Thailand with Kids

Author: Dan Brewer

Last Updated:

If you are looking for one of the best places for a family trip in Southeast Asia, you should consider traveling to Thailand with kids. We have travelled to many countries around the world with our kids, and we normally have a no-repeat policy, but the lure of Thailand always draws us back for more. And I’m sure we will just keep on coming…

The Thai people are so kind and welcoming, the beaches are stunning, the culture and history is fascinating, and the Thai food is some of the best cuisine in the world. With so many incredible places to travel within Thailand, there are few destinations in Asia better for a family vacation than Thailand.

a 5-year old girl feeds an elephant during a family trip to Thailand.
Feeding elephants in Chiang Mai, Thailand.

This post contains compensated links.

Planning a Thailand Family Vacation

When to Visit Thailand with Kids

Our advice for when to book your family vacation to Thailand is a pretty standard guideline for tropical holidays. Most families (like us) will want to visit Thailand in the winter, especially over their Christmas holidays. If you can’t swing a trip to Southeast Asia in winter, there are also many benefits to visiting Thailand with kids in the summer or early fall.

two small kids walks along a line of Buddha statues at Wat Yai Chaya Mongkol in Ayutthaya Thailand.
Wat Yai Chaya Mongkol in Ayutthaya, Thailand.

High Season in Thailand

High season for Thailand is November – February, in the heart of their ‘cooler’ winter months. The temperatures throughout Thailand are the coolest of the year with typical daily highs around 90°F / 32°C. Another huge benefit of visiting Thailand in high season is lower humidity and the lowest chance of rain all year.

In exchange for the best weather of the year, a visit to Thailand with your kids in high season also means expensive accommodations and big crowds at the top tourist destinations in Bangkok, Chiang Mai and the southern beach destinations. Book your accommodations as early as possible if you are planning a family vacation to Thailand during high season.

two small kids on a family trip to Thailand in December, play in the sand on Railay Beach.

Shoulder Season in Thailand

Shoulder season for visiting Thailand with kids tends to be in June – October. Yes, this is technically monsoon season in Thailand, but the rain usually comes in short, hard bursts leaving the rest of the day dry. If you can schedule your Thailand vacation during shoulder season, you will enjoy less tourists crowds and more affordable accommodations.

Although Thailand is well-equipped to deal with the monsoon rains, some areas of Thailand can be impacted by the rain. We recommend doing a deeper dive into your destination during shoulder season to ensure it’s right for your family.

two kids walk on a bridge of logs at Erawan Waterfall National Park Thailand.
Erawan National Park.

How Long to Visit Thailand with Kids

Thailand is blessed with a wide variety of destinations for families to choose from. Families can choose from the history and craziness of Bangkok, the mountains of Chiang Mai and the picture-postcard beaches of Phuket.

With so many world-renowned tourism regions to choose from, you could easily visit Thailand with kids for over a month and still not see everything. Traveling with kids, this isn’t typically realistic, so coming up with the best Thailand itinerary for your family will depend entirely on your interests and how much time you have.

two small kids visit the Wat Phrathat Doi Suthep temple in Chiang Mai Thailand.
The wonders of Wat Phrathat Doi Suthep temple in Chiang Mai.

Our Two Family Trips to Thailand

We have visited Thailand with our kids on two occasions now, spending a total of 47 days. Our first family trip to Thailand was 28 days, taking us to all corners of the country, from Chiang Mai in the north to the beaches of Phuket in southern Thailand. Our second family vacation to Thailand was 19 days long with visits to Khao Sok National Park, the beaches of Koh Lanta and Ao Nang (with a short side trip to Siem Reap, Cambodia).

an 8-year old boy sits on a longtail boat in Khao Sok National park at sunrise.
Khao Sok National Park

For each trip we created our Thailand itinerary by focusing on the interests of every family member. Celine and I wanted to see the natural beauty of Thailand, so we planned on visiting some of the national parks. We also wanted to visit some of the best cultural destinations, while the kids wanted plenty of time enjoying the stunning white sand beaches Thailand is famous for.

Thailand is a huge country, so you’ll need to factor in travel times between your destinations (via local flights, trains, ferries and/or private transfers). Travel days can be a great way to give your kids some downtime, especially after some of the more active destinations.

Celine Brewer, from the Family Can Travel blog, plays with her kids while on Khlong Dao Beach at sunset.
Sunset fun in Koh Lanta, Thailand.

Below we share our original 28-day Thailand trip itinerary as well as our more recent 19-day Thailand itinerary. As you can see, for each trip we tried to find a balance between the places we wanted to see, as well as plenty of family-friendly attractions in Thailand for kids.

If you’d prefer a 2-week itinerary for your Thailand family holiday, we offer some suggestions below on how to reduce our Thailand family trips into a two week Thailand itinerary.

A giant masked warrior at the Emerald Buddha Temple in Bangkok, Thailand.
Emerald Buddha Temple, Bangkok.

Getting Around Thailand with Kids

A southeast Asia tourism powerhouse, it’s super-easy to get around Thailand with kids. Chances are good that you’ll be flying into Bangkok to begin your family vacation to Thailand. Bangkok has two major airports which are great starting points for your trip.

