Ask me to name 1 country in the world where you and your children will have a fabulous holiday. Without any doubt I would say: Thailand!
After publishing one of my earlier posts (Go Traveling with kids in Magical Morocco) I realised there are a lot of parents out there who want to go and travel with their children. I received a lot of questions and remarks from parents who want their kids to encounter different cultures and new people as early in life as possible. I cannot but fully support those ambitions! Therefore I decided to post a travel tip about another great travel destination for families: Thailand!
ALSO READ: 5 Family adventures in South Thailand
Why travel to Thailand with kids?
There is a lot to discover in Thailand for families. It is relatively easy to get around (see the part on transport) but most appealing is the country’s diversity! Bustling city life, exciting jungle treks and tremendous white sandy beaches. I will show you how we planned this trip that was really not too strenuous at all.
The Thai live a colourful life. Your children will love all the colours, for example the coloured taxis in Bangkok that really impressed my 5-year old son. All day through he made sure to watch and count every colour taxi around: pink, green, blue, yellow, red.
Traveling with your children opens doors that stay closed to others, I am convinced about that. In Thailand you will undoubtedly experience this. What makes the difference is the attention towards your children. In hotels, shops and on the street your children will be greeted warm-heartedly. Thai might hug, pinch or kiss them while saying ‘Cute!’ in Thai. There is a devotion to foreign children and you and your family will be looked after: you can enjoy to the fullest.
Colourful Bangkok: your first steps
You will probably arrive in Thailand through Bangkok. Don’t immediately travel to the beaches! Take at least 2 or 3 days to discover one of the most vibrant cities in the whole of Asia. Visit some of the most beautiful temples in Bangkok or go an book a bicycle adventure (our kids really loved this one!).
Bangkok will blow you away! In some parts monks in orange clothing gracefully walk temple grounds, where in other parts the city is bustling with hi-tech subway lines and huge shopping malls.
When you first step outside your hotel or guesthouse to start discovering Bangkok you will probably be unpleasantly surprised by the (urban) heat. True, that’s not really comfortable to put it mildly. TIP: Take enough drinking water and make sure you end up back in your hotel end of the afternoon for a refreshing dive in your swimming pool.
What to go and see in Bangkok? The Royal Grand Palace is a must, a collection of impressive temples and statues where our children were totally impressed by the statues of the guards. TIP: We had them carry their own digital camera and I have to be honest they shot some great pictures!
Just outside the gates of the Palace many people offer sarongs because you have to dress properly inside the Palace. TIP: Don’t buy them on the streets as you can borrow them free of charge just after you entered the Palace grounds.
You can easily spend a couple of hours in and around the Palace. From the Palace go to the river Phraya that divides Bangkok in two. Get some refreshments and gear up for another great experience: a long tail boat trip crossing the river and into the klongs of Thonburi.While near the river, do cross it and visit Wat Arun (you can climb all the way up!)
The klongs are small water channels where you can view how people live. TIP: Be prepared by taking some bread to have your children feed the giant fish!
If you have the time go visit the Wat Pho temple of the Reclining Buddha. The lying Buddha is 46 meters long, 15 meters high and covered in gold plating!
There is so much to see in Bangkok, even a simple visit to the typical 7-Eleven stores can be a treat for the kids! Let me share one more TIP: a bicycle tour! This was one of the highlights also for our children. It’s truly amazing when you cycle through the city for 3 hours. Read all about this special excursion in one of my earlier posts.
Transport: how to get there?
When traveling the country with your children you want safe and reliable transport. Not too intense and surely not uncomfortable.
In Bangkok you can easily arrange your own transport from your hotel to the major attractions. Don’t miss out on the Tuk-Tuk (named after the particular sound they make) that your children will love. Riding in a Tuk-Tuk can sometimes be an intense experience (especially in rush hour), but it’s a great way to avoid traffic jams and really become one with the city. You hear, see and smell the city from your comfortable Tuk-Tuk seat!
If you don’t like Tuk-Tuks, taxis are available everywhere and when you want to cross the river just hop on and off the ferries, it’s easy.
We traveled from Bangkok to Southern Thailand using an overnight sleeper. We arrived at the massive central stain station around 6pm looking around to find our platform. So many people, so many trains, help! But immediately a Thailand Rail employee approached us and showed us the right directions. Very helpful, we didn’t even have time to panic! Tickets can be bought at the same train station. Just go there couple of days before you want to travel.
To the islands of Koh Phangan and Koh Samui we used a bus, a regular ferry and a catamaran ferry! Our children surely loved the diversity of transport.
Bangkok is a great start and the Thai temples, jungle, and stunning beaches in the South make it a complete travel adventure. A time your children will never forget. More about our adventures in the South in part II of this blog post.