Find out why you need to take your kids to Phuket Thailand, at least once in their lifetime. If you have never heard of Phuket, Thailand all you need to do is Google it and you will be blown away by pictures, but there is so much more! Follow along on our adventure in Phuket and you’ll find a few great tips on how to relax and enjoy your trip.
Why Thailand Is So Great
While living in Southeast Asia, Thailand has become a haven for all 5 of us. Our kids ask to go to Thailand every chance they get. A place where the food is good (even to the kids), the sights are remarkable, the people are always kind, and we can all relax.
Phuket lies on the Andaman Sea and this is something you have to see with your own eyes, at least once in your life! It is indescribable.
The magical islands that makeup and surround Phuket seem to appear out of nowhere; right out of the middle of the ocean straight up and appear to be completely uninhabited. The famous “James Bond” beach is a short boat ride from Phuket. Sadly we didn’t get to go see it on this trip.
The beaches are amazing! The water is warm and the sand is pristine they are something you have to experience for yourself. Thailand does a great job of keeping its beaches clean. Do not pass up an opportunity to visit Thailand.
Phuket was not a disappointment. Lazy days spent by the pool and beach are exactly what we needed to renew our energy.
The town of Patong is busy and had a lot of fun shopping, restaurants, water sports, and nightlife. As we have small kids, we didn’t get to take advantage of the nightlife. The small town packs everything you are looking for in a beach vacation.
You must go see elephants
While visiting Thailand, you must go spend time with elephants. CAUTION: There are a lot of riding camps where you can ride elephants through the jungle. We will not get into the dangers of riding camps or riding elephants, but we will recommend finding an elephant sanctuary instead.
At a sanctuary you will spend time caring for the elephants instead of just riding them. Most of the sanctuaries have rescued elephants from abusive homes. Such as logging farms where the elephants work long hours carrying heavy logs and from riding camps where the elephants are not given proper rest and work endlessly long days in the extreme heat of Thailand.
I would suggest using Trip Advisor to find the best sanctuary nearest to where you are staying.
These animals are amazing! They are giants that are so gentle. It is difficult to grasp their size until you are literally standing at their feet and their giant ears are flapping around you.
There are no words that can explain what it is like to watch your children also experience these gentle giants for themselves. Their whole bodies light up as they reach up and touch the elephant for the first time.
Caring for the elephants is a once in a lifetime experience. You can feed them, bathe them, and take them on a walk through the jungle. You get to interact with them one-on-one and it is breathtaking.
It was such a powerful lesson for our kids to learn. Not only did they have a once in a lifetime experience caring for the animals. They also learned how mistreating animals really does have an impact and that there are animals being hurt all over the world.
The story of this baby elephant brought tears to the eyes of our children. She was found in the jungle caught in a trap without her mom. The trap had broken the elephant’s leg, and it had been a few days when someone found this baby almost dead. The trap was set by poachers trying to poach and sell the ivory tusks.
The sanctuary made this prosthetic foot for her that she will wear for the rest of her life. She will never be able to live in the wild again, but if it wasn’t for these sanctuaries, she would not be alive.
Pro Tips When Seeing Elephants
- Wear clothes and shoes that you are ok with getting dirty and wet
- The sanctuary will have everything you need for the elephants, don’t worry about bringing your own elephant food
- Don’t wear bug spray, it could be bad for the elephants
- But do wear mozzie stickers to detract elephants, you can easily buy these from Amazon.
- Pack a change of clothes (including underwear and shoes)
- Always listen to your guide, elephants have their own personalities and their guides know them best
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So grab your passports and book your trip to Phuket! You won’t regret a single second (even the long flight) of your trip. Double-check our post here if you need a passport for yourself or your kids.
The best reason for parents to visit Thailand
In my opinion, the best reason for parents to visit Thailand is to visit the spas! In the United States, I can never afford to go for a massage let alone a massage at a nice resort.
But in Thailand, you can go for a half a day treatment for the same price as an hour massage at home. I’m not kidding! Take a look at just one page of the menu from our resort. Remind you this is at a resort and it is still more expensive than other spas you can find locally.
Keep in mind the prices are in Thai Batt. To put it into perspective for you, THB 1,000 is around $33.33 USD.