We do not recommend getting a rental car for your family trip to Thailand, especially not in Bangkok. If you plan on visiting Bangkok with your kids, we recommend downloading the Grab app and setting up an account before you leave home. Grab is the southeast Asia version of Uber and it’s super easy to use in English.

two kids sit in the back of a pink tuk tuk while on a family vacation to Bangkok.
Kids love the tuk tuk rides in Thailand!

We’ve used nearly every mode of transportation imaginable to get around Thailand. Traveling with kids, we try to keep things as easy as possible, so we generally leave the local buses to the backpacking crowd.

Here are the best ways to get around Thailand with kids:

Flying in Thailand with Kids

Domestic flights within Thailand are cheap and easy. We’ve flown many times domestically within Thailand with our kids, and always found it an enjoyable way to cover long distances, especially when traveling to the southern beach areas of Krabi or Phuket.

Flying from Bangkok to Krabi Thailand.

Overnight Trains in Thailand with Kids

One thing we have learned traveling the world with our kids is that they love sleeping on trains. One of the most popular ways to get from Bangkok to Chiang Mai is to take the overnight train. Not only is it a fun family adventure, but you’ll also avoid paying for a nights’ hotel stay, leaving more money in your budget for mango sticky rice at every meal.

a 5-year old girl is excited to be on an overnight train to Chiang Mai while on a family holiday to Thailand.
Kids LOVE sleeper trains!

Private Transfers

When traveling shorter distances on our Thailand family holidays, rather than fussing with local buses, we have had great success using private transfers. One of our best tips for traveling to Thailand with kids, 12Go makes it super easy to arrange a private transfer from doorstep to doorstep. You can often arrange car seats in advance.

an 8-year old boy enjoys the comfort of a private van transfer while on a family vacation to Thailand.
Riding in style from Khao Sok National Park to Koh Lanta.

As you’ll see in our family Thailand itineraries below, we’ve used 12Go on many occasions. It’s a wonderful, yet affordable luxury on your Thailand family vacation.

an 8-year old boy enjoys the comfort of a private van transfer while on a family vacation to Thailand.

Recommended Transportation in Thailand

We have used 12Go for many private transfers within Thailand. They also sell bus, train and plane tickets making it so easy to travel around Thailand with kids.

Where to Stay in Thailand with Kids

One thing we’ve learned from our family vacations to Thailand, is that there is a huge variety of family-friendly accommodations. We’re sure you will find the perfect place to stay for your family.

For our first trip to Thailand, our kids were 3 & 5, so our priority was to have kitchen facilities to ensure we had food our kids could eat (while we ate amazing takeaway Thai food). Because of this need, we found vacation rentals to be the best option for our family on our first family trip to Thailand.

In addition to kitchen facilities, we also enjoyed additional family-friendly amenities such as laundry facilities and separate bedrooms. Don’t underestimate the value of separate bedrooms – not only can you have some privacy at night, but when you kids are well rested, they are much better travelers.

Vacation rentals often have pools.

Thai food is some of our favorite cuisine on Earth, but it’s not always the most kid-friendly food. If you are traveling to Thailand with a picky eater, check out our post on how to find food in Thailand for kids.

Our priorities had changed somewhat for our most recent family vacation to Thailand. Our kids were now 8 & 10 and our kids now put a high priority on buffet breakfasts and swimming pools. On this trip, we stayed exclusively in family-friendly hotels. Due to the many benefits involved, we still put a big priority on staying in hotels with separate bedrooms. We share our hotel choices in the destination posts we link to throughout this post.

a 10-year old girl sits on a bed in a very colorful room at the Phranakorn-Nornlen Hotel in Bangkok, Thailand.
We LOVED our hotel in Bangkok!

Tip: This is pretty obvious, but it is hot and muggy in Thailand, so ensure your accommodations have air conditioning to help everyone get a good night’s sleep. A swimming pool is another family-friendly amenity which rewards kids for a good day of travelling!

Our Thailand Family Trip Itineraries

To help you plan your family trip to Thailand, we will share our two itineraries for Thailand with kids.

Family travel is all about finding balance. Although we planned many family friendly activities in Thailand for the kids, we also added activities we love to do (like hiking and cycling) to our itineraries. You’ll see each of our family-friendly Thailand itineraries tried hard to achieve a good balance, hopefully making parents and kids happy and satisfied.

Celine Brewer, of Family Can Travel, models her new elephant pants with her daughter on a family trip to Thailand.
Gotta get those elephant pants when visiting Thailand with kids!

Trip #1: Thailand 28-Day Itinerary Overview (Younger Kids)

  • Day 1: Bangkok
  • Days 2-5: Kanchanaburi & Erawan National Park
  • Days 6-9: Ayutthaya
  • Days 10-15: Chiang Mai
  • Days 16-20: Ao Nang (Railay Beach)
  • Days 21-27: Phuket
  • Day 28: Bangkok

28 Day Thailand Itinerary & Best Things to do in Thailand with Kids

As mentioned above, this was our very first family trip to Thailand when our kids were aged 3 & 5. We loved spending a month in Thailand with kids over the Christmas holidays. Traveling with small kids, we tried to slow down our pace to give us sufficient time to explore each area and find some of the best things to do in Thailand with kids.

Celine Brewer, of FamilyCanTravel.com, splashed water on an elephant at a sanctuary in Thailand.

