We’ve been to Phuket many times so it’s rare to find somewhere we haven’t yet discovered. The Westin Siray Bay is located on a quiet peninsula and feels worlds away from the crowds of tourists. The luxury resort is perched above a pristine beach and boasts spectacular sea and sunset views. We instantly fell for their “Inspire Villa” which will be sure to please anyone travelling with kids. We made full use of the two large en-suite bedrooms, decadent jacuzzi bath, picture perfect private pool, and spacious lounge and dining area. The resort itself also has amazing five star amenities and a lagoon pool complete with swim-up bar and panoramic views of the quiet bay. Dining options were varied and mouthwatering from wood fired pizzas and juicy burgers to indulgent Indian fare, and fresh healthy options. Ever and River spent many afternoons in the fully staffed kids club and a local town is only 10 minutes walk away if you’re looking to grab street food or stock up on supplies at the supermarket. If you’re in search of privacy, tranquil ambiance, and exceptional villas, The Westin Siray Bay is a perfect option for your next visit to Phuket.
Experience an unforgettable family holiday with JW Marriott Resort & Spa Phuket. This five star resort has everything to offer and more and will ensure you feel welcome and taken care of from start to finish. As soon as we stepped into the grand lobby of the resort we were blown away by the captivating sea views and welcoming staff. Our family room was ideal for those travelling with children boasting a cozy window side bed for the little ones, and even private outdoor space overlooking the serene green grounds.
Days were spent lounging beside the stylish main pool or strolling along quiet and tranquil Mai Khao Beach. Ever and River couldn’t get enough of the water slide and sprinklers and also spent much of their time at the fully staffed Kids Club partaking in activities such as beading bracelets, constructing windmills, and even crafting their own perfumes. A true highlight was the turtle sanctuary where we could meet recovering turtles and learn about their journey and release. Our family also made full use of the games area, state of the art gym, and incredible dining destinations.
We couldn’t get enough of the mouthwatering authentic Italian fare at Cucina and fun bento boxes served poolside. Benihana was one of the best family dinners we’ve had in awhile with a truly engaging and fun chef alongside mouthwatering Wagyu steaks and addictive teppanyaki fried rice. Sunsets were magical at M Beach Club and we were so impressed with the vast spread at each breakfast buffet.
JW Marriott Phuket truly go above and beyond for their guests of all ages and ensure you and your family have a personalized and luxurious stay. From sweet handwritten notes from staff to advice about things to do and heartwarming touches in our room everyday, we were always kept smiling and happy. An ideal choice for anyone who values five star hospitality at an amazing family friendly resort.
Located across from picturesque Kata Beach, Pamookkoo Resort is the perfect family adventure in paradise. The safari, jungle themed property features epic waterslides, a multiple floor Kids Club, and fun, lively restaurants for the whole family. Ever and River spent all day in the vast swimming pool getting an adrenaline rush at the staggering four story tall waterslide or splashing at the mini water playground. Those with young children will be comfortable in the family rooms complete with bunk beds and a private balcony and enjoy the modern facilities. Check out the Kids Club when you want a little break from the sun and make sure to head to Kata Beach at sunset for fruit shakes and the spectacular views. A perfect choice for families with adventure seeking kids and parents who crave beachfront location and fun for everyone.
The Nimman District is one of my favourite areas in Chiang Mai. Brimming with creatives, young designers, hipster coffee spots, and organic markets, there’s no shortage of delicious eats, shopping options, and photo opportunities. I was excited to check out Art Mai? Gallery Hotel with my family and see the innovative concept where a boutique hotel is fused with an art gallery to create a unique experience. Each floor is dedicated to a different artist with a single room which showcases their inspiration behind their art and theme of choice. The artistic suites are available for guests and designed by great Thai artists. Themes include “All you Need is Less” or “Sunday” and make great depictions of modern art.
