Mini destinations (I): Thailand with children
There is another Thailand in addition to the full moon parties, the debauchery of Khao San Road or the crazy nights of the red Nana district. The Thailand that we are going to discover, is perfect for traveling with the little ones: because of the weather, the security and that devotion that Thai people feel towards children, which causes them to give you the place in any means of transport and even you Take your hands off in restaurants, in addition to wanting to pose for countless photographs.
The Thai capital is probably the most intense of the trip. Here the best and worst of Thailand is concentrated and it can often be too much for the little ones. Run away from the heat, from traffic jams and don't try to walk - let alone push a baby carriage - down its ramshackle and invaded sidewalks. Here are some tips:
- Take advantage of the day in its less hot hours. Start your visits early and enjoy the hotel pool at noon, when traffic makes moving around the city a (at least) complicated mission.
- Visit any of these two museums: the Snake Museum and the Siam Museum. In the first one, they will learn a lot from Frank de la Jungle's favorite animal, and they will even be able to watch a live show in which the caretakers show how to get the snake venom; in the second, multimedia games and installations will make the little ones have fun and learn about siamese culture almost without knowing.
- Visit the short Grand Palace, or do it without them. The heat and crowds may be too much even for adults. If you want to know the temples of Ayutthaya, return in a boat like the Grand Pearl, in which in addition to eating, the little ones will entertain themselves watching the landscape on the banks of the Chao Phraya.
Ayutthaya, Thai sophistication © Corbis
- Tour the Chao Phraya river channels at sunset in a long-tailed boat, and plays to see who sees the first varano lizard, often remembered from the sun under the houses on pillars.
- Ride in a tuk-tuk, a fun way to travel short stretches in the city that is always successful among adults and children.
Chao Phraya River, the Kings River and the frantic activity of Bangkok © Corbis
- On days of rain or excessive heat, get hold of Funarium, Kidzania or the Siam Ocean World aquarium. Or go to the ultramodern cinemas (in original version) of any mall, one of the cheapest attractions in Thailand.
- At lunchtime, opt for simple dishes that are not spicy, such as fried rice in all its varieties, barbecue chicken with sticky rice or marinated pork or chicken skewers.
- Visit Lumpini Park in the late afternoon or early in the morning, when Thais practice tai-chi. Here too the great lizards roam freely without approaching humans. Or approach the Railroad Park and rent bicycles to spend a few hours pedaling under its centenary trees.
A tuk-tuk ride © Corbis
- Leave the shopping for the night. Go to the night market of Asiatique, and ends the day having dinner at their outdoor restaurants and riding on their ferris wheel overlooking the river.
- A hotel: Ariyasom Villa, a beautiful Thai house in the center with a large pool, very popular with families.
- A restaurant: the terrace of the Mandarin Oriental hotel, for its transfer of boats and its children's menu. Take the boat from the hotel that crosses to the other side to entertain the little ones while waiting.
- An advice: Give yourself a foot massage with the little ones, you will be surprised how easily they can fall asleep in the big chairs.
The Mandarin Oriental terrace has a children's menu © Mandarin Oriental
Chiang Mai is the perfect place for Nature lovers and adventure sports. The most important city in northern Thailand is still conserving an air of town that makes it very accessible. Nature, good food and a lot of culture are its hallmarks. From Bangkok, consider taking the night train to Chiang Mai. The first class cars have four-bed compartments, and are planted in Chiang Mai in about 14 hours starting at 24 euros.
- Start with the elephants, a sure hit with the little ones. Visit the Patara Elephant Camp, and learn like a true mahout All the secrets of riding, bathing and feeding these meek giants.
Dip in the Mekong © Carmen Gómez Menor
- Sign up with your children in a cooking course. Thai food is very simple to prepare, and nothing entertains a child more than getting down to work.
- Fly over the forest as if you were a gibbon, moving from tree to tree with the help of the zip lines. You will have a privileged perspective of the Thai jungle and its most exotic inhabitants, in addition to helping its conservation. From 5 years old.
- First thing in the morning, get ahead of the groups and the heat and visit Doi Suthep, the most sacred temple in Chiang Mai and with spectacular views of the city from more than 1,000 meters above sea level. To get to the top, take the cable car and enjoy the scenery and experience. Continue up the mountain and after passing the coffee plantations, go to try the local variety at any of the roadside stalls. Enjoy Pine forests with a short walk and end the day in the village of Changkian, an authentic Hmong community in which you can test your archery skill or participate in the work of the mountain tribe's field.
- Tour the Ping River in a boat and enjoy a very relaxing way to see the temples, houses and markets of the river that crosses Chiang Mai.
- Visit the Monkey College, where they are trained to climb the tall palm trees and catch the coconuts, or collect the fruits of the tamarind trees. Friendly animals also play football and ride a bicycle, in a very relaxed environment where they seem to be very well treated.
- Visit the night market. Large, cheap and with a multitude of food and ice cream stalls, if in Bangkok you were left wanting a full-fledged street market, it is your best option. Traditional dances, magic tricks and even the occasional elephant coming from the center next to the market.
- A hotel: Yaang Come Village, for its adjoining connecting rooms and its comfortable pool, in addition to its central location a few meters from the night market.
- A restaurant: Antique House, a beautiful house next to the Ping River. On the menu, pineapple rice served in the same fruit, and vegetable tempura.
- An advice: Chiang Mai's altitude makes its temperature colder than Bangkok. Between November and February, high season, it is convenient to book the attractions in advance.
It may not be the beach that adventurers who want to be alone would choose, but Phuket has undoubted attractions, and one of them is the great variety of infrastructures for children, and the wide selection of restaurants, attractions and medical services. The best advice is to enjoy the beach, one of the best places for children to entertain themselves, but here are some others:
- Visit the surrounding islands aboard a speedboat. They are easy to rent at any beach and provide snorkeling equipment, goggles and tube. Go to the James Bond Island call after watching the movie The Man with the Golden Gun, shot right there. Or rent some kayaks for Visit Phang Nga Bay and its limestone caves.
Thailand with children: good weather and perfect beaches © Corbis
- Visit the Phuket Aquarium to know what marine fauna populates their funds.
- Camp on the beach of Rang Yai Island. For only 5 euros a day including the tent, spend a night under the stars to the cooing of the waves, imagining stories of shipwrecked and pirates.
- A hotel: JW Marriot, for its quiet beach and fantastic children's club, which offers circus training, trapeze practices and much more.
- A restaurant: the simple and familiar Beach Bar in Cape Panwa, with its tables in the sand to enjoy in the first line of the sunset, while the children look for shells or play to catch the small crabs that leave the sand at low tide.
- An advice: Make use of the babysitting services of most hotels for a romantic dinner or a refreshing massage. Take advantage of the good hand of the Thais with the children!
Thailand with children? Yes © Corbis