kids? Can you recommend a hotel in Phuket, preferably on Naithon beach? We are not keen on everything being extremely touristy so would like to stay away from the masses if possible in Phuket.
    We would really Like to head to Railay from Phuket but it appears to be a fairly long trip…Once in Railay do you have any recommendations for moderate to budget hotels?
    And what about Koh Lanta? I figure visiting Phuket, Railay and Koh Lanta is sufficient travelling round for our kids but at the same time will enable us to see a bit of the south of Thailand. Thank you very much for any helpful hints.

    Reply
    1. DavidDavid Post author

      That sounds like a fair bit of moving for a family of 6 in just 4 weeks, but the ferry from Phuket to Koh Lanta to Krabi would work well for you. Railay’s a bit of a trip from Krabi and another boat ride so you might want to skip that. These are good links for hotels, reviews and pictures: Nai Thon and Railay. Good luck.

      Reply
  130. Leighan

    Hi There and thanks for the wonderful info. I have two questions. We are travelling to Kho Samui in Feb with our 13 month old daugther. Regarding driving and car seats – will we be able to hire a car seat with the car hire? If not and we travel by taxi, is it ok to travel with the baby in a sling in the taxi? Are there any laws we need to be aware of with toddlers and hiring cars? (i am guessing there aren’t?)

    Also, we are looking at perhaps a day trip to one of the islands, I am a bit concerned about travelling on a boat with my toddler…should I be? Do the boats carry toddler life jackets etc? Or is there another, safer way of getting to the islands? Is there an island you recommend visiting or any boat companies u can recomend? we like snorkeling…

    Thanks, Leighan

    Thanks for your help.

    Reply
    1. DavidDavid Post author

      For car seats and the like, no, there are no laws (or none enforced anyways) so it’s just what you feel comfortable with. Finding a car with a working seat belt can sometimes be an issue. Often back seats won’t have seat belts at all. I would not expect to find a boat that had toddler life jackets. Perhaps in the most touristy areas and with boats that deal solely with travelers (say, a charter tour company) it might happen. When the monsoon hits the seas can get very rough and boats do go over, but in February you should get calm seas where ever you are. I hope that helps.

      Reply
  131. Thailand in August for 2 Weeks

    Hi David
    We have just confirmed flights to Bangkok from 11th Aug for 2 weeks (unfortunately very restricted to Aug school holidays!) traveling myself husband and 3 children 16,13 & 7. My plan was to stay in BKK for 3 nts and then fly down to Krabi £35 PP oneway (bargain!) then 8nts there. Although I am now concerned about the weather and if this is the best place to stay. We wanted to go over to Maya bay (obviously due to the film “the Beach”) but again wondering if there will be enough in Krabi to keep us occupied for 8 days. We definitely want to do an overnight 2nd class train trip back up to Bkk and stay for another 2nts before returning home. Can you reassure me about the different areas regarding the weather and places to go/stay with teenagers.
    Thanks in advance.

    Reply
    1. DavidDavid Post author

      Hi Claire. Not sure what part of Krabi you’ll be staying – is it Krabi town or out in one of the resorts, or Ko Lanta or Ko Phi Phi? I think you’ll find lots to do if you’re so inclined, if you’re staying on an island, or say, in Railay or Ao Nang. If your kids are like my kids, as long as they have a pool they should have fun. The weather is definitely an uncertainty in August (good overview on Krabi weather here) – it can be nice in August, it can be rainy – you’ll probably get a bit of both. In all my trips there though, the weather has never been so bad as to not have fun. Rain one day, sun the next – you’ll usually always get some of both this time of year. So I guess the best advice is just be prepared. Be ready to have some rainy days, and don’t let an overcast morning make you feel like your trip’s ruined. The weather can often change quickly and most days will see at least a little sun. Not sure if that helps at all but that’s my advice. Good luck.

      Reply
  132. Thailand with 2 Children

    Dave.

    Excellent tips. We followed many of them and spent two wonderful weeks in Thailand with my two kids (5 and 3 years old) and my wife. We went to Koh Samui, Chiang Mai and Bangkok.

    In Bangkok, we stayed at the Anantara Riverside (old Marriot) which is not a good value for money, it is far from downtown and is somehow old style. Reclining Buddah temple was great for the kids, is a quick visit and they enjoy it. One tip for Bangkok is the aquarium at the Siam Paragon shopping mall. It is quite expensive ($100 for the 4 of us) but really worths the money.

