Taking Children to Phuket
Who said having children does not change your life? Whoever it was, they were talking nonsense. Having kids changes everything. You have to plan everything you do around them. They quickly become the focal point of your life and you cannot go anywhere without considering what to do with the kids. It is quite simple - if the kids do not have a good time then you do not have a good time.
You certainly have to consider them when planning your vacations. All those exotic locations you always longed to visit suddenly look that much further away. Maybe you always dreamed of climbing to the top of Kilimanjaro. Well let's face it, you are not going to do it with your kids tagging along and by the time they have grown, you may feel too old to try. So does having children have to be the end of all those exotic holiday dreams?
Perhaps your dream holiday is tropical beaches in an exotic location. Is Phuket a suitable holiday destination to take your children?
Hotels for Children
The first challenge you face when bringing children to Phuket is finding suitable accommodation. Many of Phuket's hotels target the romantic couples market. Some of these hotels actually do not allow child guests as they spoil the romantic ambience. Many of the hotels in Patong are aiming at the party crowd or the sex tourists. They are not a perfect environment to bring children.
Still several hotels around the island specifically market themselves as child friendly.
Le Meridien Beach Hotel - This is a fabulous hotel for children. It has its own private beach in Relax bay, only a 10-minute drive from Patong. We don't really like hotels blocking public land access to beaches but we must admit it is nice for the guests. The hotel's child facilities include a children's club, nursery, child pool and baby cribs on request. The children's club is a particular bonus for parents. You just hand the kids over and they will be entertained with supervised activities all day. For the older kids there are all kind of activities such as boating, fishing, tennis and golf.
Talay Karon Beach Resort - This is a new resort specifically designed for families. Fourteen rooms have child themes such as Outer Space, Underwater and Castle. They have Kidzclub, which offers many child activities and there is a kid's pool. There is a daily activities program and a babysitting service. They also offer a wide range of food options to satisfy almost any child. Karon beach is just a few minutes walk and it is a lovely wide beach for the kids to play.
Laguna Beach Resort - This hotel is part of the upmarket Laguna complex at Bang Tao Beach. The beach is a stunning stretch of sand but perhaps it slopes into the sea a little too steeply to be ideal for kids. The hotel itself is extremely family friendly. There is a water park and there are a wide range of sports and activities complimentary to guests. There is a kid's club offering organised activities for ages 4 to 12. There is also a toddlers pool and nursery.
Sheraton Grande Laguna Resort - This hotel is also part of the upmarket Laguna complex at Bang Tao Beach. You can horse ride along the full 8-kilometer length of beach. This hotel has spacious grounds, a nursery, kid's pool and playground. There is a kid's club for ages 4 to 12 with organised activities.
Movenpick Resort & Spa - This large Swiss hotel offers plenrty of entertainment for kids and parents alike. They have Playzone to entertain kids for ages 4 to 12. There are lots of activities, games, books and movies. The hotel also offers in-room baby-sitting and a children's pool.
Katathani Phuket Beach Resort - This hotel backs right on to Kata Noi Beach. It is a great beach. The hotel has a nursery, kid's club and child pool.
Bel Air Panwa Resort - This is a lower budget family resort. It has large rooms, a nursery, kids club, playground and kids pool. Working against it is its remote location and no nearby beach. However, if you enjoy exploring then rent a car and you will have a fine time searching out the local attractions.
Kamala Beach Resort Phuket - This is perhaps the best value for money family resort. The hotel backs right on to Kamala Beach, which is a great beach for the kids to play. The hotel has a nursery, children's pool and games room. Nearby Fantasea is a must visit for all the family.
Is Phuket a Child Friendly Destination?
Let's consider the pros and cons of bringing the kids to Phuket for a holiday. Is Phuket actually a good place for children?
- They'll Love It
- Your children will love Phuket. There are fantastic beaches and warm seas. There are all kinds of strange and colourful sights for them to enjoy.
- Thais Love Children
- Thai people love children. Your children will be showered with attention and made to feel like celebrities.
- Phuket is not a typical tropical island. It is well developed and westernised. The island has a good infrastructure. There are international hospitals, cinemas and western style shopping malls.
- Phuket has many tourist attractions that are great for kids.
- Getting There
- A long-haul flight with children is no-ones idea of fun. It is claimed that when children finally settle down, they actually handle the boredom of long distance travel better than adults. I'm not sure I am convinced by that claim. Bring plenty of books and games to entertain them on the flight.
- Safety standards in Thailand are not as high as in the west. The roads are dangerous and other travel methods such as the ferries are disconcertingly chaotic. Whenever you are traveling around Thailand, you need to ensure you keep your children as safe as possible. Rent a car or use taxis when possible.
- Tropical climates are demanding on young children if they are not used to the heat. Young babies especially can suffer so you will want to make sure they spend plenty of time in air-con areas such as your hotel room. Mosquitoes seem to be attracted to children's soft skin. They should not be a major problem but if you are outside around dusk then make sure you have some insect repellant.
With a few reservations, I would say that Phuket is a good destination for children. You need to pick your location and resort carefully. I would not recommend Patong for a family holiday. It is just too hectic and of course, the nightlife scene is a bit much. Karon, Kata and Kamala are all good locations for children.
Personally, I would not recommend Phuket for very young children. I don't think any distant tropical location would be good for very small kids. I know you do not want to put your life on hold because of your children but I would advise waiting until they are at least four years old. It is a personal choice but I think the parents and the kids will get more out of the holiday once the kids are a little bigger.
Holiday Attractions for Children in Phuket - We consider whether Phuket is a good place to bring the kids and look at a few of the best hotels for children.
Good Restaurants for Children in Phuket - There is not much worse than trying to enjoy a meal while your kids are whining. We recommend a few restaurants that are child friendly.