Day 1: Bangkok

Given we had explored it in great depth before kids, we had little interest in visiting Bangkok with young kids. After an epic travel day from Canada, we grabbed a hotel near the Suvarnabhumi Airport, where the kids could reset by playing in the pool for a while. In the morning, we took a private transfer to Kanchanaburi.

Days 2-5: Kanchanaburi & Erawan National Park

You may know Kanchanaburi, Thailand as it is home to the Bridge over the River Kwai, but we were drawn there due to its proximity to Erawan National Park. A destination off the typical tourist trail in Thailand, our three days in Kanchanaburi with kids was a fun introduction to this amazing country.

Despite being very jet lagged, we still crammed a lot of kid-friendly activities into our visit to Kanchanaburi.

Celine Brewer, of FamilyCanTravel.com, goes kayaking on the River Kwai while on a family trip to Kanchanaburi Thailand.
Cycling to Wat Ban Tham

Our first family adventure in Thailand was to rent bicycles to visit the nearby Wat Ban Tham Buddhist temple, set amidst stunning limestone mountains. With our kids in their carriers we brought from home, we navigated through Kanchanaburi’s vibrant streets, markets, and alongside the River Kwai, enjoying warm smiles from the locals (Thai people love kids!).

The bike ride to Wat Ban Tham was a mix of urban landscapes and scenic countryside roads, leading us to an impressive cemetery and eventually to the temple.

The ascent to the Wat Ban Tham temple was an adventure in itself, featuring a climb through a dragon sculpture and beautiful Buddhist scenes, ending with breathtaking views from a golden stupa at the top. Our kids, carried safely in their carriers for the steep parts, were troopers throughout the journey.

two kids explore the Wat Ban Tham temple in Kanchanaburi Thailand.
Kayaking on the River Kwai

Famous for its bridge, the flow on the River Kwai is quite gentle, making it the perfect place for our very first family kayaking adventure. Starting at a Buddhist temple, our kayak journey down the River Kwai took us through picturesque, tree-lined riverbanks and past various bird species.

A highlight was kayaking under the iconic Bridge on the River Kwai, moving from scenic natural landscapes to areas lined with resorts and restaurants.

The tranquil river, with its gentle current and glass-like water, was perfect for a family outing. The stable, 2-person kayaks ensured safety for the children, offering a peaceful and enjoyable experience without any other boats in sight until we neared the town.

a 5 year old girl on a family trip to Kanchanaburi enjoys a kayaking trip on the River Kwai.
Erawan National Park

On our final day in Kanchanaburi with kids, we visited Erawan National Park with a private driver. Erawan National Park boasts the family-friendly Erawan Falls, a series of seven stunning waterfalls, each with a swimming area.

The hike to the first four waterfalls is easy, following a paved path through the jungle. Our kids managed to hike to the fifth waterfall, where the trail becomes more challenging with tree roots and rocks. We then returned to the third waterfall for a swim, our favorite spot with its single, free-falling cascade and shallow edges for the kids.

two kids play in the water beneath a waterfall at Erawan National Park, Thailand.
Waterfall at Kanchanaburi Thailand

Recommended Tour

You can visit Kanchanaburi & Erawan National Park on a 2-day tour from Bangkok!

An interesting part of our visit to Erawan National Park with kids was encountering “kissing fish” in the water. The small kissing fish gently nibble at the skin on your feet – some people love the feeling, while others (like me) find it extremely ticklish. Overall, visiting Erawan Falls was our favorite experience in Kanchanaburi!

Read More

See our full itinerary, along with recommended places to stay and eat in our full blog post about our family trip to Kanchanaburi.

Days 6-9: Ayutthaya

Ayutthaya was the culture stop on our first trip to Thailand with kids. The former capital of Siam, Ayutthaya is packed with fun and interesting temples to explore. Here are the best things to do in Ayutthaya with kids:

Cycling to the Off-Island Ayutthaya Temples

Our Ayutthaya vacation home offered free bikes so, with our kids in carriers, we set out to explore off-island temples. Navigating Ayutthaya’s side streets, we discovered hidden gems like lesser-known temples and local houses.

Our first stop was Wat Yai Chaya Mongkol, an impressive temple dating back to 1357 AD, featuring a tall Chedi and hundreds of seated Buddhas. Climbing to the top of the Chedi, we enjoyed panoramic views and also admired a large reclined Buddha in a golden robe.

Two kids admire a Buddha statue at the Wat Yai Chaya Mongkol in Ayutthaya Thailand.
The Thai temples were so interesting to the kids.

After a lunch break, we visited our second temple, Wat Chai Wattanaram. Built in 1630 in Khmer style, it boasts a 115-foot central prang, surrounded by smaller ones and tall brick walls with beheaded Buddha statues, remnants of Ayutthaya’s destruction in 1767.

Bang Pa-In Palace

It’s easy to get “temple overload”, so we took a day trip to Bang Pa-In Palace, a former summer retreat for Thai kings, located about 10 miles south of Ayutthaya. Instead of a private taxi offered by our vacation home host for 500 baht (~$16 USD), we chose a train adventure.

two kids wait to board a train to Bang Pa-In Palace during a family vacation to Ayutthaya Thailand.
The trains were so much fun in Thailand!

