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Why traveling through Thailand with kids is a must

After a few family road trips close to home there will come a time when you’ll think about a family self-drive in a different country. If you choose to go for Southeast Asia, Thailand will surely come to mind. Thailand is easily a favorite tourist destination for families.

I can speak from experience, because after visiting 50+ countries, Thailand is a place I’ll always come back to. And it’s such an amazing country for a family trip to Thailand. Thailand is a major tourist destination and therefore very well set up for families with kids.

Thailand is one of the easiest countries we’ve road tripped through with our kids. That is why I share this ultimate Thailand family road trip itinerary with you.

Traveling to Thailand with kids?

If you want to know what the best time is for a Thailand road trip or what it’s like to travel there with a baby or toddler, check out my Thailand with kids travel guide.

In this guide you’ll also find the best way to get to Thailand and how to get around the country. It’s pretty extensive so if you enjoy this Thailand family road trip itinerary and you’re ready to learn more about what Thailand is like, do check out my ultimate Thailand with kids travel guide.

Read more >> Ultimate Thailand with Kids Travel Guide

A young boy sits smiling in the driver's seat of a brightly decorated tuk-tuk at night. The tuk-tuk has colorful garlands hanging from the roof and vibrant seats.

Epic family road trip through Thailand

This 2 week itinerary brings you from Bangkok to Chiang Mai by car and ends with a night train back to Bangkok, before ending on the beaches of Koh Samet. A self-drive through Thailand is a great way to see more of this scenic country and gives you the freedom to stop wherever you please. Driving a vehicle through Thailand has its obstacles. The Thai tend to follow their own rules, in other words they don’t abide by the traffic rules.

Southeast Asia itinerary including Thailand

If you’re lucky enough to have the time to combine visits to more Southeast Asian countries, besides Thailand, pick Laos, Vietnam or Cambodia.

Family road trip Thailand, Vietnam and Cambodia

If you choose to go on a family road trip through Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam, check out the ultimate family road trip guide of Cambodia and the ultimate family road trip guide of Vietnam.

Start in Thailand and at the end of your Thailand trip you fly from Bangkok to Siem Reap and work your way down to the south. From Phnom Penh you catch a flight to Ho Chi Minh City and work your way up towards Hanoi, or even Sapa. Catch a flight back home from Hanoi.

Thailand Itinerary Map

An illustrated itinerary map of Thailand: A detailed illustrated map showing the road trip itinerary through Thailand.

Planning a family road trip to Thailand

Planning a family road trip can get pretty overwhelming. But don’t worry, I’ve got you covered with my eBook! I’ll be holding your hand every step of the way. Just to make sure your family road trip through Thailand will go smoothly.

Get my FREE ebook >> The Ultimate Beginners Guide: Planning a Family Road Trip

Now let’s get started and dive into this ultimate Thailand family road trip itinerary that will take your family from Bangkok to Chiang Mai and back down south in Koh Samet in 2 weeks. It covers all the highlights and leaves you wanting more.

The intricately decorated spire of Wat Arun, a famous temple in Bangkok, stands against a pale sky. The temple is adorned with colorful tiles and statues, and national flags are visible in the foreground.

Bangkok

There’s no better place to start your family trip in Thailand then Bangkok. Get over your jetlag and stay in an accommodation with a pool. Explore Bangkok before it gets to hot and hang by the pool with a drink in the hot hours of the afternoon.

You can easily spend 5 days in Bangkok, because there’s so much to do. But since this is a 2 week Thailand itinerary for families, sadly you only have 2 nights here.

The Grand Palace in Bangkok, featuring a golden stupa and intricate temple structures, framed by a lush green lawn and large trees.

Top things to do in Bangkok with kids

What should you see while in Bangkok? We did a lot while we were there, but our highlights were: the Royal Palace (Wat Phra Kaew), Wat Pho, Wat Arun, Chinatown and exploring the Khlongs (canals) on a long tail boat. Oh, and we had a lot of great food and also some not so great food (I fell into a tourist trap on Khao San Road and had a scorpio).

When you’re done exploring Bangkok, pick up your rental and start your road trip through Thailand.

