19 Tips for Tavelling to Thailand with Kids

19 Tips for Tavelling to Thailand with Kids

We already knew a lot about Thailand, having lived there and travelled multiple times before. We knew what to expect and felt we were prepared to travel to Thailand with kids.

Before we left on our most recent trip we shared our thoughts on planning a trip to Thailand with kids, which is a helpful guide to anyone taking on this adventure.

However, we also discovered there are some things about travelling in Thailand with kids we weren’t prepared for.

Thailand with Kids – 19 Lessons we Learned

1. Get a direct flight to Thailand. We flew from Sydney via Kuala Lumpur (4 hour wait) and it was too long a journey for the girls and an unnecessary extra leg of travel each way. Sorry Air Asia, but I think our “long haul” relationship with you is over. Yes, you were cheaper, BUT next time we will fly direct and pay the extra.

2. Try and time it so you arrive at your children’s bed time or before. We FINALLY checked in to our hotel in Bangkok at 2am (Australian time). This was a little too much for the girls to handle.

3. Make your first day after arrival a relaxing day. Going to the very busy Grand Palace the morning after an extremely long day of travel and tiring flight was the recipe for a meltdown in the most important temple in Bangkok.

 

19 Tips for Tavelling to Thailand with Kids

4. If you can, save Bangkok until the end of your journey when the kids have adjusted to Thai culture. Bangkok can be a little too full-on for a young, fresh-to-the-country mind to absorb. Plus, you won’t have to carry all your “shopping purchases” around with you.

5. Allow for several days before your children adjust to the change in time, temperature and culture.

6. Only do one big activity a day and make it in the morning while they are fresh. Relax more in the afternoon.

7. Take an umbrella stroller, they will be lighter and easier to move around the crazy, uneven streets.

8. Save money for a taxi to and from the airport in Bangkok into Siam if flying with Air Asia which operates out of the old Don Mueang airport. (approx 500 – 600 baht). It is worth the spend.

Having to get the shuttle bus from the airport to Chit Lom sky train station, and then into the city can be a hassle. Not all sky train stations have escalators, and it can be hot, or raining, and tiring with your kiddies and all your luggage.

9. For toddlers, make sure you check your hotel room has baby cots, unless you co-sleep. It is not common and you don’t want to be chasing a toddler around the room at 4am.

10. For short-term holidays, plan to go to just one or two places. Moving around a lot is too taxing for your children and you.

19 Tips for Tavelling to Thailand with Kids

11. Most baby essentials are easy to find across the country, but if you or your child is fussy to a certain brand then pack enough supplies.

12. It’s rare to find a seat belt, let alone a baby car seat in Thailand. Be prepared to wrestle your toddler the whole trip, or bring your own car seat if you are that concerned (not sure how you will go hooking it up though!). If you are travelling in a van or a bus, you may be lucky enough to have enough space to pop in your pram with baby strapped inside (what we did).

13. You’ll be able to find Western food easily enough, but if you want your child’s taste buds to explore then we recommend Pad Thai or Pad See Ew as an easy way to start. Other foods might be a little too spicy for your child’s stomach You can ask for a dish to be not too spicy (nid noi) which means little bit in Thai.

thailand with kids
Pad See Ew

14. Keep your children hydrated with plenty of water. 7/11 stores are EVERYWHERE and you can buy bottled water for 7 baht. Fresh coconuts, if they like the flavour, is great for hydration (and cheap 20-40 baht).

15. Duck into shopping malls, 7/11 stores or even Starbucks for a little AC cool down. This can really help your child readjust to the heat and give them a break. Hot children can turn into cranky ones fast.

16. If you are staying in a hotel, they often have babysitting and kids club services. And the Thai’s are GREAT with kids. Use it once or twice for a break.

17. Have lazy beach or pool days or mornings / afternoons so they can relax and have fun.

19 Tips for Tavelling to Thailand with Kids

18. Involve your children in activities they will enjoy. There are plenty of fun things for kids to do. Kalyra loved doing the cooking class with me and she was fascinated learning about preparing coconut and rice and of course drinking Thai condensed milk tea and coconut milk sweets. She also loved getting her hair braided.