We traveled in a 3rd class train carriage side-by-side with friendly locals – an experience our kids loved. Due to a few delays along the way, our visit to Bang Pa-In Palace was brief but fulfilling, as we admired the Palace’s exquisite gardens and buildings.

A surprise parade with decorated elephants during the tuk-tuk journey back added to the day’s adventure, proving that unexpected experiences enrich family travel.

a parade of brightly decorated elephants in Ayutthaya Thailand.
The elephant parade was a fun surprise!
Wat Yai Chaya Mongkol in Ayutthaya Thailand with Kids

Recommended Tour

If you don’t have time for a full day trip on your Thailand trip to Thailand, you can easily take a day tour to Ayutthaya from Bangkok.

Exploring the On-Island Ayutthaya Temples

Waking up to unexpected heavy rain in Thailand’s dry season, we quickly bought some cheap rain ponchos and set out to explore Ayutthaya’s top temples.

Our first stop was Wat Phra Mahathat, known for its Buddha head entwined in tree roots, offering a sense of ancient wonder. Next, we visited Wat Ratburana, notable for its detailed carvings on the main prang, surrounded by smaller ones, which was a manageable and enjoyable walk for the kids. Our final temple, Wat Phra Si Sanphet, stood out with its three large central Chedis, a former royal temple without monks.

the famous Budhha head at the Wat Phra Mahathat temple in Ayutthaya Thailand.

Exploring Ayutthaya’s temples was a really fun thing to do with kids, and to us, it felt like a miniature Angkor Wat – bringing up all kinds of great memories.

Read More

Get a suggested itinerary for your family trip to Ayutthaya in our blog post about our visit.

Days 10-15: Chiang Mai

Chiang Mai is a fantastic destination in Thailand for families with its child-friendly attractions and cultural experiences. We visited Chiang Mai with kids for the amazing outdoor activities, elephant encounters and the city’s important historical sites. The city’s smaller size and welcoming atmosphere make it easy to navigate.

two small kids have fun looking at temples in Chiang Mai Temples on a family trip to Thailand.

With so much to see and do, we spent 6 days exploring the wonders of Chiang Mai with kids. Here are the highlights:

Chiang Mai Temples

Arriving in Chiang Mai at 7:30 am by night train from Ayutthaya, our kids were visibly tired, having slept three hours less than usual, which affected their mood and behavior throughout the day. In response, we kept out first day simple by exploring Chiang Mai’s Old Town, briefly visiting impressive temples like Wat Phra Singh and Wat Phan Tao.

two small kids explore the temples in Chiang Mai while on a family trip to Thailand.

We had been going pretty hard our first week in Thailand with kids, so we spent the afternoon relaxing at the condo pool, and we ended the day with delivered Pizza Hut, a comforting choice for our kids who don’t love Thai food.

Elephant Nature Park

Experiencing an elephant sanctuary was a priority for our family visit to Chiang Mai. After extensive research for the ideal location, we chose Elephant Nature Park. Located about an hour north of Chiang Mai, this ‘no riding‘ camp provided an incredible day. Our kids thoroughly enjoyed feeding, walking alongside, and even playing in the mud with the elephants.

a 3-year old feeds sugarcane to an elephant at the Elephant Nature Park in Chiang Mai, Thailand.

Read More

You can read more about our amazing visit to Elephant Nature Park with kids.

Hike to Wat Phrathat Doi Suthep

If you follow our family travel blog at all, you know we can’t go long without a hike. This time, we chose to hike the Monk’s Trail, a moderate uphill path to Wat Phrathat Doi Suthep in Chiang Mai, with a midway stop at Wat Pha Lat.

a father hikes with his 5-year old daughter to Wat Phrathat Doi Suthep along the Monk's Trail in Chiang Mai, Thailand.
Dobongsan Trail Map on AllTrails

AllTrails Map

Easily find your day to Wat Phrathat Doi Suthep by downloading the trail map for the Monk’s Trail.

Starting on the western edge of Chiang Mai, we followed a trail marked by worn golden monk robe strips. The hike, shaded by dense forest and accompanied by a stream, was pleasant despite the occasional mosquito and ant trails.

The first temple, Wat Pha Lat, provided a serene break before continuing the steeper second leg to Wat Phrathat Doi Suthep. Our total hike time was about 2.5 hours, with our kids walking most of the way, except along busy roads and the final steep stretch.

Reaching Wat Phrathat Doi Suthep on foot was rewarding; it’s a stunning temple with breathtaking views over Chiang Mai.

two small kids on a family holiday to Chiang Mai, Thailand enjoy exploring Chiang Mai Wat Phrathat Doi Suthep.
a father hikes with his 5-year old daughter to Wat Phrathat Doi Suthep along the Monk's Trail in Chiang Mai, Thailand.

Recommended Tour

If you’d prefer not to go it alone, you can take a guided hike to Wat Pha Lat and Wat Phrathat Doi Suthep.

Chiang Mai Countryside Bike Tour

Cycling through the countryside around Chiang Mai was one of the highlights of our time here. We found a kid-friendly tour operator who offered a 35-mile (57 km) family bike ride that started with a 30-minute train ride to Lamphun. Our day was filled with a scenic return ride to Chiang Mai, punctuated by temple visits and sampling authentic local cuisine.

a father enjoys a family-friendly Chiang Mai bike tour with his daughter.

