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Highlights of Thailand for Families

Thailand is a fantastic and relatively easy destination for you and your kids, we’d certainly rate it easiest in South East Asia, particularly for families. Thailand combines low prices, ultra friendly, child-loving people, stunning clean beaches with varied watersports, wonderful wildlife and a host of cultural experiences. Along with all of this, the food is amazing! After years exploring Thailand, these are our, and our kids’, recommendations for highlights of Thailand for families. Try to slot them into your Thailand itinerary.

Finding family accommodation in Thailand isn’t generally hard and prices are low, but a peak times, holidays and festivals. Thailand can get pretty full. We prefer Agoda for Asian destinations as they are local specialists, you could also compare prices on the same hotel from multiple agents, using our orange search box at the top of the page. AirBnB  ( join here, for free, and get our special discount) is also possible in Thailand and is best for apartments, longer stays or home stays.

For more on travel in Thailand, you need our Thailand Travel Advice page. To check out all of our Thailand content, and there is a lot, go to our Thailand archives.

Highlights of Thailand for Families

Beaches and Islands

Things to do Phuket karon beach phuket
Some prefer the big resort towns of Phuket ( above) other the quieter islands, the choice is yours.

Thailand’s beaches start just south of Bangkok with Ko Samet and extend south to the border with Malaysia. There are beautiful beaches and islands on the Andaman Sea and on the Gulf of Thailand. In general beaches are very clean with sparkling water, some are lively, some quiet. You need to find a beach to suit your family’s personality. We have visited many, but not all, of Thailand’s diverse beach spots. In all honesty, beaches aren’t our thing nor our area of expertise, but we have tested out Phuket, Krabi, Ko Phangan, Ko Samui and Ko Samet. In general, the smaller the beach destination the better, in our opinion.


long tail boat tour Bangkok. Things to do in Bangkok
A private klong tour by long-tail boat is easy to arrange in Bangkok.

Bangkok is the thumping heart of Thailand and it’s a city to visit time and time again. Here you will find stunning temples and wats, the magnificent Grand Palace, the iconic Khao San Rd and the magnificent Chao Praya River and connecting klongs. Bangkok has luxury riverside resorts, mid range hotels and budget guest houses suitable for families. ( recommended family hotels in Bangkok here). In Thailand’s capital you will also find cultural shows and banquet dinners, authentic cheap street food and fine dining. If you’d like to shop there are modern malls for every taste along with street-fulls of souvenirs, clothes and jewellery. Be sure to find a hotel or other accommodation in the right part of town for you, we can help you make that choice. While in Bangkok you can take day trips to floating markets and nearby towns with cultural or historic interests. ( Itinerary suggestions here, more things to do in Bangkok here) Maybe you could spend some time learning to cook Thai food or enjoying an organised food tour ( see resources section, bottom of this page)

Chiang Mai

Chiang Mai Thailand Silver Temple
The silver temple in Chiang Mai, just south of the old city and adjacent to one of Chiang Mai’s weekly ” walking streets”.

I’m yet to meet anyone who didn’t love Chiang Mai. The charming walled Old Town is a separated from the city by a peaceful and picturesque moat. There is a market for every day of the week and Chiang Mai’s Walking Streets are world famous. Food in Chiang Mai has it’s own character, with plenty of regional specialities.  The city is well known for Thai cooking classes, some will take families and children. Around Chiang Mai you will find numerous tourist attractions and excursions. Chiang Mai has a much lower cost of accommodation and living that Bangkok and can be somewhat cooler. You will also find modern shopping malls and good co-working spaces here, this is where many digital nomads settle.

Chiang Rai

Chiang Rai is a few hours north of Chiang Mai and has much to offer families. We have a full post on things to do in Chiang Rai here, including the famous White Temple and Blue Temple. We usually hire a car in the north of Thailand to explore at our leisure, we highly recommend this! Full post on the treasures of Northern Thailand here.

Other Historic Cities and Ancient Sites

river cruise ayutthaya thailand
A boat trip around the ancient sites of Ayutthaya at sunset.

Thailand has no shortage of Unesco sites. The ancient cities of Ayutthaya and Sukhothai are well worth visiting, with Ayutthaya being possible as a day trip from Bangkok. Full post on Ayutthaya here.

Sukhothai is harder to get to, there’s a long bus journey and you’ll need at least 1 night there. The Sukhothai ruins can famously be toured by bicycle and they are stunning, the town itself is lovely, sleepy and a little off the main tourist track. Full post on Sukhothai here.

Kanchanaburi is not far from Bangkok and is a sleepy riverside town, home to the Bridge on the River Kwai, WW2 history and an ethical elephant park. A few days on the river here is a relaxing and beautiful experience, prices are some of the lowest in Thailand. There is a new elephant attraction here, billed as ethical, which could compete with those of Chiang Mai for visitors not heading north. Full post on Kanchanaburi here.

Theme Parks and Other Family Attractions

The following is not a comprehensive list of theme parks, zoos, water or adventure parks etc. But it gives you an idea of how much choice there is in Thailand.

