After 2 years of chilly Christmases, this past year we had the kind of white Christmas I like best- a white sand beach! Our family (kids age 3 and 5), along with my parents, headed to Thailand. First up was a visit to Bangkok, followed by a week in Phuket.
Just a 5.5 hour direct flight from the Middle East, this was our first time to check out the “Far East.” We arrived late so we started our three full days in Bangkok the following morning. First up (With our wonderful driver, Sam. I highly recommend him and am happy to share contact info.) was a windshield tour of the city and stops at Wat Pho, the Grand Palace, and Wat Phra Kaew.
Dress for Thailand- cool but modest. Men and women (but not children) should bring a layer to cover shoulders and knees or plan to borrow one from the sight. Put on your 100 Baht elephant pants, walk past the 20 somethings in their red formal gowns setting up for a “candid” Instagram snap, and head into the beautiful temple! Also, wear shoes easy to slip on and off, you’ll be doing that often.
I was amazed by the intricacy of the buildings and monuments. It was hard to capture in photos, but the overall effect was just stunning. Adults need a ticket to enter, but small children are free.
Next up we headed out of town for two unique markets- a floating market and a train market. The floating market was a fun stop with kids after a day of touring temples. They liked being out on the boat and eating ALL the things. My two didn’t fight the entire tour. Worth all the money. Tour prices vary based on which stall. Don’t hesitate to ask your driver to go elsewhere if you find the prices too high. No need for add ons. All the shops carry the same stuff- touristy pieces.
The train market was a better adult pick, in my opinion. A small market takes place right over a train track. 4 times a day the train rolls through and the shop keepers pull in all the wares to avoid it. It’s warm and crowded, but so neat. Our youngest ended up being the main attraction of the day, being asked to pose with families for photos, kissed by strangers, etc. It all went to her head, of course, so she started offering her photo services to people. People who weren’t even asking.
The following day we headed to the ancient capitol of Siam, Ayutthaya.
The ruins here were spectacular, and much less crowded than the sights in the city. Highly recommend.
Then it was a quick flight to Phuket paradise! We stayed at the Holiday Inn Mai Khao, a quick shuttle drive from the airport. Super family friendly and relaxed. The beach and the pool offered hours of fun, with activities by staff for the kids to make it even better. Entrepreneurs have set up restaurants, shops, laundry service, and even a massage hut, just off property.
We took two day trips from here, one to Phi Phi Islands (Yes!) and one to Turtle Village (No!). While I thought I might die on the speed boat ride to the islands (sit in the back people, trust me), the views were INCREDIBLE and absolutely worth it. When you get to Maya Bay, go all the way to stage left for less crowds and great pics.
All in all, it was a great trip. I highly recommend Thailand with kids, particularly outside of Bangkok. There’s so much more of the country to see, and I hope to go back soon.