Life according to Batfish
Living in Phuket since 1999
Ooh! India, USA, Canda, Mexico, Central America, South America, half of Europe, about 15 countries in Africa from Morocco to South Africa...
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Top 10 Luxury Hotels in Phuket
Published 12:17 am, 22 May 2013
It was suggested to me several times in blog comments or messages on Facebook that I should add some more hotel information, a bit more specific that the Top 10 Phuket Hotels list (a list which has been updated several times, most recently this year). So, I have done a Top 10 Family Hotels in Phuket post, and now here's the Top 10 Luxury Hotels in Phuket. There is also now a Top 10 "mid-price" hotels list. The rankings are based on TripAdvisor ratings. There are links for each hotel to online booking / availability / price checking and for guest reviews.
Top 10 Phuket Luxury Hotels1. The Baray Villa (Kata Beach)
The Baray Villa consists of 14 luxury villas, which are run by the Sawasdee Village Resort, and yet totally separate from the resort. Villas are 2 floor houses with huge rooms, jacuzzi, direct pool access, set in tropical gardens, with a spa (of course) at the resort. Not on the beach, it's about 10 minutes walk to the sands at Kata Beach, but I reckon you'd stay here to relax and feel a bit special. Maybe rent a scooter to get around Kata or scoot down to Naiharn or a sunset drink at the After Beach Bar.
• The Baray Villa Booking @ Agoda.com
• The Baray Villa Reviews (TripAdvisor)
2. The Shore at Katathani (Kata Noi Beach)
The Katathani Resort has been open for many years. The Shore is their newer luxury pool villa wing, opened in 2010 on quiet Kata Noi beach. And it looks great! Pool villas, many have sea view but the view does vary, all villas with private pools of course. Very popular with couples. Check the reviews below - most are from couples.
• The Shore at Katathani Booking @ Agoda.com
• The Shore Reviews
3. BYD Lofts (Patong Beach)
BYD Lofts is a different hotel, the rooms are like serviced apartments, with kitchens and a shared rooftop pool, near the center of Patong Beach, but not in a noisy area. Surprised to see it listed as a luxury place, you normally imagine beach front .. BYD I guess is 5 minutes or less walk to the beach. A good place to stay if you like to be near the center of all the action (that's what Patong is) but need a quiet place to retire to.
• BYD Lofts @ Agoda.com
• BYD Lofts Reviews
4. Villa Zolitude (Chalong)
Villa Zolitude is "up in the hills" .. and seems to be very popular. Located between Phuket Town and Chalong. Not near any beaches, certainly not within walking distance - about 10km to Kata or Karon. Villa Zolitude is reached by driving up the road to Radar Hill (which is the highest road in Phuket). Certainly quiet up there, away from the crowds by quite a distance. Good idea to have some transport if you stay at this hotel. It amuses me to see reviews complaining about the location. Hey, folks, do some research!
• Villa Zolitude Booking @ Agoda.com
• Villa Zolitude Reviews
5. Kantary Bay Hotel (Cape Panwa)
The Cape Panwa area is a beautiful part of Phuket well away from the main Phuket beaches, an area that we really like. Kantary Bay Hotel is right by the Phuket Aquarium, with studio, 1 bedroom, and 2 bedroom suites. All suites have a living room and kitchen. Panwa is a little out of the way, south of Phuket Town and at least 30 - 40 minute drive to the main beaches - good to have a car if you stay here. I am sure the hotel has some shuttle services though.
• Kantary Bay Hotel @ Agoda.com
• Kantary Bay Hotel Reviews
6. Pacific Club Resort (Karon Beach)
The Pacific Club Resort seems to rank in the top 10 every time I do a top 10. It's in "the" top 10 and the family top 10, and yet it's not by the beach, so the hotel itself has to be good! It's about 10 minutes walk down the hill on a little back road which I think would be very dark at night to the sands of Karon Beach. The hotel is in the hills, with seaviews and jungle views - the hills behind Karon are very green. There are standard rooms and suites with 1 or 2 bedrooms. The restaurant is also meant to be very good, especially the steak, and I keep saying I will try it one day!