  • Siam Park City, Bangkok. Amusement park.
  • Cartoon Network Amazone near Jomtien Beach Water & Amusement Park.
  • Sea Life Aquarium Bangkok. The Largest Aquarium in South East Asia
  • Chiang Mai Zoo
  • Dusit Zoo, Bangkok
  • Ramayama Water Park, Pattaya
  • Black Mountain Water Park, Hua Hin
  • Flight of the Gibbon and other zipline parks near Chiang Mai.

There are many more family attractions like this in Thailand.



Snake Show Bangkok Hospital Snake Farm. Things to do in Bangkok
Local snake and venom education centre at one of Bangkok’s main hospitals.

If you don’t see monkeys or elephants in Thailand I’d be very surprised. Beware animal exploitation attractions and choose ethical operations. Some of the attractions around Chiang Mai have a good reputation when it comes to elephant interaction. I’d personally avoid anything to do with tigers in Thailand and elephant attractions in Phuket.

You probably won’t see a wild snake, but if you’d like to find more about Thailand’s native reptiles, try the venom farm and education centre at one of the main hospitals in Bangkok. ( pictured above) Also watch out for birds, huge butterflies and fascinating bugs.


Hill Tribes

Hill Tribe Woman Mae Hong Song
Visit a hill tribe museum or cultural attraction, trek into the forest or even stay overnight in a hill tribe village. Just be sure you do so ethically.

You can visit a hill tribe museum and education centre for free in Chiang Mai, or you can set out by car to find them for yourselves as we did with the long neck Karen village above. If you’d like to organise an authentic, cultural and educational experience take a look at Thailand Hilltribe Holidays for homestays and tours in Northern Thailand. They are a responsible operation and can arrange homestays in hill tribe villages, particularly for family groups.

Food and Cooking

amphawa crab prawn
Street food, market, pavement cafe, food tour, restaurant or cooking course, you’re in for a treat in Thailand. Pictured: Amphawa floating market, renowned for sea food.

Thailand is a country that you absolutely need to eat your way around. Thai food is superb, arguably the most exciting cuisine in the world. Not all Thai food is heavy on the chillies and your family won’t go hungry if they’re not keen on heat. Try every kind of food outlet, the floating markets pictured above, night markets and walking streets, restaurants fine and basic and if you have time take a food tour or enrol in a cooking school for half a day or longer. Some cooking schools are more than happy to take kids, our boys love these days of making and eating superb food. Their dad is a chef after all!

 We hope you enjoyed our post on highlights of Thailand and that you’ll be visiting or planning your trip, very soon. If you like, we can help you with your plans ( see resources below)

for Pinterest

Highlights of Thailand for Families


Further Resources for Families Planning a Trip to Thailand:

We love Thailand, our visit next week will be our 24th ( hard to believe) and we are always adding more content to our Thailand archives. Sukhothai is coming soon along with 2 and 3 week Thailand itineraries. We also hope to get to Kanchanaburi to check out the new ethical elephant attraction there and will be making a return trip to Ayutthaya. Come back for more soon!

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Tuesday 28th of May 2019

Hi, I feel so lucky that I found your website!! So many helpful information!! We have a 3 and half and a 6 and half years old boys, I am still debating if I should bring my stroller there. We probably will be in Thailand for 5 weeks, want to know if it’s worth it to bring stroller. And how much walking need to be done while sight seeing? And how safe it is if I am traveling with two young children by myself? My husband will be working during the week, so I will be all alone with kids. Anything I should be aware of? Thank you so much!!

Alyson Long

Tuesday 28th of May 2019

Which parts of Thailand and what sights will you be seeing?


Wednesday 24th of October 2018

i think thailand is the best destination to travel


Sunday 24th of June 2018

Hello! Your site is exactly what I’ve been looking for! I’m organising a family trip for my 40th next June. Will take the kids 5 and 7yrs and likely to also have other families with their kids coming too (from nz) My question is about ‘where to go?’ Want it to be fairly easy to get to, a bit of luxury (given it’s a big birthday) but also fun!

Alyson Long for World Travel Family

Sunday 24th of June 2018

Any part of Thailand would tick your boxes Emma. Are you going to tour Thailand or just stay in one place? Are you wanting beaches, cities, culture, countryside, good food? What are you looking for in your trip. I would highly recommend touring the north.

Andrew Comte

Tuesday 5th of June 2018

Excellent feature on Thailand. Nice to see some of the more obscure destinations get their due.

neil murray

Saturday 14th of April 2018

Gidday there, heading to thailand with the family this july and because there are 5 of us finding it interesting to find some accommodation in advance. there's heaps for four but once you go to 5 it seems dramatically more expensive. looking to head east/north east to cambodia and isan. any suggestions? it looks like you had 3 kids with you so how did you find it? Been following your blog for a while, its great!

Alyson Long for World Travel Family

Saturday 14th of April 2018

Hi, no, we only have the 2 kids, standard family of 4 ( might be some pictures of a friend on here). It's hard beyond 4, but not impossible. We usually use Agoda and have stayed in rooms with facilities for 5 many times ( I know a couple in Chiang Mai, in our South East Asia accommodation post). Just keep looking. Otherwise you'll need a 2 and a 3 ( or two x 2 bedroom rooms if your child is young enough for kids stay free deals, these can go to 12 years old sometimes). We generally find that taking 2 rooms for 2 is about the same price as 1 room for 4 and everyone gets more sleep with less people per room.