In November we visited Thailand. Now, 9 months later, my two year old still asks if we’ll be going back to Thailand soon, at least once per day. Really that’s a reflection of the wonderfully family-friendly country that Thailand is; a place of wonderful golden temples, elephants, unusual transportation, and other fascinating sights.
Where to stay in Thailand with a family isn’t an easy question to answer because there are loads of fabulous luxury rentals in Thailand, more basic hotels, or hostels. There’s something to suit every budget, and we really couldn’t fault any of the accommodation we stayed in while we were in Thailand.
However I do have a few ideas as to what to do in Thailand with a family. I’ve listed more things to do in Bangkok with a family as most flights will land in the City of Angels, so you might have some time here to spend looking at the historic sites and shopping. If you’ve only got 24 hours in Bangkok I’ve pulled together a quick itinerary too!
The reclining Buddha at Wat Pho temple
Visit Wat Pho, one of the six main Buddhist temples in Thailand. Admire the 46 m (151 ft) long Buddha statue and its memorable pose, and check out the toes, before looping back around the back of the statue. There you can drop coins in a row of pots, which children may enjoy.
Elsewhere in the Wat complex there are a wide range of temple buildings displaying rich and intricate religious designs and a history dating back to the 16th century.
Wat Pho houses the largest collection of Buddha depictions in Thailand.
You will need to cover up shoulders and legs, and remove shoes (keep socks on) for the temples.
The Grand Palace is absolutely amazing to see; honestly I’ve never seen so much gold in one place. Grand is absolutely accurate! You should allow at least 2 hours to explore the complex of ornate buildings at The Grand Palace. Established in 1782, the palace grounds have been added to over the centuries with eclectically designed buildings, halls, and pavilions. The well-maintained grounds and monumental architecture provide great photo ops and an immersive cultural experience for the whole family.
Boat along the river
In Bangkok the boats are a good way to travel because they’re quick, efficient, and let you see some of the main sights. Not all the boats stop at all the piers so be sure to take the boat with the Orange flag, and not a blue flagged “tourist boat”. The orange flagged boat costs roughly 15 Baht (and does much the same as the tourist boat, which costs 10 times more).
We also enjoyed a boat ride in the north of Thailand, in the Golden Triangle, and this time we did take the tourist boat with the bad commentary, and requirement to wear ill-fitting life jackets. This boat was included in the price of our tour, but you can buy a ride on the songthaews for much cheaper if you are an independent traveller to the area.
Wat Phrathat Doi Suthep in Chiang Mai
High in the clouds above Chiang Mai is the wonderful, beautiful Wat Phrathat Doi Suthep. This is really worth the climb up the 309 dragon-lined stairs. At the top you have a bird’s eye view of Chiang Mai, and a little bit of a breeze, too!
Elephant symbols are all over Thailand, and the highlight of many family trips to Thailand is the visit to the Elephant Nature Park. From Chiang Mai, the trip takes all day, with about 4 hours spent at the reserve. Or you can stay in the hotel in the nature park, overnight, which is something that was recommended to us while in Thailand but there were no vacancies.
If you want to see elephants, there are other places to get up close to the gentle giants. However, it is easy to get caught with a hook-trained elephant excursion, so ask the tour guide for hook-free elephants when you book your tour.
Islands of Thailand
We stayed on Phuket and Koh Samui while in Thailand, and also took a tour to Phi Phi. These islands were all different from the mainland and a really wonderful experience for the children. We saw monkeys, the beach from the movie and swam in the turquoise blue sea.
Loi Krathong festival
The Loi Krathong festival is absolutely fantastic. We were there in 2016, and we were told that it was more subdued as the country was in mourning for the King. Apparently we missed the addition of fireworks. The whole sky and river becomes alive with khom lois and krathongs floating down the river. Walking around the city was fantastic, and it was an amazing experience for the boys. James had been making krathongs with Thai students before we set ours afloat down the river.
Other must dos in Thailand with children
It really didn’t matter where we ate because there was something for everyone and all of it delicious.
Either in the pools or on the sandy beaches, swimming was a real favourite part of my children’s experience of Thailand. Cooling down in the water was very welcome!
Interacting with the Thai people
Honestly, everywhere we went we met so many wonderful people. They were helpful, polite, and friendly. Of course we did have that one guy who ripped us off, and you wouldn’t want to stereotype everyone as the same, but on the whole our experience of Thailand and its people was an excellent one.
No wonder our two year old wants to go back!