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 bar Antarctica. Sometimes I write guides and how-to pieces, sometimes travel stories, sometimes I’m a travel consultant, 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 always 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.
Here are the top reasons not to worry about taking kids to Thailand. We are never paid to recommend particular hotels here, all views are our own.
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 getting sick. It’s true, we’ve all been fine. We’ve had rare 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, they’re often where you’ll find the best food.
That said, don’t scrimp on the travel insurance, my husband once had excellent emergency surgery in Thailand for a sport related injury, 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 low prices) or you can pay $500/ night for luxury, it’s up to you. 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 that we used recently, really good for families.
We highly recommend checking Hotels Combined if you’re serious about finding the absolute best price for your stay. This booking engine compares multiple online booking engines to find you the best deal available. Hotels.com often has the best deals, they tend to be non-refundable but Hotels.com has a cool stay 10 nights, get 1 free feature. Hotels Combined does check Hotels.com. We also like to use Agoda for Asia as they are the experts for the region and often have a bigger selection, particularly try them for smaller hotels and budget accommodation but they do list luxury hotels, villas and resorts too. They are not one of the sites Hotels Combined checks so click through to them above and have a quick look there too. If you’re the sort to book a long time in advance, reserving multiple hotels on a fully refundable basis, Booking.com is your friend.
In Bangkok and on the main beaches you will pay more than in Chiang Mai and country areas.. 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 in Bangkok for flying visits is Shanti Lodge, a cute, hippy-style guest house near the flower market and river jetty ( below)
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. 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. Or have a look at the boutique hotel I picked for my 50th Birthday in Bangkok last year.
For beaches we enjoy Ko Phangan, where we use Haad Salad Villas, we were there for 6 weeks a couple of years ago and and our beach bungalow came it at just $30/night. 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.
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. We recommend Agoda for researching and booking accommodation in Thailand, they’re specialists and trustworthy. Alternatively try Hotels Combined, they compare rates across multiple booking engines to find you the best possible price on each hotel.
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 train from Bangkok to Chiang Mai is a must-do classic if you have the time and 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 making it very difficult for anyone without a ticket to wander through. I have a post about travelling on 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. Always haggle with tuk tuk drivers, always find a taxi driver with a meter. More tips on getting around Thailand coming soon.
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.
- Thailand Family Travel our Complete Guide. It pulls all our Thailand content together on one page with tips, ideas, hotels, guides and destinations.
- Highlights of Thailand for Families a quick overview of some of the amazing things you can do in Thailand with kids.
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. We tend to book our tours online, find our review of GetYourGuide for tours, activities and transfers here.
We hope you found our look at Thailand with kids and for families useful, we have loads more content on our travel blog. Thailand is great with kids, but if you’re looking for something different, maybe for a family holiday, consider Vietnam, it’s arguably easier, often cheaper and the Vietnamese people are the best.