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Family holidays in Thailand
Having a family should never be an excuse for limiting your travel horizons. With the right thought and careful preparations, once children are old enough to endure an eight-hour flight to Orlando, there is no reason not to introduce them to the Far East. Visits to resort destinations such as Cha Am, Hua Hin and Pattaya are ideal family resorts compromising between providing suitable amenities to keep children entertained while retaining an authentic Thai lifestyle. Pattaya is one of the closest resorts to Bangkok and offers shorter transfer times to the resort. However, it is slightly less authentic than the twin resorts of Cha Am and Hua Hin.
You can begin to prepare your family for their first exotic holiday several weeks before by doing some research with them on the Internet, looking at the different dress, temples and animals that they will expect to see. Perhaps learn a few words of greeting and enjoy meals that are typical of your destination.
Flights from London to Bangkok are typically over 11 hours in duration so children need to be able to entertain themselves as part of becoming a world traveller. Electronic games are ideal, although battery life can be an issue. It is a good idea to have a bag of new treats to distribute once the novelty of the flight has worn off. Puzzles, pens, small snacks and travel games will all help pass the time.
Choosing a resort that caters for families is key to everyone enjoying the trip. Opt for a spacious family room rather than separate rooms as even the most independent of children may be daunted by unfamiliar surroundings. Hotels offering buffet-style meals are common and they allow everyone to eat what they enjoy, but you should definitely encourage a little experimentation with local foods.
Tempting as it might be to lie by the pool all day or leave the children playing in the Kid’s Club, do make the effort to take trips to see what Thailand has to offer. Children will always remember patting a hairy baby elephant or releasing a baby turtle into the ocean at a local reserve. Take a ride in a “songthaew” taxi with the locals and sample Thai food from a street vendor — it’s all part of the exciting package of long-haul travel. Make sure the trips you choose explore Thailand’s wonderful wildlife, marine life and culture and avoid at all costs the temptation to hit the local MacDonald’s or attend attractions such as Ripley’s Believe It or Not.
Any trip with children is sure to provoke a torrent of curious questions, but the joy of seeing your child seeing and doing things for the first time will certainly outweigh the inconvenience of a long-haul flight.