Read More

We loved this family biking experience in Chiang Mai. You can check out our full story on this bike tour with kids in Chiang Mai.

Doi Inthanon National Park

We love exploring nature with our kids, so a visit to Doi Inthanon National Park near Chiang Mai was a must. We hired a private driver for the day, who took us to Wachirathan Waterfall, where the cooler high altitude climate was refreshing.

Doi Inthanon National Park is home to Thailand’s highest point, which offered a unique chance to see Thai people feeling cold. From the summit, we descended to the pagodas built for the King and Queen’s 60th birthdays. We then had one of the best meals of our trip, when asked our driver to bring us to a local’s restaurant for a very authentic experience.

two small kids standing front of a waterfall at Doi Inthanon National Park while on a family trip to Chiang Mai.

The highlight of our visit to Doi Inthanon National Park was the Ban Mae Klang Luang Nature Trail, a lush, less-touristy hike through forests, past waterfalls, and a village, showcasing local agriculture. While some parts were challenging for our kids, the trail’s natural beauty and tranquility made it a memorable part of our visit to Doi Inthanon.

two small kids standing front of a waterfall at Doi Inthanon National Park while on a family trip to Chiang Mai.

Recommended Tour

Easily see all the highlights on a small-group guided tour of Doi Inthanon National Park from Chiang Mai.

Read More

Get full details on all the amazing family-friendly things to do in our post on visiting Chiang Mai with Kids.

Days 16-20: Ao Nang (Railay Beach)

After spending two weeks exploring temples in the north, we were ready to experience some of the best family-friendly beaches in Thailand. Picking a beach destination in Thailand was tough with so many awesome options, but we finally landed on Ao Nang. The setting is amazing with massive limestone karst mountains everywhere, both on land and out in the sea.

Noppharat Thara Beach

We stayed right by Noppharat Thara Beach, just northwest of Ao Nang’s main spot. It’s a bit off the beaten path and way less crowded, which is the way we like it. The beach is gorgeous – golden sand, clear, shallow water, surrounded by those epic limestone karsts.

Celine Brewer, of the Family Can Travel blog, plays in the ocean with her son at Noppharat Thara Beach, in Ao Nang, Thailand.

It’s also super clean and great for shell collecting. We spent the whole morning wandering the beach, playing in the water, and shell hunting. Even in peak season, Noppharat Thara Beach was almost empty, with more locals than tourists.

Railay Beach

The fast & fun longtail boat ride to Railay Beach was a scenic journey along the rugged coast, lined with those iconic limestone mountains.

Railay Beach is gorgeous, hemmed in by towering karsts. It’s only reachable by boat, adding to its charm. The beach was busy but not overwhelmingly so, even in peak season. The sandy stretch is perfect for kids, though a bit short on shells for collecting. The water’s shallow, but watch out for some seafloor rocks.

a 3 year old boy wearing a lifejacket is all smiles on the sand at Railay Beach Thailand.

Railay Beach was a hit – stunning views and a blast for the kids with its soft sand and calm waters.

Long-Tail Boat Trip to Hong Island

Our day trip from Ao Nang Beach to Hong Island kicked off with a choppy but scenic longtail boat ride to Hong Island’s stunning lagoon, surrounded by lush hills and shallow, turquoise water.

The main beach at Hong Island was more challenging to access due to some big waves, but we managed to explore it and its protected lagoon. Lifejackets for the kids were a must in the water, and water shoes helped navigate the seashell-strewn shallows. This beach, with its powdery white sand, felt even more beautiful than Railay Beach, framed by imposing limestone cliffs.

Hong Island with kids in Thailand.

After some fun in the sun and a nature trail hike, a sudden thunderstorm sent us seeking shelter. Our return trip was a bit intense with high waves, but our kids, unfazed, slept through it. Despite the adventurous return, Hong Island was a worthwhile experience, teaching our kids resilience and adaptability.

Hong Island with kids in Thailand

Recommended Tour

We took a longtail boat to Hong Island. These days the fastest way to get there is on a speed boat tour to Hong Island.

Railay Beach Kayaking

We returned to Railay Beach to go kayaking, and thankfully, the long-tail boat ride there was way smoother than our bumpy trip back from Hong Island. We’d been eyeing those calm waters and stunning limestone karsts on our first visit, so we quickly rented a three-seater kayak upon arrival.

Close up, the limestone cliffs were amazing, with stalactites, birds, and plants. We paddled out to two nearby islands, weaving through a small gap between them, and soaked up the incredible views.

a 5 year old on a kayak at Railay Beach, Thailand.

Read More

Keep reading this post as we visit Ao Nang with kids again 5 years later, and find some great new beaches!

Days 21-27: Phuket

We celebrated our Christmas in Thailand with kids with a week on the beach in Phuket. There are a lot of kid-friendly things to do in Phuket, but we elected to live the good life and just spend our time exploring the many kid-friendly beaches in Phuket.

Kamala Beach

Kamala Beach is a pretty amazing Phuket beach with its soft golden sand and gentle ocean floor, perfect for kids since they won’t need water shoes. It’s not a super long beach, so it can feel a bit crowded at times.