• Pacific Club Resort Booking on Agoda.com
• Pacific Club Resort Reviews
7. Renaissance Resort and Spa (Mai Khao Beach)
Mai Khao Beach is still one of Phuket's gems. It's like 10km long with just half a dozen resorts plus a couple of small bungalow operations. Renaissance is one of the best in the area, close to the airport (don't worry, you can't hear it) and right on the beach which is never crowded. There's a variety of rooms - simple "deluxe" rooms up to pool villas with seaview. Remember that Mai Khao Beach is way up in the north of Phuket, it's over 40km from here to Patong, Karon and Kata. I mean, if you want solitude, why would you visit these main beaches anyway? So again, I am perplexed by reviews moaning about the location. I love the location!
• Renaissance Resort Booking @ Agoda.com
• Renaissance Resort Reviews
8. Twin Palms (Surin Beach)
Surin Beach, despite rampant hillside development manages to retain a laid back feel on the beachfront with small restaurants and bars although they tend to be a little expensive, and yet Surin is so so different to the big beaches it's nice to come here for a meal and drink sometimes. Twin Palms is not huge, under 100 rooms - the more luxury rooms are huge duplexes and penthouse suites. Twin Palms also has its own semi-private beach club (Catch Beach Club) right by the sea.
• Twin Palms Booking on Agoda.com
• Twin Palms Reviews
9. Trisara Resort Villas
Trisara has private pool villas near a small private beach just north of Layan beach (which is north of Bang Tao Beach) in the north of Phuket. 39 villas, lots of space. Villas of varying sizes from 2 - 6 bedroom, so can be ideal for families or weddings. Or just for a relaxing trip for a couple. My favourite review says "makes you feel like a rock star" :)
• Trisara Booking @ Agoda.com
• Trisara Reviews
10. Mom Tri's Villa Royale (Kata Noi Beach)
Mom Tri Devakul was one of Phuket's tourism originals. His Boathouse hotel opened many years ago on Kata Beach. Villa Royale was built later on the rocky headland overlooking Kata Noi beach. A stairway from the hotel takes you down to the beach. Great views from the rooms and from the restaurant too. It's got a certain touch of class, only 35 rooms and is often fully booked well in advance. Mostly a place for couples.
• Villa Royale Booking @ Agoda.com
• Villa Royale Reviews
For Phuket hotel bookings, I recommend checking out Agoda.com first - it's what I use. Any questions about hotels or Phuket, please do leave a comment on this page or the Phuket Facebook Page.
• Top 10 Hotels in Phuket 2012
• Top 10 Family Hotels in Phuket
• Jamie's Suggested Phuket Hotels
Top 10 Family Hotels in Phuket
Published 12:16 am, 22 May 2013
Several times on the Phuket blog, I have blogged the Top 10 Hotels in Phuket, the list being based mostly on TripAdvisor rankings. The hotels in the most recent list are all kinds and all over the island, and mostly 4 - 5 star resorts .. I mean it's a list of the best hotels, so you'd expect them to be classy! TripAdvisor is not perfect, anyone can leave a review, there's no way to check if the reviewer actually stayed at the hotel, but I would hope that on average things even out, though results can be skewed by smaller hotels which actively pursue TripAdvisor reviews. A hotel might be great, but get less reviews simply because they don't ask guests to leave a review. Anyway, we digress... I've had suggestions to do some different "top 10 hotel" lists for families, couples or low budget hotels. So here goes...
On this page you'll find a list of the Top 10 Family Hotels in Phuket, again based on current TripAdvisor rankings. For each hotel there are links for checking rates online, for booking and availability - On this blog I recommend Agoda.com for hotels in Phuket. For each hotel there's also a link to reviews on Agoda (where available) - and only people who have booked the hotel through Agoda can make the review (I use Agoda myself and leave reviews). With all the reviews on Agoda and/or TripAdvisor, you get a very wide range of opinions. Sure there may be other good family hotels that are not on this list, please do leave a comment below if you have stayed in a good family resort in Phuket, every opinion counts!
