Thailand is not just a destination for the backpacker or those going on a gap-year anymore, and it actually makes for a great family vacation and a perfect place to introduce your kids to Asia. Although Phuket city itself may have a reputation for being crowded, chaotic and a little seedy, the surrounding areas are home to beautiful white sand beaches, clear turquoise waters, world class hotels, and great attractions for the whole family. Here are our pick of the best:
Chinese Junk Cruising - Sailing on a traditional wooden Chinese Junk across the Phang Nga Bay, has to be one of the must-do activities in Phuket and a traditional Thai experience that the whole family will enjoy. Sail the limpid blue waters past emerald green lime-stone karsts, visit the famous James Bond Island and see the indigenous sea gypsies or Chao Ley who live out on the bay.
Snorkelling the Phi Phi Islands - Snorkelling is a great way to introduce your kids to a world under the sea, they will be amazed at the colours and life down below the waves and it will be able to capture their attention for hours. Even just floating on the surface without swimming at all can be an amazing experience. The uninhabited islands of Phi Phi off the coast of Phuket are home to some of the world’s most beautiful coral reefs and tropical fish and will make for an unforgettable experience.
Phuket Aquarium - If your kids are too young for snorkelling, you may want to take them to visit the excellent Phuket Aquarium filled with many species of tropical fish, over 30 tanks, and a large walk through tunnel where you’re surrounded by sharks, manta rays, snappers and giant groupers.
Splash Jungle Water Park - The Splash Jungle Water Park was designed and created by one of the world’s leading water equipment makers, who also create rides in Disneyland and SeaWorld in Florida. It covers an area of 6,400sqm and features rides such as The Boomerang, The Lazy River and a whole play area for the little ones. It makes for a great fun day out when it’s just too hot to do anything else.
Phuket Butterfly Garden & Insect World - Reputed to be one of the best butterfly gardens in the world, the gardens feature over 40 different kinds of butterflies from all over Thailand, as well as many different types of insects. Kids will love discovering the various types of creepy crawlies, finding out how silk is made from silk worms, and marvelling at the multi-coloured butterflies. A fun and educational day out that teaches kids about nature and the importance of being environmentally friendly.
Phuket Shell Museum - Kids are usually fascinated by sea shells, from the shapes and the colours, to the tiny animals that live inside, and the sound of ocean, so a great option is to take them to the Phuket Shell Museum, supposedly the largest shell museum in the world, with over 2,000 specimens. Admire the world’s biggest golden pearl, giant clams and fossils dating back 380 million years.