We travelled to Thailand in August 2022 - Myself, my husband and our two daughters then aged six and four.
We chose Thailand as we have both lived in and travelled quite a bit around Asia in our pre-kid lives, so once Covid travel restrictions were lifted we were eager to get back and take the kids to expose them to a totally different way of life. Thailand is very kid-friendly so for us it was a no-brainer. We travelled to Thailand (Siam Kempinski in Bangkok, visited the Elephant Hills Jungle Camp in Khao Sok and Anantara Bophut Resort and Spa on Koh Samui) July/August 2022
The Siam Kempinski in Bangkok was incredible - nothing was too much trouble for the staff and the facilities were beautiful. There were a couple of restaurant choices and all had a good kids menu. We purposely chose a hotel in the city that had a swimming pool so that we could spend the mornings exploring and then, when everyone was hot, tired and bothered, return to the hotel for a refreshing dip. The hotel was also attached to a large, air conditioned shopping mall with lots going on inside (including an incredible aquarium), so that helped in the early days when the kids were still acclimatising to the heat as we could get out and about without dragging the kids outside too much.
There was a kids club which looked awesome, but we didn’t use it. In terms of the room we had a suite, so we were all in one room and they made up a camp bed and a sofa bed for the kids in the living area - our two sleeping areas were separated by a door which we’d close to get the kids to sleep so we could stay up for a bit, but then we’d open the door when we went to bed. There was also a small kitchenette and dining room table, but we didn’t ever eat in so didn’t use it.
In Khao Sok we stayed at the Elephant Hills Jungle Camp which was AWESOME. We did 3 nights in one of their jungle tents, which included all meals and excursions including meeting and feeding elephants, kayaking, wild swimming, canoe and long tail boat rides and jungle treks.
It was possibly one of the best experiences of my life and I can’t recommend it enough.
We all slept in the tent on camp beds, which were surprisingly comfortable! Plus, even though we slept in a tent, each tent had WiFi (!) and was attached to its own solid structure which housed a toilet and shower.
We stayed at the Anantara Bophut Resort on Koh Samui. It is classed as 5 star but was noticeably a bit tired and worn down in parts, especially when compared with the hotel in Bangkok. However the staff were great and they explained that they were still finding their feet following the borders being opened back up after Covid, which is of course more than understandable. The swimming pool was brilliant for the kids, and there were SUP paddle boards and kayaks that you could just help yourself to down at the sea. We both had a treatment in the spa, which is stunning, and we both had private Muay Thai lessons with an incredible coach (hi Chai!).
In Bangkok and Koh Samui we ate at restaurants either in the hotel or out in the city (Bangkok) or further down the beach (Koh Samui). All meals were provided at the Elephant Camp via a buffet 3 times a day - the food there was delicious and so fresh, and the choice was excellent.
The hotel in Koh Samui booked a day trip for us to Pig Island which I would strongly recommend if you’re staying on Koh Samui, on or near Bophut. Think lots of gorgeous piggies and piglets just roaming around a beautiful beach for you to feed and cuddle…bliss!! Other than that we just hung out on the beach (the hotel was on the beach), the pool or at Fisherman’s Village whilst on Koh Samui, whilst taking in a couple of Muay Thai lessons and spa treatments.
All excursions are incredibly well organised by the staff at the Elephant Hills Camp - it’s a very active few days but thoroughly enjoyable! You feel like GI Jane (or Joe) by the end of it.
In Bangkok we decided slow and steady was the best approach as the kids had by that point travelled across the world and were tired and hot…we did do a trip to a temple to see the big reclining gold Buddha, but other than that we centred things around Tuk Tuk rides (which the kids loved), the aquarium, the pool, a spot of shopping (the kids dig a foreign supermarket and food hall), a boat ride and of course a visit to Khao San road!!
WHAT DID THE KIDS MAKE OF IT ALL?
They had A BALL. It was amazing - they experienced so much and I felt so proud of how they handled all the travelling. They were absolute rock stars. Their favourite bit was, without a doubt, meeting the elephants. When all the other tourists had got bored and drifted away, my eldest was still there, chopping up bananas and pineapples and feeding her favourite elephant :)
WRITTEN BY DEBBIE MOORE
Debbie is a Manchester-based mum of two girls aged 6 and 2