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While I was sitting next to my one and three year old, I read the question in a Thailand Travel facebook group I had joined in preparation for our family trip to Thailand.
“Should I travel to Thailand with a baby?”
And the responses were downright insane to me!
Here I was, on our own Thailand family vacation, proving that Thailand family holidays, even with babies, were totally do-able (and saw SO many other young families in Thailand with toddlers, kids, and yes…babies!), yet here were some of the responses (I truly do wonder if many on this thread were even parents?)
- Not only will you be miserable but you’ll make everyone around you miserable with your baby (uuuh what??)
- Your baby’s immune system isn’t strong enough and she’ll get sick
- The flight is way too long to take a baby on
- Thailand is much better enjoyed as an adult, doing adventurous things
So, let’s debunk ALL of that nonsense shall we!? This guide is going to be quite long, but I’ll leave no stone unturned, so read through (or skip around) to the end. I’ll go over what you should consider if planning a Thailand family vacation with your wee one(s), the best places to visit in Thailand with family, if you need travel immunizations for Thailand, how to make the most of travelling to Thailand with a baby, and more.
What You'll Find In This Article
- Logistics Of Thailand Holidays With Kids
- Do You Need A Visa For Thailand
- Is It Safe to Travel To Thailand With A Baby
- Know Before You Go: Thai People LOVE Kids
- Do You Need Shots To Go To Thailand
- Do You Need Malaria Medicine For Thailand
- Breastfeeding While Traveling For Immunity
- Healthcare in Thailand for Tourists: Are there good hospitals if you need one?
- Eating In Thailand: Kid Friendly Thai Foods
- Where To Buy Baby Necessities in Thailand
- Should I Bring A Stroller To Thailand
- What Are The Best Places To Visit in Thailand With Family?
- When Is The Best Time To Go To Thailand With Kids
- Driving, Getting Around Locally, and Carseats in Thailand
- Other Tips For Traveling in Thailand With Babies and Kids
- Packing For Thailand With Kids: The Ultimate Check List
Logistics Of Thailand Holidays With Kids
There really aren’t a ton. But, here are just a few things to consider/ know
Do You Need A Visa For Thailand
As I tell my threenager to a lot of questions he poses, “Maybe yes. Maybe no.” (I know, real helpful, right?) This depends not only on where you are originating from but also on how long you intend on staying.
For us, as US passport holders (and most Western countries- but check this list just to be sure), we are currently allowed to stay in Thailand for no longer than 30 days (so we did 29!!) without a Visa.
If we had wanted to have stayed longer, then we would have needed to apply for a Thai Visa
Note: Be sure that all passports have at least 6 months on them before your family trip to Thailand, as this is also a requirement for valid entry.
Is It Safe to Travel To Thailand With A Baby
A lot of people wonder “Is it safe to go to Thailand,” especially when kids are involved.
To be honest with you, I felt like the most unsafe part of traveling to Thailand with a baby is the lack of car seat safety. I’ll touch more on this below, but general Thailand travel safety is nothing to be too concerned about.
As with many popular tourist places, you might be susceptible to scams and touts or you might need to watch your pockets and bags in crowded and busy places, like the Grand Palace in Bangkok, but as a general, sweeping statement, Thailand is quite a safe place to travel to.
Know Before You Go: Thai People LOVE Kids
I was so glad that I knew about the affinity that the locals would have with kids before going. Luckily, I knew that Thai people (and often Asians, if we are going to make a sweeping statement in general here), LOVE to love on Western kids. My three-year-old is a blond curly haired, blue-eyed (mostly) friendly kid that they just flock to. Mr. J (the baby) is all smiles.
Within minutes of landing, I had countless people touching, (sometimes almost pulling on), and wanting to take photos of the boys.
If you’ve ever wanted to know what it feels like to be a micro-celebrity, just go to Thailand with a baby!
This can potentially be VERY offputting for us Westerners where it is extremely rude to just take a photo of someone’s kids without the parents’ permission, or for those of us who appreciate a bit of personal space.
But this is just how it is and they mean absolutely no disrespect. In fact, the contrary, they truly love and appreciate babies.
We got so used to it, that by the time we were in Koh Lanta, we didn’t even think twice when the owner extended her arms to take the baby for a walk to look at flowers while we ate!!!
Random people squeezing Mr. J’s chubby thighs, strangers touching Lil B’s curls, and people stopping to take photos of the boys just became the norm while in Thailand.
Do You Need Shots To Go To Thailand
Again, this is a pretty subjective question and one only you and your family can answer. I personally try to avoid unnecessary vaccinations and medicines when possible, especially in concerns to my babies (Yup- I am a self-proclaimed “halfway hippy”.