Top 10 Phuket Family Hotels1. Andara Resort and Villas (Kamala Beach)
A 5 star resort, on the hillside near Kamala Beach with luxury villas. I'm a bit surprised to see this rated as the top family hotel, but it does provide relaxation in comfort for the whole family, and since it's individual villas with private pools, suits families as well as couples. Andara resort is not right on the beach - it's on the hillside. Many of the villas have great seaviews
• Andara Resort & Villas on Agoda.com
• Andara Resort Reviews
2. Rising Sun Residence (Chalong)
Rising Sun Residence is also not a beachfront hotel - it has 12 villas in the hills of Chalong overlooking Chalong Bay and Chalong Temple. There are seven 3 bedroom villas - some of these have a private pool and jacuzzi, kitchen and large living room. There are also five 1 bedroom villas arranged around a large pool with sun deck and jacuzzi. Long way from the main beaches, more of a "home away from home" and would be a good idea to rent a car if you stay here.
• Rising Sun Residence on Agoda.com
• Rising Sun Residence Reviews
3. Kantary Bay Hotel (Cape Panwa)
The Cape Panwa area is south of Phuket Town, well away from the main Phuket beaches, an area that we really like. Kantary Bay Hotel is right by the Phuket Aquarium, and the hotel has studio, 1 bedroom, and 2 bedroom suites. All suites have a living room and kitchenette. Seeing a trend here? Family hotels are not the standard "room" - it's nice to have something more like an apartment so you can be a bit more independent.
• Kantary Bay Hotel on Agoda.com
• Kantary Bay Hotel Reviews
4. Pacific Club Resort (Karon Beach)
The Pacific Club Resort is a long time favourite and seems to often rank highly, despite (again, thats 4 out of 4 so far) not being by the beach. It's about 10 minutes walk down the hill to the sands of Karon Beach. The hotel is in the hills, with seaviews and green views. There are normal rooms and also 1 and 2 bedroom suites. The restaurant is also meant to be very good and I must try it one day!
• Pacific Club Resort on Agoda.com
• Pacific Club Resort Reviews
5. JW Marriott (Mai Khao Beach)
I think everyone knows the Marriott brand? Actually there are 2 different hotels in the top 10 - Marriott Beach Club and the JW Marriott Resort, so I combine them here. Marriott is at Mai Khao Beach - north of the airport and a long way from the main tourist areas or Phuket Town (like 40 - 50km away). A place to relax. Mai Khao Beach is very uncrowded. I'd advise on car hire if you stay here to get out and explore, especially as dining options nearby are limited.
• JW Marriott on Agoda.com
• JW Marriott Reviews
• Marriott Phuket Beach Club
6. Cape Panwa Hotel
Another hotel at Cape Panwa - the Cape Panwa Hotel is an older hotel, has a little private beach and I know the guest relations manager, so if you book here say hello to Tim. He's very helpful arranging trips and knows plenty about Phuket. The hotel has a variety of suites of different sizes, many with seaviews, and the Cape Panwa area is very nice.
• Cape Panwa Hotel on Agoda.com
• Cape Panwa Hotel Reviews
7. Serenity Resort and Residences (Chalong Bay)
Chalong Bay is not a swimming beach, but great views and actually a good central location for getting around Phuket. Serenity has simpler rooms up to huge 2 - 3 bedroom suites, with seaviews, kitchens and some with private pools. You're not far to drive from here to Kata or Rawai beach and only 20 minutes to Phuket Town too. The pool suites are expensive / luxurious. The simpler rooms are a good deal and kids under 5 stay at no extra cost, good if you have smaller kids.
