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Two-week trip with kids: Chiang Mai or Khao Sok National Park?

Posted by Unoriginal on 15/6/2017 at 23:25

We are planning our first trip to Thailand for December/January. Our two children will be 8 and 3.5 at the time, and we will be traveling from the western US. We are planning on spending our first three days in Bangkok and our last 5-7 days in the Andaman region. For the middle portion, we are torn between Chiang Mai and Khao Sok National Park. They look equally lovely to my husband and myself, but the deciding factor needs to be which place our kids will enjoy the most. Ease of travel to/in the areas is a factor too. Thank you!

#1 Unoriginal has been a member since 15/6/2017. Posts: 1

Posted by amnicoll on 17/6/2017 at 05:05

You are comparing apples with pineapple here if you mean city v/s national park and quite honestly only you know your children. Sorry but I have to sit on the fence here

Obviously there is plenty to see and do in the area surrounding Chiang Mai

CM is easiest to reach transport wise but Khao Sok needs a transfer from the airport (choice of several)- not difficult with either one organised free as part of a package or just grab a taxi

#2 amnicoll has been a member since 10/1/2005. Location: United Kingdom. Posts: 976

Posted by DLuek on 18/6/2017 at 23:22 TF writer

Khao Sok makes more sense from a logistical standpoint if you intend to be in the Andaman region anyway -- it can be reached pretty easily from Krabi, Phuket, etc. -- or you could fly to Surat Thani and transfer to Khao Sok and then continue west to the Andaman. Quite a few people actually hit Khao Sok as a day trip from, say, Khao Lak or Krabi. At Khao Sok, beyond cruising on Chiew Lan Lake (which is incredible), there isn't tons to do apart from hiking and relaxing in a cabin. If you do go to Khao Sok, I reckon that two or three days would be long enough.

Chiang Mai is a much bigger and busier destination with way more options. For a taste of nature you could take any number of day trips to surrounding national parks and hill-tribe villages. But it's a big city and it will be especially crowded at that time of year; it's very popular with Chinese nowadays nowadays. If considering Chiang Mai you may also want to look into Chiang Rai, which is smaller and more laid-back but still with plenty to do (and also with an airport), although that New Years week will be the busiest of the year there too.

#3 DLuek has been a member since 19/6/2008. Location: Thailand. Posts: 1,346

Posted by BillGood on 22/6/2017 at 04:00

For young kids an elephant sanctuary in the north would be good.

#4 BillGood has been a member since 22/6/2017. Posts: 14

Posted by fotofancy on 11/9/2017 at 20:55

I would recommend Chiang Mai more than Khao Sok. Khao Sok is for nature lover, only raft, kayak and swimming in the lake. Chiang Mai has much more options that will be interesting for the kids; elephant camp, night safari, panda, zip line, ATV, Art of Paradise, etc.

Take a look at this block to get some ideas of where to go in Chiang Mai.


#5 fotofancy has been a member since 13/5/2016. Posts: 9

Posted by davelliot on 11/9/2017 at 23:04

At the end of the day you would need to ask your children what they are most interested in , however one other thing that makes a trip to Khao Sok nat park worthwhile is the scenery on the way there. The road from Surathani to Takua Pa which goes past the turn off to the park has superb scenery most of the way. There is waiting transport at the turn off to take you to the accommodation area

#6 davelliot has been a member since 6/9/2017. Posts: 55

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