Phuket for Kids
First published 22nd October, 2006
Parents should not hesitate for a moment to bring their kids of any age with them on their trip to Thailand -- especially to Phuket. Thais are fantastic with children and Phuket is full of curiosities and wonders your kids will always remember, even if they're too young to remember anything aside from the elephant that just walked past their dinner table... So here's some tips to milk the most out of your family holiday to Phuket.
Finding the right room
Accommodation in Phuket isn't just for backpackers and jetsetters. There are plenty of hotels and resorts with facilities set up for families with kids.
Some favourites include The Kamala Bay Garden Resort, on Kamala Beach -- every room here is a family suite, with a large living area and a full-kitchen -- they also have a great pool with a huge slide for the kids. Another good spot is the Central Kata Resort, on Kata Beach -- ditto on the pool and slide, and good rates on family rooms.
Patong is a seedy den of inequity at night, but during the day it's just a beach town, and the kids'll be in bed before the goblins come out: the Holiday Inn has some of the best family rooms we've ever seen -- the kids' rooms have TVs, DVD players, X-boxes, and fun touches like beds in the shape of race cars. A bit steep, though, so if you're staying in Patong and funds are getting tight, check out the Swiss Palm Beach, which has great, reasonably priced family suites and a very decent pool.
Attractions and activities
Phuket isn't exactly Disney Land, but there are few attractions with exploring -- and a few worth avoiding. All are easily accessible on day-trips no matter where you choose to stay.
The one thing you must do is go see the show at Phuket FantaSea on Kamala beach -- it's a cross between a circus and a Vegas floor show that kids and adults alike give rave reviews. Right between Kata and Karon beaches you'll find the Dino Park, with it's Jurassic-themed miniature golf course -- families that vacation here regularly make this a yearly ritual.
Kids never seem to get tired of monkeys, so seek out the Gibbon Rehabilitation Centre near the Khao Phrao Thaew Royal Wildlife and Forest Reserve, and learn a little something about the mistreatment of animals (which you may have just paid to see elsewhere...) An easier trek if you're in Phuket town for a bit is to take Surin Road until it terminates on the top of a hill -- Khao To Sae -- where there's a collection of TV broadcasting towers and enough monkey's to earn it the nickname 'monkey hill'.
On the southern tip of the peninsula you'll find four good opportunities to do something with the kids -- of course, there's the Phuket Zoo, with it's monkey, elephant and crocodile wrestling shows -- be sure to consult the schedule before you go, so you arrive in time to catch the shows. Not too far to the south-west, there's Phuket Paradise, which specializes in ATV tours (kids can ride along on the back for a reduced fee), but also provides a snake show and a monkey show -- gotta love those monkeys, especially while riding a tricycle with a chicken. Elephant treks are also available -- and are commonly offered on a lot of tours, but here's a heads up -- 10 minutes is more than enough time to ride an elephant. After that, well, it gets little old.
Also in the same area is the Laguna Riding Club which has some especially gentle horses in their stable for kids and beginners, and offers sun-set horse-back rides along the beach too, if Mom and Dad want to slip out for an evening and refresh their memories as to why they got married in the first place. Also, due south of Phuket Town at lands' end, there's the Phuket Aquarium -- not a world-class aquarium by any means, but quite good, and though there are no sharks on display, the walk-through tank of manta rays and the giant grouper display compensate nicely.
There are a couple of places outside Phuket Town, on the road to Patong, that get a qualified approval, more so for older kids. Bungy Jumping is always a blast, and Jungle Bungy Jump has never had an accident of any kind, so we'd give them a hearty recommendation, except that the leap doesn't come cheap. Likewise Phuket Offroad Fun Park with it's go-kart track certainly isn't a budget attraction -- the go-karts and track look like a lot of fun, but not everyone feels it's worth the price.
Two tourist traps to be avoided are the Phuket Butterfly and Insect Museum, and the Phuket Seashell Museum, which both of which tend to disappoint most.
All of the amusements oriented towards tourist families in Thailand are expensive by Thai standards, though not when compared to what you'd pay back home. Attractions aside, don't forget that Phuket has some of the best beaches in the world, with mega-tons of sand on offer to play in, free of charge. A bucket, a shovel, a little imagination...