• Serenity Resort and Residences on Agoda.com
• Serenity Resort and Residences Reviews
8. Banyan Tree (Bang Tao Beach)
The Banyan Tree - definitely luxury. You're looking at 1000 US$ per night, but go on, you're worth it! I'm amazed that this place makes the list, must be a few rich TripAdvisor readers! The 2 bedroom pool villas look amazing. I'm going to stay here if we win the lottery! Just for a night....
• Banyan Tree Booking on Agoda.com
• Banyan Tree Reviews
9. Twinpalms (Surin Beach)
Twinpalms has now been open 8 years and is one of the best places around the Surin area, which despite rampant hillside development manages (on the beachfront) to retain a laid back feel with small restaurants and bars. Twinpalms has less than 100 rooms, some of which are huge duplexes and penthouse suites. It's those 2 bedroom suites that are great for families. Twinpalms also has its own semi-private beach club right by the sand.
• Twinpalms Booking on Agoda.com
• Twinpalms Reviews
10. Holiday Inn Resort (Patong Beach)
Holiday Inn has been around for ages, and is the only Patong beach hotel to make this list. The resort has lots of kids activities and family rooms and the south end of Patong is quite family friendly away from most of the bars and noise. Holiday Inn also recently opened at Mai Khao beach with the resort also specifically catering to kids. Holiday Inn has not only family suites but these things called Kids Suites - kids will love it!
• Holiday Inn Resort on Agoda.com
• Holiday Inn Resort Reviews
Hope this list of family hotels is useful! For Phuket hotel bookings, I always recommend looking at Agoda.com first - it's what I use. Any questions about hotels or Phuket, please do leave a comment or ask on the Jamie's Phuket Facebook Page.
• Top 10 Hotels in Phuket 2012
• Jamie's Phuket Hotel Recommendations
• Phuket Hotels - online booking @ Agoda.com
Koh Tachai Island - Day trip from Khao Lak
Published 7:49 pm, 19 May 2013
On our recent holiday we spent a total of 4 nights in Khao Lak, and we'll be going again next time the kids have some school holidays. It was very relaxing, much of the time was spent in the pool, or walking on the beach, or having breakfast, lunch, dinner and sunset beers! But we did have one day trip planned and booked in advance. Koh Tachai is a small island about 50km north of the Similan Islands, out in the Andaman Sea off the west coast of Thailand. We had heard that the speedboat tours left from Ban Nam Khem, a small fishing port and village north of Khao Lak, and from there it would be about 50km to Koh Tachai. I have been to Koh Tachai many times in the past for diving on liveaboard boats and have had some great dives there with manta rays at a dive site called Tachai Pinnacle, but I had never set foot on the island before! Over the last couple of years Tachai has been becoming a popular alternative to the Similan Islands, which get a lot more visitors. Thai tourists especially seemed to be heading to Tachai, I saw lots of lovely photos on Thai websites and also on Thai TV channels. I knew my friends at Easy Day Thailand could book us on the tour, so we signed up and were ready on a warm but hazy morning on April 25th. Minibus pick up was on time, but we headed south towards Thap Lamu port, not north to Ban Nam Khem. Looked like we'd be leaving from Thap Lamu which would mean a 70km speedboat trip. We had a wait of about 20 minutes before boarding the speedboat while the tour operator sorted out various groups heading to different islands. Coffee, tea and toast were provided (self service) and then we headed to the speedboat. Aside from our family of 6, all other customers on the trip were Thai.
We sped out of Thap Lamu, the sky cleared up a little, the sea was flat calm, looked like a perfect day coming up! I had been a little worried about my parents doing a long speedboat trip out in the sun all day, but with mirror-like seas and a bit of cloud cover, we all sat in the front of the speedboat while all the white skinned Bangkok Thai people hid in the shade :)
It was going to be quite a long ride, about 90 minutes to Koh Tachai. Would have been less from Ban Nam Khem, but departure point had been switched due to the tides - Thap Lamu is a deep water port used by dive boats, fishing boats and the Thai navy too. Well anyway, as the sun came out and the sea was so calm, a longer ride did not matter. My daughter enjoyed being right in the bow with the wind in her hair ...