However, it’s also one thing for YOU, as an adult to get sick when traveling abroad, it’s another for your kids. Now, this is my THIRD trip to Thailand and I had never gotten travel vaccinations before, but seeing my babies sick is a whole different thing.
So, I looked at my doctor and said, “What injections do I NEED for Thailand.”
She responded genuinely that it is recommended that if you travel frequently, it’s not a bad idea for you and your kids to be up to date on all regular vaccinations. So, we personally had to get a few that I had been balking at for a while, but ultimately, had everyone up to date on everything.
The other vaccinations that my doctor was quite insistent that we get were:
- Typhoid (you may have to go to a travel clinic for this)
- Chicken Pox
- Hep A
- Flu Shot
The problem with some of these is that if you have a baby, some of the vaccinations aren’t even possible to get until certain ages. For example, one can’t get the Typhoid vaccine until 2 years and the Hep A (2 dose series) until 1 year.
Mr. J had turned 1 just a few days before us leaving for our trip, so we got at least the first Hep A dose and made sure we were up on all other routine vaccinations that he was (age-wise) ok to get.
Normally, we don’t get the flu shot yearly, but this year, with ALL those hours cramped on a plane, we decided to just go ahead with it.
Do You Need Malaria Medicine For Thailand
This is such a common question for a lot of travelers to Thailand since Malaria is nothing you want to mess with.
Luckily, most of Thailand doesn’t have high risks of Malaria. Here is a map that shows where the “danger zones” are.
My issue with Malaria meds is that the most common one is being on antibiotics for a long period of time. (yes, I am THAT mom that tries to avoid antibiotics if at all possible!) Therefore, if traveling to Thailand with a baby, I actually highly recommend trying to just avoid these places in the first place. There are so many amazing locations in Thailand that have no to minimal Malaria risk- just travel there instead.
There are still TONS of mosquitos though, many still carrying illnesses, but luckily, you can be preventative without a bunch of antibiotics and medications.
Avoiding Mosquitos in Thailand
While I wasn’t overly concerned with mosquitos, you still do run the risk of Zika and Dengue fever while in Thailand (although very very low). So it’s still adviseable to protect yourself against those pesky insects. Again, I never did ANY of this prior to kids, but sick kiddos on a trip is just something I don’t care to mess with if I can help it! Here is what we did to keep mosquitos in Thailand at bay:
- Treat Your Clothes With Permethrin
Before we left, I sprayed down ALL our clothes with permethrin. While I can’t say I’m crazy about the idea of chemicals being on our clothes, research shows that permethrin is safer than DEET.
- Bring Picaridin Repellant
At home, I try to avoid DEET at all costs, but I knew from prior Thai trips that mosquitos aren’t swayed much by my hippy-dippy sprays like essential oils. While picaridin isn’t going to be AS effective as DEET, it’s at least a safer alternative and still keeps the bugs deterred.
- Alternatively, there is plenty of mosquito spray that you can buy at any 7-11 (which are on literally EVERY corner in Thailand).
Note: for our time in Khoa Sok, I DID bring along DEET spray- it’s not in a Malaria zone, but is close
- Baby Crib Mosquito Nets
I thought I was going to have access to a baby crib at almost all of our locations (If you are debating on bringing a baby travel crib to Thailand, read below on my “What To Bring” section. I regretted not having our Guava Lotus Travel Crib at every single place we stayed at on this trip.) so I did bring a mosquito net for a baby crib though. Again, this is probably only necessary if staying in locations like certain islands, but for the cheap cost of one on Amazon and the fact that it takes practically no space in luggage, it was a no brainer to have on hand just in case.
- Mosquito Repellent Wrist Bands or Essential Oil Necklaces
Again, trying to avoid chemicals as much as possible, I like to use alternate methods of keeping mosquitos away. Even in places like Bangkok and Chiang Mai, you are bound to get a bite. Therefore, instead of constantly using mosquito repellant, I prefer things like these wrist bands or even these essential oil-infused necklaces.
- Bring a “Bug Bite Thing”
No, really, that’s the name of this little contraption. For some reason, mosquitos think I am a buffet dinner for them. Even WITH DEET and bug spray, they flock to feed on me. I got The Bug Bite Thing for all the camping we do and fell in love with it. As soon as you get a bite, you use it as a suction to suck out the histamines (which causes the itchiness). It’s also such a great way to help relieve the itchiness for kids that just want to keep scratching!
- Keep Lavender Essential Oil On Hand
Another favorite method of mine for relieving itchy mosquito bites is to put a veeeeeery small dab of essential oil on the spot. Makes the itch go away so fast! No more fussy baby!