    Chiang Mai was fabolous. We stayed at the Chedi, as you recommended. Wonderful stay, we found great deal on the room with Sawadee, again following your recommendation. One additional tip is the Tiger Kingdom, where kids can actually play with baby tigers and the conditions of the animals are great. We did not go to Maesa Elephant camp, we went to Maetman, which was terrific as well. The plan include Oax cart riding and going through the river in bamboo rafting, great experience for kids.

    Samui was very good, while we did not explore the island too much, the hotel we found (Melati) was a great deal for the money. Family pool villa for US$80 a night with private beach and good family infrastructure. It is a bit away from Chaweng, but we did not need to leave the hotel much.

    Thanks for keeping this great blog alive…. it really makes a difference!!

    Reply
  133. Chinese New Year in Thailand

    Hi David,

    Thank you for the information you have shared.
    Me and my family are about to visit Thailand in this coming Chinese New Year (January).
    But I’m a little confused about where to go; whether it’s Bangkok, Chiang Mai or Phuket.
    My dad is 55 years old and mom’s 48. They’re not really the adventure type.
    However, me and my sister are the exact opposite of my parents.
    Can you please kindly recommend me which place to go that could probably suit us?
    Thank you so much David.

    Reply
    1. DavidDavid Post author

      I think any of those places would be good for someone that wanted to relax and not do terribly adventurous things, and for someone looking to be more active. Phuket is the most westernized of the 3. Chiang Mai offers the most outdoor activities. Bangkok is a big bustling city that can keep you very busy for a week or more. I know that’s not much of an answer, but I’d be surprised if you didn’t have a great time. Good luck.

      Reply
  134. Mark – ramblecrunch

    David, I agree with you… Chiang Mai is a great place to bring your kids. The Thai people love children. We took our daughter there when she was 5. Now she’s a fanatical eater of kao phat gui and other Thai delicacies. Chiang Mai is one of our favorite places. I could live there full-time. Only my daughter did fall asleep on the elephant ride.

    Reply
  135. April in Chiang Mai

    I was planning to go to Chiang Mai in November, but unfortunately had to cancel. The only time I can go again with my children is around April 6th for 10 days. Am so worried about the weather in April as when I search Chiang Mai in April, all advise is not to go because too hot to bare. I live in Beirut and it does get hot here, but is the heat in Thailand unbearable in April??? I want to stay at Anantara Golden Triangle. In April, what part of Thailand has the best weather? Do you think it’s ok to go beginning of April? Thanks in advance for your advice…
    Anna

    Reply
    1. DavidDavid Post author

      Yes, it will be hot in Chiang Mai in April. Both coasts should have great weather (though hot too) in April so I would head south.

      Reply
  136. Phuket in February with Children

    Hi David
    We are heading to Phuket in February for 4 nights (2 families both with a young child each) and are considering Karon or Kata beach as would like to do some day trips but also have some quiet swimming/napping times etc.Can you suggest any family friendly hotels in the $150 AUD or under price range that are minimal walk to beach & convenient to basic restaurants etc.Our travel agent has quoted on Centara Karon Beach Resort or Horizon Resort.

    Reply
  137. Thailand with Children – What To Do?

    Hi David, thanks for all that great info. Could you tell me which cities are the best for October ,we are three single boys and we are looking to have fun.
    thanks a lot

    Reply
    1. DavidDavid Post author

      Hi Arash. Depends what you’re looking for of course, Bangkok and Chiang Mai are usually great this time of year, but right now the floods are making things difficult to get around the country. I’d probably head south to Koh Samui, Koh Pha Ngan, Koh Lanta, or Krabi. Good luck.

      Reply
  138. Thailand with Kids in January

    Hi David,

    There is so much informaition to take in, which makes it harder to decide on where to go in Thailand.
    My wife, myself and 2 sons (5yr and 2 yr old) are planning a visit to Thailand either end of this year or beginning of January as we have to be back before Feb as our 5yr old starts school.
    So my question is…..Where do we go within Thailand to enjoy the great scenery, swimming, elephant rides/treks, great thai food, good accomodation, avoid the busy hussle bussle of big touristy spots, although have access to great markets and shopping ?
    Our objective is to come back to Australia and say “We had an awsome time and experienced the best of thailand !! ”
    We are happy to split the trip into 2 segments as we’d like to do a 7 day trip as minimum and hopefully fit in a kickboxing match as myself and my eldest son are into martial arts. We realise it’s hard to relax and enjoy a holiday ‘doing nothing’ when you have children, so we’d like to try and sort of relax for 1 day at a resort and then do some of the above mentioned for the remainder of the time we will be there.
    Appreciate your feedback !