Our children loved staying at the sophisticated and welcoming five star hotel and were very comfortable in the luxury rooms. We spent refreshing afternoons at the tranquil rooftop pool and loved having an easel in our room so we could try our us down at creating our own art work. You are in walking distance of many of Chiang Mai’s most fashionable boutiques and must try restaurants and there’s no shortage of serene spas to indulge in a tranquil massage. A perfect for stylish travellers looking for optimal location and modern luxury alongside an abundance of creativity.
Our first stop this trip to Phuket was SKYVIEW Resort. We already had an amazing experience at their Bangkok property and were so pleased to see that the amazing staff, modern facilities, and delicious food are true of their Phuket property as well. The resort is nestled in the mountainside above Patong with easy access to the beach and local eateries on the main road. We loved the luxurious rooms, especially our suite which boasted sea views, a cozy lounge area, jacuzzi bath on a private terrace, and a decadent master bedroom. The main resort pool was a sanctuary throughout our stay enjoying floating breakfasts, lunches at the swim up bar, and relaxing afternoons after day at the beach. Dining experiences are delicious at all their venues from casual fare at The Dining Room, sunset dinners at their dreamy rooftop bar, Mojjo, or a cozy bowl of pasta in the comfort of your room. If you’re craving a stylish and luxurious holiday at the heart of Phuket, SKYVIEW Resort is the perfect choice. Suitable for families, friends, or couples craving a relaxing escape.
Our most memorable family moments have always been in nature, bonding with animals, and soaking in the wild scenery. Ever and River crave being outside more than anything. Whether it’s swimming in the sea or hiking through the jungle they enjoy a good challenge. Their passion is seeing animals and wildlife up close and will observe any bug, bird, or fish they spot. More importantly we as a family speak about how to conserve natural habitats, why some zoos aren’t humane, and the importance of supporting the right type of places so we know we are helping rather than doing harm.
Chai Lai Orchid not only provide a safe haven for rescue elephants but they are committed to giving back to the community and educating at-risk girls to end trafficking through their initiative Daughters Rising. You have so many package options at the hotel and opportunities to feed and engage with the gentle elephants during your stay. Whether you choose a picture perfect breakfast alongside elephants or an adventurous trek to the river you will always know you are giving back as proceeds go towards their charity and empower girls in the community.
We stayed a few days at Chai Lai Orchid’s Mountainview location and enjoyed our time fully immersed in nature. The rustic bungalows are basic without air conditioning but I was enchanted by the romantic design and refreshing outdoor showers. The highlight of the experience was of course the elephants, seeing them roam the grounds around our bungalow, and partaking in an adventurous hike with the gentle giants. Each day the mahouts brought the elephants over for a daily “happy hour” where we could buy bags of food and hand feed the elephants. The elephant trek is one of our most memorable experiences in Thailand, hiking down the hillside beside the elephants, feeding them along way, and reaching a cool river where we splashed and bathed with the playful animals. Our guide was amazing, telling us facts about the natural plant life along the trail, found a tadpole for Ever and River to see, and even made them walking sticks and cute hats made of leaves so they felt like explorers. At lunch he settled us on a bamboo platform where we could relax and enjoy the view while he prepared a traditional Thai lunch. While our chicken soup simmered he constructed bowls and cutlery from leaves and bamboo, such a fun sight for the kids to witness.
If you’re looking for an unforgettable family experience while in Thailand you can’t miss a visit to Chai Lai Orchid. We met amazing people and learned about Asian elephants, how to care for them, and the dangers they face all while engaging with the elephants. Every member of staff and person we met was kind and friendly making us feel right at home. The mahouts are all caring towards the elephants, noticing their moods, telling us each elephant’s preferences, and put the elephants’ needs first. I loved seeing that instead of still or sad, they were always waving their ears and playful. Whether you choose just a simple breakfast and day trip or a fun camping adventure I’m sure you’ll make memories of a lifetime.