Breastfeeding While Traveling For Immunity
If you’ve read any of my other breastfeeding posts, like my favorite breast pumps for travel, then you know I’m a huge supporter of breastfeeding. For me, it is one of the best immunities I can provide for my baby, especially when traveling!
As you probably know, your amazing breastmilk changes and adapts to what your baby needs. Therefore, if your babe encounters any germs, your breastmilk will automatically change to help fight off anything that his body may try to come down with.
The same goes for any tummy troubles (if your baby is old enough for solid foods). If she eats something that might have had some issues with it, your breastmilk will help to get her over it faster.
Also, since Mr. J couldn’t get some vaccinations, like Typhoid, I decided that I would get the shot so that my immunity could be passed onto him. This is the beauty of breastfeeding; all that wonderful immunity!!
If you can and want to, breastfeeding can be an extremely powerful tool in keeping your kids healthy during travel!
(No, this is not a mom-shaming post! If you don’t breastfeed, that’s fine, too!)
Healthcare in Thailand for Tourists: Are there good hospitals if you need one?
Ok, so you took all your precautions, yet life can still happen. Be it dehydration or an adventurous kid falling off a swing.
When deciding on where to go in Thailand with a baby, it could be worth prioritizing where there are hospitals and quality healthcare available, just in case. On some islands, it could be a speedboat away, so it is just something to consider. But yes, the answer is that the healthcare in Thailand is actually quite good.
There are several types of hospitals in Thailand: Premium, Private, and Government are some of the most common ones. While you will get quality care at any of them, as a tourist, you’ll have less wait time and more experienced doctors at the premium and private establishments as well as have a high probability of English speaking doctors. A simple google search of “City Name + Private Hospital” will tell you if there are any where you are considering going. Here’s a massive list/locations to get you started.
There are also pharmacies all over that can help with smaller illnesses as well.
Many insurance plans already cover emergencies when abroad (albeit at a high deductible, but covered, non the less- and healthcare is MUCH cheaper in Thailand). Some premium US credit cards even carry insurance plans as well. Of course, you can always purchase traveler’s insurance to help ease your mind as well.
Eating In Thailand: Kid Friendly Thai Foods
“But what will your kids eat in Thailand??”
I got asked this A LOT before our trip. And each time, I would laugh and respond that I was more concerned about what my Dad (who was also going to be joining us) would eat, as he is a pickier eater than my boys ever are! I’d follow up with “They’ll eat what we eat!”
If your baby is young enough to be still on milk or formula, this section doesn’t probably concern you much. But if your baby has started solids or is dabbling with purees, no need to worry about what s/he’ll eat.
Should I bring my own baby food/ formula to Thailand
Some people swear to bring all of your own stuff. This may be ok if you are traveling just for a week or so, but bringing enough baby puree for a whole month could fill its own suitcase!
Check to see if there any Tesco Lotus’ or Big C supermarkets in the locations you’ll be visiting (most major locations have them), where you’ll be able to find baby foods and purees. Granted, it may not be in the brand that your baby is used to, so you’ll just have to decide what is best for you, your baby, and your suitcase, but yes, if there are those supermarkets where you are going, then you will be able to find baby food and formula.
Note: I did bring a large arsenal of snacks like granola bars and squeezies, but also got plenty there, too. I also brought several of those “pre-made” baby meals- you know the ones like “star pasta” or “chicken pot pie” where you just nuke the box in the microwave for a minute. These did come in handy when I just needed a meal quick for the kids, but I wouldn’t say were a necessity.
Even if you DO have picky eaters, have no fear. While yes, Thai food is notoriously known for being spicy, it doesn’t have to be. First, there are plenty of dishes that aren’t spicy at all and second, all you have to do is ask for it not spicy/ without chilies and you’ll be fine.
What Can My Kids Eat in Thailand
Another concern is food safety in Thailand. I won’t go into huge detail here, but rest assured that street food IS safe (and oh my gosh…SO delicious!!!) In fact, I know more travelers who said that they got sick off of “Western” style food more times than local, Thai food.
While my kids really do eat anything that we eat, here were a few fan favorites with everyone in our group (Yup, 1 year old, 3 year old, and picky eater Dad all approved!):
- Grilled Chicken: You can find grilled chicken skewers at most street stands
- Grilled Pork: You really can’t walk far without seeing these yummy, slighly sweet, delicious pork skewers
- Rice: Order it how you like it! Fried rice is a crowd favorite, but if your kiddo is put off by the veggies, you won’t be lacking in sticky and steamed rice in Thailand!
