Combining pristine beaches, wild nature, colorful culture and a whole host of indoor and outdoor activities for kids, Thailand is the perfect spot for a family break. Luxury family breaks in Thailand are particularly rewarding: after a day’s adventures, your family will be able to relax and be pampered at lavish hotels and spas, many of which have exciting extras like private beaches, babysitting, and children’s menus. Expect a warm welcome, too! Children are doted on in Thailand, and the presence of children in hotels and restaurants tends to be encouraged rather than stiffly tolerated.
There’s a lot to see and do in Thailand, but don’t try to pack it into one family vacay or you’ll risk sacrificing quality time for box-ticking. This 14-day itinerary takes in the highlights, without the endless traveling that can make for frazzled families.
?Boxout: Tropical, humid Thailand is best visited between November and February, which tend to be cooler and drier than the rest of the year. The May-October wet season can put a damper on sight-seeing, while March-May can be uncomfortably hot for families.
Day 1-2: Bangkok
Must-dos in Bangkok include boat trips along the Chao Phraya River to the Grand Palace with its giant emerald Buddha and tuk-tuk rides through the city streets, while the Hello Kitty House in the center of Siam Square is good kitsch fun that will thrill fans of the iconic feline. With just two days to spend in Bangkok, it’s worth hiring a driver and taking a tailor-made tour of the sites that best suit your family’s interests and travel style.
Where to stay: Boisterous Bangkok can be a culture shock, especially for younger visitors, but the city’s best high-end hotels offer respite from the noise and the heat. One wonderfully pampering option for luxury family breaks in Bangkok is the Sukhothai, where visitors will find one of the city’s best spas, a vast outdoor pool set in beautiful tropical gardens, and upscale restaurants serving kid-pleasing pizza as well as high-end Thai cuisine.
? Boxout: Families visiting the Wat Arun temple can find a fun cultural activity in the form of stalls offering to dress visitors in traditional Thai outfits for a small fee. Playing dress-up tends to be a big hit with kids, but parents should feel free to try on the colorful outfits, too.
Day 3-6: Koh Samui
The most upscale of the islands in the Gulf of Thailand, Koh Samui is the perfect place for families to get some R&R after the busy city streets of Bangkok. With nearly 125 miles of white sand beaches, jungle-covered mountains and swaying coconut palms, it’s a stunning place that allows families to be as active or relaxed as they choose. After a 70-minute flight to the island, it’s an easy 10-minute transfer to the fabulous Samujana, a collection of luxury villas that offer everything from saltwater infinity pools and rooftop BBQ decks to soft-play rooms and private cinemas. Activities such as Muay Thai classes ensure boredom is never on the cards.
Tempt the family away from the luxe lodgings with the promise of gorgeous beaches, crashing waterfalls and freshwater pools. A car and driver is a good way to see the top sites, and try to make time for a trip to Ang Thong National Marine Park. The park encompasses 40 stunning islands whose waters offer some of the best kayaking and snorkeling in Thailand. Several impressive waterparks (head to The Pink Elephant or Coco Splash) and opportunities for ziplining through the jungle canopy and go-karting at adventure parks are further family-friendly activities on the island. Check out Samui Sea Sports for more awesome adventures!
Day 7-10: Chiang Mai
It’s less than 2-hours’ flight (one daily) from your beach paradise to the cool breezes and mountain tribes of Chiang Mai. Trips into the mountains to learn more about the hill tribes working the paddy fields are popular with families in Chiang Mai, while the Tong Bai Elephant Foundation is an excellent opportunity for families in Chiang Mai to get close to these beautiful animals in an ethically-sound environment. We also have some unique and hidden jams recommendations for you to enjoy while traveling in Chiang Mai with your kids.
Where to stay: For luxury with a sense of fun, check into the astonishing Dhara Dhevi, which looks like an opulent Thai palace, is renowned for its healing treatments, but also offers family-friendly activities ranging from relaxed (rice planting and umbrella painting) to action-packed (Muay Thai). The hotel’s 60 hectares of grounds provide a gorgeous setting for strolls, and the on-site restaurants include a renowned cake shop.
?Boxout: If you have the time, take a side trip to Doi Inthanon National Park, around 50 miles west of Chiang Mai. The mountain air makes for invigorating family nature walks. It’s a protected area, and a guide will be able to point out the many rare plants and birds, and Thailand’s highest peak Doi Inthanon rises 2,565 meters above sea level.
Day 11-14: Chiang Rai and the Golden Triangle
It’s a scenic drive (book a driver and comfortable car for your transfer) to Chiang Rai, which sits at the heart of the Golden Triangle, close to the borders with Burma and Laos. Kids can gain travel bragging rights by taking three-country border hopping tours, while elephant-back jungle treks and long-tail boat cruises down the glorious Mekong River are further family-friendly highlights. The sunset over the bamboo forests, rice fields and river are unforgettable! Just add a glass of your favorite beverage to round off a day’s sightseeing in style. From Chiang Rai, it’s a quick flight to Bangkok (65 minutes, several flights daily), where you can spend one more night in the big, bustling city, or hop straight on your flight back home.
Where to stay: There are a number of luxury family lodgings here, but for the ultimate wow-factor book into Anantara Golden Triangle Elephant Camp & Resort. Yes, it’s a super-luxe resort that just so happens to play host to elephants as well as human visitors, and families can indulge in pampering spa treatments after helping the gentle giants take a bath. The resort lays on kid-friendly excursions and activities every day, and there’s good on-site dining.
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