Our Guide to Family Holidays in Thailand

Thailand is packed with fascinating culture, warm people, white sandy beaches, and legendary landscapes. It’s a place where families will never be bored.

Thailand for Families

No matter how you like to travel, or where you go, you’ll find something unique and exciting on a family holiday to Thailand. Expect an overload on the senses, in the best way possible, with an eclectic mix of glistening temples, colourful cities, idyllic beaches and delicious Thai food. Adults and children both leave feeling relaxed and well-looked after thanks to the fantastic levels of service.

To learn more about a luxury family holiday in Thailand, keep reading for the best places to visit, family-friendly accommodations and things to do.

 

Is Thailand good for family holidays? 

Thailand is made for family holidays. From the way Thai culture embraces children, even in the smartest hotels, to the toddler-friendly sandy beaches. There is enough to entertain teens and tweens, whether they are looking for adventure or have an interest in culture. The food is amazing, not too spicy for children, plus you’ve got some of the best hotels in the world, with good kids’ clubs. Logistically, to get to the various destinations within Thailand, you will have to change planes, usually in Bangkok, or take internal flights. But there are good flight options to Bangkok from the UK.

 

Best Places to Visit in Thailand With Kids

Whether you want a relaxing beach holiday, or something a little bit more adventurous, we know the best places to visit Thailand with kids that fit your family perfectly.

 

Bangkok

Bangkok skyline 

The cultural centre of Thailand, and likely to be where you’ll fly into, Bangkok is a bustling cosmopolitan capital with much more on offer than incredible street food and endless glistening temples (although both are a wonder to behold). It’s home to culture and history alongside luxury hotels, colourful floating markets, old-world architecture in Chinatown, riverboat cruises and thrilling tuk-tuk tours. Bangkok can be overwhelming, so is best for older, outgoing children who enjoy high-energy experiences.

 

Chiang Mai

Temple in Chiang Mai 

Chiang Mai offers a blend of cultural richness and natural beauty, providing families with a serene retreat amidst historic temples and lush landscapes. From here, it’s easy to access national parks to go hiking to the hill tribes, plunge into waterfalls, go kayaking or visit an elephant sanctuary. While it’s a hotspot for active families, there’s also lots for those on a family holiday to Thailand who prefer culture, like listening to the meditative power of monks chanting on tours of the temples or taking a cooking class, for example.

 

Golden Triangle

Elephants in a river in the Golden Triangle 

Surrounded by misty mountains and the winding Mekong River is the Golden Triangle, so called because it is where Laos and Myanmar meet with Thailand. This breathtaking landscape captivates families with emerald-green hills and traditional villages. Beyond the mesmerising scenery are enriching experiences like exploring local tribe cultures, learning about the Mahouts and their relationship with the elephants, taking boat trips down the river, hiking among tea plantations and bamboo forests, or wandering around stunning temples in Chiang Rai.

 

Phuket

Trisara beach in Phuket, Thailand 

Phuket is lucky enough to have over thirty different coves and beaches all of which are picture-perfect. Choosing where to go will mainly depend on what it is you’re looking for from your hotel, which are some of the best family resorts in Thailand. Phuket is mostly about sun, sea, and sand, but there are lots of activities to keep you busy too. Snorkelling and diving are particularly good on Thailand’s west coast beaches. Plus, there are trips to an elephant or turtle sanctuary, and older kids will love the buzz of Phuket Old Town.

 

Krabi

Railay beach in Krabi, Thailand 

On the mainland, just opposite Phuket is Krabi, a beautiful, unspoilt stretch of Thailand. Less built up than Phuket, Krabi is a bit more about barefoot luxury, surrounded by jungle and limestone karsts. It’s within a marine reserve, so the flora, fauna and wildlife are colourful and thriving, and can be seen from mountain walks or kayaks. Krabi is a good option for families with younger kids, as you can fly into Krabi Airport which makes it easily accessible from other parts of Thailand, plus the lovely gently shelving beaches are a playground for toddlers.

 

Koh Lanta

Beach in Koh Lanta 

More remote than some of the other beaches in Thailand, you have to take a boat transfer from Phuket to reach Koh Lanta, making it better for families with older kids. Once you’re on the island, you’re rewarded with pristine, unspoilt beaches, spectacular fresh seafood, whizzy moped rides around the island and sunsets that melt into the horizon. Koh Lanta didn’t have electricity until 1996, and while it does now have some upmarket hotels, it’s the kind of place you go to escape reality and feel like you’re on a desert island. That said, a fair amount is going on in this sleepy paradise too, from island hopping by boat, kayaking, and exploring caves, to cooking and martial arts classes.

