If your family has never been to Asia – or, indeed, any long-haul adventurous destination, Thailand is one of the best places on the planet to start. Paradise beaches on either the Gulf or Andaman coasts, wildlife-packed lush jungles in the north, ancient hill tribes, friendly people and utterly delicious food are just some of the reasons behind its popularity.
For the family traveller, the fact that Thailand has been welcoming western tourists for so long means that its well-developed infrastructure, great rail and road links, family-friendly hotels and bungalows also makes it particularly appealing, especially if your holiday time is precious and your kids are on the younger side of twelve.
Stubborn Mule Travel the only tailor-made travel operator run exclusively by parents for parents, have identified some family holiday ‘tribes’ to help you decide where you want to go and what you want to do.
Which family holiday tribe are you?
The Attenborough All-Stars
No prizes for guessing that this family’s travel agenda is driven by wildlife. If you and your kids go nuts for every wildlife show going, from Attenborough’s Blue or Human Planet, to Steve Backshall and his ‘Deadly 60’, the AASs are fascinated by the natural world. And in Thailand, what a world it is, both above water and below it!
The best place in Thailand for wildlife is, arguably, it’s best known National Park, Khao Sok in the south of the country. Boasting the largest evergreen forest in the world, this pristine area is home to 5% of the world’s species from butterflies to hornbills, langur monkeys and gibbons to macaques. Get a greater insight into the diverse environment and its inhabitants by taking a guided walk, where the experts will tell (and show) you even more.
Other ideas Attenborough All Stars will love:
- Look after elephants at a rehabilitation centre in Chiang Mai
- Go snorkelling to discover an underwater wonderland beneath the waves
The Culture Vultures
Like walking, talking sponges, Culture Vultures thrill at learning about what makes a country what it is today, trying to get under the skin of a country to understand it. One of the best ways to do this is to interact with local people and, given Thailand’s rich and diverse cultural heritage and welcoming people (it’s not called the ‘Land of Smiles’ for nothing), there’s no better place to polish those people skills.
Flanked by Laos, Burma (Myanmar) and Cambodia, the fringes of Thailand are a melting pot of ancient cultures, tribes who have made these hinterlands their home. For example, in the hills north of Chiang Mai you can walk between villages, hiking 3-4 hours a day, encountering the local Karen tribe. Here, you can stay overnight with a family, eating and drinking local dishes and sleeping in a traditional hut built on stilts. It’s not five-star luxury by any means but meeting another family so culturally different is an experience you’ll never forget.
Other ideas Culture Vultures will love:
- Take a tuk-tuk through the neon-lit streets of modern Bangkok, or a long-tail boat to visit a floating market
- Cycle around the ancient ruins of Ayuthaya, the former Royal Capital of Siam.
The Adrenaline Junkies
For Adrenaline Junkies (AJs), the idea of lounging by the pool or lazing on the beach are anathema – after all, you’re a long time dead. Instead, for those who like to seek thrills, live life to the max and keep the pace fast to keep those kids (and, for this holiday tribe, often teens) fully occupied and engaged, Thailand is an adventurer’s playground.
Must do’s & sees: We find that flying through the forest canopy on a zipline described as ‘the best in Asia’, means that i-pads and mobile phones are, for an hour or so at least, a distant consideration. Whilst an utterly thrilling experience in its own right, the ‘Flight of the Gibbon’ zipline near Chiang Mai is a conservation success story, too, with rehabilitated gibbons released into the wild and are now breeding, the colony established within site of the zipline itself.
Other ideas Adrenaline Junkies will love:
- Take a bike tour through the backstreets of Bangkok, navigating your way through the narrow alleyways and lively markets.
- Go white water rafting in the hills of Northern Thailand, enjoying spectacular scenery as you hurtle along the turbulent waters.
The Leisure Lovers
Think of Thailand and there’s a good chance that the image of a long-tail boat, anchored just off shore in azure-blue waters is the one that pops into your head – and with good reason, too. For the family traveller who wants a real escape from the hectic pace of modern life, taxi duty, school runs, trying to remember the last time you all sat down for a meal together, it’s not surprising that ‘Leisure Lovers’ want nothing more than a chance to SLOW DOWN and relax during their well-earned holiday.
If there’s a better place to do it that the southern islands – either the Andaman coast or Gulf, we can’t think of one and nor can the increasing number of families who want the quintessential paradise beach break. Swing gently in the hammock under the shade of a palm tree as your children build sandcastles or paddle in always-warm, pristine waters. Sip coconut milk fresh from the tree. Get the picture? We could go on…
Other ideas Leisure Lovers will love:
- Swim in waterfalls in Erawan National Park
- Lazily pole down a river on a traditional bamboo raft
Find Out More
If you’d like to know more about what you and your family can do in Thailand, visit family travel specialists, Stubborn Mule Travel’s, Thailand Family Holidays destination page, e-mail them via their enquiry page or call them on 01728 752751.