Unfortunately ... things then went a bit pear shaped. Some dark clouds ahead. Surely just hazy skies? Maybe a light shower? We sped onward. Very dark clouds. Lightning. Are we going through that? Well, the sea was still calm. I sent the family "inside" and took a quick snapshot with the phone before the rain bucketed down...
Well, the next 30 minutes were very very wet. Everyone was soaked since the roof of the speedboat had a gap all the way around, and in came the rain. My poor dad was not feeling too healthy, and I was just cursing our luck! The speedboat carried on, sea was a little bouncy but there were no big waves, but at the same time, there seemed to be no let up in the rain and no brightening of the sky. We arrived at Koh Tachai in the rain, left all bags and cameras under cover on the boat, then off into the treeline to find some shelter. Must have carried on raining for another hour, time we would have spent snorkeling or walking on the beach, instead of hiding and drinking tea!
And then, as if by magic .. within minutes (so it seemed) the rain disappeared, the sky cleared and it was suddenly the perfect day! Everyone was stripping down to swimwear and hanging up clothes to dry in the trees. And then we could all see the attraction of Koh Tachai island! Our guide decided that the 'jungle walk' that should be part of the day would be cancelled to give everyone plenty of beach time after the rains. I went climbing back on the speedboat to look for everyone's bags and cameras which had been stored in a dry space when the rain started. And then the photo-shoot could begin!
Much of the next couple of hours was spent on the beach, playing in the water with the kids, doing a little snorkeling (but not much to see right by the beach, you have to swim out further) and taking photos. The tour operator provided drinks all day (juices, sodas, tea, coffee, drinking water) and snacks like nuts and biscuits. The actual lunch was a bit disappointing for me, though I think the rain meant that the staff had a hard time getting everything ready. Anyway, why waste time eating in the shade when you can jump!
The kids wanted nothing more than to swim, snorkel and play in the shallow waters by the beach. It certainly is very beautiful and you can't really get colours like this so close to Phuket, although Racha Yai island is pretty good. I just wished the weather had been like this ALL day, although considering that I got a pretty good sunburn anyway, maybe that was enough sun. The kids can normally be out all day without feeling the sun, though my daughter has fair skin which can get quite red, and it did on this day. For a couple of hours, kids were in their own private paradise!
OK, not quite private, there were about 6 speedboats there on the same day, but as with most tourist locations, if you walk a couple of hundred meters you lose 90% of the people who just plonk their lazy behinds down on the first available patch of sand. The beach on the east side of Tachai is about 700m long, plenty of room to spread out. Tommy the guide called it 'Paradise Island', which I guess is the tourist name or the name his employers tell him to use! There are plenty of paradise islands around these parts! Koh Tachai has no development save for a ranger station, some toilets, a couple of covered areas with a concrete floor and some thatched bamboo gazebos. Hope it stays that way.
Days like these are more for the kids than the adults! I am happy that our kids love the outdoors, swimming, boat trips, and don't complain too much when we do other things like visit temples. On this same trip (to be blogged) we visited a couple of tsunami memorials and I think the kids learned something from that. But the day at Koh Tachai was certainly more fun! Here's the boy, mask in hand, skipping his way through the shallows...
A word about our guide on the trip, Tommy - nice guy, very friendly. We met him the next week on our return to Khao Lak, on the beach with his family and we stopped for a chat. If you are on this tour, leave him a tip! When it was time to get back on the speedboat he wandered up and down the beach to find everyone, ukelele in hand ...
Took a while to get off the beach, as the tide was low. Everyone had to get onto a national park flat bottomed boat to transfer to the speedboat. For a moment I was worried that we were heading straight back to port, and with the rain we'd really only had a couple of hours of beach time, surely we could not be leaving already? No ... we headed along the east coast of the island for some snorkeling. The kids and I joined most of the Thai folks from Bangkok and Tommy for about 20 minutes, and there was some good fish life on this part of the island. My son was quite proud of the distance we swam during this snorkeling session. The kids love the water, I guess I'll have to be taking them diving soon!
