Ahh, the beaches of Thailand, words that conjure images of swaying palm trees and stunning sunsets, white sands that extend for miles and every luxury under the sun.
But if you think the tropical isles in the Gulf of Thailand and on the Andaman coast are only for romantic adult getaways, think again: these slivers of excitement, adventure and adrenaline are ideal destinations for the whole family, full of amusements and amazement for kids of all ages.
In Thailand, nature and culture are brought together and beaches and jungles are packed with countless activities from diving, snorkeling and kite-surfing to hiking and even rock climbing. For those seeking a more mellow holiday, a huge range of expansive and boutique resorts can be found with amenities for everyone, from kids clubs for the youngsters to spas for the ever-so-deserving moms and dads.
Whether you’re actively planning your next family-friendly holiday or simply daydreaming about getaways that would suit your tribe, read on to find out which of Thailand’s gorgeous destinations we think are best for family fun, and why.
A long-standing favorite among tourists, with its mile-long beaches and rows of hotels, Phuket is popular for a reason: located on the azure Andaman Sea, the stunning landscape just lends itself to relaxing by an infinity pool or enjoying a spa treatment with a panoramic view of the crystal blue water. And thanks to its excellent tourist infrastructure, there are plenty of easily-accessible activities for the kids.
Enjoy a stay at one of Phuket’s spectacular resorts, and spend your days swimming and sunbathing, exploring the old town or taking a tour of nearby temples. Take a day trip to the nearby Koh Phi Phi, where the whole family can don snorkels and explore underwater or enjoy a picnic on the beach. Cruise through the exquisite Phang Nga Bay, where limestone karsts extend out of the water like magnificent clubs, and take a speedboat to the Similan Islands, known in Thailand for being a top spot for snorkeling and diving. Indeed Phuket’s wildlife is teeming both on- and offshore. Kids and adults of all ages will get a kick out of seeing Nicobar pigeons, flying lemurs and bottlenose dolphins.
Our top resort pick? Iniala Beach House – a stunning hotel overlooking Phang Nga Bay with personal butler service, gourmet cuisine and all the watersports and excursions you could ask for.
For the active family, there is no better place in southern Thailand to go than Krabi, a stunning stretch on the mainland where beaches and karsts meet jungle and mangrove forests. The area has long-since attracted adventurers looking to kayak around its outlying islands or climb up its limestone cliffs.
We suggest you stay at the Ritz Carlton Phulay Bay, where guests can rent canoes and head out to explore the nearby Phang Nga bay. Want to discover more of the local area? Soak up some sunshine along with a little history and hop aboard a long-tail boat to visit the famous Kao Kanab Nam, a mountain known for being a place where Japanese soldiers hid weapons in WWII. Those with active teenagers should head for Railay beach. Well-known for its superb rock climbing, the area boasts a host of instructors and courses for all levels of expertise and the views from the top are sure to delight and enthrall.
If you’re looking for a place where the whole family can relax, hang out by the pool and enjoy some delicious food, look no further than Samui. This large island in the Gulf of Thailand is an epicenter of resorts and hotels poised to hand-deliver the perfect holiday filled with gourmet cuisine and spectacular views.
Relax at the exquisite Four Seasons Resort Koh Samui and enjoy some “me” time at the spa or on the tennis court while the kids are kept happy and entertained with games and activities in the kid’s club. Feel like venturing off the luxurious grounds of your hotel? Take a tour of the island to see iconic sites like the Big Buddha or the Grandmother and Grandfather rocks, or go a bit further afield for some snorkeling and even diving off nearby Koh Phangan and Koh Tao.