- Peanut Butter Satay: My three-year-old loves this “Dip Dip” but sometimes it IS spicy, which if that happened, no problem, he’d just eat the grilled chicken (as the dip is almost always separate)
- Fruit Shakes: No matter where you go, you can find fruit smoothies and shakes everywhere. The boys LOVED having these almost daily! We tried to order the ones with yogurt in them when we could just for a bit of extra protein and nutrition
- Anything Mango: Coming from Nebraska, we don’t get a ton of fresh mango, so the boys went nuts over this! We would pick one up every few days to have for breakfast at our AirBnBs. Mango sticky rice was also a hit!
- Pad Thai: The 3 year old loved chicken pad thai! The baby didn’t do as well (still learning how to handle those noodles!) but would share the chicken and tofu from the dish, making it an easy to find and yummy option most days
- Crispy Chicken: Who would have thought that you’d go all the way to Thailand just to eat fried chicken?? But we did….a lot! And not because we went looking for it, but because it is a common food there. You can find freshly fried chicken at most markets and the crispy chicken (lightly coated and then fried) can be found on most restaurant menus. To be honest, even I ordered crispy chicken a lot. Paired with some sweet chili sauce and a side of rice? YUM!
- Omelette and Rice: Simple, yet satisfying and found just about anywhere
- Roti: This delicious crepe is so yummy and adaptable to all tastes. Go kid-classic with a Nutella and banana, or get savory with a cheese roti (this was my personal favorite- especially when they added a splash of sweetened condensed milk on top!!!) You can find these at most outdoor markets and as a stand alone street stand in a lot of places.
- French Fries: Yes, you can find fries at many sit down restaurants!
- Custard Bread: Head into a grocery store, or a 7-11 if in a pinch, and find the bread aisle (or bakery section if the grocery store has one) and find these little gems. They are a slightly sweet bread filled with a delicious custard. I won’t even admit how many of these we ate….daily.
- 7-11 Finds: When all else fails, just get your typical staples. Again, you’ll have more of a selection at an actual grocery store, but 7-11 works, too. We got yogurt and eggs for our daily breakfasts to have at the apartments, peanut butter crackers, trail mix, chips for snacks, ramen noodles, etc. You can even find things like cereal, pasta, etc as well (although be forewarned, for as cheap as Thailand is, you’ll be paying a pretty penny for the Mac and Cheese or Cheerios!!!)
Tips For Food Safety In Thailand
A lot of people ask if eating Thai Street Food is safe. This is honestly my FAVORITE kind of Thai food!!!
In fact, some people warn of restaurants. At least at a stand, you can actively see them handle and cook your food right in front of you.
If eating street food:
- Look for stands that are actively cooking and not just ones that have their food sitting out. Not only are a lot of germs killed off over the open grilled flame, it just tastes better freshly grilled/cooked!!!
- Another tried and true method is to look for the lines. This is two part:
1. If a lot of people are eating somewhere, then that means that there is a good turnover for food, meaning it isn’t sitting out too long
2. Surely if that many locals are eating there, it’s got to be good (and safe!), right!?
If choosing a restaurant:
There are plenty of hidden gems of places to eat in Thailand NOT on google/yelp/Trip Advisor, but if you want to be especially safe, you can always look up reviews for a place.
Just like street food, just look for places that have a lot of people at them.
Use Grab Food
Grab is like Uber/ Lyft (more on this below) and has a Grab Food option, which was fantastic when we had two tired babies who would have just melted down at a restaurant!!!
We were able to order a huge variety of foods (anything from Pizza Hut to local eateries) and have it delivered right to our doorstep. This was a lifesaver with traveling in Thailand with kids!!
Note: Grab Food options were better, or even nonexistent in some locations. For example, when we stayed out near the airport of Bangkok, we were extremely limited, but in Chiang Mai and in Bangkok city, there were tons of options! Using Grab wasn’t even a choice in Khao Sok or Koh Lanta though.
Where To Buy Baby Necessities in Thailand
If traveling to Thailand with a baby, you obviously need some essentials, like diapers and wipes. Depending on what your baby eats, things like purees and formula may need to be found as well.
Since we had over 27 hours of transit to even GET to Thailand, I packed an obscure amount of diapers (last thing I needed was a teething diarrhea episode to start mid-flight!). I also didn’t want to land at midnight local time and have to stumble around Bangkok trying to find nappies the next morning on very little sleep.
However, it was NO problem finding all the essentials.
7-11 To the Rescue, yet again! (Have you caught on that 7-11 is a popular thing in Thailand yet??) While the small 7-11s might be harder to get everything you need, find a larger one (seriously…just drive down the street a bit further and you’ll find another) or ask where a nearby Tosco Lotus is (found in a lot of locations) and you’ll be able to get all your baby essentials.