How much did you enjoy the day, son?
In the end a very good day out. With the rain, and then the sun, everyone was cream crackered by the end of the day. It is actually possible to do the trip if you stay in Phuket, but that means a pick up at about 6am. Certainly this is a better option if you stay in Khao Lak. Now, until last month I did not really care for Khao Lak, but I can see now why people like it. If you have a 2 week Phuket trip, then a few days in Khao Lak is a good idea, but the day trips to Koh Tachai and the Similan Islands only operate in high season November - April.
• Contact Easy Day Thailand to book trips to Koh Tachai, Similan Islands and just about anything else.
• Khao Lak Hotels at Agoda.com
Koh Tachai - Location Map
View Koh Tachai Island in a larger map
Ton Prai Waterfall near Khao Lak
Published 10:02 am, 14 May 2013
We've all just had a little holiday, and life is now settling back to normal with work and school and blogging! While on holiday I took plenty of photos and posted updates on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, but couldn't face a whole blog post and was trying to keep off the computer as much as possible and spend more time with the family. Mum and Dad were here from England, kids had school holidays and I had a couple of weeks away from the dive shop. Much of the time was quite relaxed, nothing too strenuous. We did 2 separate trips to Khao Lak and I will write more about Khao Lak sometime soon. We'd not been to stay there before, and we liked it. Khao Lak is less than 2 hours drive from our house, about 100km north. On the way home from the second trip, we stopped off at Ton Prai waterfall, which is about about 30km south of Nanthong beach in Khao Lak where we stayed, or 30km north of Sarasin bridge which joins Phuket island to the mainland. It's then another 6km down a small side road which gets narrower and more jungly as you approach the hills. It was clearly signposted, easy to find. We had stopped last year one time, but on a rainy day and we did not fancy a walk in the jungle! This time the sky was blue with some fluffy cotton wool clouds floating around. We stopped at the entrance / visitors center where you have to pay an entry fee, currently 100 Baht for a tourist, cheaper for Thai people. My wife negotiated a group price for 6 of us :)
There are some clean toilets at the entrance. Nowhere to buy a drink, though .. we should have stopped at a 7-11 or local store to get a few bottles of water along the way. Hot day, walking in the jungle, need drinks! There's a sign at the visitors center explaining that it's a 650m walk to reach Ton Prai waterfall. There's another sign too ... Conserve nature. Do not leave anything here. Good. And then a wonderful mis-spelling or mistranslation ... Accept your Footprint. Should say "Except" but actually turns into a Buddhist concept. Accept your footprint. I like it!
The walk to the waterfall was quite easy, the path is well made, up and downhill sections mostly have steps rather than rough ground, not too many loose stones, it was no bother for my parents who are not as young as they used to be :) The walk is very jungly and I do like a bit of jungle in small doses, though prefer sweeping views. Big rainforest trees with buttress roots are a favourite of mine. The roots are mostly above ground because rainforest soil has most of it's nutrients near the surface, and buttress roots are there to soak up all the goodness!
And here's Mum and Dad enjoying a jungle walk!
Now, there are quite a lot of waterfalls in and around Phuket (see Waterfalls in Phuket), and most are pretty small. The main attraction is the jungle ambience, and maybe a chance to jump in and cool off! I had heard that Ton Prai was worth a visit, and .. yes, it is! Even though we visited at the end of a very dry season, there was still plenty of water. Here's the first sight of Ton Prai at the end of the path ...
Yeh, it's not huge, but I like the water tumbling down the rocks. I guess after some rain it would look better. There's a shallow pool under the falls - often falls have deep pools but since the water is not falling vertically, it's not created a deep pool. My boy was straight in to check it out!