19 Tips for Tavelling to Thailand with Kids

19. Be prepared for your children to be adored by the Thai people. i.e Picked up, cuddled, photos taken of them, and playing games with them to allow you a moment to breathe!

Have you visited Thailand with kids?

What tips can you share in the comments?

Caz
Caz Makepeace is the co-founder of y Travel Blog and has been traveling the world since 1997, first solo, then with her husband, and now with her two daughters. Get her free email series on the 4 best ways to reduce travel costs. Follow her on Google+

63 Comments on “19 Tips for Tavelling to Thailand with Kids”

  1. Yes I have, we did Bangkok, Koh Samet, Ayuthaya and Hua Hin this time last year. We had a great time, no problems with anything. The boys did get very fed up of being pinched and poked by child obsessed Thais a few times. Bangkok was fine for us, as you say, we went early to the big attractions and came back to our guest house for a rest and a play in the afternoon. We also took them to Dusit Zoo, that was a winner. No problems with trains or transport at all, the boys loved them, even when we were delayed for 4 hours. They were Tuk Tuk crazy too.

    Reply
    • The tuk tuks are so much fun for kids. Kalyra loved riding around in one.

      You went to some lovely, quiet areas, except Bangers of course!!

      We used to go to Hua Hin for the weekends when we lived in Bangkok, we loved it there.

      Reply
      • Hi, I’m going to Thailand in October with my partner and daughter she will be 16 months when the time arrives.
        We’ll be staying in The Kee resort in Phuket. You said Thai’s are great with Kids. People I know have said they wouldn’t leave there children there because of the corruption.. My travel agent said it’s fine but I’m starting to wonder now if it is safe enough?
        Also can you drink the water in the hotel or just bottled water the whole trip?

        Thanks

        Reply
        • Oh no I wouldn’t be concerned about the Thais. Corruption is in every country and it’s on a government level mostly. The people are lovely. Sure things might go wrong, but they can anywhere. Generally families will be fine. It’s more the backpackers smoking dope that they target. I seriously wouldn’t worry about it. You’ll have to drink bottled water for the trip. The tap water is not safe for drinking.

          Reply
    • Hi
      Love the blog and useful replies. I am planning to travel to Bangkok for work and want to extend it to a vacation withy family. However, some of my family are against us bringing our 8 month old due to her being too young for the vaccines. I have been researching and it appears that breastfeeding protects amongst many of these disease ie typhoid. Please let me know if you had your kids vaccines? Please advise.
      Thanks
      Lindsay

      Reply
      • Our youngest was 17 months when we went to Thailand and she was not vaccinated as she was also too young. We didn’t have any problems. Just be extra cautious

        Reply
  2. We take our girls there every year and love it so much!
    You’re so right about doing the one big activity in the morning. I also find that if you’re staying somewhere with a pool, letting them swim in the morning before the activity is essential, otherwise they’ll nag all day until they do.

    We swim between 8.30-9.30 then head out on adventure, making sure to be back by 3.30pm before the almost certain rain.
    The heat of the day is best spent in shopping centres with them I find.

    Also, if they are getting too tired and fractious, my magic wand tip is to take them for a massage. We all go together and within a couple of minutes they are sleeping in the chairs beside you while you’re relaxing to your hearts content. MAGIC! :)

    Reply
    • Great tips Candice! We did let Kalyra swim early in the morning a couple of times to escape the day long nagging too!! Makes such a difference.

      Love the massage idea- will try that one next time. We had a massage while Kalyra had her hair braided. She loved that and so did we

      Reply
  3. Great tips, I agree with all of these! Even though we don’t have any kids these are good overall tips for travelers! We were there in March which is the hottest month, and boy was it! We were at 7/11 every hour for either water or a Chang! We landed at 945 Bangkok time so we went to bed at midnight and were fine when we woke up, after the 21 hour worth of flights we were ready for bed! This coming December we are flying from Sydney to Bangkok and have that layover in KL but only 2.5 hrs but we also don’t have any kids…Great tips again!

    Reply
    • We used to love 7/11 for our regular dose of air conditioned 5 minute comfort. That time of the year is stifling in Thailand.

      I think the layover in KL is fine without kids. We would have managed it okay. It’s just far too long for them and for our sanity!