That’s only $33 for an hour massage! If you’re pressed for time, pop in for a quick 30-minute massage for just $25 USD. These prices are well worth it!
We try to find hotels or resorts that offer Kids Clubs. Kids clubs usually have activities for the kids, and rooms or games to play. One of the best parts is this resort is that it has a kids club, so as long as your kids are over 4 years old, you can enjoy the spa while they are right next door playing. (See more about the kids club below.)
We did a couples treatment and I opted for the orange body scrub. It was amazing! This was a first for me (I literally never went to the spa before moving to South East Asia). I would highly recommend this treatment. It was a full-body scrub with amazing aromas followed by a 30-minute massage. Just writing this makes me want to go back.
It was so worth every dollar I spent. The spa was running a special that day so I got the body scrub at the same price as the one-hour traditional massage.
If you want to go even cheaper, you could opt for a massage at a local smaller spa. They will even do massages on the beach for as little as $5 for 30 minutes.
**Pro-tip~ Always ask salons and spas if they are running a special that day. They may be offering discounts off their normal prices or throw in extra treatments for you. Most of the time these specials aren’t advertised.
**Pro-tip~ Most resorts also offer nail treatments as well. These are usually priced way higher than if you leave your resort and go to a local nail salon. You can still get a great pedicure from a local salon at a fourth of the price.
The local salons are still nice and they are clean. It is worth going off the resort if you’d like a pedicure or manicure.
**I typically pay under $10 USD for a full one-hour spa pedicure. Yes, you read correctly. $10 USD!!!
Tips for Phuket
- Book excursions through someone you trust.
We booked our elephant excursion through our hotel. When visiting a country where you don’t speak the language this is an easier option. Be sure to price check with at least one other place to make sure their prices are not ridiculously high.
You can also book these types of adventures before you even leave your home country. I have used AAA and Costco in the past to make reservations before I even leave the States.
2. Hire a driver or use Grab Car
I would not recommend renting a car or driving in Thailand. Drivers are inexpensive and easy to come by. Here is a great recommendation. Driving in Thailand is a little tricky and it is more relaxing to have a driver who knows where they are going and traffic patterns.
If you don’t want to hire a driver, you can always use Grab car (like Uber or Lyft). If you travel anywhere in South East Asia you will need to use Grab car. Grab is a Singapore based company that bought Uber. So make sure you download the Grab app and add your credit card to your profile before leaving. It works just like Uber and Lyft. It is also very inexpensive and reliable. For short trips, you might only end up paying a couple of dollars. Even for a 30-40 minute drive sometimes it only ends up being $10 USD.
**Pro–Tip~ Arrange your flights to avoid high traffic times. We arrived in the evening traffic. Our ride should have only been 45 minutes but it took us almost 3 hours. Traffic can be at a standstill for hours. This is common in most South East Asia cities.
**Pro-Tip: Car seats are not required by Thai law. I would recommend bringing your own car seat if you’d like your child to have one during your trip. A great car seat to travel with is the MiFold car seat. It is easy to throw in a carry on bag so that it’s ready to go.
Beware: The airport in Phuket is pretty far from the majority of the hotels. You will want to plan at least 45 minutes in the car from the airport to your hotel.
3. Find a hotel with a kids club
As I mentioned above, I recommend picking a hotel that will work well for your kids. There’s nothing worse than staying in a hotel that caters towards adults and trying to keep your kids quiet the entire trip.
We stayed at the Marriott Merlin Beach. The kids club was great, our 9 and 6 year old loved going. They had activities throughout the day that kept the kids busy!
Always, always try to find a hotel with a kids club! This will give your kids a place to play out of the sun and time for you to relax. There are a lot of great options in Phuket.
**Pro tip~ Most kid’s clubs do not allow you to leave your kids alone until they are 4 years old. But they may offer paid babysitting services for kids under 4 years old.
If you have a little one, double-check the age requirements before booking. They will be allowed in the play place, you just have to stay with them at all times.
These are the things that worked out well for us and save yourself the pain of sitting in traffic and book your flights to avoid high traffic times.
What tips and tricks did you find worked great for your family while discovering Phuket and or Thailand together? Share with us! We want to hear from you.
Heading to Thailand soon? Visit our post below for all the details you need before you go.