Your Guide to Family Holidays in Thailand

So, you’ve always loved the idea of a trip to Thailand but now you’re asking yourself, is Thailand a good place for a family holiday? The simple answer is yes!  

Famous for its pristine beaches and friendly locals, Thailand also offers a huge choice of family-friendly resorts and activities to keep everyone entertained. When it comes to planning family holidays, we’ve got you covered with recommendations on where and when to go and even what to eat in Thailand.  

What makes Thailand a good place for family travel? 

We know that a lot of planning goes into family holidays and choosing a destination that everyone will love is easier said than done. Here’s why we think Thailand ticks the boxes for New Zealand families.  

  • It’s known as the Land of Smiles, and that’s got to be a good sign! Not only are you sure to receive a warm welcome from the Thai people, but you’ll find plenty else to make you smile. Think fabulous weather, some of the world’s best beaches, rainforests, delicious food, and fun city adventures.  
  • White sand beaches and crystal-clear, warm waters. Sounds idyllic, right? Thailand’s ideal for a family beach holiday, whether that means spending your days swimming and snorkelling or simply relaxing under a palm tree watching the kids play. 
  • Family-friendly accommodation. You’ll find family-friendly resorts all over Thailand, everywhere from Bangkok to popular beach destinations like Phuket and Koh Samui. Many resorts offer kids’ clubs for the youngest family members as well as other activities like cooking classes for older children. 
  • Fun activities for the whole family. Family holidays in Thailand can be as adventurous as you like. From water sports like diving, kayaking and rafting to hiking through the jungle, visiting an elephant sanctuary, exploring ancient ruins or getting amongst the hustle and bustle of the city. 


Family of tourists at temple review photo they've taken


What are the best holiday destinations in Thailand for families? 

When it comes to the question of which part of Thailand is best for families, it really depends on how you like to holiday. If a beach holiday is top of the wish list, then head to the south. If you like the idea of trekking in the mountains and jungles and learning more about Thailand’s fascinating history and culture through its ancient ruins and magnificent temples, then Northern Thailand is the place for you. Here are our top five Thailand destinations for families. 


Mother with child on shoulders at temple


1. Chiang Mai, Northern Thailand 

If you’re a family of nature lovers, you’ll enjoy this beautiful city in the north of Thailand, surrounded by forests, mountains and waterfalls. It is also the place to come to learn about Thai culture, with hundreds of Buddhist temples to explore. The Chiang Mai Elephant Sanctuary, an hour and a half drive outside the city, is a popular place to visit. Who doesn’t love cute baby elephants? (Pro tip: if you’re visiting animal sanctuaries, be sure to do thorough research to ensure you’re picking ethical organisations). 


2. Phuket, Southern Thailand 

You’ll find some of Thailand’s best family beach resorts on the island of Phuket in the Andaman Sea. While Phuket is known for its nightlife, many of the family resorts are tucked away from the main town of Patong, so, rest assured, you can enjoy some peace and quiet! As well as the beautiful beaches, there’s plenty to see and do here. Why not take a boat adventure to James Bond Island in Phang Nga Bay or check out the brilliant street art in Phuket Old Town.


3. Koh Samui, East Coast 

This stunning island, located in the Gulf of Thailand off the country’s east coast, ranks among the best holiday destinations in Thailand for families thanks to its picture-perfect beaches and laid-back vibe. It’s quieter than Phuket, the beaches are a little more private, and the waters calmer so it may be a better choice for younger families. Older children may prefer the many water sport activities on offer in Phuket – be sure to use a licensed operator for any activities!. For a change from the beach activities take a day trip to visit Wat Phra Yai, known as the Big Buddha Temple and home to a giant, 12-metre-high (39-foot) gold-painted Buddha statue. 


4. Khao Lak, West Coast  

Another excellent choice for a family beach holiday, and much quieter than other destinations, Khao Lak lies just 80 kilometres north of Phuket. The beaches, of course, are fabulous, with the white sand Thailand is famous for. Khao Lak is also the place to come for scuba diving. If you’re visiting between November and February you may be lucky enough to see sea turtles come ashore at night to lay their eggs. Again, it’s important to check that you’re undertaking any diving activities with a reputable and licensed operator, to ensure your safety! 


5. Bangkok, Central Thailand  

Thailand’s capital city, with its bustling street life, ornate temples, colourful night markets and array of delicious food outlets, makes for a fun family adventure! Once you’ve explored the delights of the city – by tuk tuk, perhaps – Bangkok also makes a good base for day trips further afield. The floating market of Damnoen Saduak is just a ninety-minute drive away. Ayutthaya, the ancient capital of Thailand is another one to add to the must-see list and easy to visit within a day, situated 80 kilometres from Bangkok. 


Smiling fruit selling on floating market boat


What’s the best time of year for a family holiday in Thailand?  

Thailand is at its coolest (but still a pleasant 29°C to 34°C) and driest between November and April, making this a good time of year for family travel. Monsoon season is between July and October and can make travelling more challenging. 

Chances are, though, you're organising your family holiday around the school holidays. Here’s what to expect from the weather in Thailand at these times of the year. 

  • April. Average daily temperatures sit between 30°C and 35°C (95°F), though in some regions, like Bangkok and Chiang Mai, temperatures can reach up to 40°C. The nights are also hot, and temperatures don't drop much below 25°C (77°F). 
  • July. The weather can be mixed at this time of year. Temperatures drop to an average of around 28–29°C, but rainfall will increase. Popular beach resorts like Phuket, Krabi and Khao Lak tend to experience heavy rainfall, but the beaches on Thailand’s east coast, including Koh Samui, can be drier and sunnier.   
  • October. During October, temperatures climb back into the thirties (°C) by day and sit around 23°C at night. You’re likely to get some rain, and it can be very humid at this time of year. 
  • December/January. There’s a good reason why January is considered the best month to go to Thailand. With sunny days and temperatures ranging from 22°C to 32°C, it’s the perfect time for a family holiday! 


Family-friendly Thai food

Thailand is famous for its delicious food, but you may be wondering if it’s something the kids will enjoy. Don’t worry; it’s not all spicy curries and unusual street food (although these are on offer for those who are keen!). Here are some dishes which even the fussiest eaters will love: 

  • Pad Thai (Stir-fried rice noodles). Plenty of yummy flavours and not too much spice. 
  • Khao Pad (Thai fried rice). The rice is fried with egg and comes with lots of vegetables and often seafood, chicken, pork, beef or tofu. 
  • Kaeng Lueng (yellow curry). A milder style of Thai curry with a creamy coconut base. 
  • Kai pad med ma muang (Thai cashew chicken). Honey, soy sauce, tender chicken and crunchy cashew nuts. So good! 


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