      Reply
  4. Agree 100% with all of your tips. Taking advantage of the time difference and doing activities in the morning when it’s cooler was key for us. Taking the afternoon off and snoozing or playing in the pool and then going out for dinner was plenty of “activity” for the rest of the day. We quite often ended up running out for takeaway or street food and eating out of plastic bags on our bed because even dinner was a bit much sometimes. Bring or buy a plastic bowl and spoon.

    We loved the movies in Thailand. They were so cheap and a great way to cool off and have a break from walking around.

    Reply
    • Yeah we did the Thai takeaway on the first evening when Kalyra started a meltdown on the streets.

      time to go!!

      The movies are so great in Thailand. We love the King’s song. Although sometimes they can be a little too cold

      Reply
  5. Such great tips! Bookmarking this page. :)

    Reply
  6. I have not travelled with my children to Thailand, but three quarters of these tips apply to adults as well, especially first time visitors to Asia.
    These are great ideas for Asian travel with kids that could make the difference between a stressed out holiday and a pleasant peaceful one.

    Reply
  7. Agree with Jan, lots of really usefl tips that apply to adults here as well. Can’t agree enough though about doing trips/sightseeing etc in the mornings when the kids are fresh. Hot, sticky, grumpy afternoons are no fun for anyone.

    Reply
    • Oh no those afternoons are the worst. You definitely want to be close by to a pool and a glass of wine!

      Reply
  8. Great Post. We (my son and i) are heading to BKK in under a week for a 4 month stint between thailand and Vietnam as part of our 12 rtw trip.
    The pre-travel jitters have set in and the nerves of it all too but reading this post has been a great way to remember that practicality goes a long way. Its also reminded me of really how wonderful it will be…warts and all!
    Thanks for re-inspiring me in my pre-jetting jitters!

    Reply
    • Oh my pleasure! And thank you. This is exactly why we write posts like this to help others feel equipped and empowered to make their travels the best they can be. Enjoy your time, you will LOVE it!

      Reply
  9. simon monk

    Great to see you exploring the world with your family. Different challenges as they get older, but kids learn so much.

    ciao

    Simon

    Reply
  10. Huge list of great tips here. A lot of these are really good tips for ANYONE (not just families) going to ANY DESTINATION. Especially the tips about just relaxing and keeping your cool.

    People often want to pack as much as possible into a trip. Moderation can be a good thing. Enjoy yourselves. Take your time.

    Travel is a “leisure” pursuit. Be leisurely.

    Holidays don’t always have to be fast-paced scavenger hunts… where you’re just rushing through a checklist and getting red faced in the process. (Though there is room for fast-paced travel in the world too… It’s just not for everyone, all the time.)
    James @ Thailand for Children recently posted..Never Go to Thailand
    James @ Thailand for Children recently posted..Never Go to Thailand

    Reply
    • Yes. The Amazing Race is just for entertaining TV. It’s not fun in real life.

      Reply
  11. Great blog – thank you! I’m going with my son (5 years) and wondered if there’s a resort or area you would recommend or equally one to avoid? We are going for 3 weeks. I’m a single mum, it will be our first break – just the two of us :)

    Reply
    • I would avoid Patong in Phuket. I really like Krabi, or Koh Lanta and I’d choose Koh Samuii over Phuket. If you go to Phuket I’d head more towards the north west part of the island. Enjoy it. You will be so relaxed!

      Reply
  12. Helen Shevels

    I came across your website through pinterest and I,m so glad I did.
    My partner & I did a dream trip to laos, koh samui and bangkok after a year saving, it was my 1st long haul trip from Yorkshire (UK) where we live.
    We loved it so much we vowed to go back but had conceived our daughter Amber on the beautiful island of Koh Chang. I adore that she originated from such a lovely place but had always wondered if we actually would make it back now we have an infant of 3.
    The long flight especially fills me with dread, even I was grumpy towards the end even though we did it direct, so what you say makes so much sense.
    I,m reassured you managed it with 2 kids no less and will be saving your post to keep me informed. Thanks for the time you put into your post its made our dream trip revisit now likely to happen.
    Helen Shevels

    Reply
    • Hi Helen!
      Thank you for finding us. I love that your daughter was conceived in Koh Chang. I think you will have the perfect time going back. Travel with a 3 year old is not that bad. I think it’s ages 1-3 which are the most challenging. Once they turn 3 they find their feet and are more settled. The tantrums will still come but they are manageable, more so than the constant toddler chasing.

