thailand with kids


A trip to Thailand is packed with opportunities for high-adrenaline fun, and there’s no need to miss out on the white-knuckle adventures just because you’ve got the kids in tow. Some extreme activities in Thailand are suitable for all ages, while others are only for adults, teens and older kids, but younger travelers are sure to get a rush from seeing their parents braving these challenging experiences. So get ready to embrace the fear factor and have some extreme fun in Thailand.

 Fly Like A Gibbon Through the Jungle

Ever seen a gibbon fly? Me neither, but they do swing impressively through the jungle, and you will too on Southeast Asia’s longest zipline, known as The Flight of the Gibbon. This all-ages activity takes place in rainforest around one hour’s drive from Chiang Mai involves a total of 28 zip-lines, totaling 800 meters, with 53 treetop platforms. The experience also includes four abseils, the highest of which is 50 meters, and you can challenge your head for heights on four dizzying sky bridges, and the vertigo-inducing spiral staircases of the ‘Zigzag Way’.

You Got This: The Flight of the Gibbon might be terrifying for anybody with a fear of heights, but it’s a safe activity that’s suitable for kids aged five and up.  Do you really want to wimp out in  front of the kids? Family packages with Treetop Asia offer a four-for-the-price-of-three deal (approximately $125 USD per person before discount), and the eco-tourism company works with jungle conservation projects. 

 Be a Human Slingshot in Pattaya

Wheeeeeee! Being catapulted through the air at 150 kilometers per hour is a thing in Thailand or, more specifically, at the adventure-sports haven that is Pattaya (more about Pattaya bungee jumping later). Flying along like a human Angry Bird is both exhilarating and, let’s face it, freakin’ terrifying, as you experience 4G forces and go from 0-150 kilometers/hour in less than a second. Bigger travelers take note, though: there’s a maximum weight limit of 100 kilograms. Prices from around $35 USD, with discounts for second flights, should you care to repeat the experience.

Mind the Fear Factor: Although there’s no stated minimum age, this one is a bit too hair-raising for younger kids and is best suited to those aged 16 and over. Younger members of the party can look on and laugh as their parents are willingly flung through the air at great speed.

 Learn to Skydive in Style

Thrill-seeking families in Thailand can check into an “extreme aviation” resort: Birds Paradise in the northeastern region of Isan. The center is cultivating new skydivers, but guests can also learn to fly ultralights, scramble over obstacle courses, and take on some pretty tricky mountain biking courses. This is one of very few United States Parachute Association schools in Thailand, and with jumps at a minimum of 12,000 feet, the views are incredible. The temperate climate here is in divers’ favor too, and jumps take place pretty much every day of the year.

Need More Convincing? With a spa, restaurants and comfy lodgings, this is the comfortable way to learn to dive. And for those who just want a one-off experience, tandem dives (no experience necessary) are the way to go.

 Extreme Bungee Jumping in Pattaya

The east-coast beach town of Pattaya is as famous for its extreme sports as it is for its gorgeous beaches, and no adventurous traveler worth their salt will want to come here without taking the highest bungee jump in Thailand. This is one for older teens and parents, but younger kids can admire their parents’ and siblings’ bravery. After going through the necessary safety procedures, daredevils will be lifted to a cage at nearly 60 meters (try to enjoy the view if you can) before leaping into the abyss. Once it’s over, bungee-ers can sip a drink at the bar and watch the whole thing back on a big screen.

Safety First: Before jumping, you’ll have to sign a waiver to state that you don’t have any medical conditions, and that you’re not intoxicated (pre-loading and jumping do not mix). Bigger brave souls will also need to step on the scales (there’s a max limit of 150 kilograms). Prices start around $30 USD with Pattaya Bungy.

 Roll Along the World’s Largest Water Zorbing Course

Get ready to channel your inner hamster! The Rollerball experience in Patong, Phuket, involves two people clambering inside a giant water-filled ball, before they are pushed off the top of a hill to go rolling along a 200-meter custom-built course.  Kids aged six and up can join in with this one, and it’s dizzyingly-good fun. The hilltop location makes for some terrific views, and a bar serving cocktails and soft drinks is a perfect place to admire the vista once you’ve done your rolling for the day (don’t drink and roll, it’s unlikely to end well). The experience costs around $20 USD per person, including local area hotel pickup.

Extreme Planking: Rolling around in a giant ball not extreme enough? Try Rollerball planking: essentially lying on the ground, flat out, while two people roll over you in a ball. Just think of it as a rather unusual massage.

