Are you thinking about traveling to Thailand with your kids? Have you been seeing unbelievable pictures of this amazing country and are longing to see it with your own eyes? The only problem is you don’t quite know how to plan a trip to Thailand. In fact, you may not even know where in the world Thailand is.
Well after you finish reading this you will be a Thailand expert. We will teach you step-by-step everything you need to know to plan your trip!
A quick guide on how to plan a trip to Thailand
- Decide what time of year you are going to go.
You need to pick the best time of year for your schedule but also a time to make the most of your money.
- Find flights and book them.
See more details below on the best days to book your flights and the best day to fly. These tips will SAVE you lots of money.
- Pick where you want to go in Thailand
A few of my favorite places are listed below for some inspiration.
- Book your hotel
Now you’re ready to hunt down the perfect hotel. See more details and tips down below.
- How to get around in Thailand
You’ve made it Thailand, now what?! Find out how to get around during your trip.
- Read below for more tips, tricks, and hacks.
All of your questions about drinking water, safety, what to pack, how to use public transportation, are answered!
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Where in the world is Thailand?
Thailand is located in the heart of southeast Asia. It sits directly south of China, Laos, and Myanmar and east of Vietnam. It has breathtaking beaches on the Gulf of Thailand and the Andaman Sea to the west. Some of Thailand’s beaches are known for their white-sands, warm blue waters, and limestone cliffs that shot out of the water, towering over you.
It is just north of the equator but it very tropical and has multiple rainforests. Thailand is HOT and HUMID. It will be very hot and humid almost all year round.
Is it safe to travel to Thailand?
Thailand is generally a safe country. But, remember it is considered a developing country. At times you will see very modern infrastructure and technology and others you will see
We’ve all heard lots of rumors about human trafficking, kidnapping, and other dangers in Thailand. So, one of the biggest questions you may be asking yourself is how safe is it to travel to Thailand? Especially if you are planning on taking your kids; safety is a big factor.
Thailand is very tourist-friendly and assaults on travelers are very rare, but it can happen. One of the biggest things to avoid doing as a foreigner is to make a scene of a Thai person, or something that would make them “lose face” (feel public embarrassment or humiliation).
From our experience, the Thai people are very gentle people and willing to help. Just like any big city or county, there are always places to avoid.
Avoid the southern border of Thailand
There is an issue at the border of Thailand and Malaysia that I recommend avoiding. This has nothing to do with tourists but it is best to avoid the area. There is ongoing violence in the deep South of Thailand and has made the crossing at Sungai Kolok into Malaysia dangerous, and most Muslim-majority provinces (Yala, Pattani, Narathiwat, and Songkhla).
If you choose to cross, please practice extreme caution. Please check your country’s government website for country advisories. Check here for the US State Department Travel Advisory for Thailand.
Safety in Thailand with kids
When I am traveling, I am always extra cognizant of my surroundings. I am always more aware of where my kids are and I make sure I have an eye on them at all times.
That being said, I have taken my kids to Thailand multiple times and I have never felt unsafe. I have never felt like I needed to give them extra protection over other places that we have visited.
The biggest downside of traveling in Thailand for us is that we can not blend into the local culture. No matter what we do, we are clearly foreigners. This is the biggest reason I am always extra vigilant when traveling in Aisa.
I have found the Thai culture to be very open and accepting to families. In fact, Thai people love kids! My kids always say their favorite country in the world is Thailand and this is for good reason.
State Department’s Recommendations
One of the first places you should check when visiting a new country is the US State Department’s website. This is your best resource for the most accurate and current information about the safety of a country.
That being said, the US State Department states that Thailand is a “Level 1” which means that you need to exercise only normal precautions during your visit. This means that the State Department says Thailand is safe for Americans to travel and enjoy.
Here is the U.S. Embassy in Bankok’s location and information:
Website: U.S. Embassy Bangkok
Email: [email protected]
95 Wireless Road
Telephone +(66) 2 205-4049
Emergency +(66) 2 205-4000
Here are a few tips to help you stay safe in safe while traveling:
- Know the areas where you are going to be. Be smart and learn the areas of the city that are off-limits.