      Reply
  13. Michael

    Thank you for your blog!
    I am half Thai and American, my mother is Thai and we usually spend a lot of time in Bangkok with family during Jan through Apr. I haven’t been back since 2010 because my twins were born that year. Now that they are 3, we’re planning a trip for a couple of weeks in January 2014, and my partner and I are taking all 3 of our children (6 y/o boy and 3y/o twins). My Thai mother recommends that my children be immunized and to prepare them with a gastric distress treatment before we travel to Thailand. What do you think about this recommendation?

    Also, with three children, we’ll be renting a microbus type vehicle to be able to fit the whole family. I’m hoping that I’ll be able install their car seats in those types of vehicles with either seat belts or carseat hooks.

    Had I seen your blog before, I would have booked a direct flight, but we’re taking EVA and the stop over is in Taipei with an hour layover. So, hopefully they’re ready to travel there and meet their cousins, more so, am I ready to take them..!
    Michael

    Reply
  14. Hi Caz,
    this is a great blog!
    our daughter will be 3 in September and I have been wanting to take her backpacking since she was born! We are considering a month- 6 week trip to Thailand and Vietnam in December/Jan ……or maybe Thailand/Malaysia would be keen to get in touch with you for some advice!
    thanks
    Cat

    Reply
    • No worries. Any of these destinations would be great. We don’t know a lot about Malaysia, but certainly love Thailand and Vietnam. 3 is a great age to travel with kids as well

      Reply
  15. Hi Caz,

    Enjoying your site very much, tnx!
    Planning my trip w/ husband & 2 kids (3 and 5) starting next week – for 4 weeks! First 3 nights in BKK are booked…nothing else yet. Have some ideas though about the jungle, but still not sure which beach/island to go.
    Deciding between Krabi, Ko lanta, ko samui (only because of weather) and Hua Hin (even ko samet as we will prob go twice to a beach place). Like to go right after our stay in BKK. Do you have recomendations on where to stay in Krabi or Ko Lanta? Love your picture of Ko Lanta beach – we like relaxed places – bit lay back – not too cultivated, but also do like to run in some other people and may be have a choice where to eat…and snorkling. Sorry for long message…

    Reply
    • I think Ko Lanta is the perfect place. It has everything that you just said you wanted. I don’t know of many places to stay though as we stayed several years ago and just lobbed up to some bungalows on the beach. I can’t even remember the name or where they were. That was before blogging when I didn’t feel I had to record everything :) Have a little search online and you should get lots of suggestions. Be sure to read the reviews and poke around a bit. I also love Railey’s Bay near Krabi. It’s actually my favourite place in the world. It’s much quieter, very laid back a little isolated, but has enough people around and choices of places to stay and eat. My dream place to stay there is Rayavadee. It is number one on my bucket list. May be some time before I pull that off ;)

      Reply
  16. DANIELA SICUARNZA

    Wonderful blog! So glad I found it through Pinterest. We have been contemplating a trip to Thailand for a while now but are terrified to make the flight(s) from the US to BKK with a 3 and 1 1/2 year old. Any suggestions on what time of year to travel to Thailand to best enjoy the country with little ones? I feel once we nail down the time of year then we can get to planning the rest!
    Thanks!

    Reply
    • I’m so sorry Daniela, I’ve only noticed your comment and question now. The best time is between November- Feb. Dec and Jan will be pretty busy. April is incredibly hot so you might want to miss that month. The rest of the year will be the rainy season, but its not too bad, usually a big downpour once a day

      Reply
  17. Excellent blog and very informative. I have just returned from my first trip thailand, 5 nights in pattaya and 2 in bangkok for a bucks party with 5 other late 20′s males. After returning home I spoke with my wife about going for a family trip with the 2 kids (1 aged 6 and 1 aged 1) would you recommend bangkok for 10 days or break it up with somewhere else?
    I loved bangkok when I was there and 2 nights was nowhere near enough

    Cheers

    Reply
    • I would say break it up with something else when you have the kids. I think Bangkok is just too crazy for them. A trip to the islands will give your kids a bit of calm and beach fun

      Reply
      • hi , what wonderful tips . My fiance and are getting married in Thailand and taking our kids along for ceremony and holiday i hope its safe for them and should i vaccinate 5 year old daughter , what meds can take along ?

