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Thailand in August with Kids? Are we nuts?

Thailand in August with Kids? Are we nuts?

Mar 7th, 2006, 08:38 PM
  #1  
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Join Date: Mar 2005
Posts: 4
Thailand in August with Kids? Are we nuts?

We are trying to plan a trip to Thailand with our four children 7 - 17 years old. It looks like August is the only time that works for us but everything I read says that it is monsoon season.

I have a few questions.

1) Would you take children to Thailand? Is it safe?

2) How bad is the rain in August? Will it be a nuisance or a severe hinderance?

3) Where in Thailand would you suggest? We only have at most a week. We are thinking about Bangkok or Phuket but recently read about places like Koh Chang. We want to get as much of a taste of Thailand as we can in a short time and would love to ride elephants and see temples, etc.

Thanks in advance for your help.
bjfedwards is offline  
Mar 7th, 2006, 08:58 PM
  #2  
 
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 2,501
Hi

My wife and I have been to Thailand twice and both times have been in September. Yes, it is the wet season but it normally doesn't rain all day but most likely you will get heavy downpours on a daily basis. But it is still possible to have a great time in Thailand even if it rains a bit

Bangkok is great but it is a big city and it can be hectic. If you want to find a beach you can head to places like Samui or Hua Hin. They say the the weather is better on the Samui side compared to the Phuket side.

I have posted trip reports with pictures from our trips to Thailand on my homepage. Here are the links:
http://gardkarlsen.com/thailand2002.htm
http://gardkarlsen.com/thailand.htm

Have a great trip

Regards
Gard
http://gardkarlsen.com - trip reports and pictures
gard is offline  
Mar 7th, 2006, 09:07 PM
  #3  
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Posts: 25
You are not nuts...just great parents...It is indeed monsoon season but its not as if it rains all day...a quick awe inspiring downpour for an hour or a bit more, which only makes the air cleaner and fresher...if you have a week i would suggest 3 days in Bangkok (including maybe one day out of town in the Floating Market or Kanchanaburi) and the rest in either Samui or Krabi, where i think it would fit more a family vacation and its less wet than Phuket...enjoy
gapa is offline  
Mar 8th, 2006, 02:38 AM
  #4  
 
Join Date: Jul 2005
Posts: 888
Hi - we are visiting Thailand in August with a 2 year old, so if you are nuts then we are certifiable!

No, I don't think you are nuts. However the length of time you are spending there (a week) is not very long if you are travelling far (ie you are not within Asia already).

You will find lots of families with children of similar age ranges to yours in Thailand. If you decide to go for that timeframe, I would suggest splitting your time between Bangkok and Ko Samui.

Bangkok: I would stay on the river - take a look at the Marriott Resort & Spa and great pools and a kids club if that is something your younger children would enjoy. If you would prefer family accommodation, you might want to take a look at Centrepoint, Silom which is on the river also and which has larger apartments, swimming pool, restaurant etc. It is near the skytrain and express boat stop if you wanted to use public transport.

Samui: After a few days in Bangkok, you could fly to Ko Samui on Bangkok Air - www.bangkokair.com. I would book in advance for August - even though it is not peak season, as it is not monsoon season in Ko Samui at this time the flights tend to be busy.

I would suggest looking at the following resorts which are all meant to be great for children:

- Peace Resort, Bophut Beach (you can get beachfront rooms and it has a children's playground). Downside - you couldn't get a large villa for you all.

- Smilehouse on Bophut Beach (Smile House does a great price in August (7190 Baht) for a 3 bedroomed, 3 bath teak villa which also has a living area/kitchen and a couple of children's beds in addition on a mezzanine level). You can get the best prices generally for these hotels on this website - http://www.r24.org/esamui.com/samui/smilehouse/ - and can also find reviews on there too. I have to say, for a family of four with the age range you have, I would go for Smile House. Its location on Bophut is v close to the Fishermans Village so you have only a short walk to some local restaurants, bars and shops for the evening.

- Amari Palm Reef (more upmarket, on north Chaweng which is very busy beach, lovely white sand. Chaweng is too busy for me and also has girly bars, not my choice for kids but lots of people do seem to stay there who have kids and report very highly on that hotel).

- Big John - this is on a quiet beach on the west coast, I think it is called Lipa Noi. The resort is meant to have one of the best restaurants in Ko Samui and the accommodation is very reasonably priced. The reviews on tripadvisor and comments posted about the resort on that forum consistently mention it as being a great place for kids. It may be too isolated for you though, especially for your 17 year old.

- Rocky Resort - www.rockyresort.com - boutique resort on a private beach south of Lamai. You can get 2 bed, 2 bath family rooms here. One of them is beachfront. However, it gets very busy and booked up so you would need to think about booking quite soon. (I know about this as we are getting married there in August!). My friend stayed there with her children and they loved it but they are 7 yrs so not sure what it is like for older children. If you look at the links they have on their website at the bottom of the page for Ko Samui Activities and Adventures etc, that will give you some idea of the things you and your children can do in Ko Samui.

