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Mauritius, Indian Ocean

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Wonderful beaches and incredible culture combine to make Thailand a great destination for families

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Fact File

  • Flight time: 12 hours 
  • Best time to go: Phuket : November – March & Koh Samui : February – August 
  • Time difference: GMT +7 hours 
  • Currency: Baht 
  • Visa requirements: Not needed for British passport holders for stays of 30 days or less 
  • Inoculations needed: No

Thailand Family Holidays

Home to some of the coolest beach hotels in the world. Thailand has always been one of the best beach destinations - and the hotels just keep getting better. We would probably advise against Bangkok with small children and instead head down for an elephant ride in Lok Lak national park, which the children will love, before heading to either Koh Samui or Phuket for some seriously lovely beaches. But beware Phuket also has some horrendous areas that are wall to wall tourists and bad hotels. Head away from these centres and discover beautiful unspoilt beaches and stunning places to stay. Or head over to the rather sleepier Koh Samui which has a real tropical island vibe and some stunning places to stay. For those families wanting to see a couple of different places it is easy to combine Koh Samui and Phuket. We have tried to bring you a selection of our favourite hotels (having seen hundreds) and hopefully something for every different family from exquisite boutique hotels with your own villa to chill out places which suit parents with one child who aren’t ready to give up on gorgeous hotels just yet. And for families just wanting a hotel that does everything we have a few of the best of the bigger beach hotels.

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Koh Phangan, Thailand

We loved this hotel and would go back tomorrow if we could. Set on the jungle covered island of Koh Pan Nang, ½ hour speedboat from Samui, this dream beach hideaway is hidden away on the north east coast. The sand is soft, the beach is wide, the water is blue and calm and best of all there are far less people here than on any of the Samui beaches. When looking at hotels in Thailand this is the sort of laid back beach luxury that we had expected to find but really didn’t anywhere else.

Suitable for: Although this hotel is aimed at couples rather than families, the laid back vibe and beautiful beach lends itself to families with children of any age.

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Rasananda Phangan

Our rating: Utterly Fab Rating explaination
Rooms: 64
Interleading rooms: No
Childrens facilities:No
Setting: Beach
Style: Contemporary Balinese
Kids club: No
Baby sitters: No
Nightly rates from:
Per Person: £120.50 pppn BB
2 adults & 2 children from £648.00
Complimentary age sharing: 0-2yrs

West Coast, Thailand

Gorgeous, simply gorgeous. The beach here is the beach you dream of when you think of Thailand. Wonderful white villas, dotted throughout the palm trees, running down to soft white sand and crystal blue water. And the design is just what we want in a tropical location, clear, clean, white and crisp. They look sunny inside and out! And one of the two main pools even has underwater music and see through walls, a real hit with children and parents!

Suitable for: This hotel is not aimed at families but if you don’t need a children’s club and have children who are happy on the beach or in the pool you will love this stunning hotel.

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The Racha

Our rating: Utterly Fab Rating explaination
Rooms: 70
Interleading rooms: Yes
Childrens facilities:Limited
Setting: Beach
Style: Luxury
Kids club: No
Baby sitters: Yes
Nightly rates from:
Per Person: £122.50 pppn
Complimentary age sharing: 0 - 4yrs

When to Travel

Thailand has a very varied climate depending on your location.  Generally you can visit all year round although the best weather is the cooler and dryer season between November and early April.  In the south the weather differs between Phuket on the west coast and Koh Samui on the east coast.  Phuket is better during our winter months and Koh Samui is good for most of the year with its lowest rainfall in January and February  and the most rainfall in November.


