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My son (15) and I want to take Thai language lessons in Thailand.
Has anyone ever done this? Can you recommend a school? We're more
interested in places outside Bangkok than in the city. We're
thinking of Chiang Mai. What will the weather be like in northern
Thailand in August, which is the only time we can go. Thanks for
When we were in Thailand in late July/early August, it was pretty hot everywhere we
went, including Chiang Mai. Generally I found Thailand hot and humid, and well
worth any discomfort. We got used to having a rest from the heat (in our hotel)
after lunch--did our exploring in the morning and later afternoon/evening. It
rained part of the time, too, but it wasn't cold. We loved Chiang Mai--I found it
much more appealing than Bangkok, which is interesting but can be overwhelming.
(Didn't take any language lessons.)
We're thinking of travelling to Thailand this summer with 2 18-
year-olds. Is this a good idea? They'd like the beach, we'd
like some history/culture. We're not excited about staying in a
big resort -- bungalows on the beach is more our style, but we
don't speak the language, so it needs to cater to tourists.
Where would be a good location for us? Does anyone have
recommendations for actual places to stay?
The website has listings for children, but we're not that little.
Thanks for any advice.
Hi, I've been to Thailand several times, first as a teenager
myself, then as a parent with teen kids in tow. Thailand is
generally an easy country for non-Thai speakers to get around
in, as tourism is a major industry. Depending on what your
teens like to do, there is plenty to keep them occupied.
Thailand is a beautiful country with so much to offer - the
Lonely Planet guide to Thailand is a good starting point.
My teens liked swimming at the beach and shopping in the city,
so I will give some recs about those topics...
I have bad memories as a teen of the beach resorts closer to
Bangkok (such as Pattaya), as an Asian girl I got some
unwelcome attention from non-Thai males who mistook me for a
prostitute! The beaches are nice enough I suppose. And things
may well have changed since the 80s! Still, the prevalence of
the sex industry in certain neighborhoods can be a shocker and
you would probably want to steer your teens away from that
whole scene, although it is certainly sadly educational. Also,
maybe you're aware that Thailand has become a bit of a venue
for the drug/rave/party scene among young people fom all over
the world, and 18 year olds from most other affluent countries
have grown up without American restrictions on full-on partying
(English kids drink from age 16 for example)... your kids will
probably love meeting other young peple, though. For a quieter
beach resort, you could try the island of Koh Pha Ngan, there
is a wonderful collection of bungalows integrated into the rock
walls of a cove called ''The Sanctuary'' (http://www.thesanctuary-
kpg.com/ that is run by a Buddhist Englishwoman and a Thai
family, great food and away from the party scene at Had Rin. If
your kids like more activity it is a short boat ride to Had Rin
and all the activities there. All the islands take a while to
get to, but you will get to see the country somewhat.
If your kids don't like temples and museums, they could easily
spend days at the mall watching movies, ice-skating (!) just
like in California! Bangkok has endless upscale and funkier
shopping options for mall-minded teens as well (the
Mahboonkrong Center has a lot of teen-budget boutiques and Kao
Sarn Road sells designer knock-offs and hippie/beach wear -
similar to Telegraph Ave, but tropical). Places to stay in
Bangkok - you can check online for discount hotel rooms, such
as at www.discount-bangkok-hotels.net, you might be surprised
how reasonable even luxury rooms are if you book online.
Otherwise Lonely Planet has the contact details of a number of
Have a wonderful trip!
Ahh Thailand. You'll have a great time. Thai people are so friendly. And it is super
easy to travel around- you don't need to know Thai.
At first Bangkok will seem polluted and crazy, but there's so much to do. I especially
liked Wat Pho- the temple of the healing arts, riding the river boats on the main
river Chayo Praya, and the weekend market- it's huge. Buy all your souvenirs there.
They have EVERYTHING...clothes, fabric, handicrafts, animals, bugs to eat, food,
The rest of your trip will be determined by how much time you have. If you have
only a week to spare, you'll want to go to an island close to Bangkok- like Koh
Chang. (Koh means island) Or if you have more time to explore, head south. You
can go to the Gulf of Thailand or to the Adaman sea. My favorite islands are Koh
Phangnan and Ko Lipe. You can easily find a bungalow on any of these islands.
Khao Sok national park is also amazing if you are advenerous. Be prepared for
leeches and other Thai wildlife. It's great.
I wish I were you!
