Last Updated on May 18, 2021 by worldoftravelswithkids
Thailand is a wonderful family holiday destination, but what if you are looking for something different? After our first trip to Thailand with kids, we got very enthusiastic and started planning our next trip right away. We asked several other travel bloggers where they would recommend for an off the beaten track Thailand with kids recommendations. These destinations are sure to make for a unique Thailand family holiday and we hope you are inspired by these hidden gems in Thailand as we are!
Off The Beaten Track Thailand With Kids
Elephant Hills Khao Sok
When looking for off the beaten path places to visit in Thailand, we were recommended an amazing nature resort called Elephant Hills. Set in the jungle of Khao Sok National Park, this is a unique place that is totally different from anything else we have experienced in Thailand. Lush rainforest, wildlife, ethical elephant encounters, and glamping at its very best. These are just a couple of reasons to include this place in your Thailand family trip itinerary.
Elephant Hills is a privately-owned resort and a unique concept I haven’t seen anywhere else. Focused on nature and off the beaten track Thailand experiences, it offers pre-designed tours with various activities and two glamping accommodation options – Elephant Camp and Rainforest Camp. This is an all-inclusive vacation where all the meals and activities are included. However, it doesn’t cater to mass tourism and therefore can’t be compared to staying at a beach resort.
All the tours include meeting, feeding, and washing the elephants. This is an absolute highlight for families with children! In addition, and depending on the package you choose, you can explore the jungle on foot, go kayaking in the rainforest or on the lake, and stay in one or both of their unique tented glamping accommodations.
Elephant Camp is the main resort with a big restaurant and a swimming pool. It allows children from 4 years old. Rainforest Camp has tents that are floating on the lake (yes, you read that correctly). They allow children from 7 years old. Waking up to the jungle sounds surrounded by the most amazing scenery and jumping in the lake for a morning swim straight from your tent is a magical experience. Our kids can’t stop talking about this place!
Contributed by Full Suitcase Family Travel Blog
Chanthaburi is a relatively unknown gem in Eastern Thailand. It nicely breaks up the journey between the bright lights of Bangkok and the chilled-out island vibes of Koh Chang (3.5 hours from Bangkok and 2.5 hours from Koh Chang). This is a fantastic option if you are short on time and want to avoid an internal flight or overnight train when visiting Thailand with kids. Although, this sleepy old gem town nestled on the banks of the River Chanthaburi, and oozing in history, is worthy of a couple of nights stay in its own right.
Spend day one wandering around the narrow streets, gem markets (open weekends), the temples and cathedral (the biggest in South East Asia). On day two, arrange a songthaew to take you to Namtok Phlio National Park for a jungle adventure! Ensure you are all lathered in mossie repellent and pack drinking water. It’s a 20-minute drive to the gates. Then 1km loop a walk around the river visiting various pools full of large nibbling fish, fed by cascading waterfalls. If you’re brave enough, pop in for a dip with the locals! You can also grab a bite to eat here from one of the many food stalls. Chanthaburi is a great off the beaten track Thailand destination.
Contributed byTraveLynn Family
If you look at Koh Phangan beyond the monthly madness that the Full Moon party brings, you’ll discover a beautiful laid back paradise with a spiritual heart. The only area to avoid is the southeast corner of the island.
To go truly off the beaten path while having easy access to all possible amenities, Chaloklum (also spelled Chaloklaam), a fishing village in the North, is an ideal base. Thai-owned shops and restaurants outnumber the foreign-owned ones. The few expats who call Chaloklum home are those who’ve fully assimilated here.
Every Sunday afternoon at 5 pm a local market opens its doors by the Chaloklum pier. It’s an array of strictly local foods and snacks and you can fully feel the authentic community vibe there. Kids run around, there are a few friendly stray dogs and everybody’s having fun.
If you like more of a wilderness, the Northeast of the island and its East are pristine and mostly undeveloped. The access is not easy, though, and the roads can get tricky.
When traveling with a child to Koh Phangan, you can either rent a car for the safest transport, or you can choose a scooter, as many families do. Remember to always put on a helmet, all of you!
Contributed by Travel Geekery
If you are looking for a beautiful, unspoiled, and tranquil Thai island, Koh Libong could be the place for you. Koh Libong is a beautiful laidback island where you can experience local island village life whilst enjoying beautiful sunsets and long deserted beaches.
The only thing that Koh Libong is (slightly) famous for, is the presence of dugongs in the seas around the island. These manatee-like creatures have become vulnerable to extinction but have made the island one of their last strongholds.