        Reply
        • Hi Margo! What an amazing place to get married. I’d check with your doctor in regards to the vaccination and medication. I’d hate to tell you the wrong thing!

          Reply
          • awesome thank you for the feedback , i will ask our travel agent to get as much info as possible with regards to foods , allergens etc i am so excited about this vacation :-)

  18. Hi there, Thanks for all the great tips! We’re thinking of taking our 1.5 yo to the north and are considering driving ourselves around… do you have any tips on transportation rentals? Have u ever ridden a motorbike with your baby, like the thais do??? Thinking of busing out of BKK to someplace more peaceful then renting from there…? Your thoughts? THANKS!

    Reply
    • Hi Kristen,
      We rented a car in the Chiang Mai and drove in the north. It was fine and the roads weren’t overly crowded. Great way to see a different side of Thailand. This was pre-kids and with another couple. I don’t have many tips as my friend organized the rental through his friend who owned a guest house. It was pretty simple and cheap. I haven’t put my kids on a motorbike and don’t think I’d have the stamina to do it. I know others who have and have’t had a problem.

      Reply
  19. Hello,

    me and my husband are planning to travel to Thailand (Phukhet), with our 16 month old girl, and I’m wondering if you could answer a few questions? Are there a lot of mosquitos, should we take a strong repellent with us? Did you, or anyone you know had any problems with the food, our little one is quite adventures and likes to eat weird food, we would like how possible will that be.

    Thank you very much in advance

    Micaela

    Reply
    • Hi Micaela,
      There will be lots of mosquitos so take some repellent definitely. We’ve never had problems with the food, but I’m sure others have, just like they do in their own country. Generally, its pretty safe. There’s plenty of cockroaches for sale at the markets, your daughter will love!! ;)

      Reply
  20. Hello Caz,

    Love the site!

    My husband and I are about to head off to Bangkok for Christmas with our 4 year old and 2 year old. We’ve hired an apartment for our 4 week stay and can’t wait to get there!

    Some nights we’d love to go out (as a little holiday for us) but we’re struggling to find a babysitting service – and wondered if you had any advice or suggestions?

    Thanks very much for all the great travel tips!

    Best
    Buffy

    Reply
    • Unfortunately I don’t know anything about baby sitting. I know how much a night out is needed for the parents!! Perhaps you can contact some of the hotels/resorts, as they often provide baby sitting services, so they may know of reputable companies to contact. Let me know how you get on

      Reply
  21. hi!
    Great post, thanks! Really helpful.
    We are going to koh samet for three weeks with our baby, which will be almost 5 months when we arrive (going Nov 21st-dec 12th).
    Do you have any tips regarding packing? We’re planning to bring our car seat, BabyBjorn, a stroller (light&easy), a floating west and travel bed. We’re bringing some uv-suits, sun hats etc, but I am really unsure about how much clothes to bring otherwise. Do you have any thoughts? Are there any essentials you think we are missing?
    Appreciate it if you reply:-)

    Reply
    • I would reconsider the car seat. I’m not sure how you are planning to get around, but most Thai transport don’t even have back seat belts, so you wouldn’t even be able to attach the car seat. Unless you are travelling in a pre-arranged private car. That’s the challenge with Thailand you have to travel with the kids on your lap- it’s scary, but you get used to it. Try to limit the clothes to save on packing, laundry is pretty cheap in Thailand so you can easily wash what you have. I think you have it covered apart from that. The baby bjorn is a must!

      Reply
  22. Hi CAZ,

    Very nice tips for Thailand Vacation with Kids. I am planning to go with my Family. Your post very helpful for me and I am going to follow those tips. Thanks for sharing thoughts.

