family travel thailand


Tropical Thailand is a destination that lends itself well to adventures by train. Whatever your travel style, there’s a train journey to suit it. Imagine lazy days winding through the hills watching beautiful landscapes unfold at one end of the comfort spectrum, or chatting with locals in cramped carriages at the other extreme. Families with kids will find train travel in Thailand a lot more comfortable than bus travel, and it’s more scenic and less stressful than air travel – no hanging around airports, queues to pass through security, etc.

Fans of trains and train travel will find their railway-based adventures in Thailand extend beyond the journey itself. There are train-themed cafes and bars, iconic railway stations, incredible station hotels and even a food market with trains rushing right through the middle.

Families in Thailand will find that train travel is part of the thrill of the trip, it’s an exciting way for kids to see the country and its people, and sleeper trains tend to be a novel alternative to a hotel bed.

♣ There are three classes of regular train in Thailand – Third Class is the least comfortable, but often the most entertaining option, but better suited to short journeys than long haul trips, due to the less-than-luxurious wooden seats (when you can find a seat, that is…)

Second class steps up the comfort level and is popular with backpackers and familieson a budget – families can sit together on seats facing each other, which convert into beds at night on sleeper trains, and some carriages are air conditioned.

If the budget allows, First Class is the best option for long haul train journeys in family, offering comfortable seating and sleeping, private carriages, and a secure travel experience – the price still compares favourably with air travel and/or the cost of a hotel bed. Train tickets can be bought at rail stations (buy in advance if you’ll be traveling during public holidays), but it’s sometimes easier to book through a reputable agency. Although they’ll charge a commission, it’s often cheaper and less hassle than making a special trip out to the station.

Dodge the speeding trains at Maeklong Railway Market

Just short of an hour’s train ride from Bangkok, this bustling produce market it (in)famous for the honking trains that speed right through the middle of the shops and stalls. It’s wonderfully Instagrammable, but make sure you take photos from a safe distance – don’t let kids hang around on the rails, and move away from the tracks if you hear the train horn! The trains rush through at a pace, but barely ruffle a feather or squash a mango, and the market workers, well accustomed to the spectacle, merely return to their vocal sales patter as though nothing happened. Trains leave from Bangkok’s Wongwian Yai Station each morning, and cost around 10baht. It’s also possible to take a cab or bus, but hey, the train’s the thing.

Visit an Incredible Railway Station at Hua Hin

One of Thailand’s most emblematic train stations, Hua Hin is literally fit for royalty. Built in the 1920s to welcome King Rama VI and his family when they headed to the nearby beach, the ornate style and exuberant decor is a major tourist attraction today. The Royal Waiting Room, built in the style of  Maruekkhathayawan Palace, is a world away from your average cramped and uncomfortable waiting area. Almost as grand, the nearby Railway Hotel (now owned by Centara Group, rooms from around 5,000 baht)) has sweeping lawns, luxurious accomodation and staff dapper in uniforms that call to mind the area’s royal past.

♥ The kids and I LOVE trains, and we try to experience as many kinds of trains as we can, in every destination that we go to. We went on train journeys in India, Thailand, Vietnam, China, Mongolia, Japan, Turkey, Austria, Italy, France, and Israel. We especially liked the Mongolian night train, the Bangkok sky train, The express super-fast train in China, and the metro in Istanbul.

Bangkok Train Adventures For Families

There’s very little that can’t be found in Bangkok – for better or worse, it really is a case of seek and you shall find. That doesn’t apply only to insalubrious activities – if you’re looking for a cute pet cafe or, indeed, good clean train-based fun, you’ll find it here.

Ride the Skytrain

The best way to move around this traffic-choked city is by riding high above the streets on the smooth, affordable Skytrain. Great fun to ride, the BTS, as locals know it,  covers large swathes of the city (see map) , and runs from 6.30am until around midnight. If you’re traveling with kids it’s a godsend, as traveling from one spot to another becomes part of the fun rather than a chore. It can take a little getting used to ticketing etc (there’s some useful info here) but once you’ve got the hang of it, the BTS is a doddle to use. If you can’t reach your destination overground, head underground – the MRT, or Bangkok metro, is modern, cool, clean and essentially a pleasure to use, with plenty of elevators and ramps for families with strollers.

