Are you worrying about travelling to Thailand with kids? We can help you with that. If you’d like to dip your toe in the water of Asian family travel, taking kids to Thailand would be my top recommendation. We have been to Thailand 20+ times, each trip has been fabulous and problems have been few. But first let me say hi! My name is Alyson and I’ve taken my kids to amazing destinations on every continent bur Antarctica. Sometimes I write guides and how-to pieces, sometimes travel stories, sometimes I’m a travel consultant and blogging mentor, sometimes just a mum, have a look around our site when you’re done with this Thailand with kids blog. We also have a Thailand family travel home page that fills you in on all the nuts and bolts of Thai travel. ( click through on the link)
We started taking our kids to Thailand when they were 4 and 6. Our pre-kids travel experience meant that we weren’t taking a leap into the unknown. Knowing what to expect is reassuring . I can see how parents would worry about maybe trying Asia for the first time so I’m here to try to convince you not to worry, Thailand is great, great for you, great for kids. We also think this sort of travel is an extremely valuable part of a child’s education.
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Here are the top reasons not to worry about taking kids to Thailand.
If you want more detailed ( very detailed!) information on how to visit Thailand with kids, you need our Thailand Travel Guide Page.
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Thailand with Kids is Easy. Stop Worrying!
1. Nobody in my family has even had tummy problems in Thailand
That’s possibly what parents worry about most I think, the children picking up tummy bugs.
It’s true, we’ve all been fine. We’ve had tummy problems over the years in Laos, Malaysia, Cambodia, India and Nepal, but never Thailand.
You have to be careful, obviously. I have seen people get very sick in Thailand. We only drink bottled water, we even clean our teeth with it. We do drink fresh fruit shakes with ice, the children have at least one every day. Ice is generally made with clean water, but follow your gut feeling on that one. We do occasionally eat salad and garnishes and we do eat at street stalls often.
That said, do not scrimp on the travel insurance, my husband once had excellent emergency surgery in Thailand, without good insurance cover, it would have been a different story.
2. Thai food is amazing!
Thai food has to be one of the best cuisines in the world. It’s light, fresh, healthy and delicious. If you’re new to Thai food check out our Beginners’ Guide to Thai Food. It’s not all mouth burningly hot, it’s cheap and available everywhere.
If you or your children aren’t keen on Asian food you will find Starbucks and Mc Donalds, pizza outlets and plenty of mouth watering fresh fruit to keep even the picky eaters happy.
3. Accommodation is Good and Great Value
On a global scale, Thailand has got to be one of the cheapest countries for families to visit. We’ve paid as little as $12/night in country areas ( check out lovely Kanchanaburi for incredibly cheap deals). Top end hotels are affordable and standards are good, they seem to get hotels right in Thailand. Pictured above is the Novotel Phuket Karon Beach Resort and Spa, it’s a dream of a hotel, incredibly good for families.
In Bangkok and on the main beaches you will pay more. For a family of 4 in Bangkok you’re looking at around $40US/night minimum. There are cheaper places, but you’ll struggle to find them online.
A favourite of ours is Shanti Lodge, a cute, hippy-style guest house near the flower market and river jetty in Bangkok. Last time ( December 2016) we payed under $30/night for a family room with bathroom. Tourism is down in Thailand after the death of The King, prices are currently low.
We also recommend Mile Map Hostel in Silom, which has 4 bed family rooms for around $40 per night. This one has good, clean shared bathrooms. We have a post about Mile Map and Silom District here. Silom is a nice part of Bangkok with good transport connections and food and this hostel is good, clean and modern, we stay frequently.
Of course, you can pay a lot more. The stunning Anantara Riverside Resort, Bangkok is the ultimate in top-end luxury, yet at $500/night for a 2 bedroom family suite with breakfast, is still good value. This one has the full “wow!” factor.
A more moderate family holiday budget would be $100/night, for that you can still get a family suite with two bedrooms . Try the Chatrium Riverside Hotel in Silom, one of our favourite areas of Bangkok.
Have a look at the boutique hotel I picked for my 50th Birthday in Bangkok last year. It’s special, I think you’ll like it.
