Want a family getaway that’s a little different? From the colourful markets of Bangkok to the palm-fringed beaches of Hua Hin, introduce the kids to a new world on this Thailand trip with a twist. Watch rescued elephants splash in the mud at a nature park in Chiang Mai, see how other families live during a fun homestay, uncover the exciting history behind the ancient ruins of Ayutthaya and try some new and yummy treats along the backstreets of Bangkok. Both children and adults alike will have a blast on this carefully designed itinerary that promises new friends, heaps of fun and plenty of free time to connect as a family.
Thailand Family Holiday
Day 1: Bangkok
Sa-wat dee! Welcome to Thailand. Your adventure begins with a welcome meeting at 5 pm. If you arrive early, there is plenty to see and do in this exciting city. Bangkok is famous for its tuk tuks, khlong boats and street vendors serving up delicious Thai food. Perhaps take a riverboat to Chinatown and explore the crowded streets, uncover the magnificent Grand Palace and the Temple of the Emerald Buddha, wander down the tourist mecca of Khao San Road, or indulge in a Thai massage. After the formalities of the meeting, take the opportunity to introduce yourselves to your leader and the other families joining your tour and perhaps head out for a group dinner. Accommodation: Nouvo City Hotel Bangkok or similar (1 night) Optional activities (payable locally): Grand Palace, Thai Massage, Thai kickboxing exhibition, Jim Thompson's House, Bangkok Chinatown Food Discovery Urban Adventure Meals included: no meals included on this day.
Day 2: Kanchanaburi
Today you will travel by longtail boat down the Chao Phraya River and explore the famous khlongs (canals) of Bangkok (approximately 1 hour). Life along these canals seems a world away from the busy streets of the capital. After that you will pay a visit to Wat Pho, one of the six most important temples in the country. It's home to the country's largest reclining Buddha, which is a seriously impressive sight. This place is also the gatekeeper of the secrets of Thai medicine and massage. After exploring the site, you and the family will take a private minivan to Kanchanaburi (approximately 2.5 hours) and check into your hotel. The hotel is situated where the Khwae Noi and Khwae Yai rivers converge. Kanchanaburi is home to the infamous 'Bridge on the River Kwai'. Accommodation: Riverkwai Bridge Resort or similar (1 night) Included activities: Khlong boat canal tour, Wat Pho Meals included: Breakfast
Day 3: Kanchanaburi
Travel to Erawan National Park in the morning (approximately 1.5 hours each way). Located in western Thailand in the Tenasserim Hills of Kanchanaburi Province, this national park boasts the incredible Erawan Falls, a famous seven-level waterfall of luminous turquoise pools and exotic tropical fish. It's a great place to explore or simply swim and relax. If you do some exploring of the lush surrounds, keep your eyes peeled for eagles, pheasants or leafbirds among many others who might be soaring above or perched in the treetops. Accommodation: Riverkwai Bridge Resort or similar (1 night) Included activities: Erawan National Park & Falls Optional activities: kayaking (payable locally) Meals included: Breakfast
Day 4: Ayutthaya/Overnight train
Transfer by minibus to the nearby city of Ayutthaya (approximately 2.5 hours). Once the capital of ancient Siam, Ayutthaya offers a great opportunity to stroll the World Heritage-listed ruins of this once magnificent city. There's time for a guided tour of the picturesque ruins and temples spread across the town. The ruins at Wat Phra Mahathat provide many photo opportunities and the Buddha head surrounded by Banyan tree roots is perhaps the most photographed site in Ayutthaya. You will have access to a day room at a local hotel in Ayutthaya to have a swim in the hotel pool and freshen up before the train. Afterwards, board an overnight train to Chiang Mai (approximately 11 hours). Accommodation: overnight sleeper train (1 night) Included activities: Temple Ruins entrance & guided tour Meals included: Breakfast Special Information: the overnight train is in 'soft sleeper class': multishare compartments, air-conditioning, bunk beds, sheets and a pillow are provided. A curtain is installed at every berth for privacy and to block the light that can interfere with sleep because the central lights are kept on through the night. Plug socket and reading light are available for every berth so passengers can charge their phone and laptop or read throughout their train ride. A sleep mask and ear plugs are recommended if you are a light sleeper. There's also a food and drink service on board. Note that your baggage will travel in the carriage with you.