Maybe you will also enjoy our special route for nature-loving families traveling to Thailand.

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!

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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!

Spice up you trip to Bangkok with some of the city’s hidden secrets!

Welcome to Thailand’s City of Angels! Bangkok isn’t necessarily lauded for its myriad of family-friendly activities, but the city boasts some surprisingly awesome experiences for kids. Most traveling families will check out water parks, zoos, safaris, and of course the magnificent shopping malls invading practically every street corner; however, those attractions can get pretty crowded. Here are a few lesser-known activities in Bangkok to avoid the masses and make your family’s trip unique: 


Thai Aroma Culture Workshop

The Thai Aroma Culture Workshop blends art, tea, and scented flowers into a relaxing activity meant to teach you about Thai life and serve as a way to preserve your memories from your travels. The workshop host Nune believes that smells brings memories to life, which is why she takes you on a journey of Thai culture by combining various scents. In the workshop, you will create your personalized Thai tea of choice, as well as make your own potpourri and room spray, all of which you will bring home with you. Then, as the sunset spreads itself across the sky, you will sit, sip, look out across the skyline, and reflect on your trip in Bangkok thus far.

This workshop isn’t your everyday vacation activity, nor is it one you’ll come across in many other places. The workshop is a great family bonding activity, and can be found at the “Whole Soul Studio,” which faces the Bangkok Sundown Skyline. It costs about $50 USD per person, depending on the date and time that you book. There’s room for 6 people in the workshop, but you can also go alone and meet new people when you get there. There’s heavy emphasis on reflection here, so make sure to come with an open mind and a desire to open up!


Wachira Benchathat Park

Also known as Railway Park and Suan Rot Fai, this retreat from the busy Bangkok bustle can be found right near Chatuchak Market, but you won’t see tourists stumbling upon this hidden haven. The entrance fee is free, at which point you can decide from many choices of activity: cycling, tennis, paddle-boating, bird watching, golfing and more. If you’re just looking for a place to relax, the park is a spectacular spot for a leisurely stroll. If you happen to have a toddler with you, it’s the perfect place to push a stroller around as you explore! For an educational experience, the Park offers the only insectarium and butterfly garden in Bangkok. From a biking trip around the park to an old-school game of hide-and-seek, the amount of potential family pursuits will keep you busy for awhile.


Secret of Sacred Tattoo

Sacred tattoo, or sak yant (also referred to as yantra), is an ancient tradition originating amongst tribes in parts of China and Vietnam over 2,000 years ago. Artists etch sacred designs combined with lucky Pali (the language of early Buddhism) phrases, the combination of which supposedly offers protection for the person whose body sports the tattoo. This workshop boasts itself as a celebrity favorite, having catered to the likes of Brooke Shields and Steven Pearson, and is one you are unlikely to experience anywhere else. The sak yant ceremony is located in Samnak Arjan Neng on Niran Villa Street in a studio littered with statues of magicians. It includes standard Thai cuisine for lunch, a beverage, and a tuk tuk ride. Your workshop leaders will teach you how sacred designs are created and help you find the symbol appropriate for what you are aiming to achieve in life. Not to worry–you’re not actually going to come out with a tattoo, and neither will your kids! Of course, if you do want one, you can book a separate appointment and get a tattoo for an extra charge.


True Love @ Neverland

An ideal stop for your visit to Bangkok with kids, this café satisfies two of life’s main cravings: the desire for coffee and the overwhelming inclination to play with adorable dogs. While it may sound like something out of a Peter Pan special, True Love @ Neverland is just a regular old café with huskies roaming around everywhere! Try not to faint from happiness as you enter Bangkok’s dog therapy cafe, and get ready for all of your problems to melt away! Before you enter, you’ll receive brief instructions about café decorum: for instance, you can’t touch the dogs’ snouts or pick them up, and you’ll have to sanitize your hands before you walk in–then you can have at it! Play with the huskies to your heart’s content, and stay for a 12:30 PM or 3:30 PM dog show if you’re so inclined. The experience wouldn’t be complete without that requisite cup of coffee. You can choose from various drinks and desserts on the menu, perhaps taking the opportune time to nurse your coffee while your children are occupied by the dogs. The cafe is open in the afternoon, and is located at 153 Paholyothin Soi Ari Samphan 2, in Bangkok. You can get there by taking the BTS to Sanam Pao following with a short taxi ride to Soi 2, Ari.


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!