    Tom Star

    Reply
    1. DavidDavid Post author

      Hi Tom. I’d spend a few days in Bangkok (lots to see there), take the overnight train to Chiang Mai and spend 5 days up there doing elephant rides, and hikes, and seeing small villages. Then fly to Krabi (you might have to go through Phuket) and relax on the fantastic beaches of Railay. If Chiang Mai is too much and too far then Kanchanaburi is a good substitute and just a few hours by train from Bangkok. Good luck.

      Reply
  139. Thailand with 2 Kids

    Hi David,

    We are planning a trip to thialand from 2-8 Dec’11 with our 2 kids 5 & 8yr.

    Would be grateful if you could suggest places to visit and must do things.

    Brgds

    Reply
    1. DavidDavid Post author

      Time will of course be an issue you for you. I would spend 2 days in Bangkok as there’s lots to see there and then take flight to either Krabi or Koh Samui. Both should have good weather in December so base your decision primarily on the availability and cost of flights. If you don’t want to fly then take the train to Hua Hin or the bus and ferry to Koh Samet. Good luck.

      Reply
  140. November to January in Thailand

    Hi David, thanks for all that great info. We are travelling with our 3 kids ages 9 , 7 and 3 in November till early January to Thailand, we wanted to backpack through it. Is there an itinerary you could recommend for those 8 weeks? Do we have to book anywhere already in advance? I have never been there, although I travelled and backpacked a lot, before having kids. What would you recommend as a round tour, which is a combination of travelling and relaxing, where there is enough time for the kids as well to play etc not to overwhelm them. With gratitude, Anja

    Reply
    1. DavidDavid Post author

      Hi Anja. 8 weeks in Thailand. Awesome. Sounds like fun.

      I imagine you’ll start your trip in Bangkok so spend a week there as you’ll find lots to do in the city: the zoo, the palaces, boat trips on the rivers and canals, floating markets, and a couple other very kid-friendly attractions. Do side trips for 2 or 3 days each to Hua Hin and Kanchanaburi. (Ayuthaya can also be done as a day trip from Bangkok.) You’ve got to do an overnight train trip while in Thailand (the kids will love it) so take the overnight train (with a sleeping compartment) from Bangkok to Chiang Mai. Plan to spend a week or 10 days in the area doing some hikes, ride some elephants, and get out to some of the smaller villages for a night or 2. Then fly direct from Chiang Mai to either Koh Samui (Bangkok Airways), Phuket (Air Asia), or Krabi (you’ll probably have to go back through Bangkok). Spend 2 or 3 weeks on each coast being sure to visit Railay and Koh Lanta on the west coast and Koh Samui and Koh Pha Ngan on the east coast (Koh Tao if you want to do some scuba diving). Then take the train or fly back to Bangkok. (If you still have some time and wanted to visit an island closer to Bangkok then check out Koh Samet.) It’s amazing, but even with a good chunk of time like you have there are still whole sections of the country you’ll have to skip and visit on your next trip – so it goes. Good luck.

      Reply
  141. Elephant Parks in Thailand for Kids

    Good list compiled for Chiang Mai. We live here and the only place we would recommend is the Elephant Nature Park where elephants are rescued and nurtured rather than put to work to perform for an audience. They also accept volunteers.

    If anyone is looking for long-term volunteer jobs in Chiang Mai, please contact us and we will do our best to connect you to the organizations.

    Thanks for including our post on The Cost of Living in Chiang Mai.

    Cheers!

    Reply
  142. Bangkok, Pattaya, Krabi in February

    hi
    me and my husband is planning a trip to Thailand in Feb and we planning for 12 days tour which will start from Bangkok then Pataya and then Krabi. Kindly suggest the best and cheap way to travel from each one of the places and good beaches in and around Krabi .

