Best Beach Destinations in Thailand with Kids

Thailand is known for its beautiful stretches of sand; after all, this is the place where Leonardo DiCaprio filmed The Beach. With stunning coastal scenery, world-class customer service and a wide range of luxury hotels, Thailand is a favorite among world travelers looking to take in some vitamin D. The Thai are known for their hospitality and kid-friendly nature, which makes for a welcoming family vacation spot. A fantastic array of activities, from sea kayaking to scuba diving and elephant trekking, will cater to families seeking adventure, while serene beaches and award-winning spas will woo more relaxed travelers.

Krabi by Anthony Coronado

Thailand’s beaches are calling! Photo by Anthony Coronado

Top Beach Vacations in Thailand with Kids

Deciding on a beach destination in Thailand can be overwhelming, given the number of choices, so we’ve narrowed them down. Below are our favorite family-friendly beach destinations throughout the country.

Maya Bay by Fah Rojvithee

Stunning Maya Bay on Koh Phi Phi Don Island (a speedboat ride away from Phuket)

Phuket

Phuket, Thailand’s largest and busiest island, is the most popular beach destination for foreign travelers. With glorious beaches, designer boutiques and six-star resorts, there are a number of reasons Phuket tops many travelers’ beach holiday lists. It’s easily accessible from Bangkok (and flights are very affordable), and there are a number of direct flights to Phuket from many countries in Europe and Asia.

The island offers accommodations and attractions for every type of traveler, be it a backpacker on a budget or a family looking for a memorable, luxurious experience. Popular activities on Phuket include snorkeling, diving, sea kayaking, elephant trekking and visiting the cultural sites. While Phuket boasts many stunning beaches of its own, island tours to Koh Phi Phi Don’s Maya Bay (the iconic location where The Beach was filmed) and Phang Na Bay (the setting for some scenes in James Bond’s The Man With The Golden Gun) are popular day trips.

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TIP: Because Phuket is such a heavily trafficked destination, choose your beach carefully. Some are overrun with tourists, and parts of Phuket town are not suitable for a younger audience. Seek out resorts with private beaches, such as those on Mai Khao or Kata Noi, and book your activities through the hotel.

Beach time at the fabulous JW Marriott Phuket Resort & Spa

Beach time at the fabulous JW Marriott Phuket Resort & Spa

Phuket accommodations: Located only 20 minutes from the airport on a beautiful swath of private beach, the JW Marriott Phuket Resort & Spa is the ultimate resort for families. With four pools (including a fantastic kids’ pool), a kids’ club boasting numerous activities for young explorers and a number of excellent dining options, the resort caters to families on every level.

Emmy Krabi

Relaxing in picturesque Krabi. Photo by Laura Braunohler

Krabi

If you’re looking for lighter crowds yet equally stunning beachscapes replete with limestone cliffs and emerald-green water, opt for the coastal town of Krabi. It delivers on the natural beauty factor and has a number of unique adventure activities for families. Home to a diverse collection of marine life, Krabi has excellent diving and snorkeling, and travelers can kayak among the rock outcrops to see cave art from prehistoric times.

Railay beach, Ao Nang beach, and the nearby Phi Phi Islands offer stretches of pristine sand and crystal-clear water. Limestone outcrops off the coast attract rock climbers from all over the globe. Krabi offers a sense of exclusivity and serenity that Phuket cannot, and is ideal for families who seek a slower pace. The town has managed to fly mostly under the radar among the international crowds, but in the last two years, airlines and hotels have been ramping up business in the area.

kayaking the hongs_krabi by lee woods

Kayaking the “hongs” off Krabi. Photo by Lee Woods

TIP: Be sure to plan the timing of your trip to Krabi or Phuket (both along the Andaman Sea coastline) around Thailand’s monsoonal seasons. Avoid trips from April to October, when rainfall is heaviest.

Krabi accommodations: Nothing spells luxury like the Anantara brand, and the Anantara Si Kao is no exception. An hour south of Krabi International Airport, this idyllic waterfront resort is a fantastic choice for families. With a kids’ club that offers a full range of indoor and outdoor experiences, to a children’s turndown service and family pool terrace rooms, this resort has all bases covered.

Logan elephant

Elephant trekking is a popular activity in Koh Samui as well as Phuket and Krabi

Koh Samui

Upscale and relaxed, Koh Samui is the premier gem in the Gulf of Thailand. Roads weren’t built here until the 1970s, and while the island has become increasingly popular with tourists, it has retained a sense of romanticism, adventure and charm.

