Wondering about a family holiday in Thailand? In this blog we cover the 20 best destinations for family holidays in Thailand. From the lush green jungles of the north to the white-sand beaches and islands of the south, Thailand has a destination for every type of family. Opt for an active adventure in nature, enjoy a relaxed beach getaway or spend time enjoying the buzz of the cities with all-ages fun across the country.
Chiang Mai – a little bit of everything
The northern capital has so much to offer. With nature, mountains, historic sites, temples, markets, great food and an easy-going pace, Chiang Mai is the best destination for a family holiday in Thailand for mixing urban and cultural activities with outdoor adventures. Older children will enjoy visits to elephant sanctuaries, ziplining or trail bike riding. Families with toddlers in Chiang Mai will appreciate family-friendly cafes and restaurants where parents can relax while children play.
Chiang Rai – culture and nature
This picturesque town up in the Golden Triangle on the border of Laos and Myanmar offers dramatic temples (such as the famous White and Blue Temples), as well as beautiful nature to explore. Smaller and less touristy than Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai’s good for families will children old enough to enjoy nature hikes to see waterfalls and maybe even do a hill tribe tour.
Nan – cold weather, camping and mountains
Nan is one of the best family travel destinations in Thailand for those who like to get off the main tourist trail… without going completely off the grid. A mountainous province, it experiences chilly weather during the cool, dry season, so it’s great for those who want to escape the heat. A popular backpacker destination, it’s also popular for camping. Perfect for outdoorsy clans who love being immersed in pristine wilderness.
Bangkok – malls, movie and kids playgrounds
The nation’s capital has no shortage of fun for young travelers. Bangkok is the best family holiday destination in Thailand for an action-packed city stay. You’ll find outdoor parks, indoor playgrounds, ice rinks, theme parks, water parks, markets, animal cafes and even special kids movie theaters. Take a ferry ride down the river, stroll temples, explore the malls and find a hotel with a pool for cooling off at the end of the day.
Phuket – beaches, cruises, museums
A perennial favourite with travelers of all ages, Phuket is the best family destination in Thailand for an easy beach holiday. Effortlessly accessible with its own (just renovated) international airport, solid infrastructure, and with a wide range of different beaches and hotels to choose from, it’s a destination you can take even the smallest babies. Older kids will love illusion museums, swimming, cycling, ziplining and exploring the colorful streets of Patong and Phuket Town. To get away from the chaos, Surin and Karon are both great beaches for families in Phuket.
Samui – beaches, swimming, snorkeling
Samui is another great family destination in Thailand. It’s a smaller island, where everything is easily accessible, with a vast range of hotels from the super luxurious to the super affordable. Larger families will also find villas for rent. Family trips to Samui will focus mainly on the beach, with day trips around the island to the Big Buddha, Bophut Fisherman’s Village and Central shopping mall. Cruises to the national marine park are a fun day out for older children who can swim and snorkel.
Bang Krachao – Cycling
Tucked into a bend in the river in Bangkok, this green, undeveloped area features elevated cycling tracks, with bikes available for hire at the ferry pier. A popular day out for Bangkokians seeking a break from the city, a cycle through this ‘green lung’ turns up mangroves, hidden cafes, a floating market, water monitors and lush, enveloping vegetation. Cycling along the tracks takes a level of skill, so small children should ride pillion with parents. Hats, water and sunblock are essential.
Samet Island – beaches and national park
Samet Island is just a 2.5-hour drive from Bangkok, making it one of the best destinations for family holidays in Thailand if you’re looking for an easy and affordable island getaway. National parkland on the island has preserved most of its greenery and the beaches are clean and clear. Long weekends can get rowdy with Bangkokians descending en masse, but during the week you might feel you have the beach to yourself. There’s not much to do on Koh Samed beside reax on the sands, so it’s good for families with small children content to paddle in the shallows.
Hua Hin – beaches, theme parks, shopping, seafood
Thailand’s original resort town has long been favored by holiday royalty, with historic palaces and a restored early-1900s railway station as reminders of its regal status. Hua Hin is the best family destination in Thailand for a fun weekender packed with outdoor activities. There are water parks, theme parks, night markets, art markets, shopping malls, watersports and a long stretch of beach. While the water here is not always suitable for swimming (gigantic jellyfish are common), most every hotel has a swimming pool. The Marriott, Hilton, Veranda and Novotel are some hotels in Hua Hin with big kid-friendly pools, playgrounds and slides.
Prachuap Kiri Khan – nature, beaches
Just a little farther south from Hua Hin, the coastline becomes more rugged and the beaches less crowded. Resorts here are smaller, locally-run and family oriented, with most activities centered on beach, pool and cycling up and down along the coastal road. Sam Roi Yot Beach and Dolphin Bay have a modest concentration of cute resorts along a long shoreline, with restaurants of every description dotted along the coast. A car is essential for getting here and exploring the national parks and beaches.