    Reply
    1. DavidDavid Post author

      Hi Manisha. There are no direct flights between Pattaya and Krabi, but you can fly from Pattaya to Phuket or Pattaya to Koh Samui. From Phuket you could take a boat to Koh Phi Phi and then onto Krabi, charter a boat direct to Krabi, or take the bus. The best beaches in the Krabi region are at Railay which is about 30 minutes from the airport and then a 30 minute boat ride from there. There are many direct flights from Krabi to Bangkok. The best way from Bangkok to Pattaya is either bus or taxi. Don’t bother taking a flight from Bangkok to Pattaya as the airport in Pattaya is far out of town, so you would need to pay for a taxi to the Bangkok airport, buy the airline ticket to Pattaya, then pay for a taxi ride into town from the Pattaya airport. It’s much cheaper and easier to just get a taxi (or bus) directly to Pattaya from Bangkok. Good luck.

      Reply
  143. Thristhan

    I’ve only been to Bangkok and Pattaya to date. Will surely consider this list and visit the other interesting parts of Thailand. Thanks for sharing David.

    Reply
  144. Thailand with 3 Kids

    My husband and I are planning our vacation to Thailand, we have 3 kids, 2 1/2, 6 and 8. We would like to have some time in the beach, and my kids would realy love to try the elephant rides, but we dont want to be moving inside Thailand to much, would you recomend us where to go? our trip can be anytime between October and February…
    Thanks!

    Reply
    1. DavidDavid Post author

      Phuket, Koh Samui, and Hua Hin are all good places to ride elephants – and all have great beaches.

      Reply
  145. Easter in Thailand

    Hi David. Thanks for all your great info – on the back of your expertise I am diving in and arranging a two week trip to Thailand with my eight year old son for Easter. Ideally would like to spend first night in Bangkok, then travel by overnight train to Chaing Mai for five nights doing lots of activities and sight seeing. Then spend remainder of the holiday on an island chilling / kayaking / snorkelling. I’m undecided as to which island to spend the latter part of the holiday in. I fancy Railay in Krabi but am conscious that with all the travelling I may be over-stretching my son. What would you recommend?

    Reply
    1. DavidDavid Post author

      It’s not that bad getting to Railay. Hard enough to keep the package tourists away but not so bad as to deter you and your son. If you book early you should be able to get a cheap flight to Krabi from Bangkok on Air Asia. From there it’s about an hour to Ao Nang and then a half-hour boat ride across to the little town. It’s actually much easier than going to Samui through the cheaper Surat Thani airport. (Though, of course, flying directly to Samui is easy, but flight prices are often pricey to the island.) Hua Hin is about a half-day train ride from Bangkok and is another good option. Good luck.

      Reply
  146. Thailand in Late November

    We’re heading out to Thailand in late November and wondering what destinations would be best accomodating and interesting for us and our 12 month old? Thoughts and ideas welcome, cheers!

    Reply
    1. DavidDavid Post author

      I’d do Railay on the west coast. It’s easy to get to from Krabi as long (as you’re ok doing a 20 minute ride on a long tail boat from Ao Nang). It’s also very compact and easy to get around for a family with a 1 year old.

      Reply
    2. Damon Baker

      I agree that Railay is a good place and ideal for the flop and drop. Just make sure you take all the required toddler necessities (like nappies) that you would be lugging around with you anyway to last the stay.

      Reply
      1. Greg, UK

        Thanks for recommendations,

        Railay sounds like a great recommendation from the quick overview reading. A 20 min long tail boat ride is absolutely fine – I’m sure junior will enjoy that 🙂

        Dave, Damon – I’m guessing you guys have visited Railay before, right? Any recommendations for family-friendly places to stay? Any particular activities that aren’t already listed on the tourism sites?

        Also, any other distinations still welcome…

        Reply
  147. Bangkok with 5 and 7 Year Old

    I am going to Bangkok with family 5yo and 7yo and of course my wife, in July not sure where to go from there since its Monsoon there, Also i have a short trip planned so want to have the most of it.
    Phuket is one i think but worried about monsoon, where else,
    Thanks in advance.

    Reply
    1. DavidDavid Post author

      July is not the best month for weather in Thailand but with some luck most days will have some sunshine. It could certainly go either way. 5 days at the beach could easily see 3 or 4 days of rain, or 5 days of sunshine. I would recommend the east coast — probably Ko Samui as it has an airport and a flight from Bangkok would be a lot better than a train or bus when you’re tight on time. Definitely avoid Koh Chang as it gets hit hard by the monsoon (but is tempting as it’s so close to Bangkok.) Check out this page for info on weather in Thailand in July.

      Good luck.

