Read about our amazing family experience in Thailand, from excursions, beach destinations, city experience and a most amazing time at a children shelter. And find out when is the best time to visit Thailand.
Why travel to Thailand?
- Tasty and healthy food (my favorite)
- A complete different culture to our own
- The people are very friendly and helpful
- It is very safe (crime and health wise)
- It is very cheap, you can treat yourself to a 5 euro massage every day.
- Sunshine and rural beauty
Where to go?
- Bangkok, amazing temples, great markets and fantastic for shopping
- Chiang Mai, the best city in Thailand, friendly people, fantastic tours into the mountains, delicious food and great temples
- Pai, small quirky and artistic village north from Chaing Mai
- Ko Samui, Ko Phangan and Ko Tao, best islands in the summer months (little rain fall)
- Krabi, Beautiful beaches and great food
What to avoid (in my opinion)
- Animal shows, (tigers are no cuddly teddy bears, they are drugged and the elephants are not born painters, they have been abused and broken to entertain the tourists and feed their keepers) if you must, please search for elephant parks or rides where they are kept in good conditions and only provide bare back rides, no living creature as strong as it is would enjoy a metal harness with weights on them and riding bare back is so much more adventurous anyway.
- Main tourist towns like Pataya, unless you are in desperate need of English pubs, MC Donald’s and a seedy nightlife, unfortunately most organised tours include these destinations and shows. Why?
- Do not disrespect their culture, they are very proud people, they have a very good sense of humor and love to tease and joke around but they have no respect for drunken tourists insulting their Buddha or beliefs. Unfortunately many tourists end up making funny or silly photo’s with a Buddha statue – this really upsets the locals.
Most people will arrive in Bangkok, I would recommend several day’s in Bangkok and visit the floating market, Ko San Road, the night markets and the various temples. If you love shopping, the shopping center is one of the biggest i have seen. You can get great flight deals on Expedia
Where to stay in Bangkok?
A lovely boutique hotel in the center of Bangkok near one of the night markets. The garden and pool on the roof top is a great place to relax after a busy day in town.
Where to eat in Bangkok?
Food markets and street food
All the locals eat at the food markets, there you find the best food and it´s so incredibly cheap.
A lovely restaurant with extensive menu and lovely live music (Thai instruments) close to Siam Heritage hotel
My favorite place in Thailand, this city has a village charm and the locals are really friendly and helpful and not yet exhausted and exploited by the demanding tourists like on the big touristy Islands. It´s clean, safe and so cheap. The best way to travel in and around Chiang Mai is with a tuck-tuck. Make sure to book a trip into the mountains, visit the local hill tribes, go hiking, rafting and visit the waterfall´s. All the hotels and resorts offer 1 to 3 day trips.
Where to stay in Chiang Mai?
Joy´s House and the Children shelter foundation
My favorite place in the whole of Thailand, when staying at this guesthouse it’s like staying with a huge Thai family, it’s a little out of the center but has easy access into city. They offer massages, cooking lessons, music nights, excursions, sport activities and they have a local children shelter. So it’s fun and helpful at the same time, we have been there several times and love it there, we can stay there for weeks and feel so at home.
About the children shelter foundation
The Children’s Shelter Foundation is located on the outskirts of Chiang Mai. A shelter for children and young people in need from the mountain villages and border areas of Burma and Laos. The problems in many mountain villages of North Thailand is still large such as poverty, unemployment, disease, drug trafficking, drug addiction and child trafficking are still sad realities of these regions.
I think it´s an amazing concept.
Joy and Ulli have created a shelter for those in need where they provide them with schooling, sense of belonging and teaching them the basics for a sustainable life by gardening, cooking and farming.
When they finish school and by the time they reach puberty they can go to Joy´s house where they can continue with further part-time studies in the city (mostly in tourism) and work at the guesthouse by helping with cleaning, cooking, maintenance, breakfast, gardening and bar work. So basically the guest house is run perfectly by the lovely children who were once in need of shelter. All profit made at Joy´s house supports the children and their studies. I have seen Joy´s house grow over the years providing more jobs and a wonderful home for the Children.
