If you’ve never been to Asia with the kids, Thailand is arguably the best place to start. Paradise beaches, wildlife-packed jungles, friendly people and delicious food are just some of the reasons for its popularity. The fact that Thailand has been welcoming western tourists for so long and has a well-developed infrastructure also makes it appealing to the family traveller.

Teenagers exploring Thailand by boat

Families with kids of all ages will love exploring Thailand’s iconic karst scenery and beaches

We’ve scoured the country for the best family-friendly activities, from the mountainous and lush green north to the tropical, white sandy beaches of the south. From deciding when to go to Thailand with kids (Easter and Christmas are ideal, but summer is also a good option), to what you and your family could be doing there, read on.

We know you’ll love it!

Top 10 activities to do in Thailand with kids

1. Exploring Bangkok, visiting floating markets & Buddhist temples

Put dad to work as you explore Bangkok!

If the first thing to strike you about Bangkok is its size, then the second is its buzz. There’s just so much going on here, narrowing down what to see and do can be a challenge. Whilst it might be tempting to drag the kids around to every market and temple, they won’t thank you for it. Instead, we suggest a handful of must-sees: taking a river taxi to the floating flower market at Pak Klong Dalat; jumping on a tuk tuk to the Grand Palace; visiting Wat Pho, famed for its reclining, golden Buddha (and where you can enjoy a rigorous Thai massage) and hopping on a long-tail boat down the Chao Phraya River for a different city perspective and a slower pace of life.

2. Flying through the jungle on zip lines near Chiang Mai

Thailand with children holiday itinerary - zip lining - Flight of the Gibbon

One of our favourite zip-lines and a Thailand with kids ‘must do’

This zipline isn’t just an utterly thrilling experience for the whole family, but a great conservation success story, too. Rehabilitated gibbons were released into the wild in 2007 and are now breeding, the colony established within sight of the zipline course itself. By swinging through the forest canopy, you’re not just mimicking their flight through the trees but amongst these lovely creatures’ habitat, too. A definite Thailand with kids must-do. Take a look at our Highlights of Thailand family adventure to find out what else you could be doing.

3. Swim by waterfalls in Erawan National Park

Thailand with kids itinerary - family in front of waterfall

The Erawan Falls are a popular for a cooling dip

Near the Burmese border, Erawan National Park is famed for its waterfalls. These falls cascade down seven tiers, collecting in turquoise pools, the lowest of which are popular for swimming. The park is one of the most famous in Thailand, packed with caves to explore and wildlife to spot – birdlife, muntjac, wild elephants, and more, although these are found deep in the forest trails and not around the waterfalls themselves. See our South Thailand sample itinerary for more.

4. Spend the night in a traditional hill-tribe homestay built on stilts

Hill tribe family - Thailand with kids holiday

Experience local life first-hand by staying with a Thai hill-tribe family

For a completely different experience whilst exploring Thailand with kids, visit the hill-tribe region in the mountains to the north of Chiang Mai. Here you can walk between villages, trekking for 3-4 hours a day. You’ll meet the local Karen tribe, and learning more about their culture and day-to-day living by staying overnight. You’ll eat and drink local dishes, and sleep in a traditional bamboo hut built on stilts. Fascinating and for many, the cultural highlight of the entire trip. We love this recent National Geographic Travel article about The Spirit of the Hill Tribes for its inspiration and insight.

5. Sample tasty treats in a night market

Women serving at a food market in Thailand

Dine out at a night food market when holidaying with the kids in Thailand

Thailand’s cuisine is as diverse as it is delicious. An inexpensive but fun way to dine out is by sampling one of the many dishes on offer at night markets throughout the country. One of our favourites is the night bazaar in Chiang Mai, where you’ll sample a smorgasbord of offerings – Thai, Chinese, Lao, and Japanese. Dishes range from fried pork kebabs to noodle soups, from mango covered in spicy sugar to deep-fried grasshopper – tastier than it sounds!

6. Learn how to make a temple offering

Thailand food market - Thailand with children itinerary

Choosing offerings in a market

A trip to Thailand with kids provides the perfect opportunity for immersion in another culture. Travelling by tuk-tuk, sampling the food, hearing about the history, and learning a bit of the language is all part of the experience. As is a visit to a temple, where you can make your own offering, complete with sticks of incense and lotus flowers. See what else you could be doing by checking out our Highlights of Thailand sample itinerary.

7. Pole down river to your homestay on a bamboo raft

Bamboo punting - Thailand with kids

Gently float downstream to your homestay as your guide poles your raft

White-water, hang-on-for-dear-life rafting this is not, but younger children absolutely adore this first activity during their time in the hill-tribe area. Here you can raft downstream on a traditional bamboo raft, propelled by a pole (think Cambridge punting!). It’s gentle enough to be able to enjoy the scenery but engaging enough for kids to be wholly absorbed. You’re also accompanied by a local guide who points out flora and fauna en route.

8. Take a cookery class 

Holidays with teenagers - learning to cook in Thailand

All the family can master the art of delicious Thai cooking

Food is a large part of any trip but particularly here in Thailand, where rich coconut curries, hot and spicy soups and zingy salads are ubiquitous. Our favourite class is in Kanchanaburi, more famous for its Bridge over the River Kwai. Here there’s a great traditional cooking school where you’ll not only master green curry, tom yum, or som tam, but get to eat the results too.

9. Stay on a bamboo raft in Kanchanaburi

Thailand, child on a raft

Jumping into the river and floating downstream, what’s not to love…

For an adventurous overnight on your trip to Thailand with kids, why not spend a night on a bamboo raft? The River Kwai cuts through the jungle to the west of Bangkok and here you can spend the night on board a floating platform. Choose from a swanky luxury raft or a cheaper no-frills experience. The kids will love jumping off the upstream rafts and floating downriver before climbing out downstream and then repeating the whole experience. And in the evening, sit out on your raft, watching the fireflies dance over the river. Check out our sample Thailand itineraries to find out how to include a night at Kanchanaburi in your holiday.

10. Go snorkelling in paradise

Thailand with kids - snorkelling with the family

Snorkelling in Thailand is perfect for younger kids as well as teenagers

Travel to southern Thailand with kids on our Southern Thailand Adventure and you’ll discover picture postcard paradise: azure clean waters flanked by jungle and coconut palms, dramatic karst limestone scenery, and sand so white it could almost be snow. There’s a whole host of activities available at many resorts, whether you stay on islands to the east or west of the country, from snorkelling, boat rides, kayaking or simply swimming. If that sounds too exhausting, simply swing in the hammock and enjoy paradise.

Thailand with kids – next steps

For the low down on the best way to explore Thailand with kids, see our example Thailand itineraries or check out our Thailand family holidays section. You might also want to take a look at our places to visit for ideas about where to go. To start planning a trip, call us at 01728 752751 or get in touch via our contact page.

Family with drinks in Thailand cafe - Stubborn Mule travellers

Thai food is delicious and the drinks plentiful – there’s always something to keep everyone happy

Liddy Pleasants, MD Stubborn Mule Travel
We’d love to hear about your experiences holidaying in Thailand with kids, so do send us your reviews and photos. Thank you – [email protected].