Nature-loving families can look forward to the trip of a lifetime in Thailand. Spectacular beaches, under-the-radar islands, vast natural parks inhabited by elephants and monkeys, crashing waterfalls and some of the most dramatic scenery on the planet combine to make a trip here rich with opportunity for family adventures–whether the kids are old enough for white-knuckle thrills and spills or small enough for gentle splashing in crystal clear waters.

Families heading to Thailand to check out the natural attractions should factor in plenty of rest days to ensure there’s ample opportunity to appreciate the natural beauty rather than making a mad dash from one attraction to the other. Our 30 day itinerary for nature-loving families in Thailand allows plenty of time to check out everything from big ticket attractions to off-the-beaten track treats, but be warned – once is unlikely to be enough, and you may well find yourselves planning your next family trip to Thailand as soon as the first one has ended.

Day 1-7 Bangkok and Hua Hin

You’ll be touching down in one of the world’s most hectic cities, so plan to spend at least a day recovering from the trip and take in some of the city’s rivers and green spaces, before introducing the brood to the slithering inhabitants of the city’s Snake Farm (entrance around $6 for adults, $2 for kids). Set in the scenic gardens of the Red Cross hospital at Queen Saovabha Memorial Institute, the working snake farm features daily handling shows, and will generate squeals of fear and delight in equal measure.

After a couple of days in Bangkok, head to nearby Hua Hin, a scenic 3-hour bus ride away. Hua Hin is a perfect destination for outdoorsy families, with unspoilt beaches, jungle-covered mountains dotted with elaborate temples, and animal attractions that include the aptly-named Elephant Village, as well as ‘Monkey Mountain’ at Khao Takiab.

For an evening with a difference, make the trek (around an hour from the city center by car or via BST train followed by taxi) out to the intriguingly bizarre Alpaca View (Lad Prao Wanghin Rd, Lat Phrao, Bangkok 10230, entrance around $5).

At this kitsch hangout, dining, karaoke and miniature world landmarks (hello, Eiffel Tower, fancy seeing you here!) come together in one peculiar space. Visitors to the farm-restaurant-theme park-karaoke joint can feed the alpaca and other animals, tuck into Thai cuisine and round the evening off with a spot of singing along to the classics.

? Boxout: Monkeying Around: A short tuktuk ride takes visitors to the temple at Khao Takiab mountain, where huge gangs of cheeky monkeys gather. Visitors can pay the equivalent of a few cents for a bag of monkey treats, but be cautious – they’re not shy. If the monkeys get a little too close for comfort, caretakers armed with long sticks are on hand to give them a gentle prod and remind them who’s boss.

Day 8-13 Krabi

No nature-loving family should come to Thailand without visiting the legendary island beaches of the south. Take the bus (or a private hire car, if you’re in a hurry) back to Bangkok, with an optional overnight stay before catching a flight to Krabi, on the ridiculously picturesque Andaman Coast. Operators such as Bangkok Airways, Thai Airways and Nok Air ply this 90-minute route, and with prices from around $60, this is an affordable alternative to a long haul bus ride (there’s no direct train from Bangkok).

There are any number of cute family-friendly resorts here, ranging from no-frills to plenty-of-frills, and kids can rampage around the beaches, embark on guided nature treks through the jungle, snorkel in the clear water or hop on island tours that take in beauty spots such as Tub Island, Chicken Island and–most famous of all–Phra Nang beach.

Be sure to take a day trip to Than Bok Khorani National Park, where nature-loving families visiting Krabi with kids can plunge into bright green waterfalls, and kayak along mangrove rivers to caves where 3,000-year-old cave paintings have stood the test of time.

? Box Out: Koh Hong: Of all the islands surrounding Krabi, those of Koh Hong may be the most incredible. Under the auspices of the National Marine Park, the four islands are home to gibbons, giant lizards and soaring eagles, as well as a stunning emerald green lagoon. It’s a 25-minute speedboat ride to the islands from Koh Hong, and the Instagram opportunities are unlimited.

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Day 15-22 Phuket and Phang Nga Bay

A couple of hours’ bus ride or drive from Krabi is Phang Nga Bay, connected by a bridge to Phuket, the largest of Thailand’s islands. This absurdly scenic bay is chock full of opportunities to kayak around caves, grottoes and limestone islands. For extra parent points, take film loving kids to the sea stack island of Ko Ping Kan, known as ‘James Bond Island’ thanks to its starring role in the 007 movie The Man With the Golden Gun. The bay is connected to the famous island of Phuket by a footbridge and car bridge, but speed boats are the most popular way to travel between the mainland and Phuket. On the island itself, nature-loving families can enjoy magical beaches, take treks through the jungle, kayak and raft along rushing rivers, and even take nocturnal trips into sea caves where bioluminescent plankton sets the water aglow in the pitch dark.