- Drink responsibly with people you trust. Take care of each other and don’t go home without your whole group. Also, watch your drinks to make sure no one has a chance to slip anything in it.
- Keep your belongings in your front pocket, in a crossbody bag carried in front, or in a fanny pack. Always be aware of your belongings. Petty theft and pickpocketing do happen in all countries in tourist areas.
- Plan when and where you are going to get cash. Only get cash out in safe locations where they are a lot of people around.
- Use a credit card that has fraud protection in case it gets lost or stolen. **Pro-Tip: Make sure your credit card has no foreign transaction fees.
- If you have a safe in your hotel, leave everything that you won’t need for that day. When we go out for the day, I always leave all my credit cards but one, my driver’s license, and some cash in the safe.
- Take a picture of your passport and email it to yourself. This way if your passport gets lost or stolen, you will have all the information to give them the embassy. Then I usually leave my passport in my hotel safe.
- Keep your kids close at all times and especially in busy areas. Find places that you can allow your kids some freedom and space. Quiet beaches are a good way to let your kids have some space. But when we are large crowds, I always have my kids within an arms’ length.
- Consider a safety harness for your toddler or kid that may like to wander, especially in Bangkok.
- Only take registered taxis, tuk-tuks, or Grab car. Never get into a car that you are not sure about.
- Trust your instincts and leave immediately if something doesn’t feel right.
Safety gear to pack
Consider packing a child safety harness to keep your kids close during your stay in Thailand.
I love this toddler safety harness and so does my toddler. She never fights to put it on because she thinks she is turning into a unicorn while it’s on. You can buy it from Amazon for around $17.
When I am traveling with my kids, I like to wear a fanny pack so I can quickly get to everything I need. It’s also a great idea to keep your valuables safe. Just make sure to cover your strap in the back with your shirt so it’s not visible from behind.
I love this Herschel fanny pack because it has lots of pockets so I can easily organize my phone, hotel keys, credit cards, etc. You can buy it for $20 on Amazon on the link below.
What’s the best time of year to visit Thailand?
I always recommend traveling during the off-seasons because you can save TONS of money. Since Thailand is such a popular destination for Americans, this rings true here as well.
The busy season in Thailand is in June and July. This is when most people are traveling to Thailand. If you can avoid it, do not go during this time.
The cheapest time to go to Thailand is in September. This is right after the summer rush and typically all the tourist places are quiet. That being said, it is still not the best time of year to go in my opinion.
My favorite time of year to visit
In my opinion, the best time of year to go to Thailand is in January. Thailand is HOT all year round. You will be able to enjoy the beach and warm weather all year. But the heat and rain here can stifle your trip. It is warm (Hot) all year round, why not go when it is cold at home.
The cooler and dryer months in Thailand are from November to April; with January being the driest time of the year. You are likely to see temperatures in the low 30s Celsius (mid-80s Fahrenheit) with little to no rain.
January is also a great time to travel because everyone just spent all their money on Christmas so tourism, in general, is lower. This is an added bonus to traveling in January is you will beat the winter blues.
The Thailand water festival is another great time of year to visit
I would also recommend going to Thailand during the water festival, this is the Thai New Year and it is a ton of fun! They celebrate Songkran (Thai New Year) by throwing the biggest water fight in the world!
The new year is on April 13th every year. The tradition includes carrying a Buddha statue down the street to be washed in floral-scented water. They then respect their elders by pouring water over their hands.
Traditionally, during Songkran, people sprinkle water on each for blessings. Well, travelers and locals have taken this tradition to a whole new level by pouring blessings on each other.
Then, everyone celebrates by pouring buckets of water on each other. Teams of people will even bring water cannons and spray the crowds. Make sure you grab a bucket and join in the fun. Don’t forget to take your camera with you to capture and remember the experience.
