Thailand for Families

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Only in Thailand

  • Become a mahout –elephant carer –for the day!
  • Learn how to cook zingy, tasty Thai food
  • Explore the jungle by raft, canoe, bike and hike
  •  Paddle through ancient limestone caves and between tropical islands, looking out for dolphins

Best For

✓ Best for Easter and Christmas school holidays

✓ Adventure & Activity, Wildlife

✓ 5 years +

The sizzle of stir-fries, the lap of turquoise waves, the jungle's chirrups, the elephants' trumpets –Thailand is noisy in the best kind of way! It's a country that will overload the ears, tingle the tastebuds and knock the socks off travellers of all ages.

Bangkok is the best gateway...
to a Thai adventure. The city is a whirl of colour and energy, where tuk-tuk rides offer all the fun of a fairground and every street-side offers tasty snacks –from grilled meat sticks to banana pancakes. The kids can even try making some authentic Thai dishes themselves at a cooking class. The Anantara Riverside provides a tranquil oasis from all this marvellous mayhem, with its tropical gardens, kids' club and pool.

The north of Thailand is the place for mini Indianas to let loose in the jungle. The lush region around Chiang Mai offers both whitewater rafting and gentler river floats, plus chances to mountain-bike and hike amid the hills. You can even explore on a Segway, a two-wheeled self-balancing contraption that's the most fun way to tour Chiang Mai's temples.

The south is no less wild. In Khao Sok National Park you can stay at Elephant Hills, Thailand's first ever jungle camp, with 30 tents hidden amid rainforest, limestone mountains and deep valleys. Here, you can trek, canoe and learn to be a mahout (elephant handler) for the day, feeding and bathing the animals;at night, you can swap tales around the campfire and fall asleep to the sounds of the jungle.

Then there are Thailand's islands –all 1,430 of them. Phuket is a fine choice. Its Phang Nga Bay is a postcard-perfect expanse of turquoise, dotted with limestone outcrops. Here, kids can learn to sail in safe confines, glide on a catamaran under brilliant-blue skies or sink their toes into pristine sands. One of the best ways to explore is by kayak, paddling to deserted islands, across hidden lagoons and into 'hongs' –caves created over thousands of years: your guides will light the way until you emerge into the blazing midday sun.

Of course, as well as kayaking through the limestone, you can have a go at scrambling up it. The rocks here –actually ancient coral reefs, full of nooks and crannies –make for ideal climbing. There are options on Phuket, or head to Krabi province, especially Koh Phi Phi, a stupendous island only an hour's boat ride from Phuket. Climbing is an exhilarating sport that everyone can try;it requires little more than will and determination, and your ability to attain new heights will surprise you –just like everything else in this astonishing country.



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