A Month in Thailand With 2 Toddlers

Sarah recently relocated to Australia from the UK, on their way to Oz her family took the opportuniy to spend a month in Thailand. Sarah kindly shares the family’s travel experiences with us

Thailand – We swapped the backpacks for the kids!

The travel path around Thailand in South East Asia is well worn by backpackers. When my husband and I had a career break in 2004 Thailand became our home away from home, and one of our favourite places in the world.

Six years later, relocating from the UK to Australia, a month in Thailand was the perfect stopover. The backpacks had gathered dust so we dumped them in favour of suitcases with wheels, a pushchair, a travel cot, and did I mention the kids? Two boys; aged three, and 14 months.

Overnight in Bangkok

We spent a night in Bangkok before heading to the beach. We booked an apartment in Jasmine City, a four star complex, and arranged an airport pickup. It isn’t the cheapest option but with tired children, we didn’t want to hang around. We were in our apartment within forty minutes of leaving the airport.

In search of a hot meal we headed onto Sukhumvit Road, the longest road in Thailand and host to Bangkok’s main hotel and shopping area. We quickly realised that Bangkok isn’t pushchair friendly. We carried the pushchair over the uneven pavement and waited to get through busy sections, made narrow by market stalls.

Streets heave with trucks, cars, tuk-tuks and mopeds so you need your wits about you to cross the road. Some roads were too busy to cross so we used the sky bridges. If my husband was worried about missing his gym routine whilst away, he made up for it by carrying the pushchair up and down the stairs. In hindsight we should have jumped on the sky train but the backpacker in us still wanted to roam.

During our first night in Bangkok we quickly realised that Thai people love kids. And with people making a fuss of the children, we relaxed. By the end of the evening I wanted to sooth the boy’s cheeks from the constant squeezing, and my husband was quite jealous of the number of kisses they’d acquired from local ladies!

Dusit Zoo, Bangkok

Later in our trip we spent the afternoon at Dusit Zoo. What makes the zoo special is the setting. The animal enclosures surround tropical lakes, and visitors follow a leafy driveway around the zoo. It’s not just the enclosed animals that fascinate the kids – we sat next to the water enjoying an ice cream whilst monitor lizards and fish fought over stale bread thrown in by the shop keepers.

Perfect Family Locations

Phuket and Hua Hin

We spent ten days on the island of Phuket, and three weeks in Hua Hin on the Northern part of the Malay Peninsula, south of Bangkok. Friends and family joined us so the number in our party grew as the trip continued.

Bang Tao, Phuket

Phuket is a major holiday destination. Patong is the most famous resort on the island, with a lively nightlife and great shopping. Bang Tao sits north of Patong and is infinitely quieter. Bang Tao beach is around ten kilometres long; we stayed at the southern end, close to the fishing village.

During our stay we couldn’t ask for a better set-up. Our apartment, at Club Lersuang, came with a travel cot, high chair, and selection of indoor, outdoor, and pool toys. The resort has a separate children’s pool. There is a well-equipped modern gym, and welcoming club house and restaurant serving great quality food, including an excellent Sunday roast if you fancy a taste of home.

We were a five minute walk to the beach which was also child-friendly. Flanked by towering palms, the sand remained in the shade until mid-day. The sea was calm and clear so the children quickly found their water confidence. From Bang Tao you can walk south to Surin beach. Surin beach is clean and has a good variety of restaurants. For us, a large step down into the sea made it less child-friendly than Bang Tao.

In terms of practicalities, Bang Tao is a small resort and the shops don’t stock many familiar products. We wanted breakfast cereal for the children and nappies. We got a taxi to the Tesco Lotus in the centre of Bang Tao but found the selection of products limited. The best bet for shopping was the Carrefour supermarket in Patong, 25 minutes by taxi. Carrefour is in the Jungceylon shopping centre which has a number of western shops, food and drink outlets. Although we made a few supermarket trips during our stay, we frequently ate out. Finding decent restaurants that cater for children is easy. Most restaurants serve a mixture of local and western dishes; favourites for our boys became omelettes, tuna sandwiches, and fried noodles and rice.

The final highlight from our time in Bang Tao was a day spent at the Sheraton Grande Laguna. We paid for day membership. Twice a day, baby elephants come to the beach to swim in the sea. Being squirted with sea water by a baby elephant was a fun experience for Mum and Dad, never mind the children.

Koh Takiab, Hua Hin

Hua Hin, our next destination, is 200km south of Bangkok, around 2.5 hrs by car. Hua Hin is another major resort, with a five kilometre stretch of sand, a huge variety of international hotels, and vibrant nightlife. For the majority of our time we stayed at Koh Takiab (also spelt Koh Takiap). Koh Takiab is a hill four kilometres south of Hua Hin. Koh Takiab means Chopstick Mountain although the locals refer to it as Monkey Mountain due to the monkeys living there. Koh Takiab beach stretches south from the mountain.

At first glance, it isn’t the prettiest of beaches, the sand is muddy brown and broken shells scatter the shore. But, to get away from the crowds at Hua Hin and have more space to swing your sarong, it’s perfect. For this part of our trip we stayed in privately owned villas a short walk from the beach. The first property was in the Baan Thai Villas complex, the second villa is called Delft Blue Seas.

Fishing and crab hunting was a favourite pass-time, as well as taking pony-rides along the beach. The dads in our party enjoyed some jet-ski action, whilst mums enjoyed massages and manicures from the comfort of their sun beds.

Bored of the beach?

In Hua Hin there’s plenty to do if you’re bored of the beach and pool.

We went to the Elephant Safari Village and watched the Elephant, Snake and Crocodile Shows. From Koh Takiab Mountain the views over Hua Hin are breathtaking and the children enjoyed seeing the monkeys; don’t be tempted to feed them as they can get aggressive (the monkeys that is!).

For all our provisions in Hua Hin, the Market Village shopping centre had everything we needed and for a break from the sun we used the spotless soft play area in the Kids Zone on the third floor. 30baht ($AUS1) for half an hour.

Now a family favourite...

After a month in Thailand our three year old was saying ‘Sa wat dee krap’ (hello) to the locals and our 14 month baby, who still refused to walk, was swimming (with float-bands). I won’t say my husband and I were truly rested, that’s difficult with two small children, but we were revived and relaxed.

Thailand remains our home away from home and is now a family favourite.

Thanks for sharing your story Sarah and your great tips for Thai travel with toddlers - TWT

 

Sarah Husselmann is a British freelance writer living in Sydney. Sarah is the author of Mum’s gone 2 Aus (a blog providing help for mums moving to Australia. The aim of the site is to inspire, support, and entertain mums who would like to, or do already, live in Australia. Articles cover topics such as health, education, childcare, buying nappies, and Australian customs and traditions

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