Think of Thailand and you’re likely to conjure images of pearl-white beaches, jewelled islands, dense rainforests and delicious spicy food. You’re also likely to associate travelling there with freewheeling, fresh-faced, gap-year back-packers.
But Thailand is a great destination for active and adventurous families too, as the TUI Family Life Mai Khao Lak resort makes abundantly clear.
Situated north of Phuket, the TUI Family Life Mai Khao Lak resort nestles on the west coast looking out onto the Andaman Sea. The idyllic Pak Weep beach is metres away and stretches for four kilometres. The water is tremendously calm here, a wide arm of coral protecting the shore from the tides. That tranquillity extends to the atmosphere – motorboats are banned from the area, so the family have a chance to totally unwind and enjoy nature at its most relaxed and sedate.
If you want nature with a little more buzz, the Khao Lak Lam Ru National Park is a short drive away, and from here you can go trekking in the evergreen hills in search of flying lemurs and Asian bear cats, and take in the diverse range of birdlife and flora on a bamboo raft. Also nearby is the Khao Sok National Park where, with the help of a guide, you can go kayaking with the crew through dense jungle and rubber plantations, or visit the elephant sanctuary, where you have a chance to feed and bathe these magnificent creatures.
The TUI Family Life Mai Khao Lak resort is specially designed to keep the whole troop happy. TUI Family Life resorts are destinations which cater for the needs of kids, as well as adults, with certain things coming as standard. We’re talking children’s clubs, day-to-night entertainment and child-friendly food and accommodation. So even if you don’t venture that far from the resort itself, there are plenty of options to keep the kids occupied.
Given Thailand is the kind of place you might visit only once or twice with your family, it could be worth thinking about exploring the country over greater distances, which would mean staying at more than one location. TUI caters specifically to this desire with its Multi-Centre holidays, allowing you to mix and match your destinations.
Let’s say you want to spend some time in Khao Lak but also check out Krabi and its famous limestone karsts to the south-east, or the Phuket peninsula to the south; you simply get on the website and choose from their range of pre-planned Multi-Centres and they take care of the details. Each destination has been expertly chosen, so you know you’re in safe hands. Just pick the places you’d like to stay, book and you’ll receive immediate confirmation, so you can start dreaming about your getaway, sharpish.
The Krabi region in Thailand is like nowhere else in the world. It’s famous for its spectacular and vertiginous limestone karsts that rise up out of the turquoise waters, and which you’ll recognise from any number of movies, including The Beach, Cutthroat Island and Bond films like The Man With the Golden Gun and Tomorrow Never Dies.
A great jumping off point to explore the hundreds of islands that populate this area is Ao Nang, where you’ll find the stunning Centara Grand Beach Resort and Villas, as well as resorts for price-conscious travellers, like the Bluesotel and the Holiday Inn Express.
All resorts provide you with an opportunity to take boat tours among the karsts and trips to famous beaches like Maya Beach on Ko Phi Phi Lee island, surely among the most beautiful in the world.
Across from Krabi, on the other side of Phang Nga Bay, you’ll find the island of Phuket, one of Thailand’s most visited destinations. Phuket’s popularity is built on its combination of beautiful beaches, bustling markets (in Phuket Town especially), Buddhist temples and wide range of resorts, catering to the younger crowd and families alike.
Kata Beach is a great place to go with the family, with plenty of water-based activities like snorkelling and paddle boarding, and a good choice of restaurants to keep everyone fuelled up. To stay, try the Chanalai Garden resort with its distinctive pagoda-style architecture and dedicated kids pool or the Centara Kata resort that features both a kids pool and a kids club.
North of Kata Beach, but still on the western side of the island, is Kamala Beach. This has a more traditional feel, what with the Thai long-tail boats and the Waat Baan Buddhist temple. The Cape Sienna Phuket Hotel captures this authentic, laidback spirit, and this is where you come to wind down and take a breather, maybe even book yourself in for a Thai massage.
So you see, even if your backpacking days are long behind you and you’re far from single and fancy free, Thailand remains a fantastic destination and perfect for the whole family, especially with family-focused TUI Family Life resorts, which are made for the whole tribe. From entertainment to food and activities, your holiday will be a breeze. Little person-suitable adventure (that’ll amaze you, too) awaits.
All hotels featured in this article can be booked with TUI. Explore more of the delights Thailand has to offer, here.