Looking for the best things to do in Bangkok with kids? Read my blog post with 10 tips and more for a great family getaway.

Read more >> 10 Things to Do In Bangkok With Kids

The reclining Buddha statue at Wat Pho, gleaming in gold, fills the frame. The statue is housed in an ornately decorated hall with a richly patterned ceiling.

Top tours in Bangkok with kids

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Damnoen Saduak

After picking up your rental in Bangkok in the morning drive straight to the floating market Damnoen Saduak. It’s very touristy! But honestly, it’s very enjoyable, because it’s nice out on the water and you can buy all kinds of fruit that you can’t get in your own supermarket and all the while you can check out all the activity on the docks and on the boats itself that kept on bumping into each other. A really lively and fun experience.

Stay for an hour and a half before driving to your next destination.

A woman wearing a hat and apron sells colorful flower garlands from her wooden boat at a floating market. Other vendors and customers are visible in the background, creating a lively atmosphere.

Top tours to Damnoen Saduak with kids

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Nakhon Pathom

After the floating market drive to the small city Nakhon Pathom for about 50km to get to a stupa called Phra Pathom Chedi. This stupa is the tallest stupa in the world (127 meters tall). This city and stupa are often overlooked by tourists, but if you want to get a more realistic angle of Thai life then this is the place for you.

A large golden stupa with colorful flags strung around it, standing tall under a clear sky in Nakhon Pathom. People are walking up the stairs leading to the stupa, adding to the festive ambiance.

Top tours in Nakhon Pathom with kids

Kanchanaburi

Kanchanaburi is well known for its link to the Japanese occupation. There are 3 things to do in Kanchanaburi that you shouldn’t skip.

First is a visit to the Thailand-Burma Railway Centre. Learn about the history of the Thailand-Burma Railway.

It was sad to notice that they didn’t have much information about the Asian laborers.  It was much more about the Allied POW (prisoners of war). And while that is very important, it is sad that there was little info available about the hardships of the Asians themselves. But still it was a very meaningful experience that we wouldn’t want to miss.

After that visit the cemetery next to the museum. It’s a sad yet impressive sight to see. The Thailand-Burma Railway Centre is suitable from children ages 8 and up.

The famous Bridge on the River Kwai spans across a calm river, with lush greenery and hills in the background. The bridge is a historic structure, with a path leading up to it.

Thailand-Burma Railway

Of course these visits lead up to visiting the Thailand-Burma Railway aka Death Railway. People call it the bridge over the river Kwai because of the book and movie. But it’s actually over the Mae Klong river. Because of the success of the movie they very smartly renamed the river from Mae Klong to Kwae (=Kwai). All historical errors aside, visiting this bridge does make you think about all the horrors both the POW and Asian laborers must’ve gone through. So please make time for a visit.

Kids will also like it. Maybe they’re too young for a history lesson about war, but they will enjoy walking over this bridge and will surely remember this place.

My friends from Stamped Moments wrote a very informative article about their visit to the Death Railway, as the Thailand-Burma Railway is also known. Check it out if you want to have more background info about this place.

Three boys sit close to train tracks, engrossed in conversation and watching something on the ground. The scene is set at at the Kanchanaburi train station with greenery around the tracks.

Top tours in Kanchanaburi with kids

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Sai Yok National Park

The bridge is still very much in use. While my husband drove the car to our next destination. My son and I boarded the train that took us over the bridge and through the beautiful Three Pagodas Pass and brought us to one of our all-time favorite hotels.

Two children lean out of a train window, smiling and looking at the lush green landscape passing by. The background features hills and trees under a cloudy sky.

Or actually, a floatel. After leaving the train a bus drove us to the Phutakien pier in 45 minutes time. We had arrived in the middle of Sai Yok National Park and from the pier a longtail boat brought us to The River Kwai Jungle Rafts. An epic experience I highly recommend

We had two great nights in this eco friendly floatel. No phone reception, no internet, no electricity and no hot water. Just peace and quiet. Only the sounds of the jungle and laughter of children floating down the river in their lifejackets. And great food.

A wooden walkway with a thatched roof overlooks a muddy river surrounded by lush, dense jungle. Several small platforms with plants are tied to the side, adding a touch of greenery to the rustic setting.