Songkran is a great time to get a taste of true Thai culture. It’s such a fun way to experience that you will never forget!
How do I get to Thailand?
The largest international airport in Thailand is Bangkok airport international airport; the airport code is BKK. Since it is
There are no direct flights from the United States. All major airlines from the United States will have a fly on a partner airline through Asia. You can head the opposite direction and have a stopover in Europe or the Middle-East.
Flights through Europe tend to be more expensive, especially through the summer months as many Europeans are also on holiday. You can find some deals through the Middle-East, stopping over in Dubai. Meaning you will have to have a layover somewhere along the way.
If you are coming through Asia, here are some of the popular airports that you will transit through. Hong Kong – Tokyo, Japan – Seoul, South Korea, and Singapore. Some airlines offer multiple-day stopovers in these destinations.
So on your way to Thailand, you could possibly stop and experience another country for a couple of days or on your way back. Call your airline or during the booking process you can actually add in a Multi-City stopover and sometimes the price is exactly the same to spend a few extra nights in a new city. We have done this multiple times on these long flights.
The best way to book your flight from the United States to Thailand would be to use Google flights. Then use their calendar feature to narrow down the cheapest time for you to fly. Then you can decide which cities you want to fly through to connect to Bangkok.
What is the best day of the week to reserve your flight and to fly to Thailand
For most international Travel, Sunday is the best day to book your flight. This is because most business travelers and agents are off, so the demand is really for holiday and leisure travelers. Except for when booking to Thailand!
The best time to purchase your flight to Thailand is on Saturday. So make sure to set some time aside on a Saturday to book and pay for your flights.
The best day to start your journey to Thailand is on Thursday. So you will probably find the cheapest flights on Thursdays. The most expensive to start your journey or to fly out is on Sunday. This is according to Expedia’s annual travel report.
Following these simple booking tips can help to save you a little on your flights and give you some more spending cash for your vacation.
If you’d like more information on how to save money on flights, visit our post that is all about how to maximize your dollar on flights.
How to survive this long flight with a baby
What are the best places to visit in Thailand?
Bangkok is the largest city in Thailand and it has so much to offer. You could easily spend days on end exploring the city and never see the same thing twice.
Since you are most likely going to fly into Bangkok, I’d recommend spending at least 2 nights there. It’s a great city even with kids. This will also give you time to recover from your jet lag before you hop on another plane to your next city.
Visit the Pink Temple
An off the beaten path top thing to see is the pink temple. This extraordinary pink temple is at the Erawan Museum of Bangkok. The temple is surrounded by beautiful gardens that you can explore before you enter the temple. Prepare to be in awe of its beauty on the inside!
It’s about a 30-minute drive from downtown Bangkok but it is worth every minute. There is a small entrance fee to help maintain the grounds.
A few of my other favorite things to do in
- The Neon Night Market
- Hop on Hop off boat tour
- The flower market
- The reclining Buddha at Wat Pho
- A boat cruise at night
Chiang Mai is located in the northern part of Thailand, it is the second-largest city in Thailand. But it maintains a smaller town feel. This is a beautiful place to enjoy the mountains of Thailand.
It is about a 1.5-hour flight from Bangkok. You can easily fly on local airlines from Bangkok to Chiang Mai. The lower-cost airlines such as Air Asia do not fly out of BKK. They fly out of a smaller airport, the Don Mueang Airport (DMK).
Chiang Mai has a lot to offer if you’re looking for some great adventures, this city must be on the top of your list!
My favorite thing to do in Chiang Mai
Zip Line Tour
When we took the family to Chiang Mai, we knew we had to take them on a zip line tour. They fought us at first, saying they were too scared but in the end, they were begging to go back!
Your rainforest adventure begins with a drive through the rainforest. Most of the zip line tours are outside the city so you will want to prepare your kids for a drive. You will be greeted with the stunning beauty of the rainforest as you soon as you arrive.