A Thai friend of mine, Kanyarat coordinates trips designed
specifically for you - whether you like trekking into the
jungles of the national forests or lounging on pristine beaches
and snorkeling in brilliant blue waters - or both. Having
traveled extensively in the area, she knows the secret spots in
the jungle with the deep emerald pools and where to hire a boat
to take you to explore the islands. Whether you have teenagers
or toddlers, she will find out what would make your trip
perfect for you. She can work within your budget: recommending
posh resorts (some of which she even helped design) or finding
beachfront bungalows for $10 a night. She sent me a photo
album from a trip she organized for another friend of mine, and the sites
just make you stop and stare in awe. The nature reserves where
they went snorkeling have the bluest water and the most
beautiful sandy beaches. She is a wonderful resource who loves
to share her native land. She is working on helping Thailand
rebuild after the Tsunami, and hopes to help rebuild their
tourism industry by working with people directly. Those who
have traveled her itineraries return knowing why Thailand is
the Land of Smiles. We are also working with Kan to plan a trip
this fall. Feel free to contact her at
I'm thinking about going to Thailand with my mother and almost 4
yo daughter. I've read the achives about traveling there with a
baby, but there aren't many specific places mentioned. Does
anyone have any ideas for places to visit and specifc things to do?
I read over the posts that are currently on the website (Aug 25)
and thought there were good family recomendations, places like
Pai, Chang Mai, and the islands (not imo Samui and Phuket). I
spent about 6 weeks in Thailand a couple of years ago hiking,
boating/beaching/swimming/diving,temple wandering and
sight-seeing, and lots of long range traveling throughout the
country-- N-S-E-W (sans child). We have friends that went there
last year and stayed in Bangkok for a 10 day vacation at a nice
hotel with a pool, shopping and site seeing. Their choices were
so different then ours, but Thailand is so diverse that it
accomodates all, so your options will depend on what you want to
do/see and what your toddler will like/tolerate. I spent some
time on a remote island in a grass hut (common lodging), and
became friends with a Canadian couple who had brought their 1.5
year old daughter to stay two weeks on this beach. She was
thrilled, they were happy and they had no qualms about ''roughing
it'' with the baby. But Thailand is large and appeals to many
different crowds, so I would get a Lonely Planet or other
guidebook that jives with your travel style and leaf through
their recommendations, find things that interest you as well
recommendations for your travel choices and transport. Also
Lonely Planet (and I'm sure others) have a great warnings/dangers
section that I found useful (in retrospect) to alerting me to
current scams. I say in 'retrospect' because when I read these
warnings I think--who would possibly fall for that? However I
met traveler after traveler who did--probably because they hadn't
been alerted to the possibity of say taking a ride with a driver
who offers to take you shopping...for a suit...to get gas
vouchers for himself... I would definetely get the recommended
immunizations incl. hep. and tetanus at least. Hydration is impt.
as others mentioned, and I was very sensitive to the pollution in
Bangkok which affected me if I was out walking all day (you
probably won't be). That said Thailand is a modern, very safe
country with all the ammenities you need, great food, and
wonderful places to explore. Have fun!
My husband and I lived and worked in Thailand for a year in
'96 and part of '97. We have been yearning to go back ever
since we returned, but one thing after another happened
and we haven't made it yet. This Christmas we will have
about 2 and a half weeks off and really want to take
advantage of the opportunity and just pick up and go back to
Thailand during that time. The problem is this: Our 5 month
old son will be almost a year (in fact he will turn 1 during that
time) and we are concerned about a variety of issues.
Having been to Thailand, we know that there are few, if any,
seatbelts in cabs, busses etc. We could rent a car, but they
drive on the left and traffic (especially in Bangkok) is
horrendous, so we don't really want to drive around
ourselves (but we would if that turns out to be the only viable
option). The other major concern is that my husband and I
both have back problems, so one of those backpack
carrriers is not really an option for us. That leaves us with
only a stroller as a way to transport our son around, which
seems like a pain to deal with. I also dread a 17 hour flight
with a mobile 1 year old. We don't want to leave him with his
grandparents (who would be ecstatic to have him) because
we want to be with him for his first Christmas and birthday.
Are we crazy for even thinking about this? Just writing this
has made me think that the cons outweigh the pros. Has
anyone attempted something like this?
