thai family trips

A few ideas for family trips in Thailand….

Chiang Mai

Chiang Mai is one of my favourites! At Xmas/New Year, it will be chilly, so that’s something you may want to consider. But Thai people love cold weather, so it makes it even more fun to visit in the cold season.
You could base yourself in the town and either do day trips out, or else do a few days in another town or two, near by.

In Chiang Mai town

  • great food
  • excellent cultural sites
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  • zoo with panda
  • cultural activities at the Tamarind Village hotel

Outside of Chiang Mai

  • Doi Inthanon (mount inthanon)
    • waterfalls:
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    • cultural sites:
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  • Doi Suthep (mount suthep – very very close to chiang mai)
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  • Elephant / Eco activities
    • I hear great things about: Chai Lai Orchid
      • I met some people who stayed out there, and really enjoyed it. I think you could do it as a day trip, but it might be nice to get out there for a couple of days
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  • Flight of the Gibbon, Chiang Mai
    • even though this is zip lining in Asia, Flight of the Gibbon seem like a good safe operation, and an ex wotiffer works there!
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  • Chiang Mai Side trip idea: stay in a tree house (if you google, there are quite a few!)
  • Chiang Mai Side trip idea: Pai
    • there’s loads to do in Pai for a few days:
      • markets
      • countryside
      • temples
      • rice paddies
      • pai canyon
      • hot springs
      • there will be a big party on new years (otherwise it is quite chilled, even though it is touristy in the main streets). here the party vibe is not like phuket, but you may find some rastas walking the streets (selling their wares) if you go in high season. its otherwise pretty kid friendly and you can avoid this.
  • Chiang Mai Side trip idea: Mae Hong Son Loop
    • if you like family road trips, drive the Mae Hong Son loop – it’s awesome!!!!
  • Chiang Mai Side trip idea:  Mae Sariang hike
    • this is a really sleepy town, but you can organise hikes here where seeing ‘hill tribes’ will be a very non touristy experience, which will leave you feeling good about your interactions with these people! (unlike some areas near chiang mai, where you may feel like you participated in human zoo!). there are also guides in town who will take you to waterfalls etc. note, it is quiet, so a couple of days would be enough if you go here! and if you dont do a hike, you could probably skip the town all together.

Khao Sok National Park

This is another favourite of mine. It is in the middle of the south of thailand. You could probably spend 3-5 days here, and then you may want to tie in visiting another part of Thailand. Eg, you can fit it in with any of the islands on the east such as Koh Tao or Koh Samui (3 hrs drive + boat trip). Or, you can fit it in with any of the areas on the south west such as Phuket (3-4 hours drive), Krabi, Khao Lak (2 hrs drive). You can also potentially go from Khao Sok national park, for a few days out to some more remote islands like Similians for snorkelling or even camping.
Check out Our Jungle House for ideas about this area. These guys have nice accommodation (natural, simple, but everything you need is catered for) and they also organise lots of day trips, or side trips or provide really good information.
You can spend a couple of days in the national park itself, staying in a place like Our Jungle House.
  • hiking
  • tubing (with a guide, not like party style)
  • visiting cultural monuments
  • see monkeys

Then, you can spend a couple of days doing the side trip to the ‘lake’ (which is a dam): Cheow Lan

  • jungle hiking
  • waterfalls
  • seeing wild animals like hornbills
  • night time ‘safaris’ on the lake to spot wild animals
  • see / hear gibbons
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You can check on the jungle house website for information on their blog and information about thailand. they recommend some cool side trips etc.


As an alternative to Phuket, there is Krabi (disclaimer: I’ve actually never been – but hear good reports).
You could potentially do Krabi + Khao Sok National park too!
From Krabi, you can do a lot of the same adventures as Phuket –
  • hang at the beach
  • eat thai food
  • rock climbing
  • day trips to various islands
  • John Grey sea canoe adventures (that you would have heard about in Phuket)
  • Koh Mook Emerald cave day trip:
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  • Emerald/Blue pool:
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Around Xmas/New Year, Krabi will be really busy. It isn’t as well known for its “nightlife” in the same way that some parts of Phuket are known, but it will still have some kind of party scene around the new year period – especially given that there’ll be loads of foreigners there. That said, it’d be nothing like a full moon party, or Koh Phi Phi.


camping in thailand is not such a bad option! it costs something like $1 per adult per day, and you can hire all the equipment at the campsite for really cheap prices. then, they normally have restaurants on site! pretty good option to consider! you can camp on places like Koh Similian which could be fun, or off Krabi, or Khao Yai or lots of places!