 

Koh Samui

Shoreline on Koh Samui 

On the east coast of Thailand is Koh Samui, a place that really has it all for a family holiday to Thailand, particularly for those with young children. You’ve got some of the world’s best resorts, spas and Michelin-star restaurants that sit alongside the more (purposefully) rustic beach shacks. It’s a particularly good destination for first-time visitors to Thailand and nervous travellers as you have world-class hotels with childcare, lots of home comforts (including a Boots), and can relax in the knowledge that you’ll be well looked after. Aside from sipping cocktails by the cerulean sea, Koh Samui is known for its yoga, plus there are boat trips to uninhabited islands and snorkelling trips. The weather in Koh Samui is best between February and September.

 

Things to Do in Thailand With Kids

At Scott Dunn we are specialists in bringing family holidays in Thailand to life, using a range of unique experiences that go beyond the obvious. Think of aromatic local markets, that perfect out-of-the-way restaurant serving the best Pad Thai, spending a day at an elephant sanctuary, walking through tribal villages - the list of experiences is endless. We use the best possible private guides who showcase the finest parts of Thailand, tailor-made for your family.

 

Visit the Beautiful Beaches

Nestled in the Andaman Sea, the Gulf of Thailand and the Indian Ocean, Thailand is a mecca for divers, snorkellers and water babies. Hop from island to island in a glass bottom boat stopping for picnics on secluded beaches. You can’t go wrong whether you pick the east or west coast beaches, where you’ll find calm, shallow seas, which are perfect for new swimmers. Head to Phuket or Koh Samui with your youngest kids for top resorts with amazing kids’ clubs, while Koh Lanta is less developed, giving off desert island vibes that older kids will find thrilling.

 

Explore Incredible Temples

Aside from the gorgeous coastlines, you’ve got a multitude of beautiful world-famous temples like Wat Rong Khun, Wat Phra Kaew and Wat Arun. Many have fortune-telling areas, which is an especially fun hands-on experience for children.

 

Shopping at the Local Markets

Cities like Bangkok have bustling markets where your kids will love bartering with local shop owners, as well as a multitude of shopping malls (great for tweens and teens) with every store imaginable. Make sure to zip around the city in a tuk-tuk, this is sure to be a highlight of your adventure in Thailand with kids.

 

Wildlife Encounters

You can’t visit Thailand without encountering elephants. Special camps in the north and south of the country have fantastic educational programs that specialise in elephant conservation, where your family can feed, wash and trek with adorable elephants.

 

Outdoor Adventures

With so many national parks, there’s a diverse range of interesting activities for adventure-seeking kids - cycle through side streets and rice paddies, sample street food, trek through jungles, canoe through mangroves and raft down rivers. There’s never a dull moment for active families in Thailand.

“My top tip if you are really looking for something special, go to the Golden Triangle. Set within lush hills, you can truly immerse yourselves into the surrounding nature for a once-in-a-lifetime experience walking with the elephants.” Ella Thomas – Travel Specialist, Asia.

Best Family Resorts in Thailand

Here is our pick of the best family resorts in Thailand, from the beach to the city and the countryside.

For Younger kids

Thailand’s beach hotels are best for those with younger children, with easy access via internal flights, kids’ clubs and family rooms, they’ll make holidaying in Thailand a breeze.

Rosewood Phuket
Rosewood Phuket

Just 45 minutes from Phuket's International Airport, the Rosewood is set up for adults and children to have a fabulous holiday. Rooms are in stylish pavilions and villas, with one or two bedrooms, private pools and in secluded locations. There’s a fantastic kids’ club, which is all about embracing the natural setting and avoiding technology, while the wellness centre and spa will iron out any knots you might be carrying.

Anantara Mai Khao
Anantara Mai Khao, Phuket

Anantara Mai Khao is in a quiet part of the north of Phuket, 15 minutes from the airport. With a serene, boutique feel to it, the hotel is ideal for rest and relaxation. It has a kids' club, villas with private pools and lots of dining options that children will love, including a fun seafood barbecue. The location right on the beach can’t be beaten, from there, head out on the hotel’s private yacht or go windsurfing, kayaking, and sailing, while your children are being looked after.

For Older Kids

With older kids, you can travel a bit further afield and look for more adventurous activities to keep them entertained. These are the best hotels for family holidays in Thailand with kids over 10.