Koh Samui encompasses nearly 125 miles of white sand beaches, jungle peaks and endless coconut groves. A fun family activity is to go off the beaten path and explore the island by car. Popular stops include waterfalls, where you can splash in the pools, and various viewpoints along the route. Just off the coast is Ang Thong National Marine Park, a group of 40 islands that offer excellent snorkeling and kayaking. Koh Samui also is home to some excellent Thai cooking schools, as well other activities such as elephant-trekking and go-karting.

Koh Samui can be reached via air or sea. The airport services a few international flights, but most arrive from Bangkok. Because Bangkok Airways built and maintains the airport, it holds a monopoly on flights — for that reason, airfare to Koh Samui is more expensive than it is to Phuket or Krabi.

Na Muang 2 Waterfall by Michaël DUCLOUX

The beautiful Na Muang Waterfall on Koh Samui. Photo by Michael Ducloux

TIP: When you visit Koh Samui, be careful to check the weather. The wet season, from September to mid-December, is often marked by heavy rains and tropical storms.

Koh Samui accommodations: Set among the palm trees on the northwest tip of the island, Four Seasons Resort Koh Samui has family villas with private infinity pools and separate sleeping areas for children. The complimentary Kids For All Seasons program offers a number of activities sure to delight children, from a crab hunt and coral collecting to s’mores on the beach.

The bottom line is that no matter which Thai tropical paradise you choose, you’ll have a memorable experience. Thailand offers so much more than sun and sand — it offers hospitality, exotic culture, exquisite cuisine and stunning natural beauty that cannot be found anywhere else in the world.

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Relevant Links:

Browse family-friendly hotels and things to do in Thailand on Ciao Bambino

Where luxury meets bucket list at the Anantara Golden Triangle Elephant Camp & Resort

72 hours in Bangkok with kids

Thailand summer adventure for teenagers

Editor’s Note: Photos by Loren Braunohler except where noted.

56 Comments

  1. I have also heard good things about the Ko Lanta area. Have you been with kids and would you recommend?

    • Hi Nicole! I have to say that I have not been to Koh Lanta with kids. It is a difficult destination to get to (fly to Krabi, taxi south down the coast for about 45 minutes, then take a speedboat transfer to Koh Lanta). Because it is far-removed, it is unspoilt, which is the beauty in it. It is more low-key and laid-back. It has fewer hotel options, especially on the luxury end. It depends on what you are looking for. I would say that it is a trip better-suited to families with older children who live in the area than ones who are coming from a long way and/or traveling with young children. If you need any help planning a beach trip to Thailand, we would be happy to assist. Let us know!

  2. Hi there., looking to come to thailand again this year 26th december for new year for about 11 nights, with my 9 year old son. Where would you recommend to go with him? Last year we came over just my partner and We absolutely loved it. We did bangkok for 3 nights, chiang mai for 4 nights and the koh samoui. But i am bringing my son this time so want it to be more family oriented. Look foreard to hearing from you.

    • Hi Tanya: Great to hear that you are headed back to Thailand! I recommend you take your son to Bangkok – you shouldn’t pass through Thailand without seeing the hustle and bustle of the city, as well as the beautiful temples along the river. Then you might want to consider a beach destination like Phuket, which is easy to get to and has some great resort options for families. Let us know if you need any assistance with planning your travel. Our travel planners can help you work out a full itinerary for your trip or accommodation booking only. Happy travels!

  3. I’ve visited a lot of beaches in Thailand with my son (now 3 years old) but the island I keep coming back to is Koh Chang. The water is incredibly calm and the sand is clean. Aside from the bars on Lonely Beach, it is not as much of a party island as places like Koh Phi Phi.

  4. We are landing and departing from Bangkok in March 2017. Family of 5 consisting of kids aged aged 18, 15 and 5. Want to spend 3 nights in Bangkok and then considering Chiang Mai and then Krabi. Want culture, good food, relaxing, elephant rides, possibly snorkelling and waterfalls. Any suggestions would help.

    • Hi Lisa – Thank you for your message. We can help! Our Asia Family Vacation specialist will reach out to you in email to help you create a wonderful kid-friendly itinerary. Best, -Amie

      • Hey there just reading through all this wonderful helpful messages and I too will be taking my family my son is 15months old and my 7 year old I am 35 and my wife is 28 looking to spend 14 nights and would love some info on places for me and my family to enjoy , my email is [email protected]

  5. Hello!
    Our family is planning Thailand in mid December for 20 days for the first time. Our kids are 6 and 10. We are on a budget and looking for calm and relatively non-touristy beach destinations with some cultural stuff nearby (or as side trips) as well. Ideally we would get our own little cabin or apartment so we can cook and eat at home sometimes. We are up for a bit of a trek to get to our destination. Any suggestions. I don’t think we are looking for a resort. Thanks!