Earlier this year we traveled to Thailand with our new baby (2
months old at the time) and a toddler who was born when we lived
in Bangkok. Your concerns about seatbelts and transportation are
valid, but if you're willing to take a bit of a risk you can
have a great time there with children. You can easliy find safe
food, disposable diapers and other supplies in major cities,
good affordable medical care is available, and families with
kids (especially foreign kids) tend to be welcomed with
incredible warmth in hotels and restaurants.
We risked taxi rides without seatbelts to get around the city,
keeping a sharp eye on the drivers and asking them to take it
easy whenever we got an overagressive fellow behind the wheel.
Alternatively you can hire a car and driver, either from a local
tour operator or a car rental agency like Hertz -- much more
expensive than taxis, but not exhorbitantly so. Just make it
very clear to the rental agency that you will require seatbelts
in front AND back. For airport transfer you can use the
limousine services that have desks in the arrivals hall at the
airport -- virtually all have seatbelts.
In my view, your back troubles present more of a problem. Thai
cityscapes are not at all stroller-friendly. You'll encounter
frequent impediments -- uneven surfaces and high curbs, parked
cars and motorcycles blocking the sidewalk, roads that can only
be crossed by climbing stairs to pedestrian overpasses, commuter
train stations without escalators ... you'll frequentlyo find
yourself in situations where you have to lift your son over
these obstacles. If you're really not up to the lifting, you'll
just have to avoid places the stroller won't go. If you spend
some time away from Bangkok at a beach resort, you can relax in
a relatively stroller-friendly environment.
In Bangkok we rented a serviced apartment, which offered many of
the amenities of a hotel, but with a decent kitchen and plenty
of space for our toddler to play (several locations listed at
A friend of mine who has lived in Thailand for her entire life
excepting her few years at Berkeley suggests checking out:
www.bambi-bangkok.org, which may give you some help planning
your trip to Thailand with a young 'un. Seventeen hours is a
long time on the plane, but your tike will probably sleep
through half of it AND there are plenty of aisle ways to walk
him up and down. He'll be fine.
Though, as a Mom of a 15-month old, I would jump a the chance
to take a few weeks alone without the baby. At five-months, I
may have been thinking along the same lines as you, but once I
emerged from new-baby fog, I realized that while baby's first
holidays are exciting, they can actually be celebrated on days
different from the real ones and the baby will be none the
wiser (Christmas was celebrated 12 December, because I didn't
want to lug the presents with me on our family vacation over
the holidays and her birthday was celebrated a week early due
to Daddy being out of town on the actual birthday). Just make
sure that you take lots of pictures, but don't time/date stamp
-planning a similar trip, too
We travelled 27 hours from Zimababwe to Ko Samui in 1999 with
our six week old and our 16 month old. We found Thailand to be
very very family friendly and people went out of their way to
play with, hold and help our kids and us. The plane ride was
very dificult with our 16 month old refusing to sleep the entire
way. I recommend you request (in advance) front row seats which
have the bassinets which attach to the front wall. Consider
taking some calming remedies (herbs/homeo., whatever works for
you and them).
I was generally worried about how safe we would be but found it
instantly not to be a problem. We took a sturdy stroller that
reclined fully and had a visor that pulled down fully over the
seat. Our daughter who sometimes felt overwhelmed with attention
would simply retreat when necessary. Everyone wanted to touch
and hold the kids. At resturants our kids would be carried away
by friendly staff to be returned later happy and usually with a
big piece of fruit. The first time this happened I was really
panicked as I had vowed not to let them out of my sight, later I
relaxed as I saw my daughter playing in the back with thai kids.
In retrospect I am glad we were fairly close to a clinic - which
we did not plan for or use. But we met a Swedish family who had
a scary dehydration episode with their baby and felt grateful
for the experience of the local clinic doctor who insisted on a
drip (when they felt their kid would be fine in the morning).
While we were careful, we all had short bouts of tummy
illnesses -- these can get serious quickly for babies and
children, so I would not wait 24 hours in the case of severe
diahrrea or vomiting.
Go and have a great time.
My husband has been invited to speak at a conference this
December at the Botannical Gardens in Chaing Mai, Thailand. Our
daughter will be 14 mo. old at that time. We are thinking of
going and making a 2-3 week trip out of it. But we are
concerned about her comfort and health. We are wondering if
anyone has been there who might have advice about how well a 14
mo. old might tolerate the changes in food, water, and general
accomodations. We are excited to go but only if our daughter is
not going to have to suffer beyond the normal changes that come
with travel. Thanks for any input!