Take Tea and Cakes in a Train Cafe

You can take tea in a train without fears of spillage at Tales Cafe Hostel in Khaosan – an uber-funky cafe-hostel-co-working space designed to look like the interior of a contemporary, chrome-filled train. The cafe is strong on cold brews and matcha tea, while the hostel is about as chic as backpacker options get, with all mod cons and dorm meds styled to look like train sleeper cabins (beds from 350 baht). The private room is a good option for families with young children, and kids will love the idea of sleeping in a ‘static train’.

Meanwhile, at Inn Train, there’s a good selection of cocktails, coffee, Thai and international food, and once again there’s an opportunity to share a co-working space with the digital nomad gang. The whole thing is designed to resemble a train, and there are board games to keep kids busy while grownups catch up on their emails or just relax with a drink.

Take an epic train journey

There are many epic long rail adventures for the taking in Thailand (including some retro-chic luxury options with Orient Express and some back-to-basics fun to be had rattling along in budget carriages). For a shorter journey that delivers plenty am emotional whack, take the three-hour ride from Bangkok to Kanchanaburi, which takes in glorious countryside before arriving in the picturesque town. It also passes over the Bridge of the River Kwai (made famous by the film of the same name), which is part of the infamous Death Railway built by Allied Prisoners of War during World War II, and as such is something of a harrowing- though scenic and very worthwhile – experience.

♣ Tip: Food and Drink on Thai trains

Many travelers picture themselves sipping drinks in a Thai railway bar as the scenery glides by, or chattering over shared beers in a busy second class carriage. However, alcohol is actually now banned on Thai trains (as are cigarettes, although some determined smokers do sneak a few in on occasion). With rare exceptions, food on fancier trains tends to be underwhelming and overpriced, so it’s usually a good option to bring your own supplies, and while the vendors selling everything from chicken to rice cakes onboard is entertaining, families should bring along easy eats and snacks for fussy eaters, as options will be limited once you’re chugging along the tracks.


Thailand might not be at the top of every bookish traveler’s must-visit list, thanks in no small part to its reputation as the destination of choice for backpackers looking for beaches and booze buckets.

But while Thailand certainly has a wild side, it’s also a heck of a cool destination for those who love nothing better to curl up with a good book – it’s not hard to ditch the Full Moon Party crowds, find a quiet corner of a stunning beach, and work your way through a stack of books as you work on your tan.

Thailand is, in fact, a nation of readers – and as such it was UNESCO’s World Book Capital 2013 – a title given in honor of the country’s dedication to promoting reading across all ages and sectors of society. In Thailand’s towns and cities, you’re never more than a few feet away from a bookstore or a newsstand selling paperbacks and graphic novels, and popular ex-pat destinations such as Chiang Mai are famous for their abundance of second hand bookstores, well stocked with English-language titles.  Not only that, but the country is home to a surprising number of spectacular libraries, book-themed bars, cafes, and even a super-chic library themed boutique hotel.

Whether you’re coming for time alone on a beach with a good book or looking to keep the kids quiet, Thailand won’t let you down on the book front. Read on for our pick of the best Thailand experiences for bookworms

Stay in a library-themed boutique hotel on Koh Samui

With a subtle literary theme to its design and over 1400 books for guests to flip through in its large library complex, The Library is a beach-facing boutique hotel famous for its blood-red pool and its Instagram appeal. While its certainly not one for the budget traveler (rooms from around $280 per night), bookish types with cash to splash will lap up a night or two at this spot overlooking Chaweng Beach, which has a casual-chic bar and restaurant on site, meaning those lost in a good book might not want to leave the premises for the entire stay.

Find out what else you can do with your kids in koh samui

Visit Bangkok’s loveliest library

There’s a sweet Thai short film called The Library, and most of it is filmed on location in the very photogenic Nielsen Hays Library, off Surawongse Road. Opened in 1869 by a group of resourceful British and North American Women as the Bangkok Ladies Library Association, the library was the first non-profit organization in the country, and its backstory that could easily be made into a novel in itself, and today is an excellent place to bring kids, thanks to a cute childrens’ corner and a regular program of Saturday morning reading activities as well as book festivals and craft events developed with young readers in mind – check out the programme here.

More awesome activities in Bangkok you can find here.