  6. Hello! We are thinking of coming to Thailand August 2017. Prob fly to Bangkok stay there for 3/4nts, then onto Phuket, my family consists of 2 adults and 4 boys aged 14/11/7/4 years old. Stay in Phuket for approx 3 weeks, maybe 1 week in different locations?? Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Regards Justine

    • Hi Justine – Thank you so much for your message! We have a few wonderful itinerary options that we like to recommend in Thailand. One of our Family Vacation Advisors will reach out to you in email to get the conversation going. Best, -Amie

  7. hi we are family of 3, kid aged 4, my wife and myself . travelling to phuket & krabi in Dec between 19th – 23rd. can you suggest things we can do as a family..request suggestions for child friendly activities…we want the kid to enjoy and have a whale of a time….

  8. Hi there, we are planning a family holiday new year 2017 for 10/12 days. We would like to go to Krabi and Koi Samui. Could you pls give me a quote. Our children will be 12 and 9 years old.

    Many thanks
    Haley van Aswegen

  9. Hi Amie,

    We are a family of 3 with a 3 year old. We are going to Thailand for three weeks. Starting in Bangkok, then Chiang Mai, and then want to figure out a beach stay from Decemeber 29th until January 7th. Could you help us figure out our destination?

    Thanks,

    Brian

  10. Hi Amie,
    We are a family of 4 with kids aged 14yr old boy & 10yr old girl.
    We are planning to visit Thailand from 10th Feb to 17thfeb (taking a flight back home in the morning).
    Thinking of going first to Phuket or Koh Samui then would stay for two days in Bangkok before heading back home.
    Would appreciate your suggestions on our planning.
    Thank you!

  11. Hi Amie
    Please can you advise the best islands to go to with a 5 year old? I love the sound of both Krabi and Koh Sumai but would love to do island hopping. Not sure of best time of year to go either.
    Thanks
    Lauren

  12. Hi we are traveling to Thailand in May and would like know the best place to go with a five year old. Any help would be appreciated.

    Thanks
    Erin

  13. Hi Amie
    We are travelling to Phuket in August 2017 2 adults and 3 Children 14,11,9yrs. I would like to advise for family friendly resort that caters for a family of 5 close to the beach please also some day trips would be good as well
    Thank you !

    • Hi Natalie, Thanks for using Ciao Bambino! Thailand is one of the destinations that we specialize in for families … I’m going to pair you with our Family Vacation Advisor who was in Phuket last year and can help. I’ll introduce you in email. Best, -Amie

  14. Hi- we are coming to Bangkok March 14 to April 9 with our 5 years kid!
    Plan to drive from Bangkok to Krabi

    -drive a long is safe and resonable?
    – which kiddy attract stops recomended? Weather, choice of dishes, activity,…
    -kid freindly 5* hotels?
    – any child esp Thai course to learnt?
    -can ask for a made to join?

    Cheers

    • Hi Saza! We can definitely provide some advice around Thailand travel. One of our Family Travel Advisors will reach out to you in email. Best of luck with planning!

  15. Hello ,
    We are thinking of Thailand for a week with our 3 children 7, 4 and 2
    Where do you recommend for us ? I want to see the some of the city and the beaches off course.

  16. Hi
    We are a family of 4, our children are aged 6 and 8 and we would loke a holiday to experience relaxation along with fun activities for our children. Are you able to recommend something? Thanks

  17. We’re planning a trip to Southeast Asia in December/January and would love to speak with one of your travel consultants.

    • Hi Janet – Thanks for reaching out! One of our Family Travel Advisors specializing in Asia will get in touch via email to see how we can help. Happy planning!

  18. Hi lm looking to travel to koh samui with my wife and 2 children 11 and 12 were looking for a resort/hotel on the lsland that would be quiet but within walking distance of restaurants and bars , also with good diving location s

    • Hi Les, thanks for using Ciao Bambino. One of our Family Travel Planners specializing in Thailand will reach out in email to see how we can best help.

  19. Hi
    We are a family of 4, with two boys aged 4 and 6 who are travelling towards Hua-Hin and Cha-Am, any recommendations for accommodation, preferably beach-side and things to do?
    Many thanks
    Nicola

  20. Hi. We’re planning to visit Thailand in mid-October with our daughters aged 18 months and 4 years. Which beach would you recommend for this time of the year for these ages.

    • Hi Phalguni – Thanks for using Ciao Bambino! One of our Family Vacation Advisors specializing in Thailand will reach out in email. Happy travels!