Clean water on the road

You can’t drink tap water in Thailand. While outdoors or on the road you can avoid buying plastic water bottles when you bring a LARQ bottle. UV-light cleans the water in the bottle and also cleans the bottle itself after you’ve used it. Get your own LARQ bottle and always feel safe drinking water from taps all over the world. We never go anywhere without it.

Erawan National Park

Next drive to Erawan National Park. The biggest attraction is Erawan Falls with its emerald green ponds, named after the 3-headed white elephant of Hindu mythology. The falls have seven major tiers and some small ones. The top tier is said to look like the head of an elephant. Since we spend lots of time in the water at the lowest tier we didn’t get to check out the other ones, which is a pity. I’ve seen the pictures and if you have the time: hike on. It will be worth it and you’ll leave most of the tourist train being at the bottom tiers.

People swim and relax in a natural pool at the base of a cascading waterfall in a forested area. The waterfall is surrounded by greenery, creating a serene and refreshing atmosphere. This is one of the Erawan waterfalls in Thailand.

Top tours in Sai Yok National Park with kids

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How to keep the kiddos happy during this ultimate road trip through Thailand

As much as children love to explore, there’s a limit to what they want to do during the day that isn’t fully kid related. Make them and yourself happy by following some or all of these tips:

  • When you arrive in a new country stay in a pre-booked room. You don’t have to find something while you are all already tired and can check in immediately;
  • Stay there for two or three days so you can all acclimatize to this new place;
  • If you’re in a hot climate then book a place that has a pool, so they can cool off in the afternoon and you can do all the exploring in the mornings when it’s still relatively cool;
  • Every now and then find a playground for the kids to let loose;
  • Don’t worry if they don’t eat the local food for a couple of days. I always take small but nutritious snacks with me from home to give them if they don’t eat. Worst case is that you have to visit a McDonalds after a few days;
  • Bring enough entertainment with you. We always bring UNO along and a travel version of monopoly. Of course we also download games, movies and series onto our iPad for the long hours on the road;
  • Bring a first aid kit.

Sukhothai

No Thailand road trip itinerary is complete without a visit to one of the two old cities. You can visit the ancient city of Ayutthaya or Sukhothai. Sukhothai is more fun with kids, because you can rent bikes and drive through the ancient city of Sukhothai. It’s not just a fun, but also a convenient way to explore all that this ancient place has to offer.

Of course you should explore the center of Sukhothai Historical Park. But if you have time, you should also check out some of the smaller sites in the city. Our tip is to visit Wat Sorasak. This is a cute chedi in the shape of a bell with elephants all around it.

An ancient brick stupa, adorned with statues of elephants around its base, stands tall under a cloudy sky. The structure is surrounded by green grass and some trees.

The maintenance of the place was impeccable. Grass cut very short and there wasn’t any litter to be found. Our favorite temples were Wat Mahathat and Wat Sa Si. No ultimate family road trip guide to Thailand is complete without mentioning Sukhothai Historical Park!

Read more >> 5 Things to Do In Sukhothai with Kids

A large, ancient Buddha statue sits among tall, weathered columns at Sukhothai Historical Park. The sky is partly cloudy, adding to the majestic atmosphere of the ruins.
A boy walks through the ancient ruins of a temple complex in Sukhothai, with old brick structures and large trees providing a sense of history and tranquility.

Top tours in Sukhothai with kids

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Lampang

After you check out and drive out of Sukhothai it’s time for a short pit stop. Visit the Elephant Hospital ‘Elephant Soraida’ in Lampang.

No riding, feeding or bathing elephants here. They truly tend to elephants that are wounded. A great cause. But sometimes you can get deceived. Although I’ve heard good things about this hospital, things could be very different behind the scenes.

If you read this and you know about any kind of harm they might cause these beautiful animals, please reach out to me and I will investigate it further and update this blog post accordingly.

Read more >> Animal Abuse In The Tourism Industry

An elephant is standing in a sheltered area in an elephant hospital in Lampang (Thailand). His left front foot is covered with a plastic white bag to avoid losing his bandages or getting infected.