Day 5: Chiang Mai
Wake up in Chiang Mai, the most vibrant city of Northern Thailand. As well as amazing temples and an interesting old town, the city is known for its friendly, smiling locals. Drive along a scenic, winding mountain road that ends at an impressive 300-step Naga-guarded stairway (approximately 45 minutes). The rewards will justify the climb, as one of Thailand's most stunning temples reveals itself. This is Doi Suthep. You'll be treated to panoramic views of the city from up here. You might also be able to listen to the evening chants of the resident Buddhist monks while you're here. You'll also visit Bor Sang today, a traditional umbrella factory. With free time in the evening, perhaps wander through the colourful night bazaar or visit one of the quality restaurants along the riverfront. In any case, don't miss out on the signature northern dish kao soy – yellow wheat noodles in a curry broth with chicken or beef. Accommodation: Jira Boutique Residence Hotel or similar (1 night) Included activities: Doi Suthep temple complex Optional activities (payable locally): Thai massage, Bicycle tour, Jungle Zip Line, Thai cooking course Meals included: Breakfast
Day 6: Chiang Mai
After breakfast we take the journey out to see the elephants - which will sure to be a highlight for the entire family. One hour outside of Chiang Mai, the elephant sanctuary is home to elephants who have been rescued. Upon arrival head out on a walk with a local guide into the forest to observe the elephants grazing and socializing, from a safe distance of course! The children will learn some new facts about Asian Elephants and meet their Mahouts. Your guide will deliver a "live" information session answering any questions you may have about conservation, elephant behavior, and interesting facts: like how much they eat? After some Thai snacks you will then head to the riverside where you can help fill feeding tubes with corn, sugar cane, grass, bananas and any other supplementary food on hand for the elephants. We will have lunch at the Sanctuary before heading back to Chiang Mai arriving in the late afternoon. You will have some free time to maybe visit the night markets or take a wander around the city. Accommodation: Jira Boutique Residence Hotel or similar (1 night) Included activities: Chang Chill Elephant Sanctuary day trip Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch
Day 7: Village Homestay
Today we will set off early through the Mae Taeng Valley to Ban Hua Tung. Along the way we will visit Bor Sang a traditional umbrella factory to gain an insight into traditional paper umbrella making. Then hitting the road again we arrive at the warm and welcoming village of Ban Hua Tung (approximately 2 hours). The community will invite you and your family into their village for the night for a truly unique experience. Once settled in, you will take a walk around the village learning about local agricultural and life before returning to your homestay for a home-cooked dinner! After dinner head back to the common area to learn about traditional Thai dancing. Accommodation: Ban Hua Thung Homestay (1 night) Included Activities: Traditional Umbrella Factory Meals included: Breakfast, Dinner Special Information: the Chiang Mai and homestay days may be swapped or shuffled around, depending on the commitments and availability of the host family.