Depending on how long your trip is, or if your baby has specific dietary requirements, it could be worth packing your own formula, but for us, I try to pack as light as possible and just get stuff at the destination. It was absolutely no problem to find baby food, diapers, wipes, formula, etc in Thailand, contrary to popular belief (the only thing I struggled to find was diaper cream). However, as expected, you might be harder pressed to find brands that you (or your baby) are used to. If you are traveling to Thailand, I’m hoping you are adaptable enough to those small changes, but if not, again, you can always just pack your own to bring with you if you are concerned about it.
Tip: We did take a reusable cloth swim diaper with us. I didn’t even look to see if they had disposable ones there, but it was really handy to have the reusable one (or 2) with all the swimming we did.
Should I Bring A Stroller To Thailand
OMG NO! Ok, I know this is kind of a personal preference, and that I’ve always been a huge believer in babywearing when traveling, but I can’t even imagine having a stroller in Thailand, no not even one of the amazing pocket travel strollers!
Why? First, sidewalks aren’t always prominent and even when they are, they are often decrepit and falling apart or sometimes are barely wide enough for an adult to walk on, let alone push a pram!
Other places are just plain hard with a stroller. There might be a lot of stairs or a LOT of people. In Bangkok, it can get so crowded that having a stroller would be such a pain to deal with.
Babywearing for the win!!!
For Mr. J (the one year old), I brought my Tula Coast, which has a mesh panel, so it is more breathable than other soft-sided carriers to help avoid overheating. I also love baby carriers to use in the water, like this one, if you plan on swimming a lot with your baby.
For the 3 year old, I knew that there would be long days that he’d need breaks from walking. We originally packed our Kelty, because I LOVE all the backpack storage that it has! However, at the last minute, we decided to switch gears and brought along the Toddler Sized Tula instead. This was a great move. The Tula rolls up and can clip to the outside of the backpack when not in use, as opposed to having to wear a big framed carrier, even when Lil B wanted to walk on his own (which was a lot of the time). Hubby would just unroll the Tula when needed and I’d wear our small Osprey Daylite bag on my front when Lil B needed a walking break.
What Are The Best Places To Visit in Thailand With Family?
The best places to go in Thailand with kids is pretty subjective. Having been to the amazing Land of Smiles before, our trip with kids might have looked different had it been our first-ever, so while I’ll list where we personally went with kids, I’d still consider other locations as well.
You also have to consider where to visit in Thailand based on your preferences. While I could have island-hopped our entire trip, not everyone is a beach bum like me. Luckily, there are also plenty of great cities and towns to explore as well.
There are arguably far better places to go in Thailand with a baby than Bangkok and big cities aren’t for everyone. However, I do think it would be a shame to go to Thailand and completely skip the capital city if you’ve never been. Either take it slow (which is what we did) or just pick a few highlights, like the Grand Palace, a few markets, etc. Know that it could be very overwhelming in places to visit in Bangkok with a family, like Chinatown, but that doesn’t mean you have to skip it. Just be aware that your kids are going to have a lot of stimulus in Bangkok, so plan on plenty of downtime as well and bring lots of patience! (I was so glad our condo had a pool, so we could just kick back most afternoons and take it easy).
However, Bangkok is easy to get around, there are plenty of hospitals should you need one, and there is plenty to do here. Granted, if you’ve already been to Bangkok, it isn’t a must-see place with kids.
Koh Lanta is often touted as the best place to go in Thailand for families and it was really easy to see why. The locals absolutely douted on the kids here!! There was barely a meal that someone didn’t come over and offer to hold the baby while we ate. There were high chairs in a lot of the restaurants and even kids’ toys at a ton as well! Supposedly, Koh Lanta is also the island to go-to for the best resorts in Thailand for families. Again, I think this just has to do with the general vibe of Koh Lanta. There aren’t as many backpackers here, so it is just a slower-paced place and the best family destination in Thailand as a whole for us personally (especially compared to something like Phuket or Phi Phi)
Also, if you love to SCUBA Dive, we had a phenomenal day of diving here. Ask your hotel for sitter recommendations, and they’ll have plenty so that you can take a few hours to go diving.
Overall, Koh Lanta was by far, one of the best places to travel with a baby in Thailand!
Krabi is a close second for me to Koh Lanta for traveling to Thailand with kids. If coming from BKK, it’s an incredibly short and easy flight. You get a lot of the “island life” vibes without the hassle of ferries and long transits to get there. While you could stay in Krabi Town with tons to do, I simply LOVE going near Ao Nang. You won’t be lacking in food options, things to do and can even find some of the best family resorts in Thailand (Holiday Inn) in Krabi. Also, the beaches here are phenomenal! A day trip on a longtail to Railay beach is an absolute MUST (it was a highlight of our month-long trip for every single one of us) and would argue that it just might be the best beach in Thailand for families.
