Family travel doesn’t traditionally sound like something that would be zen-like. Family travel sounds like it might be a bit of a jumbled headache, trying to keep everyone happy and all reservations and activities going according to plan. In fact, family vacations often bring to mind long car trips, driving around endlessly, stopping to see a tourist sight, take a few photos, and collapse wearily at the hotel at night.
That kind of a family trip is only coming to your mind, though, because you haven’t considered Thailand.
Yes, Thailand. It is a great place to take your family on vacation.
3 MUST-SEE PLACES TO TAKE YOUR FAMILY IN THAILAND
It’s possible you’ve been spending some time researching and reading about Thailand online, trying to decide where, out of all the seemingly endless destinations, you should take your family.
We’ll leave those specifics up to you, but here are three kinds of places that you must get a taste for while in Thailand, no matter which specific destination you choose.
1. The island of your dreams.
Thailand is a nation with several hundred islands.
Phuket and Koh Samui are two of the most popular, but there are many. Each island has its own feel to it, some attracting backpackers and others more friendly towards a family crowd. Everyone who has been to Thailand picks their favorite island for different reasons.
Koh Samui is a large island that has a broad spectrum of sights and activities, but is still very family friendly. There is no shortage of restaurants and clubs for the adults, but don’t worry — there is still plenty for younger family members to safely enjoy, too. It’s become a family favorite for many tourists traveling to Thailand, combining great beaches, fabulous food, and less congestion that many other places in Thailand.
Whichever island you choose to stay on or travel to, find the one that you take home with you in your memory. It’s there, somewhere.
2. Visit the cities.
Bangkok is the most well-known city in Thailand, and if you’re up for traveling in it, you won’t forget the experience. Most travelers to Thailand get at least a bare minimum of Bangkok exposure, as it is the main destination for international flights into the country.
In a city like Bangkok, have your transportation and plans locked in, particularly when traveling with your family. This isn’t the best place to wing it as far as getting everyone to a hotel or other destination, so go into Bangkok with your eyes wide open and solid plans.
Chiang Mai is a northern city which has a much different feel than Bangkok. Surrounded by lush green hills, it’s become a big draw for ex-pat retirees, artists, and seekers. Hiking, historical sights, and temples are just a few of the things to see and do.
Chiang Mai is a great place for the family; it doesn’t have the wild party feel that some of the other backpacker-orientated parts of Thailand do, but is still rich in its own unique culture.
3. Beaches, beaches, beaches.
You cannot say you truly traveled to Thailand without spending a day doing absolutely nothing but staring at the beautiful blue water and soft sand beaches. Thailand is a beach bum’s paradise.
Some beaches are more geared toward an adult crowd, as they are frequented by backpackers and night clubs. But there are so, so many beaches in Thailand — a bit of research will land you a beautiful beach that your family can enjoy safely. Island beaches, deserted beaches, beaches by cities…take your pick.
3 TIPS TO TRAVELING IN THAILAND WITH YOUR FAMILY
The actual nuts-and-bolts of travel and arrangements can be quite exhausting. When traveling with a family, that stress level is increased. What should you do?
1. Do use a professional travel agent.
If this is your first time to Thailand, and you have your family in tow, considering working with a professional travel agent who knows Thailand well. Provide them with the length of your trip, how busy you want to be (tsk tsk), what you’d like to see and do, and where you hope to stay. Ask for several options and choose one as a family.
2. Do have a home base.
Think of a home base as your point of reference in Thailand. Perhaps you’re staying on Koh Samui. You know it has an airport and ferry service, and you can plan your vacation around day trips to and from the island. You can even plan a few trips overnight to a different destination.
A home base, like Samujana, makes it super easy to not feel overwhelmed with the idea of moving a family around Thailand. You can travel lightly on the day trips and overnight trips when you know you have your luggage back safely in your villa.
3. Consider the season.
Peak tourist season in Thailand is from November to late March, with secondary peaks in July and August.
Traveling to Thailand during the peak tourist season can be challenging, but not impossible. And, there is a reason that there is a peak season for tourists, and it has to do with the weather: November through February is when it is the least rainy, and not as hot. It is also a popular time for many of Thailand’s festivals.
If your family is traveling in a larger group, though, you might find it easier to avoid the peak season and travel at a different time of the year. You’ll get lower prices for some of your travel and there may be less crowding and congestion, but keep in mind it might be rainy. If you are planning to travel to the northern part of Thailand, March – July is doable. The temperatures there are not as hot as they are in the south during that time period.
3 SECRETS TO ZEN-LIKE FAMILY TRAVEL IN THAILAND
Never have you needed a zen experience than you do when traveling with your family. No matter what age — preschoolers, pre-teens, teenagers — there are bound to be stressful moments. Here’s the cure for that stress.
1. Take it easy on the hotels.
Hotels sometimes add to the stress you feel during a family vacation. They’re crowded with other families, which means their pools are full, the balconies are noisy, and when you want to get away from the crowds at the end of the day you find that your hotel has its own crowd that wants the same thing.
You did not come on a vacation to stay with a crowd of people.
Consider staying in your own private villa at Samujana instead. The pool is all yours, and you have a kitchen and family rooms at your disposal. You can relax–really relax–after a busy day of traveling, taking in the evening in your home away from home.
2. Don’t plan every moment.
Thailand is an easy-going nation so full of things to do and see that there is no need to plan every single day of your vacation. Definitely take in the sights, make the reservations, yes, but leave days open so you can get up in the morning and say “what should we do today?”
Family vacations are best when each member gets a chance to choose an activity, and when each day is a bit of a surprise.
3. Slow down, watch, and learn.
Vacations aren’t just getting away from your usual place back home. It’s about taking a break from your usual pace back home, too.
Slow down. Thailand is a great place for that.
See this vacation as a chance to learn, whether that is simply sitting and looking at the scenery, or trying a new experience, such as windsurfing or snorkeling.
Forget about merely seeing the sights; experience them. Don’t plan to see five temples in one day. Take five days to see one temple (that’s an exaggeration, of course, but you get the idea).
Kids sometimes remember amazing things they’ve seen, but they never forget the memory of having a lot of fun with their family. There’s no rush to see anything. Enjoy your family!
Ready for your trip to Thailand? It’s a likely bet that your family is. Choose your travel plans, pick a villa, and get ready for all of the fun family activities that are waiting for you!