From searching for tropical fish in the Andaman Sea to preparing pad thai using fresh ingredients from local markets, our list of the top nine things to do in Thailand with family shares ideas for your vacation.
Boasting some of the best beaches in the world, it is no surprise that Thailand is at the top of travelers' radars for tropical family vacations. There are also golden temples to explore with children of all ages and hikes through the forests to epic waterfalls for tours with teens.
Plan your trip around these memorable excursions and find inspiration for the best beaches, temples, and historic cities for an inspiring and unforgettable vacation with your kids.
Thailand’s famous beaches are spectacular. In many parts of the country and on its islands, the beaches are pearl-white and flanked by forested headlands. Coral reefs teem with marine life, and you can snorkel with your kids or build sand castles on the beach.
You can access the sparkling shores of Phuket or the hidden coves of Koh Samui and Phang Nga Bay on beach trips or cruises across the sea. From catamarans to kayaks, stand-up paddleboards to jet skis, the family-friendly sea activities offer options for travelers with kids of all ages.
One of the best things about Thailand’s beaches is that the waves are small, gently lapping against the shores, and the sand bars are shallow. This makes many of Thailand’s beaches suitable for parents with young children.
Best Family-Friendly Beaches: Nai Harn Beach, Phuket • Lipa Noi Beach, Koh Samui • Klong Prao Beach, Koh Chang • Kamala Beach, Phuket • Long Beach, Koh Lanta
Thailand is as much a food destination as one for the beach, with exciting menus that cater to families with children of all ages. Whether your older children love spicy cuisine or your younger offspring enjoy sweet treats, Thailand’s culinary scene has your family covered.
You can enjoy authentic pad thai at a cooking class, where your older kids prepare dishes with ingredients they picked from a nearby market. You and your teenagers could also test your spice tolerance with a bowl of kua kling, southern Thai-style red curry, or you could savor a plate of sweet and milky mango sticky rice with younger children yearning for a treat.
From street food tours of Chiang Mai to Michelin-starred evenings in Bangkok, you and your family can find Thailand Food Tours suitable for your palates.
Best Places for Cooking Classes: Bangkok • Phuket • Chiang Mai • Koh Mak • Krabi
Thai wildlife thrives in the hills circling Chiang Mai, the ancient regions through which the Chao Phraya flows, and within the forests that fringe the island beaches. Wildlife activities are excellent for older children keen on adventure, while young kids can explore with their parents in more accessible areas.
Wildlife adventures typically begin when you enter Thailand’s national parks, where borders protect endemic animals, avifauna, and plant life. Siamese fireback birds in these parks dazzle young kids, while teenagers enjoy learning about Asiatic elephants, with guides letting you bathe and play with the friendly elephants. You might even spot an armored pangolin in Khao Sok, something to excite every member of the family.
Some of the wildlife destinations in Thailand are great for adventurous families, offering ziplining tours through the rainforest canopies, whitewater rafting, abseiling, and more. The greater the adventure, the more suitable for families with older children.
Best National Parks to Visit: Khao Sok National Park • Khao Yai National Park • Erawan National Park • Ao Phang Nga National Park • Mu Ko Similan National Park
Thailand’s beaches are great places for spending time soaking up the sunshine, but are also gateways to the colorful coral reefs that protect thousands of species of tropical fish. Younger children are especially fond of seeing them, while teenagers can enjoy snorkeling along the jagged cliffs to caves where fish swim more freely.
From the famous clown fish of Finding Nemo to the leopard coral grouper, tropical Thai fish come in all shapes, sizes, and colors. Their ornamental designs dazzle as you swim beneath the surface into underwater caves that carve the cliffs or off the shores of family-friendly beaches where it is safe for kids of all ages.
Thailand Island Hopping Itineraries provide many opportunities for snorkeling and scuba diving to see the marine life, whether you and your older kids leap off the back of boats into the deep blue ocean or you swim with your younger ones in the gentle currents from the shores of Koh Phi Phi, for example.
Best Places for Water Activities: Phuket • Koh Phi Phi • Koh Lanta • Koh Samui • Phang Nga Bay
Markets are part of daily life in Thailand, with stalls selling fresh produce to locals and tourists. Clothing, textiles, street food, and more can be found in various marqueed shopping areas. Children of all ages are welcome in Thai markets, though keep a watchful eye as they bustle with locals and tourists.