For more information click here
A tiny rural village west from Chang Mai, if you like to get of the tourist track and love to relax, paint, read or do some wood crafting then Banchunsongsang home stay is a great experience. The host is such a lovely lady and so helpful. If you decide to go you must tell the lady that you like to try a traditional Thai fondue in the next village.
The guest house.
A small Boutique hotel in the center of Chang Mai, the rooms are very clean and tidy, it has a small pool and the restaurant serves Thai and international dishes. You can book your day trips and other travel plan´s from this hotel.
Where to eat and drink in Chiang Mai?
The Riverside bar restaurant
A great place where Thai locals and tourist meet, enjoy a traditional Thai meal followed by some drinks in the bar while listening to great live acoustic acts. I have been here several times and the atmosphere is always incredible with everyone singing and dancing to the best pop and rock songs.
The food market
The Food markets and street food in Thailand is amazing, you must spend one evening trying all the local bites and dishes with a Thai beer just like the locals do, it can´t get any more authentic than that.
Ko Samui – Ko Phangan- Ko Tao
We always go to Thailand in the summer and during this time I find the weather best on the Islands of Ko Samui, Ko Phangan and Ko Tao.
- Ko Samui As the airport is on Ko Samui it is the base for the other islands, it is very touristy, great for partying, shopping and activities, here you find some of the best fusion Restaurants. Ko Samui is not my favorite Island, for me it is too touristy and more expensive than the other islands, here you find larger hotels and I prefer a small bungalow complex as it’s more authentic and more personal. Why fly around the world to stay in a large hotel with an extensive European menu? I find the locals a bit tired and rude on Ko Samui but I do love to spend a day or two on the Island for a bit of shopping and enjoy a dinner in some of Thailand’s best Restaurants.
- Ko Phangan My favorite island, it’s more bohemian. In the south you will find the full moon party towns and in the north of the island you will find some great budget beach bungalows and the most luxury resorts, it is more quiet in the north but still lively. This Island has it all for me, It’s romantic, fun, authentic, and lively enough, here you can find great food markets, good restaurants, beautiful beaches and since the last 2 years the internal roads have improved making it much easier to explore the whole Island.
- Ko Tao Is very popular with divers and backpackers, it’s more expensive then Ko Phangan and budget bungalows along the beach are more difficult to find, the downside is that most pools are occupied by Divers several hours a day.
Where to eat in Ko Samui?
They serve real delicious authentic Thai food and it is super cheap, please note that this is not a restaurant but more a shabby market stool with tables!
A beautiful restaurant with great food close to the food market, they also offer cooking classes. They have table and chair seating or lovely floor seating on traditional Thai cushions.
Where to sleep in Ko Samui?
A small town with a beautiful beach, probably the most beautiful beach on the Island with white sand and a pale blue sea. Here you find plenty of resorts with bungalows on the beach and most of them have beach dining – pure bliss. The town is very small, it has plenty of beach resorts and restaurants but just one pharmacy and a few small supermarkets and shops.
Where to eat?
Crave lounge and restaurant
A nice international restaurant lounge on the main road, offering Thai dishes, great international food and a good selection of cocktails and beers – they also have games and a pool table.
On the beach
Most front line resorts offer on the beach dining during the evening and they are all very similar.
Where to stay?
Sandy Bay resort
Our favorite as they have a pool and bungalows along the beach and they are very affordable, especially when traveling with kids.
Thong Nai pan Noi and Thong Nai pan Yai
Thong Nai Pan Noi and Yai are 2 bay’s North East of the Island. This is my favorite place to put my bags down for a bit, 2 lovely bay´s that have plenty to offer, a great selection of restaurants, bars, shops and the locals are friendly. The bay’s are quite enough to relax but still has plenty of night activity, like music bars and fire dancers. There are some of the best restaurants in the Noi bay but I found that the Yai bay has the best affordable accommodation.
Where to stay?
