Planning a family trip to Thailand? Here are five top tips to help you make the most of the experience...
Give yourselves 24 hours to adjust
Chances are you and your family will be coming from a different time zone, so it may be difficult to get your little ones on a proper sleep schedule (and for you, too). Overnight flights help reduce jetlag – try Thai Airways’ new A380 from London to Bangkok.
Then, rather than rushing into an activity during your first full day in Thailand, relax in a family-friendly hotel like many of our Centara properties (Phuket, Krabi and Samui) and adjust to your new schedule. You can also use this time to talk to your children about Thailand’s culture, the sights they’ll see, and the new tastes and smells they may experience. Can’t wait to get stuck in? Then check out the small water parks, kids’ pools and kids’ free dining that are often available.
Take it easy in the heat
Thailand’s hot weather can be draining, and there’s nothing worse than a toddler who’s cranky because of the heat. Try to take outdoor trips or half-day excursions during the morning, when it’s cooler. An excellent outdoor family activity is cycling with ABC Biking around Bangkok’s Green Lung, a bike path that makes a big loop through shady jungle in the heart of Thailand’s capital.
Make sure to plan your trip to get the most out of Thailand’s great weather. Head east to Koh Samui during the summer holidays (June to October) and west to Phuket and Krabi between October and May.
It goes without saying that you should bring a daypack when you’re traveling, but what’s inside is especially important. Because Thailand is hot, make sure to always pack water. If you run out, keep an eye out for one of the many 7-Eleven stores that sell bottled water, juices and snacks. Also, don’t forget the wet wipes – public bathrooms often lack toilet paper and hand soap. You’ll be glad you planned so carefully!
Should I bring a stroller?
If you’re travelling with young children and are trying to choose between a stroller and a child-carrier backpack, take the stroller. Backpacks will quickly make both baby and parent hot and uncomfortable. However, don’t bring a bulky stroller to Thailand because the many low-quality sidewalks make it nearly impossible to push one smoothly. Instead, pack a light, collapsible ‘umbrella’ stroller that can be easily transported in a car, on the metro, or picked up and carried if the walkways turn into obstacle courses.
Eating in Thailand
Thai food will probably be different from what your child is used to eating. Surely that’s part of the reason you’re visiting, so don’t be shy about trying new tastes. Great introductory, non-spicy favourites include fried rice and pad Thai. For a sweet snack, try fresh mango and sticky rice.
Start your explorations by dining at the Pier 21 Food Court at Terminal 21. Vendors cook up authentic Thai food that’s quick, convenient, and served in a comfortable indoor setting. If you’re more adventurous and decide to eat from outdoor food stalls, a good rule of thumb is to look for clean work stations and a line of customers.
If your children are particular about what they eat and prefer more familiar foods, Thailand has plenty of Western restaurants that serve up American, Italian, German, and British cuisines. There are also well known chain restaurants, such as McDonald’s, in major cities.
In more remote locations, we recommend trying the great value all-inclusive options available at the hotels. Our recommendations include Apsara Khao Lak, Evason Hua Hin, Ananatara Si Kao and The Village Coconut Island.
Written by Tieland to Thailand
Tieland to Thailand started out as a way for a couple to casually share with their friends and family what life was like after leaving the office life, and living on the other side of the world. Now, it has transformed into a blog that inspires, informs, and empowers travelers who are curious about what it’s like to leave office life behind and to travel around and live in Thailand. They’ve tackled visa hurdles, new food culture, off-the-beaten-path travel spots, teaching English, and budgeting abroad.