Visiting Thailand is on so many people's bucketlist. And I can see why. Where else can you live like a king as a family of three on one income? Where else offers wild city-life in the city of Bangkok mixed with the chilled out vibe of Northern Thailand. Thailand has so much to offer families, if you are willing to give it a go.
Okay so many people do not associate family fun with Bangkok. Actually, although Bangkok has a wild side, a deep dark and secret side - the wild side is just that, a secret. If you want to find that darker side of Bangkok you need to go looking for it. On the other side of things Bangkok is a wonderful city with so many options for families. You can explore nearby old cities on a day trip, travel near and far on a budget and stay in luxurious hotels for a fraction of the cost that you experience in Europe.
When visiting Bangkok make sure to visit the famous Khao San Road, go a little earlier in the day and it is absolutely fine for children and a great place to pick them up some new clothes at the Khao San Road market. Enjoy cheap Pad Thai, a family of three can eat here for less than 100 baht... or you can always rely on McDonalds if they kids aren't very adventurous. Stay nearby at the Wild Orchid Villa to get a little more quiet but still be in the best location in the city.
If you are not in Bangkok for long, but want to enjoy a beach escape from the city then you should head to Sri Racha. It is only 1 hour and 30 minutes by bus from Bangkok's Ekkamai station - and costs less than 200 baht per person. Sri Racha is a lot less smoggy than Bangkok, so you can feel the heat of the sun a lot more, and can enjoy this on the beach or at one of the wonderful serviced apartments in the city which boast a rooftop pool. Check out Citadines Grand Central in Sri Racha for a homely apartment with everything you need to look after yourself.
Sri Racha is also right beside the smallest island in Thailand, which is literally walking distance from the centre of Sri Racha. Enjoy a day exploring the tiny island and then let the kids burn off the rest of their energy at the enormous play park before the bridge to the island.
Chiang Mai is one of the best locations for anyone living on a budget. You can rent an apartment, with security, gym and a pool for up to 14,000 baht per month - amazing. Chiang Mai also offers a lot to families including an enormous zoo, aquarium, monkey schools, snake zoo and a night safari. The options are almost limitless in this incredible city. In the Old City you can rent a budget room for less than $10 a night, eat for 60 baht per meal and travel in Songthaews for 30 baht per person (small people are free usually.)
Chiang Mai is also full of expats making it a great place to meet other travellers or long-term residents of the city. You can find co-working spaces almost everywhere and the internet connection is the best compared to other areas of Thailand.
It is no secret that Thailand boasts some amazing islands, and some of them are not even expensive to live on. Sure, the weather can be rainy at some points of the year so make sure you plan in advance of your trip. The islands offer unlimited beaches, which of course means snorkelling, beach volleyball and football and lots of space to build sand castles.
You can enjoy extreme sports at minimal cost, take boat tours, visit secret gardens and enjoy beautiful hikes with extremely rewarding views.
Thailand is a great place to visit as a family, and you can do it on a budget, or as a luxury traveller. Decide what kind of atmosphere you seek for your family and research the different areas and what they have to offer - Thailand has it all...