San Kamphaeng

A definite tourist trap, but one that’s really fun for kids is Umbrella Village. You can find this umbrella heaven in the small village of San Kamphaeng.

Here you can let crafts people paint umbrellas, but also other items. I got my iPhone case painted, for instance. Pick a design and the size and color of your umbrella. An awesome souvenir for the entire family!

A local artisan paints a design on a red umbrella while a young boy sitting next to him watches attentively. The artisan's workspace is filled with paints and tools.
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Chiang Mai

Our favorite place in Thailand is definitely Chiang Mai. There’s lots to do and see and it’s as lively as Bangkok, but much more laidback. You can also do lots of awesome activities like hiking through rice fields, zip lining through the jungle and enjoying a bike tour.

Chiang Mai is a foodie haven, so if you want to learn how to cook some Thai dishes, safe the cooking class for Chiang Mai. Want to know more? I wrote a post about the best things to do in Chiang Mai with kids.

Read more >> 8 Things to Do In Chiang Mai with Kids

A group of tourists stands in front of an ornate temple with a golden Buddha statue and intricate architectural details. Bicycles are parked nearby, suggesting they arrived on a bike tour.

Top tours in Chiang Mai with kids

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A scenic view of lush green terraced fields surrounded by dense forests under a partly cloudy sky. The layers of the terraces create a beautiful pattern in the landscape.

After a few relaxing days here we dropped of our rental car and took the night train back to Bangkok. This is something we highly recommend as it was one of the highlights of our trip. So make sure you can drop off your rental car in Chiang Mai.

It’s almost the end of your Thailand family road trip. But after all this exploring it’s really nice to end your family trip to Thailand with a bang. Take the bus to the pier and spend the last few days in Thailand on the gorgeous island of Koh Samet.

Koh Samet

No family trip to Thailand is complete without visiting one or more of the hundreds of islands. And Koh Samet (aka Koh Samed) is the ideal choice. It’s only a 3 hour trip from Bangkok by bus and ferry.

Sunbeds, cocktails, seafood, snorkeling and swimming. It doesn’t get much better than that! Oh, and the adventurous type will also enjoy parasailing.

If you want to know what to do in Koh Samet check out the best things to do in Koh Samet with kids.

Read more >> 5 Things to Do In Koh Samet with Kids

A young boy plays with a football on a sandy beach under an overcast sky. The calm sea and several small boats are in the background, with a few people swimming in the distance.

A great way to end our trip through Thailand, don’t you think? Lots to do for adults and kids. We felt safe wherever we went and the Thai are amazing people who love children. Thailand is a great destination for a family road trip! I hope this ultimate family road trip guide of Thailand will help you with your planning. And if you have any questions you can shoot me a question in the comments or send me an e-mail.

Time to wrap up this guide. I hope you enjoyed this Thailand family road trip itinerary. Thailand has lots to offer!

We felt safe wherever we went and the Thai are amazing people who love children. Thailand is a great destination for a family road trip! I hope this ultimate Thailand family road trip itinerary will help you with your planning. And if you have any questions you can shoot me a question in the comments or send me an e-mail.

FAQ – Ultimate Thailand Family Road Trip Itinerary

Is Thailand good for families with kids?

Yes, Thailand is considered a great destination for families with kids. The country offers a variety of family-friendly activities, beautiful beaches, cultural experiences, and wildlife encounters. Thai people are known for their hospitality and love for children, making it a welcoming place for families.

Is Thailand a good travel destination with a baby?

Yes, Thailand can be a good destination with a baby, but it requires careful planning. Choose destinations with good healthcare facilities, stay in comfortable and safe accommodations, and plan a relaxed itinerary to accommodate your baby's needs.

And opt for a baby carrier instead of a stroller.

Is Thailand a good travel destination with a toddler?

Yes, Thailand is suitable for traveling with a toddler. Many attractions cater to young children, and the friendly nature of Thai people makes it a stress-free experience. Ensure you have access to child-friendly amenities and activities.

Is Thailand safe for families?

Yes, Thailand is generally safe for families. Like any travel destination, it's important to take standard safety precautions such as being aware of your surroundings, avoiding risky areas, and keeping an eye on your belongings.

