The stunning long boats of Krabi in the monsoon season. We had the whole beach to ourselves! Image by Nisbah Hussain.
Think Thailand and Singapore, and you probably see yourself transported to tropical islands with stunning scenery.
Unfortunately, these countries are not often considered by parents as family-friendly destinations, especially for those travelling with young children. However, upon my return from a fantastic three-week trip to both countries, I maintain that they are amazing choices for family travellers.
What makes these destinations family-friendly, and why should they be on everyone’s family travel bucket list?
The more we travel with children, the more accepting and understanding they become of the various cultures and people that inhabit our great planet.
The Thai people are some of the friendliest, warmest people I have encountered on our travels. Children are welcomed everywhere with open arms, and you can rest assured that even if one (or three in my case) of your children decides to have a small meltdown, no one will glare. In my experience, they’ll come over to talk to the children and help!
The Places to Visit
With glorious beaches, hill tribes, rice plantations, cities with amazing culture, and temples at every corner, you will be spoilt for choice for where to visit and what to pass up.
We visited Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Krabi, and Singapore. Each was so different but such a great experience to share with our children.
Our experiences are what shape us as people, and the more of these we expose our children to, the more well-rounded they become in the future.
Some of the highlights from our trip:
We had the opportunity to try real rice planting at the Dhara Dhevi hotel. Our children got waist deep in the rice fields, planting rice which will be given to nearby orphanages in a few months. I loved that the children were shown each stage of the process and got to crush the rice seeds and clean out the rice grains.
Climbing to a Hilltop Temple
Climbing to a hilltop temple, ringing the bells as we go, will be in the minds of our children for a long time.
Experimenting with Elephant Poo
We learned how elephant poo can be used to make paper and had a hands-on experience in the process!
Dancing in Monsoon Rain
We danced in the monsoon rain! We got soaked through to the skin but loved every second and never had to worry about getting a cold!
Zip Lining over Forests and Beaches
We zip lined over forests and beaches with speeds up to 60 km/h at Sentosa Island. Even my two-year-old took part!
The “State of Fun”
Many countries have theme parks, but the little island of Sentosa, just outside mainland Singapore is a true “state of fun.” Children are able to luge down the mountain, visit gorgeous beaches, try 4D adventures galore, visit Universal studios on one end, and zip line across the gorgeous scenery at another. There are so many activities for families to enjoy that it will be an action-packed day (or two). Your children will not want to leave.
Both Thailand and Singapore are crazy about their food, and there is such a variety that you will be spoilt for choice. There are lots of options for children, including sticky rice and rotis, which even the youngest of adventurers can enjoy.
Parents will love gorging on the stunning Singaporean seafood (king prawns as big as your hand!) and Thai noodles and rice dishes that will leave your taste buds wanting more!
Places to Stay
Like most countries, both Thailand and Singapore have accommodation to suit every family-travel budget, including some truly stunning options.
We stayed at the Dhara Dhevi hotel in Chiang Mai, and our children loved waking up to their own swimming pool and looking across our terrace to see rice fields and beautiful Thai buildings and culture in every corner. Places like these truly make lasting impressions. Not only was the setting gorgeous, but the staff were amazingly friendly, and the activities really highlighted the beauty and customs of a culture so different to the one my children are used to.
Lantern-making, yoga, lotus-flower folding, and bamboo weaving were just some of the activities that kept the children busy.
Value for Your Money
Thailand offers fabulous value for your money. Transport, activities, and food are reasonable, and your pound or buck will go a long way.
Singapore is more expensive. You can still enjoy a range of activities and food choices, albeit more on par with UK city prices.
Combining the two destinations means that the overall cost is still well under what you would pay for a local holiday or even in a nearby country.
I cannot recommend Thailand and Singapore highly enough for family travel. Don’t hesitate to add them to your bucket list!