Lastly, for 15 or 20B an hour, you can plop them down in front of a monitor at one of the many internet cafes that offer computer gaming. You can duck out and get a well-earned massage or some aromatherapy.
They'll still be there when you get back.
Phuket Fantasea, 99 Moo 3, Kamala Beach, Phuket. T: (076) 385 000, F: (076) 385 333. http://www.phuket-fantasea.com/.
Dino Park Mini Golf, On the Beach Road, between Kata and Karon beaches, Phuket. T: (076) 330 625. http://www.dinopark.com.
Phuket Paradise Trip, 24/1 Moo 1 Viset Rd, Rawai, Phuket. T: (076) 288 501. Tour rates: Adult: 1,500B Child: 1,000B.
Laguna Riding Club, 95 Viset Rd., Rawai (1.5 km from Chalong Circle going toward Rawai Beach), Phuket. T: (076) 288 213.
Phuket Zoo, 23/1 Moo 3, Soi Palai, Chaofah Rd, Phuket.T: (076) 381 227, F: (076) 381 337. Open daily: 08:30 to 18:00 http://www.phuketzoo.com.
Phuket Aquarium, T: (076) 391 1126, F: (076) 291 406. Open daily: 08:30 to 16:30 Entrance Fees: Adult: 100B Child: 50B, Adult (Thai): 50B Child (Thai): 20B
Jungle Bungy Jump, T: (076) 321 351. Open daily: 09:00 to 18:00. http://www.phuketbungy.com
Phuket Off-road Fun Park, 118/5 Vichitsongrkram Rd, Moo 7, Phuket. T: (076) 321 949, F: (076) 321 949. Rates start at 500B for 10 minutes.
Story by Don Morgan
Read 3 comment(s)
Add your comment
Feature story quicklinks
- Giving back in Southeast Asia (12)
- All stories
- COPE: Helping people move on
- Epic Arts
- Helping Phuket's children in need
- Helping Siem Reap's rubbish dump families
- Helping Singapore's transient workers
- Helping the Karen of Burma
- Humanitarian Services for Children of Vietnam
- Lifestart Foundation, Hoi An
- Swim Vietnam
- Thai Freedom House, Chiang Mai
- The Samui Prison Project
- The SET Foundation
- Burma (8)
- Cambodia (22)
- All stories
- A Cambodian Eco-lodge
- A honeymoon in Cambodia
- Angkorian traffic woes
- Battambang weekend
- Elephant riding in Cambodia: Should you?
- Great places to stay in Siem Reap
- Is Preah Vihear safe to visit?
- Koh Rong: Trouble in paradise?
- Kompong Cham escape
- Northeast Cambodia in photos
- Oh Poipet!
- PEPY:Sustainable Cambodian tourism
- Phnom Tamao Wildlife Refuge
- Sihanoukville beaches lure expats
- Spas, shopping & seers in Siem Reap
- The best islands in Cambodia
- The best places to stay on Cambodia's islands
- The Death Highway
- Trekking in Virachey National Park
- Trekking the Cardamoms in Cambodia
- Which Cambodian island is right for you?
- Why you should go to Cambodia
- Indonesia (13)
- All stories
- A funeral in Toraja, Sulawesi
- Climbing Rinjani
- How to hire a boat in Indonesia: Without drowning
- Learn to surf in Bali
- Medewi: A great Bali getaway
- Mountain biking in Bali: A ride in the woods
- The Gili islands: Which is the right one for you?
- Ubud bird watching: From waterhens to witchcraft
- Ubud shopping guide
- Village trekking in Tana Toraja
- Weekend in Nusa Penida
- Yogya's student scene
- Laos (16)
- All stories
- A breeze through Luang Prabang
- Best budget rooms in Luang Prabang 2013
- Elephant trekking in Laos
- Exploring Laos' Bolaven Plateau
- Huay Xai to Pak Tha by slowboat
- Is Lao Airlines safe to fly?