For the best in five star luxury at the heart of Chiang Rai, it’s hard to beat Le Meridien. Located just a stone’s throw from many of the area’s stunning sights and vibrant markets, you’ll be spoilt with things to do but still have a luxury resort base during your stay. We loved the stylish and modern design and plethora of world class facilities. The decadent rooms boasted ambient views, spacious outdoor space, and luxurious amenities for the discerning traveller. Our family loved the riverside location, tranquil resort pool, and expansive grounds. The food was mouthwatering at all the venues, especially their stylish Italian eatery La Favola. Our children enjoyed afternoons with the staff in the fully equipped kids club and were captivated by Chiang Rai’s spectacular temples and sights. The resort is ideal for couples and families who want close proximity to all the city had to offer but world class standards with a trusted brand.
Tucked above the heart of Ao Nang, Avani is the perfect sanctuary for a luxury getaway. At Avani Ao Nang you’ll have easy access to the popular beaches and sights and all the hustle and bustle of the vibrant street but located far enough to find privacy and peace. We loved our luxury pool villa boasting quintessential Krabi views, a decadent master bedroom and refreshing plunge pool. The resort’s main pool has one of the best views in the area and dining experiences were always accented with blue skies or epic sunsets. Don’t miss treating yourself to a dreamy floating breakfasts during your stay and grab a few drinks poolside while the sun melts into the horizon.
Make sure to check out their current Stay 3 Pay 2 deal HERE. For Families we highly recommend their Avani 2 Bedroom Pool Villa. Also by adding and booking via their Line Official Account: @avaniaonangkrabi you are entitled to get a further 5% discount off their deals!
Koh Phi Phi is arguably the most beautiful cluster of islands we’ve visited since arriving in Krabi. We’ve heard a lot about Koh Phi Phi during our past visits to the province, but wrote it off as overpriced and full of parties. The beaches sounded stunning, but with two small children, it seemed unreasonable to pay top price for hostel style rooms when the patrons would be out all night downing buckets and partying until the early AM. You can trawl the internet for reviews and see a lot of negativity for an island they say doesn’t remotely resemble the scenes from Leonardo DiCaprio’s “The Beach.”
Enter 2021 and we have found ourselves having some of Southern Thailand’s most popular and well known areas all to ourselves. Locals and expats repeatedly suggested we explore Phi Phi. It’s now very quiet, predominantly closed, but more beautiful than ever. This not only sounded just right for beach lovers like ourselves but we thought when else will we get to go? Will we have missed our chance once tourists return? So we packed our bags and hopped on the next ferry to the place many describe as paradise.
As the ferry glider into the pier we knew we made the right decision. It was love at first sight. From the crystal turquoise waters to the quaint little streets, friendly locals, and stunning white sand we couldn’t believe our luck.
Where to Stay:
Under 20 hotels and resorts were available on Agoda when we looked up accommodation in Koh Phi Phi. It was January 2021 and many resorts were closed and were unable to reopen due to the lack of tourists. We found that if we contacted those that were open on Facebook, most places were offering discounts and weekly rates to guests who booked direct. Usually we would steer clear of Tonsai Bay, as it’s the most densely populated, but during this quiet period we wanted to be close to shops and restaurants so we would have easy access to necessities for the children.
This small hotel is only a year old and features spacious modern rooms, comfortable king size beds, contemporary design, and great air conditioning and wifi. Just what we needed during our time on Koh Phi Phi. They have double rooms and family rooms which feature two king size beds, big enough if you are traveling with multiple children. We were staying for a week and loved that they had plenty of storage space, and provided bath and beach towels for all their guests. They also have communal dining spaces, a terrace with hammocks, and 24 hour reception to assist you with questions. There isn’t an on site restaurant but a small cafe across the road serves delicious roti pancakes and western style breakfasts as well as cheap Thai dishes and fruit shakes. You are within easy walking distance to supermarkets, the local food stalls, and a few restaurants. We could walk to the pier and beach in under 10 minutes with both kids.
Phi Phi Cliff Beach Resort
We did not stay here, but noticed it on a few of our walks around the island. It’s located on a beach close the pier and offers pretty sea views, rooms with a balcony, and a sea facing swimming pool. This would be an ideal jumping off point for securing a longtail boat to explore the island and great if you want sand and sea right on your front step.