Below are some thoughts I've posted previously on travelling with children in Thailand. I hope this is helpful.

Flight: You need to consider the length of your journey and likely jetlag in considering whether a week is worth the trip. For us, the flight time is 12 hour direct flight - it is overnight. Where are you travelling from? If you are coming from the US, that is a really long plane ride. You might want to consider if it can be broken up at all - am sure the US posters here can help you with that. See also the postings on the forums I have recommended below on flying with kids - some great tips. Check out these pillows also - both for you and the kids - http://shop.thejetrest.com/acatalog/frameset.html

Heat and humidity - we are going to stay in aircon places and we are spending 3 weeks of our time on the beaches where it is more breezy. Dehydration is obviously an issue for anyone in the heat but more of a concern with children so you need to ensure that their weater intake is increased.

Food - have your children tried Thai food already? If not, think about lett them try some before you go. Having said that, western food is so readily available. You obviously need to take care where you eat - no hawker stalls, buffets, make sure all food is well cooked etc. In Thailand, in our experience there is always a dish on the menu without chilli in it if that is something your chilren do not like (we travelled with a girl who hated hot food). Avoid ice in drinks and salads also - as local water may have been used. You can find out more about kids and food and drink in Thailand at http://www.thailand4kids.com/freestuff.html - there is a free leaflet you can download there on the matter. It is a really useful resource which we plan on taking with us. You may also want to consider that there is Avian flu in the area and whether the children should eat poultry and eggs. (NB - there are quite a lot of previous posts on this board recently on this so take a look - especially at Kathie's advice. The US and UK governments are not currently advising to avoid eating poultry and eggs - just to check that it is well cooked.)

Illnesses - first sign, go to a doctor. Before we go, I am going to get names of recommended doctors and hospitals in each area we are staying in. You can never be too careful wherever you go - Do find out from your doctor as well what innoculations you and your children will need before you go.

I would recommend 2 other places to go for advice on the topic of travelling with children (I hope this doesn't offend the incredibly helpful fodorites, but both of the forums I am going to recommend are specifically focused on travelling with children).

1) Lonely Planet Kids To Go board: It is by far and away the best site for advice on taking children (and toddlers/babies) abroad (including SE Asia) and can be found at: http://thorntree.lonelyplanet.com/ca...s.cfm?catid=37. There are a good number of people with extensive experience of undertaking a trip such as the one you are proposing and, having done it themselves, can give you a realistic and informed opinion on the merits of such a trip and excellent planning advice. The board is not specific to SE Asia so you will find experience there of lots of different countries with kids.

2) Dea Birketts Travelling with Kids forum - http://www.deabirkett.com/.
Bella_Bluebell is offline  
Mar 8th, 2006, 07:49 PM
  #5  
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 7,689
I don't think you are crazy but some thoughts/things to consider:

That is a really really long flight for only a week, esp for a 7 year old. (Good luck getting him/her back on that plane after only a week. . .) If you can stretch it at all, try to take more time for this vacation.

Does that mean 7 days on the ground NOT including days your have to take an international flight? Remember that you will "lose" a day coming over from the US (assuming you fly across the Pacific), that is it will take you 2 days to get to Bangkok. If your flight is on a Saturday afternoon for example, you won't arrive into Thailand until Sunday night, so that means you may only actually have 5 days in Thailand (assuming your flight home is the next Saturday).

I would not go to Phuket in August, it is too rainy. The Koh Samui suggestion is good. You might also consider the Hua Hin area which is 2-3 hours by car from Bangkok. This would save the hassle of flying. The beaches are not quite as pretty as Koh Samui, I will admit, but you have a limited time and so this might be a better alternative.

For weather info generally go to weatherbase.com

I agree that the Marriott Riverside in Bangkok is a great hotel choice.

Thailand is generally very safe in terms of crime, food etc. You can't drink water from the tap, you should only eat fruit you peel yourself, I would be careful with eating raw foods like salads except at good hotels (like the Marriott). You and your kids should have routine immunizations like hepatitis, tetanus, etc which you should have in any event. I am not a fan of anti-malarial drugs, just wear mosquito repellent.

If you want to ride elephants and see more temples (although you will see plenty in Bangkok) you might consider northern Thailand like around the Chiang Mai area. The is a bit problematic in August because it will be rainy, but it may be more what you are looking for.

If you really want to see a temple, the you might consider going to Ankor Wat, certainly one of the wonders of the world, IMO, and something your children would always remember, more than any beach in Thailand (which are nice, but the Caribbean beaches are far more spectacular, go to St John if you want to see great beaches).
Cicerone is offline  
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