The best part is flying through the air on the zip line. If you’re lucky, you will get to see the gibbon monkey. The day we went, it had rained all morning so we did not get to see any gibbons. This just gives us a reason to go back!
A few other favorites in Chiang Mai
- The Night Safari
- The silkworm farm
- Elephant sanctuary in the jungle
- The night market
- Long neck tribe and Dao Cave
Krabi has the best beaches to visit in Thailand! The stacks of islands that spread across the ocean are like something out of a movie. I felt like I was in a Disney themed hotel except it was real life.
My favorite thing to do in Krabi
You can easily catch a boat from the closest beach and explore the many islands that surround Krabi. You can choose an all-day tour and tour multiple Phi Phi islands (including the infamous James Bond island) or you can do a half-day tour and see 4 other famous islands including Railay beach and chicken island. Our tour was on a speed boat and it was perfect.
Whichever tour you choose, make sure they will have snorkeling equipment for you. We were able to jump right off the front of our boat and relish in the underwater sea life. It was so astonishing to tour these uninhabited islands.
- Visit the emerald pools and Klong Thom hot spring
- Experience the old town Krabi
- Shop at the night market
- Kayaking in the ocean
Favorite things to do anywhere in Thailand
- Take a Thai cooking class
- Enjoy an inexpensive Thai spa
- See monkeys
- Elephant experiences
Booking hotels in Thailand
Finding hotels in Thailand is pretty easy. Most major hotel lines have multiple locations throughout Thailand. So, when we travel as a family, I have a few priorities when picking a hotel and they are:
- A great swimming pool
- Kids club
- Breakfast and snacks available at the hotel
- Easy access to the beach and town
- A fitness center
- Within my budget
All of that being said, how do I find great hotels at decent prices in Thailand? The best part of Thailand is the prices of hotels, you can stay at 5-star resorts for less than you’d pay for a budget hotel in the States.
My best resource for finding hotels in Thailand is Booking.com because they make it so easy to see all my options. I can easily sort my preferences and it will display all the hotels and even some vacation rental homes.
I also love Booking because I can read reviews and filter the reviews by guests who have traveled with families.
**Pro-tip~ Always book your hotels in the local currency, this will save you money!
If you are going to Bangkok with your kids I would recommend staying at the Marriott Apartment Hotel at Sathorn Vista or the Conrad Residence Bangkok. Both of these have small kitchens and living rooms so it’s much better when you are traveling as a family.
If you happen to travel without your kids, I would recommend the Hilton Millennium Bangkok. It is right on the river and you can’t beat the views! The rooms are a bit small so I wouldn’t recommend staying there if you have more than one child with you.
My favorite hotel in Chiang Mai
My favorite hotel in Chiang Mai is the Shangri-La. It is centrally located in Chiang Mai and surrounded by the night market and great restaurants. I also love this hotel because they cater to kids, they left a present for our kids every night of our stay. They also have a great water slide and indoor play place.
My favorite hotel Krabi
Hands down my favorite hotel in Krabi is the Centara Grand Beach Resort and Villas Krabi. This resort is amazing and perfect for families. It has a pool with unbelievable ocean views, a kids club with daily activities, and a beautiful private beach.
Do I need to get shots to go to Thailand?
Alright, you’ve got the hard stuff taken care of. You’ve booked your flights, decided where to go, and reserved your hotel. Now it’s time to get ready for your adventure.
One question a lot of people ask is do I need to get shots before I leave for Thailand?
The short answer is, you need to be up to date on all your regular vaccinations anytime you travel. But you do not need any additional shots to get into Thailand.
The long answer is, in addition to your regular vaccines, I would recommend considering at least the Hepatitis A shot. You never know how your food has been prepared and handled. This is a good idea for all travelers anywhere in the world.
Mosquito Prevention is key
That being said there are a few other diseases that are prevalent in Thailand that you will want to be aware of before you travel.
If you are going to be in the rainforest at all, mosquito prevention is key. The mosquitos carry dengue, malaria, and lots of other illnesses that you do not want.