Day 8: Overnight Train
Bid farewell to your village hosts and head into the forest at the base of Chiang Dao mountain. Local guides will show you around the forest which the local Hua Tung people manage together as part of a new community initiative. The biodiversity of the forest is protected by a sacred 'forest ordination' by Buddhist monks whereby trees are ordained as monks – the people nurture the forest, and the forest nurtures the people in return. There's a yearly bamboo harvest which raises money for the village. The locals take great pride in showing you the development of their village and the many different herbal medicines and wild foods in the forest. Return to Chiang Mai by early afternoon. We will have day rooms available for each family to repack, freshen up before the overnight train back to Bangkok. Accommodation: overnight sleeper train (1 night) Meals included: Breakfast
Day 9: Hua Hin
Arrive into Bangkok around 6 am this morning. After some breakfast at a local hotel, make the journey south to the beach town of Hua Hin (approximately 3 hours). With two days to enjoy this palm-fringed resort town, spend your free time exploring the numerous white sandy beaches by day and indulging in amazing food by night. This beautiful coastal spot is located right by a sophisticated city that has everything you need. But its slickness takes nothing away from the gorgeous beach and blue-green waters, which are perfect to laze around in. Hua Hin was once a sleepy fishing village before Thai royalty made it their beachside getaway in the 1920’s. Hin Beach is the main strip – grab a coconut, settle in and be sure to sample the delicious thom kha (spicy seafood soup). Accommodation: Chom View Hotel (1 night) Meals included: Breakfast
Day 10: Hua Hin
Today is free to spend as you please. A bicycle tour is always an excellent choice for the family, and there are many nearby vineyards and mountainous trails to explore, depending on how far you would like to venture. You might like to just stay at the beach and soak up the atmosphere of Thailand's original coastal resort. Perhaps stroll north on the main shore to check out some of the opulent Victorian-style garden estates. The day market, Chatchai, is well worth a visit, boasting fresh fruit, delicious donuts and traditional sweetened coffee. Accommodation: Chom View Hotel (1 night) Meals included: Breakfast
Day 11: Bangkok
Return by minivan to Bangkok and enjoy an afternoon of free time. The shopping is excellent in Bangkok, and the malls sometimes feel like their own kind of theme park. Tonight, why not head out for a farewell dinner and take the opportunity to look back on the week’s adventures with your family and new-found friends. Accommodation: Nouvo City Hotel Bangkok or similar (1 night) Meals Included: Breakfast
Day 12: Bangkok
There are no activities planned for the final day and you are free to depart at anytime following check-out. If you have time, there’s still plenty to enjoy in this bustling capital, ask your leader for their recommendations on the best family-friendly activities. Meals Included: Breakfast
Why you’ll love this trip
- This trip has a fabulous pace to it. There’s plenty of action, and lots of room for quality family time in which to play, swim or stroll in some of Thailand’s most amazing coastal and jungle destinations.
- A long-tail boat trip on the canals is the perfect introduction to Bangkok. Follow it up with a visit to Wat Pho, where the larger-than-life reclining Buddha will blow you and your family’s mind.
- The food is excellent, there’s a great spread of local restaurants, and your Ban Hua Tung homestay takes the hospitality to the next level, with home cooking and a cultural dance performance.
- The activities in Chiang Mai are both fun and educational. One minute you’ll be walking with rescued elephants, the next you’re strolling through the sacred foothills of Chiang Dao learning about natural medicines.
- Let your expert leader take the hassle out of family travel as they guide you through the sights and bites of Thailand, so relax and hand over the responsibility – you deserve it.
Is this trip right for you?
- Prepare for hot and sticky temperatures during the day, but cooler climates in the evening. Layers are the best way to tackle this. Be sure to also drink plenty of water and use sun protection.
- You and your family will visit several temples on this trip, which means covering up arms and shoulders as per the local custom. A light scarf is a great idea for covering shoulders and arms when it’s hot.
- Your overnight train journey (Day 4) is quite long. Make the most of it by checking out the scenery and chatting with local travellers. There’s nothing quite like waking up on a sleeper train in a new and exciting destination. While bedding is supplied some families choose to bring their own sleep sheets.
- The accommodation is basic at your homestay (with fold-out mattresses and shared facilities), but the experience of spending time with a local family in their home will more than make up for the lack of creature comforts.
Please note that these trips are for adults and children travelling together and there must be at least one child under 18 with you.
Minimum age for children on this trip is 5 years old.
A discount of 10% applies on this trip to children 17 years and under at time of travel.
A single supplement is payable on this trip with exception of Day 4 (Overnight Train), Day 6 (Homestay) and Day 8 (Overnight Train).