Thailand makes for a wholesome vacation with its melange of rich culture, beautiful temples, and scenic beaches. Known as the ‘Land of Smiles’, Thailand is easily a favourite tourist destination especially for families, since it has something to look forward to for everyone — from entertainment to adventure, and natural beauty to exotic cuisines.

A 7-day trip can include a lot of places within Thailand, but it could get overwhelming, especially if you are travelling with kids or seniors. All you need to do is ensure you pace yourself and try not to pack in too many things in one place, else you may get exhausted and not enjoy yourselves towards the end of your holiday. Don’t forget that you won’t just be exploring within the cities, but also travelling across the country, which may get tiresome.  Here’s a guide to help choose what to do on your week-long family holiday to Thailand.

1. Bangkok (3 days)

With flights every day to Bangkok, this is ideally the first destination to begin your holiday. Bangkok is also where you will be doing most of the sightseeing and shopping, so you need at least two nights here.

Things to do in Bangkok 

  • Begin your sightseeing in the morning by taking a Khlong (canal) Tour which will take you to top attractions like Wat Arun (Temple of Dawn), The Grand Palace, Wat Phra Kaew (Temple of Emerald Buddha), and the Wat Pho (Temple of the Reclining Buddha).
  • Travelling by Bangkok’s BTS train system is a convenient, fast, affordable for the entire family. It is truly a saviour from the traffic chaos, although it does have a lot of stairs going up and down and can get crowded during peak hours.
  • Try and spend a weekend at Bangkok so you can experience the popular Chatuchak weekend market.  While you shop for souvenirs here, we recommend you relish the coconut ice-cream. Set a time for when you want to leave, because you can easily spend an entire day here.
  • Spend an evening at the Siam Niramit, where you will see one of the largest stage productions that bring to life the story of Thailand in the form of dance and musicals. Even though the state-of-the-art theatre houses 2000 people, it is recommended to book your tickets in advance.
  • If you are travelling with kids, they will enjoy watching the marine life at Sealife Bangkok. The Art in Paradise, Bangkok is a 3D ‘trickeye’ museum that will make for great pictures of the family.
  • Another unique experience is the Damnoen Saduak Floating market, which is about a 3-hour drive from Bangkok. Hire a long-tailed boat for half an hour at this colourful floating market and gaze at a variety of things to buy as souvenirs and relish many local delicacies. Bargaining is a must here. Go there a little before 10 a.m. so that you get to look around when it is not too crowded.
  • If you and your family are history buffs, take a day trip to Ayutthaya Historical Park where you will bear witness to ancient ruins of temples by the Burmese army. Skip the elephant ride here and plan for an ethical interaction with elephants in another part of your trip. Take a guide along with you to understand the culture and history embedded in Ayutthaya.

Where To Stay In Bangkok

Look for hotels at a central location, close to the sightseeing attractions and streets you want to explore. The Rambuttri Village Inn & Plaza or the Casa Vimaya Riverside are good options close to Khao San Road.

2. Chiang Mai (2 days)

Chiang Mai is known for its abundance of nature, with mountains giving out a soothing vibe to the place. It is much more laid back compared to Bangkok and has a cooler temperature too.

You can take an overnight sleeper train from Bangkok to Chiang Mai. The seats convert to bunks which is a lot of fun for kids. If you don’t wish to spend a lot of time travelling, take a flight from Bangkok to Chiang Mai, which will take about 75 minutes.

Things To Do In Chiang Mai

  • The Elephant Nature Park is a memorable experience for an entire family. You can spend time with rehabilitated elephants in a responsible and safe way. The park is actually a picturesque animal sanctuary nestled in a lush green valley surrounded by mountains.
  • While the adults can breathe in and recharge their batteries with a Thai iced coffee, the youngsters of the family have many outdoorsy options to spend their energies. They can go ziplining at ‘Flight of the Gibbon’ to get their adrenaline rush in a safe way. There is also the Chiang Mai Zoo that is home to many species of animals like the pandas.
  • You may also consider going to the Night Market in Chiang Mai to look at gorgeous handicrafts. And if you are going to Chiang Mai in November, then you are in luck because they have a two-day lantern festival called Yi Peng (also known as Loy Krathong). It is magical to see thousands of lanterns floating up to the sky, all at the same time.

Where To Stay In Chiang Mai

For a relaxed atmosphere, you can stay a little out of the town, next to the Ping River. Hotels like The Chiang Mai Riverside usually have a complimentary shuttle service to the town, which is about 15 minutes away.

The De Naga Hotel in the old town is another gem which is at about 10 minutes walking distance from the night market. 

3. Phuket (2 days)

Many people identify Phuket by the beaches around its coast, but there is a lot more to do here than just the beaches. In fact, with its old town, markets, museums, and food, we would say, go to Phuket to experience its coastline as well as its culture.

Things To Do In Phuket

  • Start off with sightseeing at the majestic Big Buddha at Chalong. It has a great view of Phuket too. Then you could stop over for a coffee as you head to Karon beach. This beach has white sand and also squeaks a bit when you walk along its straight path.
  • Towards the afternoon, take a tuk-tuk to Old Town and shop for handicrafts and souvenirs if you like. Skip the overcrowded Patong beach and Bangla Road if you are going with family, and instead spend more time at Bang Tao beach. It is one of the longest and prettiest beaches in Phuket where you can either find a quiet spot to yourself or go do some amazing water sports in its calm and warm waters.
  • You could also try golfing or keeping it simple by getting a massage at one of the parlours on the beach. Bang Tao beach is also great for sipping some cool drinks while the kids make sand castles.
  • If you have the time, you could also do a day trip to Phi Phi Island and go snorkelling with the family. Though it is considered as a backpackers’ paradise with its abundance of budget hotels and wild parties, it still has considerable space for family. If you are running out of time, just take a day trip to Phi Phi Islands and you will be sorted.

Where To Stay In Phuket

The JW Marriott Phuket Resort & Spa can give you the most relaxed experience in Phuket. Adults can enjoy the bars or the spas while the kids can have fun at the Kids’ Club, which is many interesting activities.

The Angsana Laguna Phuket has pools with varying features from lazy lagoon pools to bubbly pools, that can keep the family activities going. 

 4. Koh Samui (3 days)

Koh Samui is the ideal place for a stress-free end to your Thailand trip. This destination has a way to keep everyone entertained, all the while keeping your trip as relaxed as you want it to be. The only thing that you must push yourself to do is watch the beautiful sunrise at the beach.

Things To Do In Koh Samui

  • It is unlikely that you will miss the most famous landmark in Koh Samui — the Big Buddha Temple (Wat Phra Yai). Visit this statue made of gold either when you arrive or depart from the island.
  • For a fun activity that the entire family can do together, go to the Escape Hunt Experience in Chaweng and try to escape a locked room by solving puzzles, with the only help being clues found in their environment.
  • If you’ve had your share of spicy Thai food, this is a good place to stack up on the satay- grilled meat served on a stick with peanut sauce and a green salad.

Where To Stay In Koh Samui

The Belmond Napasai is a beautiful resort that has something like a kids’ club where they can play with farm animals like geese, chicks, goats, pigs and rabbits. The adults can take part in various classes like Muay Thai, Thai cooking, kayaking, and windsurfing.

Poppies Samui | Ithaka

If you are looking at Chaweng Noi, then staying at Poppies Samui will give you complete relaxation and freedom to do what you want. It has private cottages for families and is right on a beautiful stretch of white, soft beach.