      Reply
  148. Thailand in December

    We will be in Thailand (Ko Samui maybe but not exactly sure where we want to go)for a week in December and have been looking at hotels. I have been having difficulties finding a hotel that would accomodate 2 adults and 2 children (8yo and 9yo) without having to book 2 rooms. Is this what you have found as well?? Perhaps I am doing something wrong in my search.

    Shawn

    Reply
    1. DavidDavid Post author

      Hi Shawn. It wasn’t a problem for us (mind you, our kids were a little younger.)

      World Resort in Bophut definitely has larger family rooms – and it’s very inexpensive. (And has the best breakfasts I had in all my time in Thailand.)

      Use this link for the best rates: World Resort on Koh Samui

      Good luck.

      Reply
  149. Laura

    Hua Hin is cool spot if you’re looking for a spot with fewer Western tourists. We really enjoyed our 2 weeks there and appreciated the quietude. Phuket is too busy for our tastes.

    Reply
  150. Gary from Chicago

    We did Thailand with the kids. Had big plans to go everywhere then my wife and I got bad colds (colds the kids had before we left home) on first days there. Got to Chiang Mai but then didn’t feel like taking our flight south to Phuket thinking we’d rebook for another flight in a day or two, but nothing was available. Spent just about our entire trip up in Chiang Mai and Loved IT! Don’t know what would have happened down south but I suspect it would have been typical beach stuff. As it was, we really got to know the Chiang Mai area and did everything. I mean everything. Fantastic little city and region. Good review there mate.

    Cheers.

    Reply
  151. Damon Baker

    Having worked in Bangkok for a numbers of years we decided to take our two little Aussie girls back there nearly two years ago to see friends. We have access a large bungalow in a complex in Cha-Am which is about 20km north of Hua Hin. Cha-Am has yet been discovered by farang tourists and offers a tranquil, laid-back lifestyle with beaches and plenty of seafood restaurants. The wet market is great to take the little ones around to be mesmerism by everything from live crabs to pig’s heads. Families can rent modern and clean bungalows (like the one we use) cheaply. These complexes will have pools and, of course, as you are staying in a house, you have all the mod cons.

    Another tip for Bangkok – a lot of the department stores have play centers on their toy floors (like Central at Chit Lom and Emporium). For a few dollars you can have the little dears play in these large play areas (with slide, ball rooms, etc, etc) which are supervised by an army of child minders. Just keep some kid’s socks in the day pack in case they require them before entry.

    Reply
    1. Vitania

      Damon, I am going to be visiting Bangkok for the first time this July. I would love to check out the bungalows you mentioned. Do you still have that contact information by chance. If so can you please post it. Thank you!

      Reply
      1. Damon Baker

        Hi Vitania. The bungalows (as well as the apartment-style condos) are self-contained and good for flop and drop.

        They are mostly privately-owned but obviously people tend to lease them for short stays are they are mostly holiday homes. The website has an on-line reservation system. They are about 5km from the main town of Cha-Am and a 15 minute walk to a nearby village. A small shop and restaurant sits just outside the complex (can arrange transport, etc).

        Reply
  152. Last Minute Hotels for 2015

    Any websites that have good last minute deals on hotel rooms in Thailand. Bangkok and Phuket in particular?

    Reply
  153. Getting To Koh Samui by Train

    Any advice for getting to Samui by train? We’re having trouble finding cheap airline tickets down there on the dates we need them.

    Thx, K.L.

    Reply
    1. DavidDavid Post author

      Getting to Samui by train can be a fun trip. It’s best to do an overnight train to Surat Thani. You can buy a combo ticket at pretty much any travel agent in Bangkok that will include the train ticket south and the bus and ferry over to Samui.

      You’ll arrive at Surat Thani in the morning and there will be a bus waiting for you to take you to the ferry terminal. That will take an hour or 2, you’ll have a short wait for the ferry and then the trip across the water will be about 90 minutes. It can all add up to a long trip but it’s usually not too painful.

      Not sure if you’ve looked for flights to Surat Thani or not. That’s another option. Only a few airlines fly to Samui but a flight to Surat Thani will work almost as well. From there it’s much like the train ride, with a bus and ferry over to the island, but of course you won’t have had the potentially tiring overnight train to contend with.

      That said, I find the trip to the airport, going through security, waiting for the flight and the flight itself, just as tiring – perhaps more so – than a fairly relaxing overnight train trip.

      Let me know if you have any more questions.

      Good luck.

      Reply

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