Ayutthaya – history, culture
A trip to the kingdom’s former capital is an exciting day out for active families. This UNESCO-listed city is one of the best family destinations in Thailand for an immersive historic experience, wandering temple and palace ruins and getting a feel for the majesty of ancient Siam. You can walk or cycle the old city, spot elephants and take a riverboat cruise for a full day out. River cruises run between Bangkok and Ayutthaya for children who don’t mind being contained on a boat for a few hours.
Khao Yai – nature, relaxation, attractions
This mountainside destination not far from Bangkok is a popular weekend retreat for Bangkokians. Clean air, green rolling hills, national parkland and a great range of family-friendly resorts. One of the best family-friendly destinations in Thailand for fun in the countryside, Khao Yai also offers a vast range of themed attractions, such as a Hobbit Home, alpaca and sheep farms, kitschy Tuscan-, English- and French-style hotels and gardens, dairy farms, a wild west theme park, sunflower fields and Khao Yai National Park. Best to hire a car to see all the sights.
Koh Phangan – beaches, nature, relaxation
There’s more to do on the famous Full-Moon Party Island than revel on the beach. Families will find plenty to do, ranging from ATV adventures, a water obstacle park, snorkelling, hiking and boat trips. Phangan’s a sizeable island with many beaches to choose from. Most are well-developed, though outside of Haad Rin, none of them ever get very crowded. Beachfront restaurants, calm bays and crescents of white sand make it one of the best family destinations in Thailand for a relaxed beach escape.
This large island in the Thai Gulf is one of the best family destinations in Thailand for affordable island holidays. A great range of family-friendly resorts can be found along its long, beautiful beaches, with something for every taste. There are hikes and waterfalls for more active families, small, quiet bays for little kids and luxurious resorts with children’s pools and gardens for running around in. White Sand Beach is the main strip here with shops, cafes and beachfront restaurants where parents can eat while the kids play in the sand.
Koh Yao Noi – island-hopping, beaches
One of the best family destinations in Thailand for island-loving families with a penchant for the undiscovered, Koh Yao Noi in Phang Nga Bay offers up a tranquil, idyllic getaway that’s surprisingly accessible. Just a 30-minute speedboat ferry from Phuket or Krabi, this quiet island gives you small farming communities, laidback beachfront resorts and stunning limestone karst views. A loop road around the island can be completed in around 45 minutes, and families can hire mopeds to explore all its hidden beaches. You can also hire a longtail boat for private island-hopping tours.
Pattaya – shopping, beaches, theme parks
This vibrant seaside city has long been a tourist favourite and has recently seen a surge of urban development that includes multi-billion-baht malls, five-star family hotels and beach reclamation projects. The center of Pattaya, with its Walking Street bars and 24-hour energy, isn’t for every family, but just outside the city you’ll find the quieter Jomtien and the quiet beaches of Sattahip, both of which are great for families who don’t want to travel far from Bangkok. Theme parks, water parks, museums, movie theaters and shopping malls ensure there’s always something to do.
A 45-minute drive from highly accessible Krabi Airport, Ao Nang is one of Thailand’s best destinations for families who want idyllic beaches without having to head to an island. The main strip has abundant restaurants, bars and souvenir shops, but it’s still a relatively quiet town with plenty of family-friendly hotels and chances to simply escape into nature. Railay is only a short boat trip away for families who want to explore a little, there’s a national park, mountains, island-hopping tours through Phang Nga Bay and remote beaches to explore if you have a car.
This stunning island in the Thai Gulf gets more popular every year, though is still well off the mass tourism trail. With a vast selection of beaches, it’s perfect for families who are content to spend most of their time eating, swimming and relaxing on the sand. There’s a decent choice of restaurants and a taxi that makes the rounds if you don’t want to drive a moped (there are some inclines, but driving on the island is a relaxed affair). Possibly the best destination in Thailand for families who love exploring idyllic and deserted beaches and enjoy a Robinson Family Crusoe vibe without giving up any creature comforts.
This spectacular national park is a heaven on earth for active families with older children who love to explore nature. The man-made Cheow Lan Lake offer kayaking and floating bungalows for a one-of-a-kind stay. Elephant encounters and night safaris let you get close to the wildlife. Longer hikes and forest cabins showcase the park’s ancient forests and untouched native flora. The best family destination in Thailand for forest immersion, Khao Sok can easily be paired with a beach trip to nearby Khanom or even Samui or Phangan.
An hour’s drive north of Phuket airport, this long stretch of beach offers a serene seaside stay. A selection of beachfront five-star resorts offers everything you could ask for a family trip, keeping children entertained with kiddie pools, fun activities and special Kids Club facilities. Visit the gibbon rescue, kayak the mangroves, splash in the sparkling waters of the Andaman Sea and simply enjoy barefoot beach life. If you’re a fan of the finer things in life, and can’t pass up a pampered resort stay, Mai Khao might be the best family destination in Thailand for you.
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