Get Lost in Book Browsing in Chiang Mai

Rumour has it that Chiang Mai has more bookstores than bars, and whether that’s true or not, there’s certainly enough second hand book shops here to keep even the most ardent of readers happy. A large number of English-speakers settling in this scenic, chilled part of northern Thailand. A lot of fun can be had planning a bookstore-hopping tour of the city, but if you visit just one, you might want to make it Suriwiong Book Centre – the oldest and largest bookstore in town, with a good selection of kids’ books and plenty of English titles.

click here to find few lesser known activities for families visiting Chiang Mai

Get a Boozy Book Fix

Booze and books under one roof, seriously, what’s not to love about that? There are several places to browse for books then curl up with a cocktail and read your latest purchase, and not surprisingly most of them are in the capital. Although the famous Wonderland-esque Bookshop Bar is now sadly closed, there are several other good spots in town, with cool kids making a beeline for the so-hip-it-hurts Jam Factory, a  converted warehouse complex with bars, restaurants, shops and Candide Books & Cafe – you can get a caffeine fix in the bookstore itself, then sip a cocktail nearby with your new read.  Dasa Book Cafe is another popular cool kid hangout, and no bookish trip to Bangkok is complete without a visit to Zombie Books, an uber-hip spot where a sharply-dressed indie crowd comes to leaf through books by day (again, there’s a good children’s section) and dance to live music and DJs by night.

Find Interesting Indie Bookstores Across the Country

It’s not just the Thai capital that’s dramatically upped its game  in the kooky-chic bookstore stakes. Interesting independent bookshops are cropping up the length and breadth of Thailand – ranging from colorful, kid-focused spots to contemporary nocturnal hangouts. Back in Bangkok, BookMoby Readers’ Cafe, located on the fourth floor of Bangkok Arts and Culture Center, has ambitions as big as the city’s skyscrapers – it has its own in-house publishing company, hosts international literary festivals, and also holds regular heavyweight literary events. Elsewhere, there’s books, ceramics and jugs oftra at Tai Talad in Chonmuri, Eastern Thailand, and perfectly-roasted coffee beans, cinema screenings and artists’ markets alongside the books at Bookhemian, in the famous beach destination of Phuket, to name just a couple.

Enjoy Crowd-Free Adventures on your Trip to Phuket With Kids

Mention that you’re planning a family trip to Phuket, and you might get a few raised eyebrows. While it’s famous on the one hand for glorious beaches, family-friendly hotels and more than its fair share of splash parks, indoor play centers and theme parks, Phuket has also become synonymous with large crowds, pickpockets, backed up traffic and a rather seedy downtown.

Don’t let that put you off – look beyond the overcrowded district of Patong, with its infamous ping pong shows, rubbish-strewn beach and tourist traps – and you’ll find a side of Phuket that’s ripe for family adventures. Along with admiring the impressive architecture and eye-catching street art of the Old Town, bartering with street sellers at busy local markets and taking to the water to see weird and wonderful marine life, there are a whole host of ways to enjoy a fun, safe, and crowd-free trip to Phuket with the fam.

Let the Kids Run Riot on Mai Khao Beach

Leave the crowds and hawkers of Patong Beach behind, and take the kids instead to Mai Khao Beach. At 11km long, this coarse sand beach stretches further than the eye can see, and while there are a couple of upscale hotel resorts here, for the most part it is blissfully un-developed. With one end falling under the protected confines of Sirinat National Park, there are no beach bars or vendors trying to sell trips, tours and tourist tat, instead it’s just miles of white sand and clear water. Even in the high season, it’s perfectly possible to spend hours here without seeing another soul. Bring a picnic and plenty of water, and let the kids roam free for the day. At the other end of the noise scale, the farthest edge from the National Park joins onto the island’s airport, and the sight and sound of the planes soaring right overhead is a dramatic one. Families at Mai Khao Beach won’t want to spend all day under this noisy flight path, but it’s worth it for the spectacle before before or after a long beach session.

Climb Monkey Hill 🐵

Phuket has its fair share of animal attractions, but who wants to see the animal inhabitants of the island in captivity? Instead, lure the kids on a hill-climbing, view-admiring expedition up to the highest point on the island, with the promise of wild monkeys to be spotted along the route. Local buses and vans stop at the bottom of a long, winding walk (about 15-20 minutes’ climb, longer with small children, try to come here before it gets too hot) and families can stop at viewpoints and platforms along the way. Crowds of macaques hang out here, enticed by the fruit offered by locals and a scattering of curious tourists, but they’re not the only attraction – the views over Phuket are astonishing, especially at sunset, and it’s fun to try to keep quiet, so the monkeys lose interest and it’s possible to watch them going about their monkey business.