If you visit Kamala Beach when the tide is going out or before the jet skis start up, you should find some peaceful water. But watch out, the water sports bring in big waves that can catch the little ones off guard.

a crowded Kamala Beach, in Phuket Thailand.
Bang Tao Beach

With 5 miles / 8 km stretch of sand, Bang Tao Beach is one of the most popular beaches in Phuket. We heard the southern half near the resorts gets pretty packed, so we had our Grab driver drop up off further north. We found a great spot, far away from the crowds.

The ocean at Bang Tao Beach deepens fast, and the waves were a bit much for our little ones, so we stuck close when in the water. The beach itself is gorgeous with turquoise waters and soft, golden sand. It’s so long that it never feels too busy, and the ocean floor is super smooth. Not much in the way of seashells or sea life, but still a great spot to relax and enjoy.

the Family Can Travel kids play with sand toys while on a family vacation to Phuket Thailand.

Trip #2: Thailand 19-Day Itinerary Overview (Older Kids)

  • Day 1: Bangkok
  • Days 2-5: Siem Reap, Cambodia (Angkor Wat)
  • Day 6: Surat Thuni
  • Days 7-10: Khao Sok National Park
  • Days 11-15: Koh Lanta
  • Days 16-18: Ao Nang
  • Day 19: Bangkok

19 Day Thailand Itinerary & More Great Activities in Thailand with Kids

This was our second family trip to Thailand, returning 5 years later when our kids were aged 8 & 10. Although their schooling required a shorter trip this time, we still packed a ton of fun stuff into our three weeks in Thailand with kids over the Christmas holidays.

Traveling with older kids allowed us to be a little more aggressive with our itinerary, covering more ground over shorter times than on our first trip. As with our first trip, we tried hard to find a balance which would please everyone and I’m pretty confident we enjoyed some of the best places to visit in in Thailand with kids.

Day 1 – Bangkok with Kids

For all the same reasons, we didn’t want to spend a ton of time in Bangkok with our kids, but given we had a flight to Cambodia the very next day, we decided to spend one day showing our kids around.

Our 17-hour flight from Canada landed early in the morning, so after checking into our family-friendly hotel, we set out on foot to see the highlights of Bangkok with our kids.

an 8-year old boy sits by the river in Bangkok, Thailand.

Over the course of a single day in Bangkok, we were able to visit three major attractions:

The Emerald Buddha Temple

One of the most amazing temples in Thailand, this is a great introduction to Thai Buddhist culture for kids. Although the Emerald Buddha is the star of this show, we loved the massive statues of Thai masked warriors, guarding each exit in pairs. Given it was 34°C / 93°F outside, our son’s favorite part was the misting fans throughout the property.

two warrior statues stand on guard at the Emerald Buddha Temple in Bangkok, Thailand.
The Royal Palace

A very large and impressive building, you pass the Royal Palace on your way out of the Emerald Buddha Temple. You can’t really get close or go in though.

Wat Phra Temple

The Wat Phra Temple is another excellent attraction in Bangkok for kids. It’s main attraction is a huge reclined golden buddha – one of the largest in Thailand. In addition to the giant Buddha, the rest of the large complex is a joy to explore. Our daughter really liked the little mini-gardens throughout, with animal sculptures, trees and orchids.

the head of the largest reclined Buddha in Thailand - found at the Wat Phra Temple in Bangkok.
A giant masked warrior at the Emerald Buddha Temple in Bangkok, Thailand.

Recommended Tour

We did these three temples independently, but you can also see them on a private family-friendly tour of Bangkok.

Where to Stay in Bangkok with Kids

15 years ago, when Celine and I spent a lot of time in Bangkok, we stayed at one of our favorite hotels of all time – the Phranakorn-Nornlen Hotel, not far from Ko San Road. It’s a colorful, quirky hotel with lots of old toys as decorations.

For fun, we decided to return to this hotel on our one night in Bangkok with kids. As a bonus, this time around we stayed in a family room, which is two adjoining rooms with a queen bed and two twins. We loved it just as much the second time around.

a 10-year old girl sits on a bed in a very colorful room at the Phranakorn-Nornlen Hotel in Bangkok, Thailand.

Hotel Recommendation

Phranakorn-Nornlen Hotel

We loved the Phranakorn-Nornlen Hotel the first time, and it was even better when we returned 15 years later with kids!

Days 2-5: Siem Reap, Cambodia (Angkor Wat)

Ok, as this is a post on visiting Thailand with kids, I won’t get into too much details here. But, I will say that our three days in Siem Reap with kids was an easy and amazing side-trip from Thailand.

We spent two of our three days on a private tour of Angkor Wat and the surrounding temples. While on our third day, we took an incredible 3-hour food tour in Siem Reap.

a 10-year old girl poses for a funny picture during a private 2-day tour of Angkor Wat with her family.
Monkeying around at Angkor Wat.
Dan and Celine Brewer, stand in front of Angkor Wat during their trip to Siem Reap with kids.

Recommended Tour

We really enjoyed our comprehensive 2 day private tour of Angkor Wat. Seeing Angkor Wat at sunrise is an experience you won’t soon forget.

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If you are interested in learning more about our little side trip to Cambodia, we have a full post on our three days in Siem Reap with kids.

Tip: If you leave Thailand and then come back, ensure your country is allowed multiple entries into Thailand. We once traveled with a couple who only had a single entrance visa for Thailand and were refused entry back into the country.