    Thanks,

    Henry

    Reply
  23. Rosanna Jones

    Such an informative post! Heading to Thailand in May with my 5 year old and found this very helpful. Thanks!

    Reply
  24. Love this blog! The information on this site is better than any lonely planet guide. Thanks!

    This summer, we’ll visit Thailand for the 1st time. Our kids (6 and 8) will also fly for the 1st time (14 hours flight from Belgium to BKK). Really exciting!

    This is my proposal for our round trip:
    1. Kanchanaburi (first relax around the bridge over the river), then Jungle Rafts (floating hotel) 2. Khao Yai national park, 3. Chiang Mai, 4. Railay Bay (thanks for the tip, love Rayavadee too, but it’s a little bit too expensive ;-) ), 5. Bangkok

    Did I miss something? I saw some info about Malaria and Jungle… is Khao Yai a risk? If so, I can leave it out.

    All the best,

    Erik

    Reply
    • You’re itinerary sounds great. Good combination of mountains and island life. I’m not too sure about the malaria risk for Khao Yai. It’s usually only deep in the jungles up north, but I would check that with your doctor, or you can probably find out online.

      Enjoy your trip, it will be amazing!
      P.S One day we’ll enjoy a stay at Rayavadee- I’m determined!!

      Reply
  25. Nicole Jones

    Hi, were traveling to Phuket in April with our girl, she’ll be 15 months then. I am a little worried as I am pregnant with number 2 and will be 23 weeks then. We’ve tentatively booked a seat for her on the plane, although to an extra $900! Debating whether to do it or not but I think we should! My hubby and I have been to Thailand 2 times before so it will be a very relaxing holiday and a little bit of shopping! Do you have any tips for me? Nervous! aha

    Reply
    • I think you should be fine. Just talk to your doctor to make sure and be very careful of what you eat. It will be very hot in April so something else to think about. We honeymooned in April and I think it’s one of the hottest I’ve ever been. It’s a great place to take it easy so you should be okay. But do check with your doc.

      Reply
  26. hi!

    Great post, Really helpful. Highly informative!!

    We are gonna be travelling with a 3 month old and with another friend who would be 5 months pregnant. We are planning to do a Mumbai(India) – Krabi – Bangkok – Pattaya – Mumbai from the 15th of May for around 20 days. I need to know how would the heat and mosquito situation in these places. While we haven’t booked a 5 star hotel, the accommodation seems pretty. Should i be worried about anything else too ??

    Take care,
    Riaz

    Reply
  27. Helpful tips. Thailand and generally big cities in southeast asia aren’t dangerous. I have been working and living here in Thailand with my family for 3 years and we have never felt unsafe. I’ve been working and living here in Thailand for 3 years and I’ve never felt unsafe. I guess it’s just a matter of exercising caution and using common sense.

    Reply
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  31. Thanks for a great blog that I am just discovering. We live in Nepal with our two girls (3 year old and 1 year old) and are trying to plan a quick get away April 10 for about 9 days. Am I a bit late in planning this, I wonder? We were thinking about Koh Samui and staying in a resort with pool for kids, playground, yeah, maybe even a kids club. Do you have any good recommendations on resorts or places to go (maybe instead of Koh Samui that seems to be quite booked)? Thanks for your help:-) Ingrid

    Reply
    • You could try Koh Lanta or Phuket, but if you go to Phuket go to Surin or Bang tao Bay

      Reply
  32. Michelle Q

    Another great article! Thailand is November, after Japan, China and Cambodia on our upcoming ten month rtw trip and you really helped me picture the day to day of it. We are doing BKK, Chiang Mai and Ko Lanta in one month, so lots of stopping. Then we will be off to a month in Sri Lanka. Thank you for your great site and Pinterest boards!

    Reply
  33. Ngoc Anh

    Thanks for sharing such usefull information. We are going to Thailand this month (5 days in Krabi and 2 days in Bangkok) with my 16 month old girl. I would greatly appriciated if you could give me some more information as mentioned bellow:
    1. Should we take my girl on a speed boat to Koh Phi Phi?
    2. Is there any non-spicy food for baby? such as: steam rice/porridge with omelette or something like that because we dont want to bring too much jarred food.
    Thank you so much!!!

    Reply
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