Freelance writer and i-escape reviewer Harriet Whiting is fresh from her first long-haul adventure with kids in tow…
Travelling to Thailand with kids… everyone seemed to have an opinion on it, but we felt sure our tribe was ready for a tropical adventure. Although we’d never done long-haul before, we wanted our boys (4 and 6) to start to experience our love of travel and be open to what makes our world so wonderfully diverse. We were under no illusions that it would be remotely relaxing, but we knew it would be fun.
Beforehand, we planned madly. Being a travel writer, research is second nature, and my to-do list incorporated checking kid-friendly activities in the destinations we were headed, and organising transfers between hotels to minimise journey times. We packed light. We took very little clothing, relying on laundry services and caring a little less about day-to-day grubbiness. And we brought very few toys – just some books and playing cards, plus a small carry case with Lego, which provided hours of fun.
Because Thailand itself was enough. The kids were constantly marvelling at wonders big and small: papayas growing in the trees at Golden Buddha Beach Resort, a huge monitor lizard strolling across the powder-soft sands of Koyao Island Resort, and shimmering Buddhas in Wat Pho temple, Bangkok.
Wherever we went, we were welcomed with a warm sawadee ka, and watching our children mirror the gesture in return, with palms pressed together, put faith in our decision to travel far. After a while the children recognised the flag of Thailand or photographs of the revered King of Thailand. Hearing them try to converse with children their own age on a school trip we organised through Golden Buddha Beach Resort made our hearts sing.
Thankfully, Thailand’s cuisine was a happy match for our kids; endless noodles to be slurped up, the delicious staple of egg fried rice, and puddings of sticky rice and mango or homemade coconut ice cream. The Racha Resort‘s breakfast buffet was a particular highlight, with kaleidoscopic fruit salads, banana pancakes and sticky pastries piled high.
And now we’re back home, our memories often pop up in conversation – how we roasted fresh cashew nuts on the beach bonfire at Golden Buddha Beach Resort; feeding pineapple to ling (monkeys) on the stunning limestone karst islands around Phang Nga archipelago; simple, quiet evenings playing with hermit crabs under a sky of stars on the beach at The Racha. When my boys ask, ‘Why can’t we live in Thailand?’, it’s hard to justify an answer.