Long tail boat
We always like a pool for the kids but if you are happy enough with the sea then I defiantly recommend this bohemian relax resort, here you experience the real Thai life, feet in the sand hammock in front of your Bungalow and the best food in Yai bay.
It’s a spacious resort with a large, clean aircon bungalows and a spacious pool. I have to say the staff look a bit tired but they are super friendly, if you connect with them and understand their life story you think twice before clicking your fingers, we have been here 3 times and love it.
This resort has basic comfortable wooden bungalows and a lovely pool with pool bar overlooking the sea.
Where to eat?
Thong Nai Pan Yai
Long tail boat
Defiantly the best Thai restaurant in this bay with a lovely atmosphere.
Chicken on the beach – always´s yummy.
And when you see the coconut ice cream bike or the roast chicken truck in the village street you must try that too.
In this bay you find some fancy restaurants like
The beach club, Buri Rasa
Most of the restaurants here are great but we had a fun experience at
The owner is very lively. We had the fish with Thai red curry and it was the best, I asked if they could teach my husband this receipt and they did, they took him to the kitchen and taught him how to cook it while my daughters and I enjoyed a massage at the back of the restaurant. After our dinner we needed a taxi back to the other bay where we stayed and the owner fetched her husband and he drove us home for free – only in Thailand but I guess when you connect with them they connect with you.
Haad Tien bay and Haad Yuan
A secluded resort in a private bay, south east of Ko Phangan a fantastic bohemian getaway, the place for detox, healing, yoga or to relax but at the same time its so lively full of positive energy with plenty of small party´s, bonding and meeting lot´s of new people.
This resort is full of gorgeous and open minded people talking about chakras, love and colonics! But you also find your regular types who are there just to lose some weight or people like me that enjoy the tasty and healthy food, yoga and open talent nights with performances from people belly dancing, singing, sharing their poem´s or playing instruments.
The restaurant menu is fantastic and they also offers a great selection of vegan and raw vegan dishes.
Over the rocks on the other side of Haad Tien is a small bay with cheap and basic bungalows, attracting travelers that like to stay for weeks or months at a time. No fancy restaurants here just plenty of thai food and fish brought in that day by the fisherman and play football on the beach with the locals.
In between Haad Tien and Haad Yuan, on top of the rocks with lovely views you find Bamboo Huts, Basic budget bungalows and a nice Thai restaurant
We only stayed here for a few day´s visiting some friends on Sairee beach but we found Sairee beach more expensive and busier with divers and we did not have much luck finding a bungalow resort on the beach within our budget, however, we did find a lovely and clean resort a few hundred meters from the beach. We also loved the snorkeling trip around the island, we booked a private boat that took us around to the best snorkeling areas and too Koh Na Yuang.
Where to stay?
Lovely and clean budget resort a few hundred meters from the sea, but in a great location and the staff are friendly. It has a lovely pool that is not occupied by divers, the problem is that most pools of beach resorts in Ko Tao are always full of divers.
Where to eat?
Rimlae restaurant, Sairee beach
Rimlae is part of Ko Tao cabana resort, it’s a beautiful restaurant, probably the most romantic in the bay.
Last year we also included Krabi in our travels.
Unfortunately we missed Krabi Town, that´s supposed to have lovely food and one of the best food markets in Thailand. We stayed several day´s in Ao Nang but did not find our accommodation great or the food, Unfortunately for us there are no resorts on the beach as the beach and town is divided by a road and you have to walk 5-10 minutes to get to the beach.
One of the prettiest beaches in Krabi, there are 2 sides on Railey.
- The west, a very pretty white beach with surrounding cliffs, the restaurants and hotels are more expensive on this side.
- The east, very pretty but not when the tide is low during the day, unfortunately you cannot use the beach during low tide, but it only takes 5 minutes to walk over to the west side. However, the accommodation is much cheaper on this side and the night life is great with several bars and restaurants at the end offering a great mix of music, fire shows, good food and muay Thai fights.
Where to stay?
Nice and clean complex with pool, we loved the monkey swinging on the trees.
Have a look for great flight deals on Expedia