I really liked Chiang Mai because it was my first time to Northern Thailand. I do feel like a lot of the really good stuff is actually “near” Chiang Mai though- many places all being about an hours drive (some more some less), like Doi Suthep, Doi Inthanon, etc and that can just be a LOT of car time for small kids. However, we still really enjoyed taking the city really slow.
We were also there for the AMAZING Lantern Festival (Yi Peng and Loi Krathong) so check back in the next few weeks to read about that with kids!
You can’t consider the Thai islands without at least looking into Phuket. We actually went here pre-kids and while it is known for its backpackers and partying, if you stay at a resort away from Patang (where all the nightlife is) then it’s actually still a fantastic island to explore. I recommend Kamala, Bangtao, or Rawai beaches for a much more relaxed and calmer scene than the full moon parties. (We stayed at a quiet resort near Rawai and loved that we could take a short shuttle ride over to Patong, yet have the peace and quiet away from the nightlife as well)
Koh Phi Phi
Yet another must consider island in Thailand, this one some people call more “rustic” (what does that even mean??) but regardless, it is becoming overrun with tourists, and therefore is the opposite of rustic- it has been overdeveloped and hard to find places not bursting at the seams with loud party music . Is it gorgeous? Parts still are. Is it worth going to? Possibly. Are there better places to hit the beach in Thailand (today)? I believe yes. With all that being said, we enjoyed our time at Koh Phi Phi in a beautiful seaside bungalow treehouse and kept to ourselves (no, we aren’t the “Full Moon” partying type). If you really want to do Koh Phi Phi, I personally think it would be more worth it to do a day trip out from Krabi, Phuket, or Koh Lanta than spend all your time there.
This was another pre-kids trip, so while it is hard for me to exactly say what Koh Samui with kids would be like, we did found Koh Samui to be much more developed than nearby islands (like Koh Tao- which, by the way is our favorite Thai island for diving, but there is a big backpacker crowd and less young families). There are plenty of family resorts on this island- many that offer kids programs as well as a hospital.
Note: On this particular trip, we also did Khoa Sok, which I actually would NOT recommend with babies. It’s not that it wasn’t safe or anything, but I just think that there are better options for families in Thailand, as a lot of the things to do in Khoa Sok were a bit more active and adventurous than what most people with babies can realistically do (and that is coming from someone willing to do A LOT of things with a baby!) You can read more about staying in Khoa Sok with kids in a few weeks when I get that post up.
When Is The Best Time To Go To Thailand With Kids
There are roughly three “seasons” of Thailand.
Hot Season: March- June. These months in Thailand can be HOT HOT HOT. Think 90s-100s with high (90+%) humidity. Now, I LOVE the heat, so when I’ve been there in both April and May, while yes, I was sweating quite a bit, I didn’t find it unbearable.
With this being said, a lot of people advise NOT going to Thailand with a baby during these months, where they are so much more susceptible to dehydration, which is a VERY real thing in those temperatures and with a babe that can’t quite communicate to you exactly what they need. However, if you are from a hot location already where the baby is used to the heat, it isn’t AS big of a concern.
Rainy Season: June- October. Rainy season in Thailand is so unpredictable. You can have days, nay, weeks on end of rain, or you could have wonderful sunshine. The problem is, you just don’t know. Also, many islands and places kind of “close up” per se during these times, as there just isn’t enough tourism to keep it worth their efforts, so you may find yourself with not as many activities and restaurants during these months.
When we were in Thailand mid October- mid November, we knew we might be pushing it with rain. Sure enough, we had several rainy days, but we just took those times to have some down days for the kids. However, we still had plenty of beautiful, sunny, and hot days to not feel like the weather was a bust.
Winter: November- Februrary. Ok, this is NOT the winter you may be thinking of. We were there at the beginning of November, and all the locals joked that it was now officially “winter” and by winter, I mean 90 degrees. Therefore, it is often considered the “cool” season (in comparison!). As the cool season continues, it can get to a comfortable mid 80s, but in the North, actually can get below freezing at night. This is when the cost of things are going to be at it’s peak due to everyone else also knowing it is an ideal time to go.
Shoulder Seasons: Naturally, the best times to go may actually be in the shoulder seasons. For example, October/ November or April/May. You do take the risk of rain, but depending on the length of your trip, a few wet days isn’t the end of the world for less crowds and better prices.