Day 23-29 Chiang Mai and Surrounds

Thailand is a country of contrasts, and after the coastal beauty of the south, it’s time to head to the mystical north, famed for its mist-swathed temples and jungle-covered hills. Several airlines ply the two-hour route between Phuket and Chiang Mai, making air travel the most family-friendly option for the the 700-plus mile trip. Families visiting Chiang Mai will find the city itself makes a good base for adventures – there are hotels and guest houses here in every price bracket, and the vibe is enormously more relaxed than that of Bangkok.

? Box Out: The Elephant Nature Park at Chiang Mai is a guaranteed kiddie-pleaser (and also guaranteed cruelty-free–it’s a rescue and rehabilitation center) and can be visited as a day trip or overnight stay (from $70 per person, including meals) where families in Chiang Mai can splash around in the water with the gentle giants, and help out with elephant meal times.

Nature-loving families in Chiang Mai should also set aside time to visit Doi Inthanon National Park. Perched on Thailand’s highest mountain, this stunning nature reserve some 35 miles from the city is a paradise for bird watchers, with some 330 species flitting around. There are well-marked trails through the park, and visitors can camp out in tents or log cabins – bring plenty of layers though, at 2,565m above sea level, things get chilly here after dark.

Off the Beaten Track: The Thai Grand Canyon
One of Chiang Mai’s most under-the-radar attractions is its Grand Canyon (Yes, Chaing Mai has a Grand Canyon, who knew?). Even locals are sketchy on details about this place, which can be reached by scooter from the city (map co-ordinates 18.697053, 98.893398.. It’s actually an abandoned quarry, where astonishingly deep turquoise waters have accumulated to create a stunning natural attraction, and where strong swimmers (pay heed to the safety warnings) can take a dive or a dip.

Day 30-Bangkok

Bustling Chiang Mai and its scenic surrounds will keep nature loving families in Thailand occupied for at least a week, and the international airport here has connections to other South East Asian destinations. For those flying from Bangkok, the obvious way to reach the airport is to take the plane, (70 minutes, flights from around $60), but those with the patience to make the 12-15-hour rail journey will be richly rewarded with stunning views as it rolls through Thailand’s hills, past rice paddies and villages. There are several trains a day (including night trains) with first class tickets costing around $45 per person.

Are you interested in Thai food as well? check out our special family friendly route for food loving families.

Thailand offers bountiful beaches, rolling jungle, spiny mountain ranges…there’s so much to see, do (and eat) here, that families can find it hard to know where to start.

Eating is a large part of the fun, but it can appear challenging at first, as so much of the food is spicy. Note the phrase ‘mai phed’ (no spice) for eats without the heat. While adventurous older kids might be excited to chow down on deep fried bugs, there are gentler options too, such as mango with sticky rice (served as a dessert or light lunch), noodles, and super-crispy spring rolls filled with meat and/or fresh crispy vegetables. Children are warmly welcomed at Thai restaurants, making dining out relatively stress free. Follow our itinerary for eating your way around Thailand with kids  but be warned, you’ll probably want to come back and visit all the places you missed the first time.

Day 1-3: Bangkok

Crazy, colorful and chaotic, Bangkok is perhaps better known as a destination for thrill-seeking adults than for its child-friendly activities, but family trips to Bangkok can be surprisingly rewarding. There are theme parks, oceanariums and playgrounds galore, so set aside at least three days to fit in a couple of big ticket attractions. All that noise can be a little draining, however, and street food can be hard on delicate little tums, so take the stress out of mealtimes by visiting an ‘all under one roof’ spot such as Helix – the ultra-modern food hall at EmQuartier mall. There are some 50 restaurants here, serving everything from spring rolls to American-style burgers, and it’s easy to push a stroller from one spot to another.

For something a little more ‘local’ grownups shouldn’t shy away from sampling the street food that is available across the city. Check out the Old Town (or Banglamphu) for Khao gang (curry rice), which is popular fuel at breakfast and lunch, and sees a variety of veggie and meaty curries piled onto a plate of rice, and typically costs the equivalent of under $1.