Back on land, much of the island remains uninhabited. You will find a few traditional Muslim fishing villages, a jungle interior, and some rubber-tree plantations. The most interesting village to explore is Batu Bute where you will find wooden stilt houses over the water in a pretty bay. The locals here are friendly and genuine with tourists, the majority still make their living through fishing.
We definitely recommend this island to families that are happy to get off the beaten path Thailand. We were here with young children (1 and 4) who enjoyed swimming and snorkeling from the beach and cutting the bark of the rubber trees and watching the sap run out.
There are only a few hotels on the island but you can choose from luxury to budget beach bungalows. They are all clustered along the isolated beaches of the western coast and there is nothing in the way of nightlife. Find out more about the island in our Koh Libong Guide.
Contributed By More Life In Your Days
Ko Chang (Andaman Coast)
Ko Chang, a forested island that lies off the Andaman Coast not far from the Burmese border, is a world away from the more famous Thai islands that have become overrun with tourists. Life still moves at a slow pace here, with no cars at all on the island. Even the electricity supply can be sporadic and unreliable.
If you want to unplug and get away from it all, while experiencing authentic Thai island life with friendly locals, this is the place. While tourism is not completely unknown here, it remains pretty low key. There are no large hotels here, just rickety wooden and bamboo bungalows.
The only way to reach Ko Chang is by taking a 2.5-hour ride on a long-tail boat from Ranong on the mainland. Just tell the boatman which bungalow you’ll be staying at, and he will drop you off there. Keep in mind that there is also another Thai island that goes by the same name. The other Ko Chang is a much larger and more developed island on the other side of the country. You definitely don’t want to confuse the two.
The Ko Chang on the Andaman coast is a very safe, relaxed and chilled out place that’s very suitable for kids, assuming they are happy to just play on the beach. While it’s possible to go on jungle hikes around the island, the main appeal of Ko Chang is its lack of infrastructure, which means that there aren’t many organized activities on offer. It’s the perfect place to laze on the beach, watch the sunset, and enjoy authentic Thai food prepared by the locals.
Contributed by The Nomadic Vegan
Just off the coast of the Pattaya is one of the tops off the beaten track Thailand with kids places to visit. Located in the azure waters of the Gulf of Thailand, the powdery white sand beaches and clear water of Ko Larn Island are top-notch. Not as crowded as the more popular mainland, Ko Larn gives your family the space to enjoy the beauty of nature. Just imagine lying back and enjoying the sunset without having your view blocked by other tourists.
Among the six main beaches of Ko Larn Island, the most popular are Samae and Tawaen, where most of the hotels and hostels are located. It is also here where one will find bars, restaurants, and lounge chairs which can be rented for a day. To explore the island, it is here that one can arrange a tour around the island for around 400 Baht. It is also here that you can find motorbikes for rent for as low as 300 Baht a day.
The most picturesque among the beaches of Ko Larn is Tien Beach where the postcard photos of Thai beaches come to life. This is also the quietest spot on the island, usually frequented by families. Also, a bit more upscale than Samae and Taewen Island. You will find more comfortable lounge chairs on this part of the island.
Why Koh Larn is great to visit for families? Mainly because of water sports! Your kids will have a lot to do on the island. Parasailing, snorkeling, and diving are some of the most popular activities. Those seeking unique experiences should check out the undersea walk or jet ski.
Contributed by Lazy Travel Blog
Sleeper Train From Bangkok
Contributed by Smith’s Holiday Road
Kanchanaburi is located just over two hours west of Bangkok. It has plenty of transport options available including bus, minivan, and train. There are also loads of things to do in Kanchanaburi making it a very practical destination for your family to visit, whether you are in Thailand for a short one week, or a longer one-month expedition. Some attractions near the town center have grown in popularity massively. However, what many don’t realize is how much more this province really offers.
Just under 30 minutes west of town you will find the ancient Khmer style temple called Prasat Muang Sing, a lesser-known version of Angkor Wat. It was built back in the 12th or 13th century, long before the ancient city in Ayutthaya. A small entry fee allows you into the huge historical park. Here you can explore the ancient buildings throughout the complex. With hardly any visitors, there are just a couple of slow-moving cars, so kids can pretty much run free.
Travel another 10 minutes south of Prasat Muang Sing and you will come across the floating jungle rafts houses at Tayan Resort. These rafts allow you to stay directly on the river at just a fraction of the price of the more popular resorts in town. Throw on a life jacket, jump in the water, and ride the river downstream from one end of the resort to the other. Hop out and repeat. This is an activity which is sure to keep the kids, and yourself, busy for hours. I guarantee you will all sleep well afterward too.