🍜 Eat here:

If you splash out on just one ‘fancy’ family dinner in Phuket (it’s a little pricier than some local spots, but still far from extortionate), make it Pha Chom Tawan Kawala, tucked away amid the tropical foliage on a hillside between Kamala and Patong. Although it’s held in high esteem by locals, it’s virtually unknown among foreign visitors. Along with an MSG-free menu of traditional Thai dishes, using super-fresh seafood and the restaurant’s own garden produce (fruit smoothies here are a favorite with little visitors to the restaurant), the big draw is a viewing platform with glorious views over the sea. Exploring the surrounding area is a good way to build up an appetite, and there are even a couple of hidden beaches to be discovered.

Back On the beaten track: Visit an Upside Down House

Occasionally, an on-the-beaten-track is worth the visit simply because it can’t be found anywhere else. Phuket’s Upside Down House is one such spot. Families with kids in Phuket will be getting snap-happy with the camera as they explore this curious attraction – literally a house, built upside down, with amazing attention to detail – everything from the tableware to the paintings on the walls are the wrong way up, and there’s even an upside down tuk tuk. There’s a garden maze, complete with tree house, to be explored, as well as an Escape Room and even a ‘Drunk Box’, which makes everything looks a bit off-kilter, and allows kids to get an idea of how their parents see the world after a couple of Happy Hour cocktails on the beach.  It’s definitely touristy, but families with younger kids will likely find a trip here will keep them in the children’s good books for a while.


Spice Up Your Family Vacation With These Lesser Known Attractions In Koh Samui

If your idea of a beach paradise involves endless stretches of pale, soft sand,  tropical jungle and clear warm waters teeming with tropical fish, Koh Samui is likely to be your dream destination. In fact, this super-alluring Thai island is many a traveler’s idea of a tropical idyll, and it’s become one of the most visited vacation destinations in the region. But while there’s no denying the island’s popularity with everybody from backpackers to the luxury travel brigade, a family visit to Koh Samui doesn’t have to mean English-language menus and jostling others out of the way for a decent spot on the beach. It’s surprisingly easy to escape the madding crowds and find under-the-radar experiences where you’re more likely to meet animal inhabitants than other humans. And the good news is, families are never too far away from ‘civilisation’  – the easy access to ATMs, pharmacies, large stores and other modern amenities can take some of the stress out of your Thai island adventure with the kids.

Cool off in secluded waterfalls

When it comes to Koh Samui and bodies of water, most people make a dash straight for those famous beaches. But for a day’s crowd-free splashing around and cooling down, it’s hard to beat the island’s waterfalls and natural pools. There are several to choose from, and with most of them requiring at least a little legwork to reach (nothing too strenuous, but bring plenty of strong insect repellent), tourists rarely make the trek. The best known (but still pleasingly isolated) of Koh Samui’s falls are at Na Muang, some 12km  from Nathon town. A short, jungly walk leads to the first of two breathtakingly beautiful pool, while those who carry on for an extra half hour are well rewarded with a spot that feels even more blissfully isolated. Families who fancy exploring a little bit of wild nature also have the option to hike around the well-marked trails in the surrounding Namuang Safari Park.  

Visit a Secret Buddha Garden

Put on your comfiest walking shoes and get set to head high up into the hills to visit one of the most magical spots on the island. It’s a steep climb to reach the Secret Buddha Garden via a clearly-marked trail (it’s possible to make much of the journey by off-road vehicle if little legs aren’t up to it…), but well worth the effort. The tropical gardens are a treasure trove of hidden statues – depicting animals, deities and, of course, Buddha – as well as streams and small natural pools. There are even footprints said to have been made by the Buddha himself. A viewpoint looking out over the island is the perfect place to rest the legs and enjoy a picnic and watch birds and butterflies 🦋 flutter by. The garden is less ‘secret’ than its name suggests, but while most locals and visitors have heard of it, few make the effort to actually visit, so kids will have plenty of opportunity to race around to their heart’s content.

Take a Snorkeling Side Trip

There’s no denying the beauty of Koh Samui and its beaches, but for serenity, snorkeling and scuba diving, families can take a side trip to Koh Phangan, which is served by regular ferries – the trip takes around four hours and is a pretty ride in itself, but it’s worth considering spending the night in one of the island’s cheap and cheerful guest houses. It can be busy with tourists and the Full Moon Party set during high season, but with 30 beaches on the island, a little walking is all it takes to leave the crowds behind and discover blissfully quiet spots with some of the best diving and snorkeling imaginable. Bring sturdy walking shoes and a heck of a lot of repellent, pack water and a picnic and you can while away entire days on the sand before heading back to civilisation and catching the sunset from a beach bar.