Thailand has long been a popular family destination so they are very good at catering for children.  The Thai people are incredible keen on western babies  (which appear to be a novelty to them) and make very good babysitters.  With older children you can explore the country’s culture before heading to the beach.  Both Phuket and Koh Samui have plenty of activities for all the family to enjoy and lots of good restaurants which are more then happy to cater for children.  You will find that Phuket is very western in its outlook and therefore an easy destination to take children to.  For example they even have Boots and Tescos.  This may not be every ones ideal take on a country but for families after a good beach in a hot climate, without the trials of dealing with a different culture then Phuket is a good option.  For families after a more ‘Thai’ experience then there are plenty of other wonderful islands and areas to head to.  We loved Koh Samui which is a bit less ‘western’ then Phuket and has some stunning boutique hotels on the beach.   Depending on the age of your children you could spend some time in Bangkok but in general for younger families the big cities aren’t that much fun.  Down south the beaches are perfect for children and as a family you can combine this with a bit of adventure and stay at the Koh Lak elephant camp (which our girls adored)

Country Info

Flights: From Heathrow with British Airways, EVA Airways, Jet Airways & Thai Airways.  Or with Emirates via Dubai

Most direct flights are into Bangkok from where you can catch an internal flight down to Koh Samui or Phuket.  There are a few charter flights direct to Phuket.

Thailand's beaches

The beaches in Thailand are a huge draw and many epitomize the palm-fringed ideal.  You do need to choose carefully as some beaches are very tidal (especially on the west coast of Phuket) and you can end up with the sea completely disappearing at low tide.  On the east coast of Phuket the sea at certain times of the year can get quite rough (which isn’t ideal for young children)

Koh Samui has some stunning beaches and although no hotels can have private beaches the location of some hotels means their beaches are almost private.  Changwe is the most beautiful beach on the island but also the most popular so you would have to battle with the masses.  In general the hotels here are for the package market except the wonderful Library hotel – which is perfect if you want to be able to walk to numerous restaurants but still be in delightful luxury.

Out and about

To just visit Thailand for the beaches is to miss out on a stunningly cultural opportunity and a chance to immerse your family into South East Asian civilisation.  Although your children will need to be old enough to appreciate this!

The capital, Bangkok, is Southeast Asia’s major city, a fascinating, frenetic place where life only slows in tranquil temples, quiet canals and on the river that flows through its heart.  Whilst up in the north, hill tribe communities still live in small wooden villages, holding on to an age old culture and traditions.   Ancient cities are steeped in early Siamese culture, national parks are rich with flora and fauna and history assails you at ever turn.

The old now abandoned capital of Ayuthaya is a short distance north of Bangkok. Ayuthaya was the capital of Siam for just over four centuries. Today its incredible ruins are fascinating to explore.  Head further north for the historic and bustling city of Chiang Mai, Thailand’s second largest city.  Whilst for many a trip to northern Thailand must include a visit to the Golden Triangle with its hill tribes, rice paddies, stunning scenary and frontier towns.

For World War Two buffs or children interested in their history a visit to Kanchanaburi and the River Kai is an incredible and very moving experience

Food and drink

For us one of the highlights of Thailand is their cuisine.  Herbs and spicy make every mouthful burst with flavor.  With some of the best food served from local restaurants and stalls lining the roads.  If you are nervous of this more traditional way of eating then not to worry as the hotels also produce some delicious local food.  Hotels will cater for less adventurous eaters and there are always the classic burger s and chips etc on offer.  For children some of the simpler rice based dishes work very well.

In Koh Samui and Phuket it is very easy to get out and about to some good local restaurants where families are always welcome.  Oddly enough restaurants outside of hotels tend not to have high chairs for younger children

Things to do

Beaches are probably what Thailand is most famous for but they also have a wonderful cultural heritage.  For families with older children you may like to combine a trip to the Golden Triangle or Chiang Mai with the southern beaches.  Alternatively Bangkok is a fun place for a few days. 

Koh Samui and Phuket have masses of activities to entertain families but for us the highlight was an elephant safari in Koh Lak national park – which our girls loved.  Koh lak is easy to combine with a beach hotel on Phuket.

Things to do

Please find below a range of activities available in Thailand.

Suggested Itineraries

We know it is often difficult, with the huge number of hotels out there, to know which one to go for, which combines with which and what sort of costs they are going to be. Here we have put together a few of our favourite options to give you a starting point. Any of these options can be changed, tweeked or added to so please do ask. The prices are per person and include international flights and private transfers. As the rates at all hotels change a great deal from their High Seasons (i.e the most popular times of the year to be there) to their Low Seasons (they often have great discounts at this time) we have based the 'From' costs on a good time of year to be in the country, the dates are included in the text at the bottom. Please do call us for a quote based on your dates.