Other Times To Take Into Consideration For Visiting Thailand
Yi Peng: If you have kids, chances are, you’ve seen the scene in Tangled with all the beautiful lanterns floating into the night sky. Guess what, that’s a real thing in real life!!! The dates change yearly as the Yi Peng festival is based on the lunar calendar, but it is often in beginning to mid-November. While you can experience Yi Peng in many Thai cities, Chiang Mai is the hub for it all, with MASSIVE lantern launches where thousands of glowing lanterns, holding wishes for the following year, drift into the starry night. Loi Krathong, another festival where you let go of last year’s burdens simultaneously is celebrated in Chiang Mai, making it a bucket list item for sure.
Burn Season: In Northern Thailand, much of the country is enveloped in smoke so bad that it is hard to breathe and many people leave the towns it is so bad. Typically February(ish)- April is the worst time and it’s not even worth going to Chiang Mai and much of Northern Thailand during this time. Since you are traveling to Thailand with a baby, it is even more so to avoid the smoke and smog for the baby’s health.
Driving, Getting Around Locally, and Carseats in Thailand
If you’ve ever been to Southeast Asia before, chances are you’ve seen a family (yes, a whole family- babies and all) on a motorbike (the max I’ve seen is 6 people on ONE motorbike!) Therefore, you may know that car seat safety is NOT what it is in the US.
But it may come as a surprise for many westerners that car seats are just not something that is commonly found in Thailand. Sure, you can lug around your own, but I couldn’t even imagine the hassle that would have been.
Back home, I am a car seat safety freak. But apparently, traveling to foreign places makes you do strange things. Since we had such a large group (4 adults and 2 kids) we found it easier to just order a van in a lot of places to get from major location to major location (IE Krabi- Koh Lanta) and many of these could arrange for a car seat (Taxis and grabs will be less likely). However, it didn’t make a TON of sense when later that day, we hopped on a Tuk Tuk that zig zagged through the streets anyway. By the end of the trip, we had finally just succumbed to the fact that the baby would be on my lap and the toddler would be buckled in a seat.
Not that it is a TON better, but we always sat them behind a seat. That way, if in the event of an accident, there would be less concern of the front windshield.
Other Tips For Traveling in Thailand With Babies and Kids
Bottled Water and Staying Hydrated
Ir really kills me to see the amount of plastic waste in Thailand. It’s freaking everywhere. With that being said, bottled water is a must.
However, if you can, bring along a reusable water bottle from home. Then, when you do buy water, get the huge gallon jugs from 7-11 or the store.
Better yet, find the little water refillable machines found all over (just ask a local where a nearby one is) and then just keep refilling your one giant bottle.
On that note, it’s pretty darn hot in Thailand, if traveling with a baby, watch the diaper and make sure you are getting enough wet ones that show that your babe is still hydrated and adjust water intake accordingly.
Take It Slow
Our original plan was to be at one beach location for 2 weeks and Chiang Mai for 2 weeks. When my parents decided to come along, the extra adult hands (and patience) gave us the confidence to add a few more destinations into the mix, but I still planned on extra days in each location compared to what the “typical guides” recommended. So, for example, if something says you can do Bangkok in 3 days, I planned for 6!
Plan Down Days
If you are staying busy or hopping around a lot, make sure you have days that don’t have anything planned. This was a necessity for us. There were times where it was clear that the boys were just getting to the end of their ropes (can you blame them?). Ok, so were we!
Since we had enough padding in our planning for our destinations, we would take a “down day” whenever we needed without the guilt that we were “missing” precious time in that destination.
We would just hang out at the apartment, swim in the pool, watch a movie, order take out, or just generally do nothing! This was a MUST for traveling in Thailand with a baby and a toddler!
Find Babysitting, Nannies, and Daycares
We were SO fortunate to have my parents come on this trip with us, but before they had decided to, I was already looking into childcare options for at least the days that we would be SCUBA diving in Koh Lanta.
After talking to a ton of other traveling parents in Thailand (we all somehow find each other, don’t we!?) it was clear how easy it was to find babysitting, in fact, a ton of family resorts even offer it sometimes. Just ask your hotel, AirBnB host, etc to help you find someone or a service.
There were also a lot of long term traveling parents that we encountered and many of them said that it was really easy to enroll their kids into local daycares for a few days a week if they were in the same location for a while.
Thailand is just different without kids. When we traveled to Thailand in the past, we’d enjoy long nights with a drink in hand watching the sun go down over the ocean, I’d get a Thai massage (ahem-daily), we’d relax with a book in hand for hours on the white sand beaches and we’d SCUBA dive for days. We know traveling with kids is a different kind of travel, but missing some of these experiences in Thailand would still be a shame just because you have the baby. Babysitting services are cheap, quality, and easy to come by.