🌜Tip: To avoid the crowds coming to Koh Phangan for the full moon parties, try to schedule your trip to dates few days after the moon is full.

Eat here: Peak Eye View Restaurant

Families in Koh Samui can work up a heck of an appetite making the ascent to this hidden restaurant (it’s along the same route as the Secret Buddha Garden, and makes a good pitstop on the way back) which has a magnificent vantage point 600 meters above sea level. Kids love the chilled fruit smoothies, and the traditional Thai dishes taste all the better when eaten outside taking in those jaw-dropping views over the entire island. Peak Eye View Restaurant is still a well-kept secret – for now – so visitors can feel rightly smug about discovering a genuine hidden gem on Koh Samui.

Spice Up Your Family Vacation To Koh Phangan With These Lesser Known Attractions.

The tropical Thai island of Koh Phangan has a (somewhat deserved) reputation as a place for hedonistic Full Moon Parties, but there’s more to the place than backpackers going to town on the booze buckets. Away from the party hostels and party beaches, Koh Phangan is an extremely family-friendly destination, and a trip here offers plenty of opportunity to slip away from the hungover hordes and the honeymooning couples. Boat trips and jungle hikes are the starting point for many island adventures, and families in Koh Phangan are never far away from an opportunity to let the kids race around on secluded beaches, snorkel among schools of colorful fish, splash in natural pools or take a nature trek through the deep jungle that covers some 90 per cent of the island. So while there may be 10-20,000 partiers rocking up to Hat Rin for the Full Moon fun, there’s plenty of scope for age-appropriate, crowd-free activities elsewhere.

Take a Free Herbal Sauna (and visit a giant tree!)

When you’re on the road with the family, the idea of a de-stressing, de-toxifying sauna and massage may well seem pretty darned appealing to everyone from tired out toddlers to their travel-weary parents. But we’re not talking ritzy, high end hotel spa treatments here. At the Wat Pho Sauna and Thai Massage, in Baan Tai Village, monks from the nearby Buddhist Temple have set up a herbal sauna surrounded by wild forest and well-populated fish ponds, and now welcome visitors to come and soak up the herbs’ healing properties. While the treatments are popular with partied-out Full-Mooners, they’re also a nice option for families – the herb-scented steam opens the pores and cleanses the system, and littlies who don’t fancy breathing in healing air are likely to enjoy the relaxing Thai massages that are also on offer. There’s no need to worry about paying a premium, either – the monks ask only for a fair donation.

🌲 Nearby, families can check out the island’s biggest tree – a giant tropical Yang Na (rubber tree) which has been left to grow unhindered for hundreds of years and now it is over 50 m’ tall,

Embark on Jungle Adventures and Splash in Natural Pools

With the world and his wife making a beeline for the beaches of Koh Phangan, it’s easy to overlook the rich tropical jungle that covers vast swathes of the island.  Which is all the better for adventurous families keen to get off the beaten tourist track. Slap on the DEET, strap on sturdy walking shoes and head to the trails that lead through steep jungle paths to Thaan Sadet waterfall, in the North East of the island. Sitting in the middle of a gloriously wild national park, this is in fact not one fall but a series of cascades and natural pools, surrounded by giant boulders and stepping stones and stretching out over some 3km. Families with energy to burn can follow trails from the falls up to the island’s tallest peak – Khao Ra – which stands nearly 630 meters above sea level. Viewpoints at the top offer staggering views over the island, its beaches and the surrounding ocean, and cooling off in the pools on the way back down is a nice reward for tackling the climb.   

Get Sporty

The diving, snorkeling and kite boarding on Koh Phangan are hardly a secret, but families can practice a whole host of non-water based activities on the island, too. Volleyball, football and  a sport known as jorkyball – a kind of 2-on-2 variation of soccer – are all popular on the island, and there are numerous sports facilities and classes where kids and parents can brush up on their skills or learn new ones. Each month, huge beach volleyball and beach football tournaments attract big crowds, and grownups who think they’ve got the skills can sign up to take part. If that’s a step too far, just watching the matches is enough to stir up enthusiasm for kicking or volleying a ball around a beach, and after all that racing around, the kids are likely to be zonked enough to for their parents to enjoy a peaceful beachfront meal and/or sunset cocktail.