Overall, if you are not going to be out in the jungles you do not need to worry about too many additional shots. But if you are going to be in the rainforests for extended periods of time, you will want to consider getting extra shots for your protection.
Since this information can change so quickly, always double-check with your local county health department on what they recommend.
**Pro-tip~ Take these stickers to prevent mosquitos from biting you during your stay in Thailand.
Is the water safe to drink in Thailand?
The tap water is not safe to drink while you are in Thailand. You will want to stick to bottled or filtered water during your stay.
You can drink ice though, most restaurants have their ice delivered from companies who use filtered water to make their ice.
Your hotel will leave bottled water for you in your room free of charge. They usually leave one or two bottles a day. However, if you need more just kindly ask the hotel staff.
If you will be backpacking or away from filtered water sources, I would recommend buying a Life Straw water bottle, then you can fill up your bottle anywhere and the straw inside this water bottle will filter the water so that it is safe to drink.
What to pack for my trip to Thailand
Keep in mind, on most airlines, you will get 2 free checked bags with each ticket you purchase. So you do have space for everything you need. Remember it will be hot so pack as light as clothing as possible.
Pack in your suitcase (in addition to your normal essentials):
- At least 2 swimming suits
- Sun hat
- Lightweight clothing for each day
- A long dress/skirt or pants and a shirt that covers your shoulders for visiting temples
- Comfortable shoes that are easy to slip on
- Mozzie stickers or bug spray
- Light rain jacket
- Old hiking shoes that are good to get dirty
- Swimsuit cover-up for the beach or day on the boat
- Hand sanitizer
- Rash guards for yourself and your kids
- Flip flops for everyone
- Electricity in Thailand is supposed to be the same as the US but I would recommend having a European converter because some of their plugs will be European. I like this one because it also has 2 USB ports so I can charge my phone and watch with just one plug.
How will I use my phone while I’m in Thailand?
You have a few options for communication while you are in Thailand. If you’d like to arrange everything before you leave home, you can easily add an international plan to your current cell phone plan. Most carriers will allow you to do this on a daily basis. It is usually around $10 per day per line; or $70 per month per line for data and calls.
Another option would be to purchase a local SIM card when you arrive in Thailand. This can easily be done at the airport. There are many kiosks for this at the airport. Or you can
I would recommend purchasing data, you will most likely not need to make phone calls through the local carrier. Most of the Thai carriers offer 15 days of unlimited data at max speeds for around $25.
**Pro-tip~ Make sure you do have at least one phone with data because you will need it for maps and finding transportation during your stay.
Make apps work for you
Anytime you are traveling internationally, take advantage of all the free apps you can use to communicate with people back home. Some of my favorites (other than FaceTime and iMessage) are Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, Line, Skype, Google chat and video, and Telegram.
Just find one that works for you and download it before you leave home. Tell any friends and family that you will want to communicate with while you are away to download it as well. This way you will only need data on your phone.
How to get around in Thailand
You’ve made it through the flight and you are finally here! Now what? How do you get to your hotel? How do you take the train? Should I take a tuk-tuk? There are so many transportation options it can be overwhelming.
Hire a driver for the day or week
Bangkok is a great city and worth exploring, but there are many things to see just outside of Bangkok. In the city, there are tons of options to get you around but if you are wanting to head out for the day, you will need to look at another option. In Southeast Asia, you can hire a driver for the day at a relatively inexpensive price. Especially if you are traveling with others or a family. This can be a great way to easily get around and save you time and hassle. Here is a great place to book and schedule a driver for your holiday.
By far the easiest way to get around anywhere in Thailand is by taking Grab Car. This is an app just like Uber where you can “hail” the closest car to you. I love using Grab Car when I’m with my kids because it is hassle-free.
I find the closest car, book it, and pay for it all on the app. Another great feature of Grab is that you can chat with your driver in English and the app will translate it to Thai for them. It makes everything so easy.
