Traveling to Thailand with children can seem pretty challenging; there are so many things that need to be organized beforehand. According to Rob and Anouk, staying in Thailand with kids is actually a lot of fun – and not challenging at all. They should know: they traveled through Thailand with their 18-month old twins, Chloë and Mason, and were kind enough to share their tips and tricks!
Text and photos by: Rob and Anouk
In love with Thailand
Vietnam, Malaysia, the US, Mexico, and Brazil: what do these places all have in common? Well, they’re all wonderful countries Rob and Anouk have visited in the past. But one thing is clear as daylight for Anouk:
“All of these countries lack something… they’re not Thailand! When comes to things like national parks, cultural highlights, parties, cities, people, prices, beaches, amazing massages and ease of travel, no other destination can compete.”
So she and her husband Rob decided to go to Thailand for three weeks with their 18-month old twins. When asked if they were nervous, they replied:
“Nervous? A little perhaps, but we believe that if you feel relaxed the children will feel relaxed as well. And we were proved right!”
Long flight with children
The family traveled from Amsterdam to Bangkok, a flight of 12 hours. The flight went incredibly well; the twins cried only for ten minutes during the entire trip. A few creative solutions ensured the flight was comfortable for all four of them:
“We had to think of a creative solution beforehand. As Chloë and Mason didn’t have their own seats and were too big for baby baskets, we put two changing pads on the floor for them to lie on. Result: we managed to watch three movies. The holidays had truly begun!”
Flying with KLM
“We chose to fly with KLM. The cabin crew was super helpful and really friendly to us and the children. We immediately received a cuddly toy, bibs and food & drink. Outstanding service! We’d brought enough food for the twins ourselves as well: two drinking bottles, sandwiches, cookies, raisins, fruit juice and baby food for dinner.”
Besides the fact that it was a direct flight from Amsterdam to Bangkok, Ron and Anouk were very happy with the departure and arrival times as well. They took off at 5:50 PM and landed in Bangkok at 9:00 AM local time. The twins had slept well, so they had no problem adapting to the new daily rhythm.
Traveling with children: arrangements
If they were traveling on their own, Rob and Anouk would choose to arrange everything on the fly while in Thailand. However, when you’re traveling with children that young, it might be wise to book your hotels and decide on routes while still at home.
“After such a long flight, we didn’t want to start our holidays in a hectic city such as Bangkok, as wonderful as it is. We decided to take a taxi to Pattaya. It’s got a bit of a bad reputation, but with the sun, the sea and the beach with tropical islands off the coast, it was ideal for us.”
Bring along or buy in Thailand?
From drinking bottles to diapers, from food to baby wipes: everything you need for your children will be available on the spot. There’s a 7-Eleven on every street corner that sells all of these items and larger supermarkets will have an even wider selection.
“Although we did take a few pouches of baby food with us from home, baby food was available in larger supermarkets in the shopping malls.”
“Don’t pack too many clothes. Our only luggage was two backpacks and that was enough!”
Make sure the baby food is safe to eat in order to prevent things like stomach flu. During three weeks our kids weren’t ill once. We did vaccinate them against Hepatitis A before leaving. To be on the safe side, we also took some antibiotics and suppositories with us.
Clothes cost next to nothing in Thailand, so that’s another thing you won’t have to worry about. In addition, you can have your washing done at pretty much every street corner, so don’t worry and don’t take too many clothes! We only brought two backpacks for the four of us!”
Excursions with children: possible?
Of course, it’s possible to go on day excursions with children in Thailand! But make sure you adapt to the rhythm of your children. Set the alarm for 7:00 AM, have an early breakfast and then hit the road. How? Like this!
“You can do anything you want, with a few exceptions. Visiting small islands by boat is a lot of fun of course, but if it’s 40 degrees out and you’re carrying 18-month old twins with you, it’s not advisable. It’s just too warm and the risk of having a sun stroke is too high. The same goes for jungle treks, but they can do that once they’re older!”
“Adapt to the rhythm of your children. We were back at our hotel at 1:00 PM sharp, every day.”
We chose to go on more relaxing excursions. For instance, we went on a village tour in Chiang Mai, visited zoos, took our kids to an orphanage and had them play with other children, went to local markets, on island tours and an amazing bike tour through Bangkok.
“Avoid excursions that last longer and keep in mind your children’s rhythm. Have them nap during the hottest part of the day. You’ll have some time for yourself!”
Prepare for the Thai
As a tourist, you’re always marveling at the local culture, but if you’re traveling through Thailand with children it’s exactly the other way around!
“All Thai people carry a cell phone – and oh boy, didn’t we know it! Whether we liked it or not, everywhere we went, we were the attraction. After two days, we even managed to speak a bit of Thai. Everybody kept saying “fedd” all the time. I kept thinking, are they calling us fat?”
“Haha, thankfully they weren’t. “Fedd” is the Thai word for twins that are a boy and a girl (“pu-shing” and “pu-shai”). Apparently, in Asia, having a twin stands for good fortune and in the case of a boy and a girl, great prosperity. The Thai sincerely believe this to be true. They’re friendly, generous and genuinely interested.”
Traveling with kids: 10 practical tips
Rob and Anouk made a quick summary of ten practical tips:
- Traveling through Thailand with kids is amazing. Be prepared, relax and just go for it!
- If you have children younger than two and a half years old, make sure your hotel has cots available.
- Don’t bring too many clothes, diapers, and baby food from home. All of this will also be available in Thailand.
- Use backpacks; suitcases and buggies don’t mix well.
- Adapt to your child’s rhythm and make sure they’re relaxed, so you can enjoy your holidays as well.
- Thai people love children. Expect a lot of attention! But be sure to establish boundaries.
- Go off the beaten track once in a while. Book a private taxi and go on an excursion of your own!
- Don’t travel too much or too long. Domestic flights are highly recommended if you’re traveling with very young children.
- Enjoy each other’s company and go out just the two of you every now and again! See our tips below.
- Expand your horizon beyond usual holiday destination. You and your children will be pleasantly surprised!
“After all that attention, the children needed a cooling off period! By the end of our trip, they would say “Sawasdee” and “Bye Bye”!”
Lots of love,
Rob, Anouk, Chloë, and Mason
Header photo credit: Mads Bødker