Day 6: Surat Thuni

Day 6 was simply a travel day. Our day involved two flights on AirAsia from Siem Reap, Cambodia to Bangkok to Surat Thuni. We were on our way to a very remote floating resort in Khao Sok National Park, so we spent the night in Surat Thuni, allowing us to finish our journey to the national park in the morning.

Surat Thuni is not a tourist destination in-of-itself, but it is a common launching point for trips to Khao Sok National Park and the popular eastern islands of Koh Samui and Koh Tao. If you find yourself in Surat Thuni for a night, check out the Blu Monkey Hotel. It’s a fun place to stay for a night and has adjoining rooms, perfect for a family.

the kids from FamilyCanTravel.com read their books before bedtime at the Blu Monkey Hotel in Surat Thani, Thailand.

Days 7-10: Khao Sok National Park

Given our second family trip to Thailand was also over the Christmas holiday, we wanted to find somewhere extra special to stay for Christmas. When we discovered the 500Rai Floating Resort in Khao Sok National Park, we knew we had found it.

Dan and Celine Brewer, owners of the Family Can Travel blog, enjoy a 4-night stay at the 500 Rai Floating Resort in Thailand.

The 500 Rai Floating Resort is a family-friendly luxury hotel in Khao Sok National Park, widely considered one of the most beautiful locations in Thailand. Families can rent a floating bungalow on Chew Lan Lake, a massive lake in the middle of a mountain range of rugged karst limestone mountains. The scenery is jaw-droppingly beautiful.

We loved the ability open the doors of our floating bungalow and jump off our dock right into the warm waters of Chew Lan Lake. There’s a wide variety on on-resort and off-resort activities ranging from sunrise yoga to wildlife safaris to see the wild elephants in the national park.

the floating bungalows at the 500 Rai Floating Resort on Cheow Larn Lake in Khao Sok National Park.

Days 11-15: Koh Lanta

So, we had been in Cambodia and Thailand for 10 days so far, and although we had gotten plenty wet at the Cheow Lan Lake, we still hadn’t seen a beach. It was about time for this family to start building some sandcastles!

the kids from the Family Can Travel blog watch an entertaining fire show on Khlong Dao Beach while on a family trip to Ko Lanta.
A fire show on the beach in Koh Lanta.

Celine and I had visited the eastern islands of Ko Samui and Ko Tao before kids, and on our last family trip to Thailand, we spent a lot of time in Phuket, so we wanted to try a new family-friendly beach destination in Thailand.

We decided to spend 5 days in Koh Lanta, a comparatively sleepy little island just a little bit south of Phuket and Ao Nang.

We stayed at a beach resort right on Khlong Dao Beach – a beautiful 1.2 mile / 2 km long stretch of white sandy beach. Beach walking is one of our family’s favorite things to do on holidays and Khlong Dao Beach was just perfect for it with soft sand, epic scenery and great beachcombing.

two kids play in small waves on Khlong Dao Beach, Thailand.

Our family can’t sit still for very long though, so we broke up our beach days with two excellent family friendly activities in Koh Lanta:

Koh Lanta Kayak Tour including a visit to Skull Island

Our kids learned how to kayak by themselves during our stay at 500Rai, so we decided to build on this success by booking a kid-friendly kayak tour around Koh Lanta.

This excellent tour explored the eastern shores around Koh Lanta Noi (the northern island). Highlights of our kayak tour included a stop at Skull Island, including a quick hike up into the Skull (super cool!!), and some easy, yet beautiful sea kayaking under the towering cliffs of Koh Talabeng Island.

Skull Island is one of the top attractions in Koh Lanta, Thailand.
Skull Island! How cool is that?!?

Along the way, we got to see monkeys, explore caves, go for a swim and enjoy a delicious Thai lunch on a traditional longboat. We loved our family kayaking tour in Koh Lanta.

Dan Brewer, of the Family Can Travel blog, kayaks with his son on a family trip to Thailand.

Recommended Tour

Our family-friendly Koh Lanta kayaking tour was one of our favorite things to do during our visit to this amazing Thai island!

Lanta Elephant Sanctuary

On our first family trip to Thailand, we took the kids to the Elephant Nature Park in Chiang Mai. It was such a big hit with the kids, that we wanted to do it again in Koh Lanta.

Our visit to the no-ride Lanta Elephant Sanctuary with kids was every bit as amazing, if not more so. We got to spend a ton of time around 5 beautiful Asian elephants, feeding them, petting them, grooming them and even bathing them.

a 10-year old girl enjoys bathing an elephant at the Lanta Elephant Sanctuary.
a 10-year old girl touches an Asian elephant on the trunk at the Lanta Elephant Sanctuary.

Recommended Tour

Don’t miss out on a visit to the Koh Lanta Elephant Sanctuary. It’s an experience we won’t soon forget!

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Get more details on our family trip to Koh Lanta including things to do, where to stay and where to eat.

Days 16-18: Ao Nang

Normally we don’t like going back to places we’ve already been, but we needed a beach destination in-between Koh Lanta and Bangkok. Ao Nang was the perfect fit, and given it has epically beautiful beaches and some of the best mango sticky rice in Thailand, we decided to go back one more time.

This time, we visited two new beaches in Ao Nang with our kids:

Pai Plong Beach

We love a beach you need to hike to! To get to Pai Plong Beach, you need to take a short, fun hike along the Monkey Trail, where as the name implies, you can often see monkeys.