Most of the luxury resorts were closed when we visited, but there was Phi Phi Island Village Resort and Phi Phi The Beach Resort still open. These are both a longtail boat ride from the main pier, shops, and supermarkets, but you’ll experience luxury villas and a more secluded feel during your stay. The rates are pretty insane at the moment and I’m sure you’ll have the main facilities to yourself if travelling early 2021.
Where to Eat:
Our main concerns when traveling to a quiet island is whether food and restaurants will be easily available. Traveling with kids means you deal with picky eating moments and a different set of preferences, so we were happy to see that there were still a variety of dining spots open during our stay. 711 was our fail safe for toasties, easy microwave meals, and instant noodles, and there were a few local markets that sold fresh seafood, fruit, and vegetables if you have access to a kitchen. Here were our favourite spots to eat during our week on Koh Phi Phi. Most restaurants were offering 20% off during this quiet time.
Pirates House Restaurant
There are two on the island and they have a seriously large menu. You can get anything from hearty breakfasts to burgers and sandwiches as well as traditional Thai food and Indian dishes. Our favourite was their authentic and freshly prepared Indian food. If you are a vegetarian you’ll be happy to hear their veggie Indian menu was my absolute favourite during our stay. I highly recommend the palak paneer, chana masala, and vegetable jalfrezi.
Phi Phi Chukit Cafe and Restuarnt
This picturesque spot is perched above Tonsai Bay and offers the best sea views in the area. The large and inviting outdoor terrace is perfect for a fruit shake, cocktail, or meal and they also have a refreshing swimming pool beside the dining area. They serve mouthwatering authentic Thai food, delicious noodle soups, and even chicken and fries for the kids. A great spot for families if you want a view while you dine.
We are major seafood lovers so were very excited to discover this amazing beachfront restaurant. The selection is smaller than in busy times but they don’t skimp on quality or freshness. The prices are very reasonable and everything is freshly grilled after you choose the squid, prawns, or fish you desire from the ice display. We loved the freshly grilled prawns, spicy squid salad, and the kids couldn’t get enough of the omelette rice, grilled chicken, or freshly made rotis. Grab a table right in front of the beach for a picturesque setting and delicious Thai fare. There’s a swing for the kids right in the sand.
Tonsai Village Market
Set between Tonsai Bay and Loh Dalum Beach you’ll find a cluster of local stalls selling affordable and mouthwatering Thai dishes. Pick up Pad Thai for 50 baht, a variety of stir fries, and even fresh fruit and vegetables from the many stalls. The stalls came alive after 5pm and we found most of the locals working on the island got their dinners from these small stands. The best place to eat authentic Thai food in Koh Phi Phi.
Sights to See:
As soon as you step off the ferry you’ll be inundated with longtail boats eager to take you on a tour. If you’re visiting in early 2021 or while tourists are still lacking you’ll find the prices are much lower than usual. For just 1200 baht there are a variety of tours that will take you to the major sights or just to spend the day on a stunning beach. They have a map so you can point out specific places you want to visit or just let them recommend a list of sights and have them lead the way.
Maya Bay and Phileh Lagoon
This paired with Viking Cave are the most popular sights on must do lists and can be seen in one six hour tour. Maya Bay, made famous by the movie The Beach, is currently closed to protect the corals and marine life but you can drive to the entrance for that ubiquitous photo. Phileh Lagoon is one of the most stunning sights around Koh Phi Phi and you’ll find very few boats at the moment which is a rare experience for most that have visited in the past. Be aware of the National Park fees before booking your boat.
This was our absolute favourite beach in Krabi and feels like you’ve stepped into a dreamy postcard that doesn’t quite seem real. Surrounded by towering karsts and shallow caves you’ll find fluffy white sand and crystal clear waters. There are several snorkelling spots that even inexperienced swimmers can reach and the abundance of sea life was incredible. Instead of grabbing a longtail boat from Tonsai Pier, walk to the other side and stop at Loh Dalum Beach. Here the longtail boats will take you on a quick 10 minute ride to reach the beach and can pick you up again at your time of choice. It was 1000 baht round trip when we visited. There aren’t any national park fees for Nui Beach so we frequently visited during our stay. If you are fit or aren’t travelling with kids the other options are to hike to Nui Beach or kayak there from Loh Dalum.