Tip: Foodie visitors in Bangkok  should also be sure to check out the famous Chinatown (Yaowarat). There’s a Chinese flavor to much of Bangkok’s dishes, and this vast Chinatown is said to have kickstrted the famous street food scene.

Day 3-7  Chiang Mai

All aboard the sleeper train! The overnight rail journey from Bangkok to Chiang Mai is a fun one, and kids tend to enjoy being tucked into comfy bunks for the trip (book first class rooms to up the comfort level if the budget will stretch).  There’s a whole host of activities on offer for foodie families in Chiang Mai, and kid-friendly food is both easy to come by and highly affordable. As is so often the case in Thailand, food courts cater to every taste, and families should also check out the handful of cafes with play areas, such as the German-run Nic’s, which has trampolines for the kids and gin cocktails for mom and Dad. At Cooking Love in the center of town, kids can watch the dishes being prepared in front of their eyes, and it costs less than $4 for a family to tuck into child-friendly mild chicken and mango curries, washed down with coconut water.

Tip: Families in Chaing Mai can learn to whip up traditional Thai dishes such as Pad Thai, with kid-friendly classes organised by Asia Scenic, close to the center of town.

Day 8-11: Pai

It’s a bumpy-yet-fun 3.5 hour mini-bus ride along mountain roads to the welcoming ‘hippy’ community of Pai.  There’s a big vegan community here, so travelers in Pai with kids can recharge the batteries with super-fresh dishes whipped up with the abundant local fruit and vegetables – kids will enjoy the juices that are available for well under a dollar, and there are several informal cooking schools here too. By night, Pai’s famous ‘Walking Street’  fill up with vendors, and it’s fun and safe to stroll around, checking out the various treats: try the sugary grilled bananas as a kid-friendly alternative to the meat and seafood on a stick.

Day 12-16: Golden Triangle

Head back to Chiang Mae and either overnight or take the 4-hour minibus ride (or an organised tour if budget allows) up to Chiang Rai, the river city at the edge of the Golden Triangle – so called because it is the point at which Thailand, Myanmar and Laos  meet. It’s known  for its breathtaking scenery, elephant sanctuaries and endless rice paddies, and visitors to the Golden Triangle with kids can fuel cycling or hiking adventures with treats such as dim sum, grilled chicken, fresh smoothies or  miang kham tea leaves stuffed with shredded coconut, peanuts and ginger.

? Box out: The Saturday and Sunday Walking Street Markets are popular with locals and visitors alike, and see vendors selling everything from backpacker-chic clothing to snacks (yes, there are crispy bugs to try, should you fancy it).

Day 17-20 Ayutthaya

Back down to Chiang Mai, then board an overnight train to Ayutthaya – sleepers are available for less than $20 p/p, VIP cabins slightly more, but turn up early as tickets sell out. Kids can rampage around the ruins of this ancient city, see temples galore, and for around $10 families in Ayutthaya with kids can feast on absolutely delicious freshwater prawns, sprinkled with salt and cooked over hot coals and enjoyed on the deck of floating restaurants. There are a handful of good hotels and guest houses here, and it’s well worth spending a few days to get a feel for the history of the place.

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Day 21-22 Bangkok

It’s around 90 minutes’ bus ride back to the capital, where families in Thailand might want to overnight before heading in the direction of Thailand’s magnificent island beaches. Check out food malls for easy eats that won’t upset the stomach before the journey.

Day 23-29 Phuket

After all that exploring, foodie families will likely be ready for some time chilling on Thailand’s famous island beaches. Phuket is one of the best spots for families, and is easily reached by plane – several operators ply the 80-minute route from Bangkok, with flights costing as little as $50. Treat this as a vacation in itself, and settle in for a week of swimming, snorkeling, theme parks, water parks, and an abundance of playgrounds both natural (all that jungle) and manmade (this is a very kid-friendly spot). Many hotels here offer international dishes, and burgers, pasta and pizza are all easy to come by, but for a real taste of Phuket that will linger long in the taste buds, try the sizzling wares cooked up by the street food vendors. As well as Thai dishes, you’ll find Malaysian, Chinese and Indian dishes on offer.

? Box out: 

Going Bananas: Bananas grow in abundance in Phuket, and they make their way into many a street treat. Banana pancakes are cooked on a hot plate, drizzled with condensed milk and cut into stacked wedges; deep fried banana on sticks is a sweet delight, and it’s whizzed into smoothies.


Day 30: Back to Bangkok and it’s bye bye Thailand – for now!