Is it cold? Well, let's say it's "refreshing"! And even a little jungle walk can make you sweat a little. So I jumped in too for a splash with the kids. It was easy enough to go and sit right under the waterfall. Would that be possible in rainy season? Not sure. Here's me enjoying a free shower ...
We're thinking of a little trip to Khao Lak sometime in the low season, so will check out Ton Prai again, as well as a return visit to Sri Phang Nga national park north of Khao Lak which features several waterfalls, including Tamnang which is quite impressive. Ton Prai deserves another look, and is easy enough to visit on the way to Khao Lak or on the way home.
Here's some more of that jungle :)
Next few blog posts will also feature the Khao Lak area. We took a speedboat day trip to Koh Tachai island, we visited a couple of tsunami memorials and really enjoyed a couple of easy relaxing days staying at a small resort by the sea. With low season prices, hotels in Khao Lak are a bargain for half the year! Only trouble is that Khao Lak gets very quiet and a lot of things close up. We'll see later this year!
Ton Prai Waterfall - Location Map
View Ton Prai Waterfall in a larger map
What to do in Phuket with Kids
Published 1:39 am, 12 May 2013
This blog post has been rolling around my head for a while. But it's hard to know where to start. I think Phuket is a great place for kids to live, a great place for kids to visit on holiday and a great place for families to experience together. Yes, together. I admit there may be a couple of times when a Mum and Dad might want to leave their kids at the hotel "kids club" and maybe got for a massage together or leave the kids with a babysitter and go for a "just the 2 of us" dinner, but mostly I would say this : Whatever you do, do it as a family. Let the kids experience a variety of places, smells, sights and sounds. In a way, almost all of this blog is about Phuket with kids, because I am a Dad and we are a family! Our kids were born here in Thailand, go to school here, speak Thai and English .. so I realise my situation is different to a visiting family, but the blog sticks to things that tourists can do and does not really dwell on the expat life. The main thing our kids do is school, plus they do extra activities like music and Taekwondo and football. There's a lot for kids to do if you live here ...
(above) That's my boy playing football and playing guitar
(above) And my daughter practicing Taekwondo
There's a lot of "kids stuff" here and I am of course happy to let kids be kids, but also involve them in family activities. We often go out for the day at the weekend, or out in the evening to eat and I like them to get new experiences .. I also like to get new experiences myself, but almost always with my family, with the kids. Now, some things depend on the age of the kids, there are things to do in Phuket like parasailing or diving or bungy jumping and these are not for 2 year olds! Kids age 10 or older can try diving - my daughter has tried and I plan to take her for a proper dive trip soon. People often ask me "is this suitable for kids?" - I can tell you with our kids we did boat trips when they were a year old, drove all around Phuket and in the (more than) 6 years since this blog started they've come with us almost everywhere and they are happy to explore back roads, temples, islands ... We (I hope) manage to mix kids stuff with adult stuff. As every parent hopes .. we're doing our best!
Best Things for Kids in Phuket
I am not a fan of lists, but for this blog page, a kind of list is needed. This is not everything, suggestions welcome - please leave a comment. This might take a while and I will probably update the page as time goes by .... I asked my kids what they like doing, and they both went for Taekwondo and they both went for "The Beach Bar" ...
The Beach Bar is one of our favourite hangouts, we have been going there for years, our kids play with the owners kids, we can eat decent food at a good price, enjoy a sunset beer, it's safe, friendly, quiet. Yes, best thing to do with the kids .. go to the beach (and eat new food!). Kids also mentioned that they like Layan Beach and eating dinner at Dairy Hut and Route 68, a couple of restaurants in Phuket Town. I hope kids visiting Thailand try some Thai food - all part of the experience!
My son gave me "Khao Sok" as one of his favourite places - me too! Khao Sok National Park is not in Phuket, it's a few hours drive, past Khao Lak and into the jungle! We like to stay here to relax and get some jungly fresh air. We have also done boat trips on the lake, tubing and kayaking there. Oh yeh!