I first took my daughter with me to Thailand when she was 18
months old. We had a wonderful time and have been back three
times! That first trip was such a positive experience for us that
we haven't stopped traveling since! We've stayed in all kinds of
accommodations from the 5star Oriental Hotel to very rustic
remote island bungalows and we've never had any problems. Thai
culture is generally VERY child and baby friendly. (I found Spain
to be much less accommodating.)
That said Just a couple suggestions:
Avoid Pattaya, Phuket and Samui.
Unfortunately Pattaya is frequented by countless arrogant western
men looking for (and temporarily coupled up with) Thai girls-
Prostitution is everywhere and painfully blatant.
Phuket and Samui are looking these days like Waikiki Beach in
Hawaii. Very unThai-
Spend your first couple of nights in an upscale hotel while you
recover from the flight(s).
Watch out for common tourist traps... 'Tuk-Tuk' drivers and other
'tour guides' are notorious for taking people on overpriced
'tours' (in the blazing heat) to shops where they get a
commission on your purchases.
Hire a car (and driver) from almost any hotel - just specify no
shopping - and you'll be taken to the most amazing places!
Take a canal tour in Bangkok and be sure to visit Ayutthaya...
Chaing Mai is stunning! Be prepared to climb many many stairs on
your way to 'the temple'- Bring a sling or a baby backpack so
that you can keep your hands free to grip the rails.
Carry bottled water with you everywhere.
Have a great time!
Your child will be loved and accomodated in Thailand and she/he
will provide the opportunity to get to know even more Thais.
Re: safety, health, and food- Thai children are well fed and
cared for, you will find food for yours, too- so much fanciful
fruit, rice porridge, tofu, carrots, boiled chicken, etc- so
much. ''Mai pen rai''= no worries, it's all good! (more or less!)
We recently spent 4.5 years living in Thailand, and our son (now
2) was born in Bangkok. While we were there, some friends from
Marin and their 16-month-old daughter visited us for a couple of
weeks. We were in Bangkok, but also went to Chiang Mai, Pai
(little village), and Koh Samui. She did just fine w/ the food;
ate a lot of rice and noodles, stir-fried vegetables, grilled or
stir-fried meat and fish. We often asked the restaurant staff to
prepare a separate dish without spices for the toddler. Water
and other beverages were fine -- just be careful about your
child ingesting water at bath time. UHT milk is readily
available in boxes, which is super convenient.
We found that Thai staff in restaurants and hotels are
incredibly gentle with children. They'll often entertain little
ones so the parents can eat in peace! Many restaurants do not
have highchairs, so if you have a lightweight clip-on chair,
that might be useful -- we used ours all the time.
I went to Thailand about a year and a half ago - before my
daughter was born. I can't commment on what it would be like
to travel to Thailand with a 14 month old, but I can comment on
the ease of getting around Thailand. I would take my daughter
there in a heartbeat - especially Chaing Mai. The city is so
clean, there are so many ex-pats there, and the people are
wonderful. The weather is beautiful in December, especially up
north. I would make travel around the country easy, though, by
using Thai Air to get around the country if you plan to go from
north to south to Bangkok. They do drive on the left side of
the road there - so if you end up renting a car to get around -
that's a factor! Also, I'm a very picky eater and I had no
problems eating there. Healthwise - Thailand is not a 3rd
world country, you don't need any immunizations to go there.
Again - there are so many freakin' tourists there in December
that you shouldn't have any problems getting around. I
remember being on Ao Nang Beach near Krabi in the south (after
spending a week in Chaing Mai) and seeing a beach full of white
faces. I wondered for a moment what country I was in!
Any recommendations on lodging/places to visit OR NOT visit to
Thailand witha 2 year old? We are especially interested in
beach, possibly Krabi/Ao Nang Beach area. Any recommendatons?
I highly recommend the Laem Set Inn on Ko Samui in southern
Thailand. They have a great set up -- especially for families.
We stayed in the thatched roof/beachfront bungalows and enjoyed
the beach, pools, paddle boats, bicylces and kayaks they
provide. The food is AMAZING, and they have a great playground
for kids including a small ferris wheel.
We traveled there in the off season (October) and the rates were
As a side note, to get there it's a fun and cheap ($8) overnight
train ride from Bangkok down the peninsula and then a short (1
hour?) ferry ride out to Ko Samui. Holler if you have any
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