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Family Holidays in Thailand

Thailand for families

Thailand is a great place for a family holiday offering blissful weather, stunning clean beaches, beautiful national parks, and some well-established resorts with great facilities. The country's well-developed tourist trail means getting around is simple and you'll find great family-friendly hotels and an abundance of options for eating out with the kids. Thai people adore children so your little ones will always be well looked after wherever you go.

The landscape is a natural playground offering plenty to do, including excursions to jungle waterfalls, elephant treks through pristine wilderness, boat trips around the islands, and first-class snorkelling and watersports. There are also loads of opportunities for sightseeing and exploring the country's fascinating culture, with intricately-decorated temples and historic sites galore, offering children an invaluable insight into new customs and religion.

Island hopping

With hundreds of islands, many of them protected by national marine parks, island hopping and day trips by boat are an unmissable experience on holidays to Thailand. Phanghan Bay, between Krabi mainland and Phuket island, has stunning limestone karst cliffs indented with untrammelled beaches. Boat tours around the turquoise waters, scenic rock formations and caves of Ao Phang-Nga National Marine park are an experience you will never forget. There are 40 islands in total, the most visited being 'James Bond Island' or Ko Phing Kan to the locals, which was made famous as a setting for Bond film The Man with the Golden Gun.

If you are staying on the Andaman Coast or on one of its stunning islands, it's also worth the extra effort to visit one of the Similian and Surin Islands national marine parks. Boat tours take visitors out to see the five Surin islands, which have shallow coral reefs teeming with life that make for excellent snorkelling. Best accessed from Khao Lak, there are nine small, uninhabited islands in Similian National Marine Park that are good for nature walks and snorkelling, and you may even spot bottle-nose dolphins, and hawksbill and leatherback turtles.

In the southern Gulf of Thailand, there are plenty of ferries offering transport between the three main islands of Ko Samui, Ko Phangan and Ko Tao, so you can explore them all if you wish. But the island-hopping highlight of this archipelago has to be Ang Thong National Marine Park that encompasses little unspoilt emerald islands with empty beaches. Taking a day trip here by boat is both exhilarating and deeply relaxing. After exploring hidden lagoons and stunning panoramas, you can relax on a beach miles from civilisation and drink in the pristine scenery.

Family activities

As well as spending time lounging on Thailand's beautiful beaches and exploring the various national parks, there are lots of things to have a go at as a family. Snorkelling is a real must, as it introduces you to the glorious marine world that rims much of the coast and islands. Older children and parents may also want to try scuba diving, to get an even closer look at the creatures that live beneath the waves. There are several dive centres across the islands that offer try dives, as well as full courses, so you can experience something truly different as a family.

Aside from bucket-and-spade days and fun on the water, there's plenty of excitement to be had on land too. Hikes and elephant rides are a fantastic way to get up close to Thailand's tropical landscape and spot wildlife such as monkeys and brightly-plumed birds. Consider visiting Khao Sok National Park in southern Thailand, which has one of the oldest tracts of rainforest in the world. It offers the chance to meet elephants, spot monkeys and other wildlife, and take guided nature walks to the waterfalls and lush valleys.

Family-friendly resorts

Thailand's hotels are inexpensive compared with resorts in some other tropical destinations and there are plenty of well-established tourist towns on Ko Samui and Phuket islands, for instance, which have great facilities for a smooth and hassle-free family holiday.

Ko Samui is a prime spot for a family holiday with a clutch of resorts offering babysitting services and restaurants that cater for young palettes, as well as activities that all the family can enjoy together. One good option at the peaceful northern end of Chaweng beach - the island's most popular stretch of sand - is Anatara Lawana Resort and Spa, with luxurious accommodation in the signature exotic Thai style. Most importantly, there's a babysitting service, so parents can enjoy some downtime knowing the kids are well looked after.

Another fantastic family-friendly resort is Mai Samui Beach Resort and Spa, right on Lamyai Beach on a tranquil stretch of Ko Samui's north-east coast. There's a swimming pool just for the children, a kids' club, a 'fun zone' and a range of dining options that could satisfy even the choosiest little customers. Parents can take some time out on the beach or indulge in treatments at the spa, while the children are entertained at the kids' club.

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