Thailand: your luxury family holiday destination guide
From lush green islands to stunning white beaches, it’s not just Thailand's beautiful landscapes and warm weather that make it an attractive all-year-round destination. Their welcoming people, sense of community and colourful culture make it a great place for your little ones to experience a part of the world very different from their everyday life.
There’s lots to do, from island-hopping to snorkelling and sightseeing, and The Land of the Smiles has plenty of relaxing, luxurious child-friendly hotels and resorts to choose from. To help you have the best time with your family, here are our recommendations for places to visit and things to do.
Why have a family holiday in Thailand?
Sabai sabai (meaning very relaxed) and sanuk (meaning enjoying everything you do) are ways of life in Thailand. This means the Thai people are warm and welcoming to all visitors, so you’re sure to have a great time here. This is especially true for families, which are at the centre of Thai culture and, as such, will experience some of the best hospitality, however old your children are.
With a high season between November and February, it’s a great place to enjoy a winter getaway or alternative Christmas season with the family. Though there may be more frequent rainfall, the rest of the year also promises warm temperatures and enough sunshine to enjoy days of activities.
Plus, you’re sure to find a location to suit the type of holiday you’re looking for. From bright and fun festivals to idyllic islands, it’s also relatively easy to travel around Thailand by train or internal flights, so you and your children can marvel at all the sights and sounds of this happy, beautiful country.
Best places in Thailand for a family holiday
With a mainland of more than 500,000 square kilometres and hundreds of islands, there’s also plenty to explore in this country. Whether you want to swim in the crystalline waters of the Similan Islands, experience the bustle of Bangkok or see the colourful sights of Phuket, you’ll be sure to find a location to suit your family.
Each point of the compass offers different landscapes and cultures, with some of the highlights including:
- Northern Thailand: with lush green landscapes, mountains and paddy fields, this is the perfect place to experience rural Thai culture. It’s also home to the country’s second city Chiang Mai, a place full of stunning architecture and an ideal spot to meet hill tribes or the elephants that call this region home.
- Southern Thailand: get a sense of the country’s rich history and heritage in the cities of the south island region. The capital, Bangkok, with its lively markets, impressive temples and vibrant nightlife can be found here. Taking a boat trip up the River Kwai or exploring the UNESCO city of Ayutthaya are recommended activities.
- East coast and islands: for a truly relaxing and beautiful beach stay, the east coast has some of the most stunning tropical landscapes. Soneva Kiri is a quiet family-friendly resort surrounded by quiet beaches and undiscovered jungles, with the coconut groves and luxury resorts of Koh Samui within easy reach.
- West coast and islands: if you love exploring underwater environments, then the crystal clear waters of Phuket and Khao Lak are sure to keep you entertained. Rainforests and mountains are also open to explorers on their visit here.
Getting to Thailand
The best way to travel to Thailand is to fly. With six different airports in the country (Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Hat Yai, Krabi, Phuket and Ko Samui) many international charters land in Bangkok, though you may want to look into the availability of flights to other airports depending on your final destination.
There are also many domestic operators in Thailand, meaning you can easily travel from one region to another in a relatively short period of time. Alternatively, the train network is extensive in the country and can get you to lesser-known corners of its regions conveniently. Overnight and Special Express trains are the best options for families, with first-class tickets available to buy days in advance.
To get around the cities or on shorter journeys, tuk tuks and luxury buses will give you an authentic travel experience. If you’re hopping between islands, then there are plenty of ferries which operate from their ports and can often be booked via your hotel or resort.
Luxury hotels in Thailand
For the ultimate luxurious and family-friendly experience, staying at a resort will give you everything you need close alongside access to the local history and culture.
Anantara Golden Triangle Elephant Camp & Resort
Set on the Golden Triangle Ridge where Myanmar, Laos and Northern Thailand meet, the resort overlooks the Mekong River, is home to a family of elephants and surrounded by tranquil jungle. With six family suites, a spa and elephant meet experiences available, this sanctuary promises once-in-a-lifetime stays.
Four Seasons Resort Koh Samui
Embrace the laidback lifestyle of the Koh Samui island in this premium resort. Surrounded by greenery and beautiful blue ocean views, family pool villas and separate residences are available to book. Enjoy a day splashing in the pool before relaxing on your private deck overlooking the Gulf of Siam. With plenty of beach sports and an activity Tree House to explore, there’s lots for the children to enjoy here.
Vijitt Resort Phuket
Enjoy the best of Thai beachfront hospitality on Thailand’s largest tropical island. Just a few steps from beautiful white shores and framed by luscious natural beauty, there are plenty of seaview and pool villas where you can relax and unwind. Plus, with an onsite kids club and several dining options, there’s no need to go too far if you don’t want to.
SAii Phi Phi Island Village
Escape to your own beautiful coconut grove at this private 800-metre beach resort. Dive into the Andaman Sea’s crystal clear waters and head out to Loh Ba Gao Bay before returning to dine at a choice of five restaurants or have more fun in the Dive Centre or Marine Discovery Centre. Bungalows and pool villas are both available to book here.
Anantara Mai Khao Phuket Villas
Just 15 minutes from Phuket Airport and you’ll step into a lagoon paradise. Choose from any of the 83 pool villas and explore the nearby golden beaches and luscious national park. Take a chartered trip for a dive into the Siam Seas or head out for a day on a fishing boat before returning for a traditional omakase or fresh seafood meal.
Family activities in Thailand
Thailand is all about having fun. So no matter what age your children may be, there’s plenty to explore and enjoy across this country.
Swim with tropical fish
Full of beautiful bays and clear waters, there are lots of places to enjoy some snorkelling or diving. The Andaman Sea and Gulf of Thailand have plenty of islands to submerge yourself in the warm ocean and head down into the corals from.
Take a Thai cooking class
Spicy, fresh and very delicious. Each region of Thailand has its own particular dishes, which you and the children can learn more about by booking a cooking class. Available in most resorts and cities, they’re also a great way to meet some of the friendly Thai locals.
Enjoy a tuk-tuk ride
If you’re travelling around Bangkok or Chaing Mai, then enjoying an authentic tuk-tuk ride to see all the sights is highly recommended. Although they’re available to pick up anywhere in the city, booking with a trusted tour operator in advance will make sure you cover everything you want to see.
Explore the National Parks
There’s nothing like a jungle hike or canoe trip to give you a sense of Thailand’s beautiful landscape. Kheo Sok National Park near Phuket and Khao Yai National Park close to Bangkok will give you the opportunity to explore some of the planet’s oldest rainforests, spot local wildlife and enjoy a truly memorable day out.
Make friends with elephants
It wouldn’t be a trip to Thailand without meeting some elephants. Heading to an ethically-run sanctuary or camp will give you and the little ones a chance to interact with these peaceful giants with a clear conscience. The Elephant Nature Park and Jungle Sanctuary near Chaing Mai are two great options to enjoy.
Booking your family holiday to Thailand
If you want some advice on your holiday to Thailand or would like to book your family escape in advance, then many luxury travel companies operate in the country. Exo Travel, Audley Travel and Abercrombie Kent are just a few that are highly recommended for booking a unique and exciting holiday with the children.