Eat Here: Roots and Leaves

Cakes and Thai-Indian curries served inside a rustic hut surrounded by wild jungle make a meal at Roots and Leaves feel like a real family adventure. On the edge of Than Sadej National Park, the cafe serves huge portions of sweet and savory dishes made with the freshest ingredients imaginable, with plenty of vegan and gluten-free options for those that want them. Far from feeling like a worthy ‘clean eating’ spot, though, this welcoming little cafe serves genuinely delicious dishes that savvy locals and visitors consider to be some of the best food on the island. It’s hidden away from the main drinking and dining strips on the island, and feels all the more exciting for that.

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.

Need more ideas regarding how to travel on a budget with your family in Asia? Check out my eBook available for download on Amazon here!

Spark Online Training by Edurekabanner

Spice up your trip with some of Chiang Mai’s hidden secrets!

One of the most popular cities in the north of Thailand, Chiang Mai hosts visitors from all over the globe enjoying the main attractions on the daily. It’s also considered to be one of the popular destinations for families traveling in Thailand. But what hidden treasures does the city have to offer? Here are 4 must-have experiences below!


Baan Kang Wat Artist Village

Relatively new, Baan Kang Wat Artist Village is still largely uncharted by the millions of tourists that pass through Chiang Mai, which makes it the perfect excursion for a break from the outside world. The village is home to local artists and their respective stores, homey pop-up shops, food stands, and of course coffeeshops galore. You’ll find more than just your average market purchases in the village. Quality, handmade items are for sale, and lovers of all things vintage will have a field day here!

You’ll definitely find your share of ex-pats fond of the remote-working life in Baan Kang Wat, as they’re certain to be taking advantage of the village’s many cafés and free WiFi. Consequently, if you’ve come abroad with your own work to do, this is certainly the place! Many of the coffeeshops are themed and catered to specific tastes. For example, the Library Café is littered with floor mats and bookshelves, encouraging a relaxing afternoon curled up with Thai tea and a good book.

If you want to do more than simply relax on your vacation, there are also many a workshop you can enjoy. For instance, you can head to the amazing Pa Cha Na Ceramics Studio, where you can get hands-on experience creating your own pottery. You can also sit back and watch other artists create.


2-Day Traditional Karen Weaving Class

If you’re in Chiang Mai with kids, this is a fabulous opportunity for them to learn a new skill! This experience takes a slightly larger commitment of 2 days. You’ll learn about traditional Karen tribal culture through a unique medium, exploring the local customs and general lifestyle of the people. Weaving is the first thing you’ll notice that distinguishes the Karens from other tribes. The magnificent patterns and colors they use are ones you will learn how to create on this trip. You’ll be picked up from your residence in Chiang Mai and embark on a tour that you can personalize if you choose. The standard 2 day Traditional Karen Weaving Class includes: meals and accommodations, two weaving lessons, a northern Thai cooking class, treks to the jungle waterfalls, and of course, a survey of the local markets. The tour runs at $110 USD per person. It’s suitable for all ages, and the guides there are very attentive.


Monk Chats

Some of the Chiang Mai temples, or wats, have a “Monk Chat” program, which allows your family to sit with a monk one-on-one and ask them anything you want, from their general lifestyle to specific questions about their beliefs and practices. Your family will have the exclusive opportunity of learning from Thai monks personally, and you can incorporate it into the inevitable temple hops your family will find itself on. All you have to do in return is provide them with conversation, so they can work on their English! Some Chiang Mai temples of note which offer this program include Wat Chedi Luang, Wat Suan Dok, and Wat Sisuphan, with some available only in evenings and some going on all day. Wherever you decide to go, make sure to do your research beforehand so you get there at optimal Monk Chat time, and get ready for an incredibly enriching experience.


Warorot Evening Market

The one market you can’t miss, Warorot provides you with endless delectable options! Sadly, our human bodies aren’t capable of consuming the amount you would need to sample everything in one sitting, but you and your family can definitely make a dent in the various stands and stalls. Meat lovers will enjoy the sai ua (Chiang Mai sausage) and nam prik ong (chili-tomato pork dip) while vegetarians might want to go for some kaeng khanun (jackfruit curry). If you visit the market during the daytime, it may mimic the other various markets situated around Chiang Mai, what with its streets full of dried fruit, vegetables, jewelry, silks, handicrafts, goods and wares that could occupy you for hours. However, the prices you’ll encounter here are better than those of other local markets, and the goods are of a higher quality. Give yourself ample time to explore all the corridors and roads, so you can satisfy your pockets as well as your stomachs!

You can also take a look at the lesser-known and hidden spots for families traveling in Bangkok.

Need more ideas regarding how to travel on a budget with your family in Asia? Check out my eBook available for download on Amazon here!