Contributed by The Lost Passport
Thailand has a plethora of islands and destinations to choose from. It can be hard to pick the best ones out to visit. Personally, we love to visit the less touristy islands so we can immerse in the culture and truly enjoy the place without all the hustle and bustle. Plus, with fewer tourists and crowds, it’s way easier to navigate as a family.
Known as the Maldives of Thailand, Koh Lipe is located in southern Thailand near the Thailand/Malaysia border. It has three main beaches and the main street – it’s relatively pretty small. We’ve been to Koh Lipe multiple times over the last five years and recommend it to everyone. It is a little trickier to travel to, but we promise it is worth it!
Besides hanging out on the beach and relaxing with the family, renting a private longtail boat is the perfect way to explore the nearby islands. You can have the boat take you wherever you would like to go, including all the regular programmed day trips. The possibilities are endless! We also recommend staying at the Salisa Resort, as we’ve stayed there multiple times. It has the best location, making it an easy walk to Walking Street, which connects you to the main town.
Contributed by Getting Stamped
One of the off the beaten track destinations in Thailand is Pai. A small town northern Thailand’s Mae Hong Son Province, close to Myanmar border. Unless you are an ardent Thailand traveler, chances are you have never heard of Pai before, yet it has everything that can make your trip unforgettable – starting from the getting to Pai. The Road to Pai is famous from having 762 bends so if you go there remember to take motion sickness pills before the trip – trust me.
One of the reasons why Pai is a great destination for a family is that it is just a beautiful place. You can relax and not feel the pressure of anything. Plus, Pai is a bit cooler than close Chiang Mai. If you still feel too hot you can jump into Mhor Phaeng or Pembok waterfalls. The later particularly as it has a rock to jump off and a deep enough pool beneath to accommodate it.
Pai also gives you the most authentic way to experience the natural beauty of Thailand. The natural landscape of rice terraces surrounding Pai is as stunning as it gets. It a great place to explore on a motorbike.
Last but not least, meeting the Pai locals is what makes the whole experience remarkable. We met there Long Neck Tribe which wasn’t commercial. The town itself is quite small. The streets, markets, and attractions some of the best places to meet and interact with local people. Moreover, there is a decent level of English in Pai, so you will feel right at home. They will tell you all about the secrets to the hidden life in the town, and ensure you have a great time.
Contributed by The Travelling Twins
Kaeng Krachan National Park
Kaeng Krachan National Park is a large nature reserve on the border of Thailand and Myanmar. It is home to an incredible array of wildlife. From the magnificent hornbills to colorful butterflies, monkeys, porcupines, and even leopards.
This national park is a fantastic place for families and curious kids. Being as it is in the middle of the jungle well and truly off the beaten track. It is best to keep children close at all times. Thailand is home to venomous snakes and spiders so precautions should be taken if camping by keeping the tent closed and checking shoes for creepy crawlies before putting them on.
Kaeng Krachan is a must for families looking for peace, nature lovers and photographers. The administration building at Ban Krang has a rooftop platform where you can see the monkeys and black squirrels darting from tree to tree and jungle hikes are ranging in length. It is possible to stay within the campsite. You will still see more wildlife than you would find in most places anywhere in the world.
At the main entrance to the park near Kaeng Krachan Town, there is a visitor center, restaurant, and a large lake. It is possible to book hotel or camping accommodation here or hire a truck to take you right into the jungle where you can camp at the Ban Krang campsite (facilities are a lot more basic).
If you have a car while in Thailand it is easy to reach the visitor center, but if you are relying on public transport it’s a little more complicated (which keeps the crowds away). From Bangkok Airport take the bus to Hui Hin Airport where you can transfer to private taxi or minivan to the park
Contributed by The Trip Goes On
Other opportunities to find hidden gems in Thailand
Another way to discover those off the beaten path, or hidden gems of Thailand is to visit a popular place like Chang Mai. However, instead of staying in the most touristed area, we love the idea of staying in a residential area and exploring from there. Discover the Santitham area, north of the old city which has an authentic feel in this Travel guide to Santitham in Chang Mai.
The Verdict – Off The Beaten Track Thailand With Kids
So here you have it 11 very unique Thailand experiences to consider. If you know a place that we should put on our less touristed Thailand itinerary, please drop a comment below! We have plans to be back in Thailand in the next couple of years. I am bursting with enthusiasm to experience a more Off the Beaten Track Thailand.
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