Pool Villa, The Pimalai
Pimalai Resort and Spa, Koh Lanta

It takes a bit more effort to get to Koh Lanta than some of the other beaches in Thailand, but it’s worth it, and the boat transfer alone is all part of the excitement. Set on a long stretch of pristine beach, it has amazing multi-bed villas and activities for all the family. With eight restaurants, you have a choice for every night of your stay and kids’ will be sure to find something they love. And if food is your thing, Pimilai Resort has a popular cooking school, as well as an activity centre offering mountain bikes, trekking and tennis. The surrounding waters of the Lanta Marine National Park are excellent for diving or snorkelling and the Pimalai has its own PADI dive centre.

Swimming pool at Rayavadee resort, Krabi
Rayavadee, Krabi

Another property, which is only accessible by boat, Rayavadee is in a beautiful location, but it’s worth knowing that the beach isn’t private so can get busy. However, you have a refuge in the hotel, where there are gorgeous wooden pavilions, an infinity pool, several restaurants and, of course, a spangly spa. Day trips from here are a real treat, head off to the idyllic Phi Phi Islands by boat (35 minutes away) or the Hong Islands which have some fantastic beaches and fascinating rock formations. There’s rock climbing, monkeys to spot, snorkelling and diving too. We seriously recommend dining at the Grotto, a restaurant which is nestled under an ancient limestone cliff, where you can enjoy a lazy lunch or a magical sunset cocktail.

For Multigenerational Families

Thailand is brilliant for multigenerational holidays. With smooth internal flights between locations, hotels that will please the most particular of people, and a mix of relaxation, culture, and adventure activities, everyone is happy!

Soneva Kiri, South Beach
Soneva Kiri, Koh Kood

Soneva Kiri is on a blissful private island reached by private jet, followed by a speedboat. It is a unique property, with a keen focus on sustainability and a dash of whimsy for the kids. Villas range in size from one to six bedrooms, and each comes with a golf buggy and personal butler – known as Friday! Children will be in their element here with the Eco Den kids’ club, a revolutionary kids' area that appears to hang over the forest canopy. There they’ll do creative activities that will pique their imagination and inspire them to be eco-friendly. There’s an outdoor cinema, a giant, bamboo playground shaped like a manta ray, and an ice-cream room with unlimited supplies. For grown-ups, there’s an amazing spa, water sports, private dining options and rainforest tours.

Pool at the Four Seasons Bangkok
Four Seasons, Bangkok

Well-known for its exceptional service, Four Season’s Bangkok is one of the best places to stay in Thailand. There really is something for every age here, from the small kids’ club to their bar, which is currently the best in Asia. There are fantastic food and drink options so you can put the kids to bed and have grown-up conversation after dark. It has family-sized suites, plus it’s in a great location for dipping in and out of the sightseeing Bangkok has to offer.

For Active Families

There is a lot for active families in Thailand, so no matter where you are, you’ll find adventure. But here are the best resorts in Thailand for families that love to be on the move.

Elephants at sunset at Anantara Golden Triangle Elephant Camp and Resort
Anantara Golden Triangle Elephant Camp and Resort - Chiang Rai, Thailand

This is a unique hotel in Thailand’s Golden Triangle, up in the hills, looking out over the three countries – Thailand, Laos and Myanmar. A highlight is its private elephant camp, a beautiful place to see the majestic animals up close by walking with them through the bamboo jungle, helping bathe them or even spending a day learning how to master the art of being a mahout. There are plenty of other activities to keep families busy too, including taking a longtail boat to the neighbouring countries, yoga, mountain biking, tree planting, trekking and a wonderful Thai cookery school. After a day full of exciting experiences, your family can cool off in the free-form infinity-edged swimming pool, which looks down over the tree canopy towards the Mekong River.

Pool at Tamarind Village, Chiang Mai
Tamarind Village, Chiang Mai

Elephant Hills Tented Camp is comprised of two separate camps and is perfect for social families. The main camp has 30 rustic tents surrounding a communal dining area where guests can mingle after their adventures. The second camp has 10 en-suite tents floating on the Cheow-Lan Lake, powered by solar and wind energy. The second camp is the more adventurous option and better suited to families with older children. Elephant Hills offers a light wildlife experience and has expert guides who are extremely knowledgeable about the flora and fauna. While here, you might spot lizards, frogs, exotic birds, or even the odd Gibbon monkey. During your family vacation in Thailand, you must try the elephant interaction experience. All activities are conducted as part of a small group, which is fun because you’ll get to know the other families staying at the camp.