Pack Long Pajamas
I know, I know….it’s sweltering hot in Thailand! However, I was happy I had 1 sleeper jammies with me for the baby, as he is still too young for blankets and it got quite cool in the rooms at night with the A/C blasting.
Packing For Thailand With Kids: The Ultimate Check List
Below is our Thailand packing list for our family (2 adults, 1 one-year-old, and 1 3 -year- old)
Clothing For Kids
(I packed enough for 1 week knowing that we could do laundry in most places. This also gave enough backups because well…#kidlife):
- Tshirts and shorts (for kiddo) or Baby onesies (I didn’t bother with shorts most days) or One-lets
- 1 Long Pair of Pajamas for plane and A/C Hotels
- 1 pair of short PJs for warmer locations
- One pair of swimming suit for the toddler
- 2 Reusable Swim Diapers for the baby
- 1 Pair of Blow Up Floaties for the Kiddo
- 1 Long-Sleeved Outfit for everyone + socks (for the plane)
- 1 Pair of good sandals (like these Keens) and 1 pair of flip flops for the kiddo (if your baby is walking, you’ll want footwear for him/her as well- mine was not)
- Water socks/shoes
- 1 Hat for each
- Baby Carrier
- Enough diapers for minimally 48 hours (I tossed an extra pack into the suitcase just in case)
- Whole package of wipes
- Diaper Cream
- Sleep Sack (I useNested Bean for the 1 year old)
- Lightweight travel crib (I LOVE my Lotus Guava) + sheet + baby crib mosquito net
- White Noise (we just use an old phone with a white noise app)
- Lightweight books (like this one)
- Burp Rags
- Other personal baby necessities such as:
- Blanky/ Lovey, etc
- Travel breast pump (read my “Best Portable Breast Pumps For Travel” guide here)
- Clothing for 5-7 days (mix of shirts, tanks, shorts, and capris)
- Underwear/ Bras
- 2 pairs of socks
- 1 Durable (yet comfy) pair of sandals (I LOOOVED these Sketchers, they were AMAZING for this trip- handled water, hiking, and long days of sightseeing!)
- 1 Pair of Flip Flops
- 1 Pair of tennis shoes (if not bringing a quality pair of sandals)
- 1 Swimsuit
- 1 Long Sleeve Shirt/ Pants
- Sun Hat
- Sarong for temples
- Makeup (optional)
- Any usual, regularly taken meds
- Infant Tylenol
- Infant Benadryl
- Infant Anti-diarrheals *
- Malaria medicine *
- Anti-itch cream
(I got the (*) prescriptions just to have on hand “in case”)
- Baby Soap
- Baby Nail Clippers
- Hair Ties/ Brush
- Lip Balm
- Tampons, Pads, Or Menstrual Cup (Feminine hygiene items are VERY hard to find and expensive in Asia- do NOT forget your own!)
- Passports (and copies)/ Other important travel docs (such as insurance)
- Back-Up Credit Cards
- Mosquito Repellant (DEET Spray and Picaridin Spray)
- Mosquito Repellant Wristbands
- Essential Oil Diffuser Necklace
- “Bug Bite Thing“
- Hand Sanitizer
- Laundry Detergent
- Travel Clothes Line– we like the bungee style like this one
- Reef Safe Sunscreen (I was really happy with this mineral based one, safe for kids!)
- Travel Quick Dry Towels
- Glasses (back up pair of contacts if you need them- you DON’T want to lose one while snorkeling!)
- Snorkels/ Goggles (optional)
- Phone Chargers
- Kindle(s) and/or Tablets
- Lightweight travel computer (for our work)/ charger
- Kids-Specific Headphones Or these CozyPhones are PERFECT for little ears and travel
Kids Entertainment, Toys, Games, and Snacks
This varies family to family, trip to trip, etc (and may depend on the age of your baby/kids) but I have a few of my “go-tos” and favorites such as:
- Deck of cards
- Finger puppets
- Brain Quest
- Montessori Free Printables (I get mine here)
- Stickers! Better yet, reusable sticker books!
- Water Wows
- Easy to pack books rag books, like these
- Downloaded chapter books (for kids) onto E-reader
- Activity booklets/ Coloring Books
- Small Pack of Crayons
- Various snacks such as raisins, fruit/ veggie squeezies, fruit and granola bars, a few “Gerber Graduates” Baby entrees
Phew! You made it to the end!!! I know that was a lot of information to digest, but traveling to Thailand with a baby, really is pretty simple and any trip to Thailand is a rewarding trip in my mind. I hope you take time to enjoy the beauty if the country while enjoying the Land of Smiles with your own bundle of joy.
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