Pai Long Beach is a beautiful kid-friendly beach in the national park just outside Ao Nang. It’s a small beach, but it’s a stunner. It’s surrounded on all sides by towering, jungle covered limestone cliffs, and some picturesque islands offshore. The scenery at Pai Plong Beach is what you see of when you dream of beautiful beaches in Thailand.

Two kids play in the waves at the beautiful Pai Plong Beach near Ao Nang, Thailand.
Phra Nang Cave Beach

Another incredible Ao Nang beach you need to walk to, the Phra Nang Cave Beach is one of the most beautiful beaches anywhere. The walk there from Railay Beach is truly amazing, with the final leg in the shadow of an enormous limestone mountain, walking through the mouth of a very long cave. We saw a troop of monkeys and even a large monitor lizard along the trail.

The turquoise water at this family-friendly Ao Nang beach was the most clear of them all, allowing anyone to easily see the little fish darting around below.

There’s many fun things to do with kids at Phra Nang Cave Beach: you can watch rock climbers, explore another cave and/or walk along a shallow sand bar to a stunning island just offshore.

an 8-year old boy walks in the crystal clear water on Phra Nang Cave Beach near Railay Beach, Thailand.

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We share everything we’ve learned from our two trips to Ao Nang with kids in this full blog post.

A 2 Week Thailand Itinerary for Families

If you don’t have 3-4 weeks for a Thailand family holiday, here are some ideas for a 14 day Thailand itinerary.

Thailand Itinerary Idea #1: Khao Sok National Park – Ao Nang – Phuket

The 500Rai Floating Resort was one of our favorite places we’ve ever stayed at in Thailand with kids. We recommend a 3-night stay at this incredibly fun & beautiful resort before hitting the world famous beaches of Thailand in Ao Nang and Phuket.

a 10-year girl staying at 500 Rai Resort with her family jumps off her dock into Cheow Larn Lake.

Thailand Itinerary Idea #2: Kanchanaburi – Ayutthaya – Chiang Mai

We did this exact 2-week Thailand itinerary on the first half of our first family vacation to Thailand. This non-beach trip to Thailand offers a little bit of everything (except beaches).

Enjoy the natural beauty of the national park just outside Kanchanaburi, then explore the ancient temples of the former imperial capital of Thailand in Ayutthaya. Take an overnight train and finish off your family trip in Chiang Mai, one of the most family-friendly destinations in all of Thailand.

two small kids admire the Bang Pa-In Palace on a family trip to Ayutthaya Thailand.
Bang Pa-In Palace, Ayutthaya, Thailand.

Thailand Itinerary Idea #3: Chiang Mai – Phuket

This 2-week family Thailand itinerary hits the major highlights of the country. You can easily spend a week exploring the wonders of northern Chiang Mai before a quick domestic flight to southern Thailand for some family fun in the sun.

two kids play on the sand at Kamala Beach in Phuket Thailand.
Phuket is amazing for kids!

What to Pack for Thailand with Kids

If you’ve visited our family travel blog before, you know our trips are usually pretty active. We always try to be as prepared for the weather as possible and plan to be outside exploring nature, rain or shine. For traveling to Thailand with kids in winter, we knew this would mean lots of beach and active wear for everyone.

In addition to the stuff we typically have on our tropical vacation packing list, here are a few items we packed on our family trips to Thailand which you may find useful:

Travel beach blanket: Our trusty beach blanket has been with us on many beaches all around the world. It’s a great thing to have if you don’t pack bulky beach towels (which we don’t).

Celine Brewer, from FamilyCanTravel.com, relaxes on the beach while her kids play in the sand.
Khlong Dao Beach in Koh Lanta.

Mifold booster seats: Our older kids needed booster seats on many of our travel days. We like the Mifold seats for traveling as they pack nice and small.

Sports sandals: No one wants to wear stuffy old closed toe shoes in the Thailand heat. Sports sandals are the perfect solution for the times you need to walk further than you’d like in flip flops.

Reusable water bottles: On our second trip to Thailand with kids, we were happy to see many of our hotels and attractions offering filtered drinking water. Bringing a reusable water bottle will help reduce the amount of plastic water bottles disposed of.

Water shoes: We forgot to pack water shoes on our second trip, but we could have used them for a more comfortable time on many of the Thailand beaches.

Noppharat Thara Beach Ao Nang Thailand toddler friendly beach.
Water shoes are nice at some beaches in Thailand.

For the driving days on your Thailand trip, we recommend having some kid-friendly podcasts downloaded to help your kids pass the time, while still allowing them to look out the window to soak in the incredible Thai countryside.

And that’s it! We hoped you found some inspiration from our trips to Thailand with kids! Thailand is an amazing, kid-friendly country and we are sure you will have an amazing family trip to Thailand too!

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Dan Brewer is an intrepid family travel blogger with a passion for exploring the world's most captivating destinations. With 58 countries under his belt and a sense of wanderlust that knows no bounds, he has made it his life's mission to share his travel experiences and insights with fellow families who love to travel.

When Dan isn't traveling with his wife and kids, he's either out enjoying the Canadian Rockies he calls home or working on one of his three travel sites (Family Can Travel, Travel Banff Canada and Ultimate Sports Road Trip).