There are hotels at every price point in Bangkok.
For beaches we enjoy Ko Phangan, where we use Haad Salad Villas, we were there for 6 weeks a couple of years ago and it was a blissful time. This beach bungalow came it at just $30/night. This kids want to go back. We’re also fond of Ko Samet, the closest island from Bangkok and easy to get to. We’ve tested out Ko Samui, Phuket and Krabi for you, we’re still writing them up but some Phuket content is already published.
We have a post in development listing all of the good family-friendly places we’ve stayed in Bangkok over the last 3 years, plus some great recommendations. It’s not complete, but could be helpful to you in your planning.
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Some people swear by AirBnB for family travel. We’ve used them with good results in London and the Americas, but never in Asia. I think if you were looking for an apartment rental, AirBnb could work for you here. AirBnb is something you have to sign up for, use our link to receive a discount on future stays.
4. Health care is good in Thailand
Speaking from personal experience, my husband had emergency surgery on Ko Samui, the private hospitals are fantastic. A quick phone call to our insurers to confirm cover and everything was taken care of. Dental care is good too, plenty of Australians take trips to Thailand to get their teeth fixed at reduced prices.
5. If your children are picky eaters, they’ll be fine in Thailand.
It’s not just Thai food. Western food is available too. Kids can stay healthy and eat well on simple foods like eggs, fruit, cheese toasties and chips. Cheese is patchy, admittedly, dairy is thin on the ground in South East Asia and processed cheese appears more regularly than the real stuff. My boys enjoy banana and chocolate roti , fried bananas and sweet potato balls from street vendors as well as the gentler Thai dishes, chicken with vegetables, chicken with cashews, soups like tom ka gai. Thai food isn’t always spiked with chilies. There is a 7-11 convenience store every few paces in Thailand, you’ll never be far from an emergency yoghurt, juice or Milo. There is Mc Donalds, Starbucks and KFC if your kids need that sort of thing.
6. It’s not all sleaze.
Yes, there is a big sex industry in Thailand. Yes, western men visit to pick up Thai girls. Yes, you will see a lot of ladyboys. None of the above has ever bothered us in the slightest in all of Thailand except Patong. If you stay away from the sleazy areas you’ll be fine. You will see lady boys, but most are so good the kids won’t even realise, if that bothers you. My husband doesn’t even realise most of the time! I’ll warn all family travellers to stay away from Patong, it’s not nice.
7. It’s not all drugs and full moon parties.
Thailand has long been a big draw for the gap year kids and there is a big party scene to match. As with the sex trade, if you stay away from the party scene, it won’t bother you at all. We actually took our kids to the full moon party on Ko Phangan, just for the experience, early in the evening. It was fun! It was on the other end of the island and didn’t disturb our six weeks of heaven on Ko Phangan at all.
8. Getting around Thailand is easy.
The sleeper trains in Thailand are excellent. I’m very happy to take my children on them. Admittedly, I prefer to share a bottom bunk with them than let them sleep solo up top, but they have done that and all has been well. The carriages are shut at night and there is an attendant on duty, it would be very difficult for anyone without a ticket to wander through. I have a post about Thai trains here, plus a few more in the Thailand archives. We’ve had good experiences with buses, taxis, river boats and tuk tuks. You won’t find car seats unless you go out of your way to find them. We never have.
9. Thailand is beautiful, the Thai people love kids, the history, culture and architecture are amazing and the beaches are superb.
Thailand is an amazing country. Breathtakingly beautiful temples and palaces, rich culture and lovely beaches. The Thais really do love children, they constantly make a fuss of my curly-haired little one. The kids can get fed up with it sometimes, maybe teach them to say no. Always remember when you travel, that most people are just like you with families that they love, they’re usually there to help you, not harm you.
Here’s my son making a friend on Bangkok’s amazing Khao San Rd. It’s from our post, How to Haggle in Bangkok.
This is for you,
Thailand Family Travel our Complete Guide. It pulls all of our Thailand content together on one page with tips, ideas, hotels and destinations.
Don’t forget your guide book, we always use Lonely Planet, they’re a good read and allow you to learn about the history, culture, food and customs of a country before you visit.