Wang Long Bay
Our boat captain suggested this spot if we didn’t want to pay national park fees to visit Phileh Lagoon. We highly recommend a stop here even if you visit Phileh Lagoon. The narrow entrance is only a short ten minute drive from Tonsai Pier and creates a spectacular arrival. You’ll find yourself slowly gliding into a tiny lagoon surrounded by high karsts and abundant coral. The longtail boat can stop right at the tiny strip of sand where you can picnic in the shade and enjoy the picture perfect views. We really felt like this was a hidden secret when we arrived and the dreamy surroundings were something we won’t soon forget. A small friendly monkey even came to play while we hung out in the sand.
This popular beach is a 30 minute hike or quick 5 minute boat ride from Tonsai Bay. Longtail boat taxis charge 100 baht per person each way and usually don’t charge for children. The beach is lined with hotels and beach bungalows and a few minimarkets but most of this was closed during our visit. We had the entire stretch of white sand and crystal clear water to ourselves and there are trees to shade you if you are staying for a full day. We chose this option when the children weren’t into a full day of beach hopping and just felt like swimming and relaxing. It’s a quiet and beautiful place to sunbathe and would be a great option to stay if you want a very quiet and tranquil experience on Koh Phi Phi.
I’m not sure if this is the official name of the beach but it’s to the right of the Tonsai pier at the very beginning of the sandy strip. The sand is white and water is clear and and there are a few food stalls behind the beach where you can grab fresh fruit shakes and ice cream. We usually stopped here for a swim after island hopping, but it’s an option if you are staying longer on the island and don’t want to pay for longtail boats everyday.
Koh Phi Phi doesn’t have a sunset view unless you hike to one of the well developed viewpoints that overlook the bay. Head towards Loh Dalum Bay and you’ll find signs that point you in the right direction for the hike. The path is very well worn and it’s an easy 20 minute walk so even doable with kids if they’re used to walking. Once at the top you can enjoy views from the observation deck and grab a cool drink before you head back down.
We visited Koh Phi Phi during the pandemic in January 2021. Many things will differ once borders open and tourists start coming back to the beautiful island. This is an account of our unique experience. We highly recommend anyone who has the opportunity to visit during this time to do so and support the local businesses while you are there. I’m against those who describe it as a ghost town. If you are in search of loud parties and all night bars maybe it’s not the best choice but it is what I imagine the island may have been 30 years ago before tourism truly took over the little beaches.
I didn’t know much about Chiang Rai before our first visit. I had seen a few photos of temples that looked too stunning to miss and thought we should spend a few nights exploring rather than squeeze in a rushed day trip. I’m so glad we did stay for a few days and were able to experience The Riverie while we were there. Located adjacent to the center of town, The Riverie is a fully equipped five star resort that has all the facilities for an ultimate family vacation but also close enough to all the sights so you can easily explore. Our family suite was spacious boasting mountainous views, a cozy separate lounge, bunk beds for Ever and River, and a grand master bedroom. Their style is accented by Lanna culture and tradition but with modern comforts throughout the property. We loved dining riverside as well as feasting on authentic Chinese cuisine and seeing the pretty light show each evening. The tranquil pool was perfect after a day of sightseeing and the kids had way too much fun at the splash pad and in the fully equipped Kids Club. The resort is only a short drive to the iconic Blue Temple and White Temple as well as within a few minutes from town where you can check out the local spas, street food, and night market. A great choice for families or groups visiting Chiang Rai and searching for five star amenities near the city.
Chiang Rai has an international airport with direct flights from Bangkok. You can also take a bus or private car from Chiang Mai which takes approximately 3 hours. We took the Green Bus which you can book online or directly at the Chiang Mai Bus Terminal. It was under 300 baht per person and the bus was comfortable and air conditioned with seat belts.