With its endless beaches, ancient temples, intriguing culture, and year-round tropical climate, Thailand has long been high on our list of holiday favorites. “The Thai people are famously welcoming to children and most properties feature excellent kids’ club facilities, babysitting services, children’s pools and activities,” says Lucy Jackson, Co-Founder, and Director of Lightfoot Travel. The other great thing about The Land of Smiles is that there’s always somewhere new to discover. Here’s where to highlight on your hit list for the rest of 2019.
Laidback and lovely Koh Samui is a popular destination for families thanks to its calm bays and soft sands. Spend your days kayaking, paddle boarding, snorkeling …or just napping under a coconut tree (we won’t judge!). Nestled into a hook of golden sand away from the more commercial areas, Belmond Napasai has it all. The private residences – spacious, modern, and with large swimming pools – are brilliant for larger groups and while there are daily activities laid on for children. We love their ‘my first job’ experiences such as floristry, engineering, and pastry-making.
Busy, buzzy Bangkok will require you to be on full alert and ready for frolics! Alongside the megamalls, Bangkok still keeps its history with its majestic Grand Palace, serene reclining Buddha at Wat Pho, and the waterways of the Chao Praya. Explore the floating markets, visit the amusement parks and try go-karting. Wear the kids out at the trampoline park before you hit cocktail o’clock. Located on the Chao Phraya River, The Peninsula Bangkok is away from the hustle and bustle and provides a glam sanctuary after a busy day. The facilities are impressive; the three-tiered pool, gym, and spa sit nicely alongside activities such as yoga, cookery classes, and Muay Thai lessons. The hotel’s River Bar is one of the city’s top people-watching spots.
Chiang Rai, the northernmost province in Thailand, is the spiritual space you go to in your head when life gets hectic. Small, relaxed, and friendly, it’s the perfect place to pitch up with a book by the river, trek to ancient settlements, and visit the colorful hill-tribes that still inhabit the lush green hills. Stay at the Anantara Golden Triangle is a fantastic property offering guests the chance to interact with Asian elephants and learn about Mahout training. Away from the joy of the animals, we recommend chilling out by the pool, learning some Muay Thai, or just sipping local cocktails from your dreamy balcony daybed.
Thailand’s largest island has long had its finger on the party-pulse, but venture away from the crowds, and its pearly-white beaches, national parks, wildlife sanctuaries, and plentiful watersports provide a relaxing and luxurious getaway with plenty to do. For families with perpetual itchy feet, this is also an excellent base for some island hopping. Stay at the Amanpuri offers toddlers to teens meaningful and memorable travel experiences throughout their stay, whether that be through nature, sports, or the local culture. Discover exploratory gardens, go on beach safaris, create videos, learn how to cook Thai cuisine or join a Pilates class. Don’t worry – the black swimming pool, beautiful private beach, tennis courts and fleet of yachts will keep adults just as busy.
Before tourism cottoned on, Chiang Mai was the hub for Thailand’s handicrafts. The city has since flourished outside of the moated walls of the Old City, but the ancient history, crafts and culture has remained. Pack sensible footwear and set out to uncover the cultural complex filled with boutique hotels, street stalls and temples that it is today. Stay at the Four Seasons Resort Chiang Mai is both a magical base for exploring the region and a sanctuary of wellbeing. Family Residences are available and the kids’ club offers a packed schedule of fun and games. Alongside the sumptuous spa there’s early morning yoga, rice planting and a cooking academy to keep you occupied. Off-site there are elephant camps and hill-tribe villages to visit.
Your Soneva Kiri experience begins at Bangkok Airport, where you’re met and escorted by private plane to the paradise island of Koh Kood. A five-minute trip on a speedboat and you’re delivered directly to your villa. Once settled in, get set for the slow life and a serious dose of barefoot luxury. Stay at Soneva Kiri there’s a high chance you may not see your kids at all as The Den will lure them away. This giant bamboo kids’ club is shaped like a manta ray where tots can play, swim, join treasure hunts, hit the Chocolate Room, try meditation, or unleash their creative talents. As the day ends, the whole family can kick back at the outdoor Cinema Paradiso before winding up at the ice-cream parlor for dessert.
Peppered with natural and historical attractions, Kanchanaburi offers endless sightseeing opportunities. World War II memories are prominent here with the Death Railway, Bridge over the River Kwae (Kwai) and the Allied War Cemetery, but there’s also Khmer temple ruins, mysterious caves, bamboo rafting, and shopping to discover. We recommend a lazy afternoon stroll along the scenic riverside – staying out to sample the after-dark bars is optional! Living up to its name, The Floathouse River Kwai is located right on the River Kwai and guests can jump from their villa into the water! Best accessed by boat, it’s a unique stay with cozy rooms, inviting decks, homely food and all the main attractions nearby.