Closer to Phuket, a great day out that we have done many times, with kids when they were as young as 2 years old, is a boat ride in Phang Nga Bay including James Bond Island and Koh Panyee.
My kids both (independently) wrote that they like to visit the Indy Market, which is on Thursday and Friday evenings in Phuket Town. I urge people always to try Phuket Town sometimes - and if you visit the old town early evening when the Indy Market is on, that's a good time. Better for older kids, not toddlers.
A great weekend we had last year (and will do again) ... we stayed on Racha Yai island, kids went snorkeling, enjoyed beach time, met huge monitor lizards, played in a pool with a great view. Add in the boat ride, the tractor-pulled shuttle from pier to hotel - kids got something new and interesting and had fun, and so did their parents!
(above) My daughter and friends enjoying Racha Yai island :)
Next ... Phuket Aquarium. We have been here countless times over the years since our daughter was a baby. Fish! Wow! Fish! Amazing! Colours! Fantastic! And as they get older, Dad the diver can educate them about species and the environment and we all have a good time. And the entry fee is cheap too. They learn something new every time we visit. And it's close to the aforementioned Beach Bar :)
And then nerdy Dad takes over. I like my kids to have fun. And learn. Hopefully, sometimes, both at the same time. So, kids let's go to a museum. Phuket has a number of museums and a few of them are very good. The kids have enjoyed several visits to the Mining Museum. Phuket used to have a big tin mining industry back in the 19th century through to the mid 20th century. We've also enjoyed family visits to the Thai Hua museum in Phuket Town, which is mostly about Phuket history and housed in an old school.
(above) The kidz at the Thai Hua Museum and Phuket Mining Museum
Enough nerdy stuff, let's have some fun (balance, balance). I think I'll have to take the kids to the Splash Jungle Waterpark again sometime soon. They've been twice, it's not that cheap, but boy did they have fun. Can't put a price on a happy face.
Or how about some mini golf? We've been to the Dino Park mini golf near Kata Beach and the newer Adventure minigolf at Bang Tao Beach. Fun for everyone!
And I am sure the kids will enjoy Phuket Fantasea or the newer Siam Niramit show. Our kids have seen Fantasea a couple of times and I'd like to go again. Part of the "magic" in these shows is (as an adult) watching your kids watching the show. Watch their magical faces. You might know how the trick is done, but for them it's magic.
Like I said, we do like to go exploring sometimes and the kids come and explore with us. A trip we have done a couple of times, and will do again, involves taking a ferry to the small island of Koh Yao Noi, hiring scooters and riding round the island to see what we can see. Kids have loved these days out. New experiences are good for young minds.
(above) Our kids and friends exploring at Koh Yao Noi
Our kids also love festivals and street fairs - I guess Songkran would be their favourite, and Loy Krathong, and events like the recent Old Phuket Festival. My daughter and I enjoyed walking together and visiting the shrine during last years Por Tor Festival. For a visiting tourist kid, experiencing festivals like these would be great!
(above) Buying a turtle cake as an offering for the Por Tor Festival
(above) Having fun on Songkran
This page could go on forever, kids don't have to do "kids things" all the time, a balance of fun, learning, new experiences, time with the family, time to run off without Mum and Dad. Our kids are happy to visit a temple, try new restaurants, and we've been a couple of times to watch Phuket FC, the local football team - last time my son was one of the team mascots :)
(above) Our son as team mascot, and the kids at Khao Rang temple
Phuket has so much to do and see, some of it is "for kids", but (and you don't need to listen to me) I think if you go on holiday as a family, you should explore and experience things as a family. Most kids enjoy doing things with their parents, so if you want to check out a Chinese shrine, visit a museum or walk around Old Phuket Town, take the kids. And by all means have a day by the pool too! I guess what I am saying ... having kids should not limit what you do too much unless the kids are really small. I guess I should add - be aware that it's hot here, so make sure kids drink plenty of water and get their rest. Have fun with the family!
A final photo ... Phuket is great for kids because ....
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