There is a market on nearly every corner in Thailand’s cities and towns, some specializing in street food, others offering everything under the sun. You can also glide through floating markets in traditional wooden boats, trading with vendors without leaving your vessel. Every market is fun for the family, with all of them exploding with color and the aromas of authentic Thai food.
You can experience some of the best on Bangkok Vacation Packages, including the Khlong Lat Mayom Floating Market, Chatuchak Flower Market, and Srinakarin Train Night Market. Save night markets for trips with older teens and explore the day markets with your younger children.
Best Markets to Visit: Khlong Lat Mayom Floating Market • Chatuchak Flower Market • Ratchada Train Market • Cicada Market • Srinakarin Train Night Market
Water is abundant in Thailand, with rivers building to dramatic waterfalls that cascade the slopes and rocky terraces within jungles and rainforests. The waterfalls capture children of all ages, some more daring than others, and are perfect for hikes with older children.
You and your family can chase waterfalls to the town of Kanchanaburi, where the small but special Erawan Waterfall flows into a natural turquoise pool filled with fish. In Doi Inthanon National Park you can admire the Mae Ya Waterfall that cascades the rocks between emerald trees. Just shy of Chiang Mai’s old city, the Bua Tong Sticky Waterfall falls over limestone rocks which you can ascend due to the sticky mineral deposit that forms on the rocks.
Each waterfall differs from the last and your adventures as a family can reveal the beauty of chasing them in Thai jungles and rainforests.
Best Waterfalls to Visit: Erawan Waterfall • Mae Ya Waterfall • Bua Tong Sticky Waterfall • Pam Bok Waterfall • Khlong Lan Waterfall
Waterfalls are a reason to go hiking in Thailand, but they are not the only reason. Trails lead through forested parts of the country to viewpoints looking out towards the horizon, where hot-air balloons float or the sunset creates a dramatic spectacle.
Families of all ages can head for hill-tribe villages near Chiang Dao, where Karen culture comes to life among the greenery, or wander through Khao Yai National Park across suspension bridges that share panoramic views above the canopy.
There are hikes along river banks more suitable for older and adventurous children, where you can spot mangrove fish and hear the birds sing, and casual walks along coastal trails that lead to observation decks on the headlands for parents with young kids. Find the right hiking trail for your family in Thailand and it is bound to take your breath away.
Best Hiking Trails: Khao Yai National Park hike • Kew Mae Pan Nature Trail • Khao Sok National Park trek • Koh Jum Island walk • Bangkok Phrapradaeng Loop
One cannot visit Thailand as a family without exploring one or several of the country’s iconic temples. Referred to by the locals as wats, these spiritual complexes play a significant role in local traditions and customs. All families should experience the temples, as quick tours are available for parents with young ones, while older teens can enjoy longer ones, some up to a day, for cultural exploration.
The most notable dot the districts of Bangkok, including Wat Arun, Wat Phra Kaew, and Wat Saket. You and your kids will find plenty to adore on tours of these temples, be it the massive, golden, reclining Buddha, the Emerald Buddha made from jasper, or towering porcelain spires decorated in colorful murals. The colors and meticulous details inspire kids of all ages.
There are also temples on islands such as Phuket or Koh Samui, with each displaying immaculate architectural details and hosting monks that may be available to bless you and your family.
Best Temples to Visit: Wat Arun • Wat Phra Kaew • Wat Saket • Wat Rong Khun • Wat Phra Si Sanphet
The history of Thailand introduces families to a blend of cultures, among them Burmese, Chinese, Khmer, and more ancient influences. This history lives on in the ruins and remnants of archeological sites you can visit with your children.
The ancient city of Ayutthaya is one of the most breathtaking historical places, with mysterious temple ruins and statues molded into tree trunks adding to the allure of the old-world site. You can also explore the Khmer landmarks of Phanom Rung Historical Park or the crumbling fortifications of Kamphaeng Phet Historical Park.
Your history tours of Thailand as a family will showcase how closely the culture connects to the past and why the country remains so firmly rooted in ancient traditions and customs.
Best Historical Cities to Visit: Ayutthaya • Kanchanaburi • Chiang Mai • Bangkok • Sukhothai
The Land of Smiles welcomes all families eager to explore the top things to do, whether hiking through the forests to see the shimmering waterfalls or discovering the culture within the golden temples on Thailand Family Vacations.
You can also spend your days enjoying the beauty of Thai beaches or unraveling the nuances of flavor in Thailand’s famous dishes. Our Thailand Travel Guide can help you find more inspiration as you plan your vacation.