  21. Hi, our family is planning a two week trip to Thailand in January 2017, what islands and areas would you recommend ? Our kids will be 3 and 6 at the time. thanks!

    • Hi Zenaida! Thank you for using Ciao Bambino as a travel resource! We’ll have one of our Family Travel Advisors specializing in Thailand reach out in email. Happy planning!

  22. Hi

    Planning to come to Thailand beginning of April with a 5 and 7 yo.

    Currently considering Krabi and surrounding islands or ko Chang.

    Looking for something right on beach , where likely to meet other families for the children to play with.

    • Hi Vicki! Thank you for using Ciao Bambino as a family travel resource. We will send you a private message to start the process. Happy planning!

  23. Hello,

    I wondered if I could seek some advice on our upcoming trip to Thailand in November.

    My husband and I are travelling with our 18 month old daughter and we currently have 3 days in Bangkok, then 5 days (currently not booked anywhere) before we go to Keemala in Phuket for 2 days and Surin beach for our final 5 days.

    I’m struggling to find somewhere for those middle 4 days. Ideally I would like something different to what we already have booked – an island or Krabi in a beach front villa – instead of the more resort style hotels we have booked in Phuket.

    Where would you recommend that has the beautiful beaches and a choice of restaurants that isn’t in the thick of the party islands or super heavy with tourists? We have been looking at the Sri Lanta beach villas in Ko Lanta as I like the idea of something a little more rustic/chilled out but conscious that this might not be the most baby-friendly island to visit or the prettiest beach. Your advise would be greatly appreciated.

    Thanks,
    Amy

    • Hi Amy – Thank you for reaching out to us! One of our Family Travel Advisors specializing in Thailand will reach out in email to talk about how we can help. Happy travels!

  24. Hello, we plan to spend next Christmas in Thailand and your advice is needed 😉
    We land in Thailand the 23rd of December and we stay until January 7th. We are two families with kids: 4 adults and 4 kids (4,7,10 and 12 years old).

    We arrive to Phuket and we already booked our hotel for 2 nights. and then we have 12 days in total to travel around . Our idea was to start 3 days in Khao Sok and from there, Ko Phi Phi, Railay, Trang’s Islands ( is it worth it?), and Ko Lipe.

    We were thinking also on going to the Similan Islands or Ko Surin , but we have to see which places are more interesting. Our idea is to stay in budget hotels. We only need clean and if possible nice hotels, B&B, …
    Can you, please, help us to decide our tour during those 12 days rom Phuket?
    We are a little bit doubting about what’s best for travelling with our kids,. We like beach but also to do different activities …
    Thank you so much for your help!!!!We really appreciate that.

    • Hi Bibiana, We have a few Family Vacation Advisors who focus on helping families craft trips to Thailand. I’ll have someone follow up with you in email to see if we can help with your trip. Best, -Amie

  25. Hi! Love your blog. We are planning to go to Krabi from Jan. 20-Feb.1 and we were wondering if we can also enlist your help or a contact regarding faimly vacation planning. We will be traveling with our 2 year old, my mother who is in her 50s, and my husband and myself. We would like to stay in a friendly family beachfront resort/hotel/property and perhaps do some day trips to phi phi and railay, etc.

    Do you have any recommendations of good beach front places to stay in Krabi or surrounding area?

    Is there a contact you would recommend in terms of perhaps planning the whole trip (just day trips here and there to surrounding islands/beaches)?

    Thank you so much for your help in advance.
    Claire

    • Hi Claire, thanks for reaching out! A Family Travel Advisor specializing in Thailand will be in touch via email to talk about how we can help. Happy travels!

  26. Hi there! We are going to be traveling to Thailand for the whole month of February with our 18 month old. We have never been and are so excited to experience this beautiful country. I love your tips on places to go. We are thinking of trying to visit 3 main areas. Would love any advise you have. We have not planned any travel within the country yet or where to stay.

    • Hi Lindsey! Thanks for using Ciao Bambino. You’ll love Thailand! One of our Family Travel Advisors will reach out in email to talk about how we can help. Happy planning!

  27. Hi,
    Can anyone advise a route plan of what to see and do in Thailand. We are a novice family with four kids going in April for 3 weeks. I want to see as much as I can of stunning beaches and culture. Flying into Bangkok and happy to make our way overland by sleep trains and even boats if needed????? Any help please

    • Hi Louise – we love Thailand with kids! A Family Vacation Advisor will reach out in email to talk about next steps. Thanks for using Ciao Bambino and happy planning!

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