9 Tips for Thailand with Kids

Author: Celine Brewer

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Thailand is home to some of the world’s most beautiful beaches, tropical jungles and warm, friendly locals. There are so many things to do in Thailand for kids. It’s no wonder that Thailand is such an amazing holiday destination and you can expect the same for your Thailand family holidays.

We love visiting Thailand with our kids and we have been here multiple times. In general, Thailand is an easy country to travel to with kids, but there’s always a few surprises. Based on our travels, here is a short list of things parents should know before traveling to Thailand with kids:

a longtail boat docked at Hong Island Thailand.

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1. Bring a Travel Medical Kit

Thailand is a beautiful tropical destination for a family holiday. Along with being tropical, comes a variety of tropical risks from bugs, etc.

Our son got a tick on the overnight train to Chiang Mai and we didn’t have tweezers with us. Thankfully a nearby passenger was willing to lend us theirs for the removal. We also used an alcohol rub to disinfect all the inevitable cuts and scrapes the kids got while running & playing. A good travel medical kit is an essential item to bring on a family trip to Thailand.

Our daughter got an eye infection while in Kamala Beach on Phuket, but thankfully a quick trip to the pharmacy equipped us with some eye drops that had it cleared in a day. The pharmacist spoke English and was extremely helpful. It’s a good idea to know where you can go in case you have any issues!

Read More

We go well beyond tips and share literally everything you need to know in our full post about planning a family vacation to Thailand.

2. Plan your Itinerary for Everyone

Thailand has a lot of temples. A lot. Try to include a mix of everything in your Thailand itinerary and don’t be afraid to spend a day at a park to give your kids a break.

After temple hopping in Ayutthaya with kids, we knew they would need a break from visiting temples. In Chiang Mai, we mixed it up with a visit to the Elephant Nature Park with kids and a Chiang Mai Family Bike Tour. We finished up our time in Thailand with kids with 7 days on the beach in Phuket.

two small kids admire a Buddha at a temple in Ayutthaya, Thailand.
Ayutthaya, Thailand.
a father and son watch visit the Chiang Mai Elephant Nature Park.
Chiang Mai, Thailand.

Feeding your Kids is a Challenge

It can be a challenge to feed your kids in Thailand. There are convenience stores such as 7-11 everywhere, but chances are you will not see a single supermarket your entire visit to Thailand.

If your kids are picky eaters or just don’t like Thai food, this will make feeding your kids more challenging and time consuming.

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The food in Thailand is AMAZING! But not all kids will agree. If, like us, you have kids who won’t eat Thai food, see our post on food in Thailand for picky eaters.

3. Hire a Car & Driver

It’s very easy to get around the main tourist areas in Thailand, but if you’re like us and want to go to national parks or a bit off the tourist track, it can be really hard to get around without dropping a lot of cash. Most (childless) travelers to Thailand simply rent mopeds to bomb around the countryside, but with small kids it’s not that easy.

You can’t take a taxi out of town as you can’t rely on them to pick you up again when you are done. So, you’ll end up needing to rent a car and driver for the day. Costs vary depending on where you are, but we ended up paying between 1200-2800 baht ($38 – $88 USD) for a day. You can find these services for offer within the tourist areas of town.

two small kids play in a river near a waterfall at Erawan National Park, Thailand.
We hired a driver to take us to Erawan National Park for the day.

For extra convenience, you can order a car & driver for the day through the Asian car hailing app Grab (the Thai equivalent of Uber).

We hadn’t planned on taking a car as much as we did in Thailand, so we didn’t bring any car seats with us. We had visions of taking a tuk tuk or other alternatives (like walking) to get around. Though it wasn’t the safest way to get around with kids in Thailand, we really had no choice but to either take cars and use the seat belts or miss out on doing a lot of things we had planned.

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Learn from our mistake and make sure you have a safe way for your kids to be transported in a car. See all the car seat alternatives for kids on Amazon.

4. Temple Dress Codes

The dress code at temples do not apply to small children. Not sure at what age this changes, but our 5 year old was allowed in all temples wearing her normal clothes. Be prepared with appropriate clothing for the adults though!

Chiang Mai Wat Phrathat Doi Suthep with kids in Thailand.

5. Be Firm

Be prepared to have taxi drivers and guides tell you that you can’t do something because you have kids. We were told many times by our drivers in Thailand that we couldn’t do something, like a hike, etc., because we had small kids with us.

Thai people are extremely friendly and they are not trying to be difficult; their concerns are genuine. It can sometimes be a lot of work to get them to take you where you want to go, but be firm (but still friendly) and they will eventually take you.

a father hikes with his 5-year old daughter to Wat Phrathat Doi Suthep along the Monk's Trail in Chiang Mai, Thailand.
It was a struggle to get our Grab driver to agree to drop us off at this hiking trailhead in Chiang Mai!

6. Try Alternate Modes of Transport

It is possible to take kids on the overnight train in Thailand. Our kids were very excited about it and did great on the train from Ayutthaya to Chiang Mai. Our 3 year old fell asleep within minutes of us getting him ready for sleep. Our 5 year old took a little longer since she was so excited to be sleeping on the top bunk.

We also took a car service from Bangkok to Kanchanaburi and, though it was more expensive, it was the best option for this leg of our journey and we were able to get car seats for both of our children.

We booked our trip using 12Go.asia as it allowed us to easily compare our options and find one that offered child seats.

a 5-year old girl is excited to take the overnight train to Chiang Mai, Thailand.

7. Be Aware

If you plan on walking to most of your daily activities (as we tend to do), be aware that there are rarely any sidewalks and that you will usually be walking on the side of the road. Always have your child on the inside and hold their hands at all times. A toddler carrier is a good option too, rather than worrying about walking with a stroller! We list all the best baby carriers for travel (including toddler carriers) on our Baby Can Travel site.

Also, the Thai people love kids! If you have a shy kid or one that doesn’t like to be touched (ahem, our 3 year old), let them know that this may happen. You can also intervene to make sure your child feels comfortable during your trip. The Thai people were very accommodating when we politely asked them not to tickle or pick up our 3 year old.

8. Practice Swallowing Pills at Home

Some areas of Thailand have a risk of malaria, which may require family members to take malaria pills before, during and after your stay in the risk zone. If your kids are not used to taking pills, practice at home first with small candy like Mini M&M’s.

We didn’t take this step and our 5 year old daughter had a really hard time swallowing her daily pill – she just didn’t know how. We ended up crushing it and mixing it in a glass of juice every morning.

Surprisingly, our 3 year old had no trouble swallowing his malaria pills. But we wish we had prepared our kids for this before our family trip to Thailand.

Hong Island with kids in Thailand

9. Bring Wipes

Thai restaurants almost all use cheap tissues as napkins. If you have messy eaters (like we do), be sure to bring wipes as you’d otherwise need a whole box of tissues to clean up a 3 year old after each meal!

Travel tips for Thailand with kids. Read this before you go! We have tips on how to get around, eating and much more! #thailand #thailandwithkids #thailanditinerary #chiangmai #thailandbeaches
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Celine Brewer is a dedicated family travel blogger with a profound passion for helping families create unforgettable adventures together. Her blog blends captivating travel narratives with practical tips for family-friendly destinations and enjoying active travel with kids. As a mother of two, she understands the unique challenges of traveling with children and offers valuable insights to empower parents.

When Celine isn't traveling with her husband and two kids, she's either working on one of her three travel sites (Family Can Travel, Baby Can Travel and Travel Banff Canada) or out enjoying the majestic Canadian Rockies her family calls home.