- Laos' vanishing elephants
- Luang Prabang escape
- Muang Ngoi Escape
- Photos of Luang Prabang, Laos
- Pi Mai Lao in Luang Prabang: In 1999
- Southern Laos by scooter
- Temples in Luang Prabang
- The Gibbon Experience
- The Phonsavan adventure
- Vientiane's Chinatown
- Malaysia (7)
- Singapore (9)
- Thailand (73)
- All stories
- 10 Bangkok galleries worth a look-see
- 10 Thai treks aside from Chiang Mai
- 24 Hours in Bangkok: Sukhumvit to Siam Square
- 31 Thai islands
- 5 Southern Thai towns to lose time in
- A Thai homestay in Ayutthaya
- A weekend in Phra Phradaeng
- A weekend on Ko Samet, Thailand
- An extra day in Krabi
- Andaman Sea island hopper
- Ayutthaya temple tour
- Bangkok for art lovers
- Bangkok's Charoen Krung Road
- Bangkok's Thonburi: exploring the west side
- Brilliant Bangkok
- Chiang Dao getaway
- Chiang Mai's temples
- Corruption in Thailand
- Eating on the edge
- Elephant's World Kanchanaburi
- Exploring Lamphun
- Exploring the Lungs of Bangkok
- Far southern Thailand: Go or not?
- Five days in Khao Lak, Thailand
- Floating markets around Bangkok
- Highlights of Chanthaburi province
- How to do Khao Yai National Park
- Khao San Road safety and scams
- Ko Mun Nork: a nearby paradise
- Ko Pha Ngan 7-day detox:Colonic fast
- Ko Pha Ngan's best beaches in 2013
- Ko Phi Phi on a budget
- Ko Tao for non-divers guide
- Ko Yao: the islands you're looking for
- Learning Muay Thai in Bangkok
- Motorcycling the Chiang Rai loop
- Narathiwat: residence of good people
- Navigating Bangkok: The BTS Skytrain
- Phuket by night
- Phuket for Kids
- Phuket heritage walk: Car parts to saris
- Phuket's secret beaches
- Planning around Thailand's civil unrest
- Roll your own Kanchanaburi
- Should I book for the full moon party?
- Should I cancel my Thai holiday? No.
- Should I cancel my trip to Thailand? No.
- Soi Thong Lo, Bangkok
- Sorting out Suvarnabhumi Airport
- Staying at a Thai monastery
- Thai islands for nature lovers
- Thai islands to lose yourself on
- Thai visa FAQ
- Thailand tsunami wrap
- Thailand's Mae Khlong market
- Thailand: Where to from here?
- The best beach on Ko Samui
- The best places to stay on Ko Kut, Thailand
- The bridge over the River Kwai festival
- The road to Sangkhlaburi
- Travelling through north-east Thailand
- Trekking in Thailand
- Trisara -- decadent luxury at its best
- Two days in Kamphaeng Phet
- What is the best beach on Ko Tao?
- What is the best island in Thailand?
- What's a good beach on Ko Pha Ngan?
- What's a good beach on Ko Samui?
- Where to stay at Railay Bay, Thailand
- Where to stay in Sukhothai?
- Where to stay on Ko Samet, Thailand
- Which beach on Ko Samui?
- Which island in Trang?
- Vietnam (31)
- All stories
- A short break in Nha Trang
- A Weekend in Can Tho
- Being fed Fido: Eating dog in Vietnam
- Buying a touring motorbike in Vietnam
- Con Dao escape
- Do nothing and see the best of Hanoi
- Doing the DMZ from Hue
- Exploring Kon Tum
- Exploring Vietnam's Mekong Delta
- Ha Long Bay conclusions
- Ha Long Bay for backpackers
- Ha Long Bay for budget-busters
- Ha Long Bay for flashpackers
- Hanoi escape
- Hanoi or Saigon?
- Hoi An -- Walking over the dragon
- How to do the Dien Bien Phu loop
- How to enjoy your time in Vietnam
- How to pick a good Ha Long Bay cruise
- Is the Hoi An culture tour worth it?
- Motorbike Vietnam's Central Highlands
- One day in Hanoi
- Responsible shopping and eating in Hoi An
- Saigon's top 10 cafés
- Sapa or Bac Ha?
- Saving Vietnam's bears
- Street food safety
- The DMZ: Traveller tactical briefing
- Travel tips for Tet in Vietnam 2013
- Two Wheels & Ricefields: A review
- Which is the best street food tour in Hanoi?
