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FAMILIES


Often referred to as a great first long-haul destination for the family, children are made to feel welcome in Thailand and there are plenty of entertainment options


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amilies who visit Thailand tend to become fans for life. It’s great for Asia first-timers and even those making their first family foray long-haul, with a mix of the exotic and familiar and a friendly welcome guaranteed. A wide choice of night flights helps travelling with little ones and a new direct service to Phuket makes hitting the beach even quicker. Koh Samui is best for good weather during the school summer holidays, otherwise all resorts are good for Christmas and half-term holidays. From safe cities to stunning beach resorts, Thailand is easy to explore with children and the infrastructure is good with an easy drive from Bangkok to Pattaya, Hua Hin and Cha Am. English is spoken in most tourist areas and Western and international food is readily available. Self-catering is also an attractive option for families.


WHY CHOOSE A FAMILY HOLIDAY IN THAILAND? Hotel standards are high and international chains abound. Many offer kids’ clubs, children’s pools and playgrounds, and besides the fabulous Thai food – with spicy and non-spicy options – most hotels have an international restaurant, often an Italian. Teenagers, meanwhile, will enjoy Thailand’s soft adventure activities, night markets, mocktails and cheap pedicures. Elephants are a well-loved attraction for all ages, with Chiang Mai the best place to


meet these loveable beasts. Consider a mahout experience for a holiday highlight. Value is another huge Thailand tick point. Not only do hotel rates compare very favourably to rival destinations, but the country regularly tops surveys of best on-the-ground prices, so attraction entry, ice creams and even day-long taxi hire are something to smile about. Thailand’s year-round sunshine is another bonus. Koh Samui’s peak is in the school summer holidays, while value-savvy families chase off-peak deals.


TOP ATTRACTIONS • FantaSea, Phuket: a glitzy


cultural show with acrobatics and entertaining elephants


• Tree Top Adventure Park, Koh Chang/ Flight of the Gibbon, Bangkok, Pattaya and Chiang Mai: ropes and zip wires for unleashing the inner Tarzan


• Siam Park City, Bangkok: waterpark and amusement park


• Elephant camps: see eco-tourism, p13


TREETOP ADVENTURES Venture into the jungle canopy via rope bridges, swings and ziplines with facilities in Pattaya, Krabi and Koh Chang


• Siam Ocean World, Bangkok: one of the largest underground aquariums in Southeast Asia


PERFECT BEACHES Thailand’s safe and sandy beaches are a haven for children, offering hours of simple fun and pleasure


From safe cities to stunning beach resorts, Thailand is easy to explore with children


HOTELS FAMILY PICKS


Paradise Beach Resort, Chaweng, Koh Samui Good for water babies, whatever their age, the resort offers sailing, windsurfing, water-skiing from the beach, and scuba-diving courses at the PADI-certified dive centre. There’s also a well- equipped children’s playground. samuiparadise.com


Laguna Phuket


There’s a good selection of both indoor and outdoor activities suitable for all the family at Laguna Phuket. This is an upmarket integrated resort complex set across 1,000 acres. It’s connected by boat and shuttle bus and home to hotels by Sheraton, Banyan Tree, Outrigger, Dusit Thani, Angsana and Best Western. Guests can make use of all the other hotel restaurants, no matter which they stay at – that’s at least 15 different eateries in all. lagunaphuket.com


Dusit Island Resort, Chiang Mai


Lots of sports and leisure facilities at this resort including a huge swimming pool plus kid’s pool, children’s playground, tennis courts, fitness centre, traditional Thai massage, Jacuzzi, steam rooms, jogging track, snooker and games room. There’s also plenty of room for extra beds in these spacious rooms overlooking the Kok river. Baby-sitting service available. Better for families with small children and a great retreat for parents. dusit.com


Amari Coral Beach Resort, Patong Beach Families can be sure of perfect peace and quiet at night, although the resort is only ten minutes from the bustling nightlife and restaurants in Patong. There are two swimming pools and a small private beach. amari.com





PLAY TIME!





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