You have to try a tuk-tuk! My kids love tuk-tuks, they can’t get enough of them. I would recommend taking a tuk-tuk when you are going to go a short distance and when traffic is bad. Also, tuk-tuks are perfect when you are in a smaller town where there are not as many taxis available.
The tuk-tuks can take back roads to beat traffic and it is fabulous. They also are a fun ride, it is like an amusement ride for the kids. They usually have fun lights and music that will keep the family laughing.
**Pro-tip~ Always negotiate the price of the fare before you get into the tuk-
BTS in Bangkok
If you are looking to get around Bangkok quickly, temper your expectations. Bangkok’s traffic is some of the worst in the world. One of the best ways to get around is to use the public transportation system, known as the BTS.
The BTS is a sky train system with two lines. It makes getting around the city easier and faster than sitting in traffic. The 2 lines (The Sukhumvit and Silom) do cover the most visited areas and many of the places that you will want to visit. The trains are modern and have great air-conditioning while riding.
If you are looking to take a river tour or just use the boat transportation; Saphan Taksin is the place to catch the boats at the pier to many temples by the river.
How much does it cost?
One day pass: A one day pass cost 140 baht. ($4.60) That is for the entire day and unlimited rides. If you are only going to use it one time or less you can do a point to point payment. This will cost you about 45
How to use the BTS
For either option, you can approach the ticket counter. Most of the BTS workers at the ticket counter will speak English. They will give you a card to use as your ticket.
You take this card and head towards the entrance carousel. You then tap the card on top of the kiosk and enter the train station. Now put the card somewhere easy to grab because you will need it again when you exit.
Now to figure out where to go and what train to take, we always rely on Google Maps.
You can use the google maps destination and choose the Metro or train option. It will tell you where to get the closest train, the number of stops, and where to get off the train for your destination. Look up at the signs in the train station that match the direction of your maps and head to that platform.
Once you have the stop for your destination you can also show this to the BTS ticket counter or any other BTS worker that you can find. They will quickly point you in the right direction.
A few Thai traditions to follow
There is a unique similarity that happens in Thailand as it also happens in France. It is not the words or language, but it is rooted in the traditions and culture.
When I lived in France, I got used to walking into any store and being greeted with “Bonjour.” I too would politely respond with “Bonjour.” Every store or establishment that I would enter it was the same polite greeting. I also learned that the service was typically better if I would respect and respond with their greeting.
Hello in Thai
When I arrived in Thailand, I was greeted with this very similar tradition to that of France. They would say “Hello” or “Hi” but in Thai, it’s “Saw
So how do you pronounce that? Depends on if you are male or female.
– For Men to say hello: sah wah dee khrap! or (Saw – Wah – D – Crap)
– For Women to say hello: sah wah dee khaa… or (Saw – Wah – D – Caw)
Unlike in France or even in English if you were to greet someone in the morning you would say “Good Morning.” If it were in the evening you would say “good evening.” You can use this greeting at any time of the day or evening in Thailand.
The Thai Wai
One other essential piece of Thai etiquette to learn is what is called the Thai Wai or “Y” After learning how to say hello in Thai, you should know how to offer and return a wai.
Thai people don’t always shake hands. Instead, they offer a friendly wai,
Watch the video below for a great example and explanation.
Thank you in Thai
Lastly, you should learn how to say “Thank you” in Thai. Politeness goes a long way in Thailand. Here is how you can say “Thank you” in Thai. Khob Khun Krab
Once again there is a male and female way of saying thank you.
– For men: Khob Khun Krab! (Cob Kun Crab)
– For Women: Khob Khun Ka… (Cob Kun Kaa…)
You can also make the traditional Wai as you say “Thank you”
The Thai people will appreciate your respect with these few gestures. They go a long way when you are traveling!
For some great tips on how to learn any language easily, check out Pink Caddy’s post here.
You now have all the tools and information you need for your trip to Thailand. Enjoy its beauty and wonder. Relax and take in the culture as you travel throughout Thailand.