Rainforest Camp, Elephant Hills
Elephant Hills Tented Camp, Khao Sok National Park

Elephant Hills Tented Camp is comprised of two separate camps, and perfect for social families. The main camp has 30 rustic tents surrounding a communal dining area where guests can mingle after their adventures. The second camp has 10 en-suite tents floating on the Cheow-Lan Lake, powered by solar and wind energy. The second camp is the more adventurous option and better suited to families with older children. Elephant Hills offers a light wildlife experience and has expert guides who are extremely knowledgeable about the flora and fauna. While here, you might spot lizards, frogs, exotic birds or even the odd Gibbon monkey. During your stay, your family must try the elephant interaction experience. All activities are conducted as part of a small group, which is fun because you’ll get to know the other families staying at the camp.

For Relaxation

One of the main reasons to go on a family holiday to Thailand is to come back feeling refreshed. With that in mind, here are our favourite hotels that tired parents are calling out for.

Pool Villa, Six Senses Yao Noi
Six Senses Yao Noi, Phang Nga

On a small island in Phang Nga Bay, you will find a slice of paradise. Six Senses hotels know how to do relaxation, specialising in amazing spas and beautiful places to rest your head for the night. This is no exception. Villas come with their own private infinity pool, large sundeck, open-air bathrooms, and a personal villa team trained to know what you need before you do. Larger villas have two bedrooms, so there’s space for families to be together, and there are lots of family-friendly activities, plus a babysitting service. This is a fantastic option for younger kids particularly.

Beach Villa, Four Seasons Samui
Four Seasons Koh Samui, Koh Samui

One of the most exclusive places to stay in Thailand, the Four Seasons is in a quiet bay on the northwest of Koh Samui and is built into the hillside. With coconut palm groves on one side and a practically private beach on the other, you are surrounded by nature. The villas can accommodate families in several different options, including those with private pools. The Four Seasons is known for cleverly embracing children without sacrificing anything for adults and it’s no exception in Koh Samui. While you enjoy the spa, beach and water sports, they will be diving into cooking classes, games of coconut pétanque, having kiddie spa treatments or learning Thai boxing.

Our Thailand Itinerary Ideas

All our holidays are tailor-made for you and your family. We will select the best experiences, hotels and destinations to suit you, but to get started, take a look at some example itineraries that are geared towards family travel.

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11 nights
Epic Thailand

Epic Thailand

Bangkok, Chiang Mai & Koh Yao Noi

Famous for its zingy flavours, colourful floating markets and golden temples, Thailand has got it all in one easy-to-explore package. Blend this with unusual experiences and palm-studded beaches and you’ve got a perfect Thailand tour that will make you the envy of your friends back home. Cool and stylish hotels provide comfort throughout too.

Beach Adventure Fishing

GBP £6,900 pp

CHOICE
10 nights
Thailand with Kids

Thailand with Kids

Bangkok, Koh Samui

This is the perfect two-centre Thailand family tour for those seeking a sunny getaway with young children. Complete the experience with gorgeous palm-fringed beaches, chance encounters with exotic wildlife and a gentle dose of culture mixed in for good measure. For the best weather, we recommend the school holidays between February and September.

Beach

GBP £5,800 pp

12 nights
Family Fun in Laos and Thailand

Family Fun in Laos and Thailand

Luang Prabang, Bangkok, Khao Sok, Koh Lanta

This is a wonderfully varied trip through Laos and Thailand. Take in the sleepy streets of Luang Prabang, relax at a family-friendly resort in Bangkok and discover the beach in Koh Lanta – not forgetting the all-important elephant trekking in Khao Sok National Park. This Thailand family tour is ideal for the December and March school holidays.

Adventure Eco/ethical tourism Culture Off the beaten track

GBP £4,900 pp

11 nights
Exceptional East Coast Thailand

Exceptional East Coast Thailand

Bangkok, Koh Phangan & Koh Samui

Indulge in a relaxing two-centre holiday combining the tropical islands of Koh Phangan and Koh Samui. Recharge in luxurious villas with pools and white-sand beaches within arm's reach. This Thailand tour is the epitome of luxury. To experience these two unique islands at their finest, visit from February to September when the weather is idyllic.

Beach Couples

GBP £5,800 pp

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Ellen Fraser

Asia Specialist

When I was growing up in sunny Southern California, people were always very content with their surroundings, but since travelling to visit family when I was very young, I haven't been able to shake the desire to continue exploring the globe! My theory in life is that you will never know what city is the greatest in the world…until you see every city in the world!

Call us on 020 3918 3595 to start planning your holiday

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