Tuesday, 13 September 2022

2.5 Weeks in Thailand - Our Family Travel Itinerary

We spent nearly five weeks in South East Asia with our five children and I have had lots of requests to share our itinerary so this is the first part, our 2.5 weeks in Thailand.  Our trip was a mix of lots of research and plenty of flexibility as we made decisions on the road about what we would do and what pace we would move at.  When we were thinking about doing a bigger activity or trip, we sat down as a family to look at the options and we decided together which one we wanted to do. I will note some other activities that we missed in some locations but that I would have loved to do if we had more time! 

Thailand family travel, thailand with kids itinerary



Bangkok

We flew into Bangkok and made sure we had 5 days there to acclimatise to the heat, culture and time zone.  We stayed in Travelodge Sukhumvit 11  which was a fantastic hotel with family rooms, free buffet breakfast and a rooftop pool.  There were plenty of places we could walk to and getting to other parts of the city was cheap.

In Bangkok we visited 
  • Some temples (easily assessible via taxi or tuktuk). Look at The Grand Palace, Wat Pho, Wat Arun and Wat Indharaviharn
  • Shopping centres including Centralw0rld which has the soft play centre 'Playmondo'.  Terminal One is another fantastic shopping mall.
  • Khaosan road, the backpacker haven which has plenty of places to shop and drink.
  • Asiatique on the river front - This wasn't our favourite area though but there are plenty of places to eat and drink as well as some fairground rides.
  • We explored some of the smaller night markets around our hotel, there are so many to choose from.
  • Lumphini Park, where you can feed the crazy fish, see the Monitor lizards up close, ride pedalos and play in the brilliant playground.
  • Lots of time swimming in the hotel pool, admiring the skyline and adjusting to the heat.

If we had more time in Bangkok then I would have loved to do more of the night markets, specifically Chatuchak, and some of the floating markets.  Pororo is a water park on top of a shopping centre that we had considered too.

Thailand family travel, thailand with kids itinerary




Hua Hin

We got a private taxi to Hua Hin as it worked out not much more than a train when we needed to pay for 6 people, and we stayed at Subhamitra Hotel.  The hotel is a great location for exploring on foot and we could walk down to the beach easily as well as being only two minutes walk from the night market which we loved.  We had Thai massages at the night market, ate at fresh seafood restaurants and enjoyed the more chilled atmosphere after Bangkok In Hua Hin there are two water parks but we decided to visit Black Mountain which was a 15 minute taxi ride away.

We arranged a private taxi down to our next destination too as it worked out a similar price to paying for trains and transfers and we could stop as much as we wanted on the journey.  For smaller groups or to save a few pennies there is a train service that runs between these locations. We arranged the transport the day before we wanted to travel through local companies.

Thailand family travel, thailand with kids itinerary




Chumphon

In Chumphon we stayed at  De Sea Almond.  We had picked a hotel right on the seafront and it was a very quiet area where nobody spoke English.  If you need a bit of time out then this is a great area as the beach is beautiful and great for collecting shells and the food is cheap.  It is also close to the ferry pier to get to the gulf coast islands which is why we chose this area.  We only had one night here so we didn't do much other than enjoy the beach and have a little walk.

From Chumphon you can catch the ferry to the three gulf coast islands, Koh Tao (the smallest, best for scuba diving), Koh Phanghan (best known for the full moon parties) and Koh Samui (the largest).  We booked our ferry tickets at our hotel the night before we wanted to leave.  It took us around 3 hours to get to Koh Samui and we had decided because of Ed working, it made more sense for us to just pick one island and have a base for a bit longer rather than hopping between them.

Thailand family travel, thailand with kids itinerary



Koh Samui

In Koh Samui we stayed at  Hotel Ibis Bophut, a seafront hotel on Bophut beach.  The hotel had three pools, a laundry room, gym, restaurant and private beach as well as table tennis area and a small playground and is ideal for families with the interconnecting rooms. We spent a whole week here which gave us plenty of time to make the most of the pools and beach (which offers very reasonably priced rentals of stand up paddle boards and kayaks.  Other things we did in Koh Samui were:

  • Walk down to Fisherman's village to explore the night market (on Wednesdays and Fridays)
  • Watch the fire show (twice) at Coco Tam's on Bophut beach.  This is a beautiful beach bar with beanbag seating on the beach. We had drinks and snack plates of chicken nuggets and chips here.
  • A full day snorkelling speed boat trip with Mr. Tu. We were picked up from our hotel for a trip that took us snorkelling at two locations at Koh Tao and Koh Nang Yuan as well as lunch at another beach. This is our favourite day in Thailand so if you have water loving kids don't miss out on this trip!
  • Saw the temples Big Buddha and Wat Plai Laem. Make sure you either cover up shoulders and knees or borrow one of the free kimonos to be respectful.  It is about 10 minutes walk between the two and there are plenty of places to get cold drinks and food at both.
  • Went swimming in Na Muang 1 waterfall. It is cold and so refreshing and we could see elephants on our way in and out of the area.
  • Went beach hopping.  We saw a few but Crystal Cove/Silver Beach was our favourite.  Accessed through a hostel and cafĂ©, it is a smallish beach with white sand and crystal clear water and we had fish swimming around us. 
  • Walked around Chaweng at night.  There are lots of amazing restaurants (If you want great quality western food then The Hungry Wolf did what Ed described as the best burger he had ever had).  This is a good area to watch a cabaret show too.
Thailand family travel, thailand with kids itinerary



Other things I would have loved to fit in on Koh Samui would be a visit to an ethical elephant sanctuary (One that does not allow riding on or bathing with the elephants), however the children just weren't as interested as I thought they would be.  If we had more time then a day trip to Ang Thong, a national marine park would have been top of our list too for more snorkelling.  Visiting the other islands properly as well would have been lovely - it takes only half an hour on the ferry to Koh Phanghan.

We spent 2.5 weeks in Thailand between these four destinations and I think Koh Samui was our favourite place, probably as it is the most traditional holiday type place. Koh Samui has its own airport which has flights to and from Bangkok and other parts of Thailand (we had to transfer through Bangkok when leaving).  There is a ferry service that runs from Koh Samui over to Surat Thani on the mainland too if you want to continue exploring Thailand or head down to Malaysia. 

Thailand family travel, thailand with kids itinerary



Thailand is such an incredible country to explore with children and everywhere we went was so child friendly.  Each city and area had a unique personality and we only saw such a small part of it.  Please ask any questions about our itinerary or travelling in Thailand with kids either here or over on social media

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