- Accommodation guides (21)
- All stories
- 2005 Top guesthouses in Bangkok
- 2005 Top guesthouses in Chiang Mai
- 2006 Top guesthouses in Hanoi
- 2006 Top guesthouses in Phnom Penh
- 2006 Top guesthouses on Ko Phi Phi
- 2006 Top Luang Prabang guesthouses
- 2008 Top Bangkok airport guesthouses
- 2008 Top Luang Prabang guesthouses
- 2008 Top spots on Phu Quoc Island
- 2009 Top guesthouses in Bangkok
- 2009 Top Phnom Penh guesthouses
- 2011 Best places to stay in Kuala Lumpur
- 2011 Best places to stay on Ko Phi Phi
- Best places to stay in Hanoi 2012
- Cheap Phuket guesthouses & hotels
- Five special hotels in Cambodia
- Ko Lipe's best budget guesthouses 2012
- The best hostels in Bangkok 2014
- The best places to stay on Ko Chang, Thailand
- The changing face of Khao San Road
- Where to stay on Koh Rong Samloem
- Travel with kids (7)
- Opinion & advice (15)
- All stories
- 10 reasons to do an adventure tour
- 10 reasons to travel independently
- A year's worth of travel for 2013
- Beach hideaways in Asia
- Christmas and New Years in Southeast Asia
- Do I need reservations for my holiday?
- Evil man of Krabi
- Fifteen tips for a great holiday in Asia
- Getting a cheap airfare to Asia
- Hotels should never charge extra for WiFi
- Long distance buses in Southeast Asia
- Mass tourism in Southeast Asia
- Nine Asian upcountry hideaways
- Planning a Gap Year? Some advice.
- Ten Southeast Asian trips for 2008
- How do I? (11)
- All stories
- Bangkok to Ko Samui, Pha Ngan & Tao
- Bangkok to Siem Reap
- Catching a train in Thailand
- Catching a train in Vietnam
- Cheap flights with Discovery Airpass
- Chiang Mai to Luang Prabang
- Crossing the Cambodia Laos border
- Ko Chang to Phu Quoc Island
- Siem Reap to Ko Chang
- Stops between Bangkok & Chiang Mai
- Visa run from Thailand to Burma
- Cycling Asia (13)
- All stories
- 24 hours in Bangkok
- An Angkor cycling guide
- An introduction
- Battambang, bamboo trains & guides
- Confessions of a "cheating cyclist"
- Cycles of all sorts
- Ha Long Bay independently
- Ko Samet Vs Pattaya
- Muay Thai night
- Phonsavan and Luang Prabang
- The hills of Vietnam
- The road less travelled
- Tubing in Vang Vieng
- Health and safety (6)
- Money and finance (4)
- Diving guides (6)
- Photo essay (3)
- Guest blog (2)
- General (15)
- All stories
- 10 Christmas days in Asia we're yet to have
- 10 dumb things I've done while travelling
- 34 ways to travel greener
- Asian animal experiences
- Call me Mr Massage Magic
- Chefs Without Borders
- Flying is fun!
- Mr Golden
- On being a travel writer
- Teaching ESL in Asia
- The 211 country honeymoon
- The Boxing Day Tsunami: 5 years on.
- To Teach or Not to Teach
- Travel writing scholarship 2012
- Tuk to the Road Charity ride
- Book reviews (5)
- Interviews (8)
- Explore Bangkok by BTS (16)
- All stories
- Bangkok by skytrain: Ari
- Bangkok by skytrain: Chid Lom
- Bangkok by skytrain: Chong Nonsi
- Bangkok by skytrain: Mo Chit
- Bangkok by skytrain: National Stadium
- Bangkok by skytrain: On Nut
- Bangkok by skytrain: Phaya Thai
- Bangkok by skytrain: Phloen Chit
- Bangkok by skytrain: Phrom Phong
- Bangkok by skytrain: Ratchadamri
- Bangkok by skytrain: Ratchathewi
- Bangkok by skytrain: Sala Daeng (S2)
- Bangkok by skytrain: Sanam Pao
- Bangkok by skytrain: Saphan Taksin
- Bangkok by skytrain: Surasak
- Bangkok by skytrain: Thong Lor
Sign up for Travelfish Burp!
Our weekly wrap on Southeast Asian travel.
Click here to see a recent newsletter.