Is Thailand a family friendly destination?

Yes, Thailand is family-friendly. It offers a range of activities suitable for all ages, from theme parks and zoos to cultural sites and beach resorts. Many hotels and restaurants provide amenities and services tailored to families.

Thailand is a great option for families traveling to Asia for the first time.

How many days do we need to see all of the highlights of Thailand?

To see the major highlights of Thailand, a minimum of 10-14 days is recommended. This allows time to visit Bangkok, Chiang Mai, and a few beach destinations like Koh Samet, Phuket or Krabi, while also including some cultural and natural attractions like Sukhothai Historical Park, Sai Yok NP and the Bridge over the River Kwai.

How can I plan a family trip to Thailand?

This is a topic that deserves more attention than a few paragraphs as part of a FAQ. That's why I wrote a blog post about the topic How To Plan a Family Trip and an entire FREE ebook you can find in my free resources library.

How much does a 2 week family trip to Egypt cost?

That's a difficult question, because everyone has a different budget. Here's an estimate for different budget levels

Low Budget:
Accommodation: €30 - €50 per night (guesthouses, budget hotels)
Food: €10 - €20 per day per person (street food, local eateries)
Transportation: €500 for car rental and fuel
Activities: €200 - €300
Total: €1600 - €2200

Intermediate Budget:
Accommodation: €70 - €150 per night (mid-range hotels)
Food: €30 - €50 per day per person (restaurants, cafes)
Transportation: €700 for car rental and fuel
Activities: €400 - €600
Total: €3500 - €4500

High-End Budget:
Accommodation: €200 - €500 per night (luxury resorts)
Food: €60 - €100 per day per person (fine dining)
Transportation: €1000 for car rental and fuel
Activities: €800 - €1000
Total: €7000 - €10000

You can mix and match as you please. If a luxury accommodation is important to you then it will set you back €70 - €150 per night. If that takes out a huge cut of your budget you can compensate by eating street food or eat at cheaper restaurants for €10 - €20 per person per day. Or you can opt for a cheap rental car.

What is the best time to travel to Thailand?

The best time to travel to Thailand depends on the regions you plan to visit and the type of weather you prefer. Ultimately, the best time to travel to Thailand depends on your preferences for weather, activities, and crowd levels. Generally, the best time to visit Thailand is during the cool and dry season, which runs from November to early April.

Here's a breakdown of the seasons:

Cool Season (November to February)
Weather: Pleasant temperatures, low humidity, and minimal rainfall.
Best For: Sightseeing, beach activities, and outdoor adventures.

Hot Season (March to May)
Weather: Hot and dry, with temperatures often exceeding 35°C (95°F).
Best For: Beach vacations, water activities, and northern regions.

Rainy Season (June to October)
Weather: High humidity and frequent, heavy rainfall, particularly in the afternoons and evenings.
Best For: Lush landscapes, fewer tourists, and lower prices.

About me Sas Crossing Countries

Hi, I’m Saskia!

I travel the world with my family of 4 and write about our adventures.

Sas Crossing Countries is a family travel blog. It’s created to inspire other parents to travel the world with their kids. Gift your kids the world! It’s the most valuable present you can give them.

With all the experience I have as a traveling parent I’ve got lots of tools and tips for you. So on this site you’ll not only find family travel blog posts, you can also download FREE pocket guides, travel checklists and eBooks from my resources page.

All that I share can be used to plan your own ultimate family road trip!

above a couch you see 4 illustrated poster maps of different countries in the colors brown, blue, green and white. This picture leads to the shop page where you can buy illustrated poster mapsbanner image with the text get access to my free ebook with all the tools and tips you need to plan out and enjoy your ultimate family road trip. The title of the book is also shown and is The Ultimate Beginners Guide: Planning a Family Road Trip. A mock up is shown of a laptop, tablet and phone showing the cover of the ebook and 3 small images giving a sneak peak of 3 pages inside the book.5% discount link Heymondo Travel InsuranceVisit our travel shop!Download my FREE printable packing listsBuy your 3D wooden world map @ Enjoy The Wood with 10% discount code SASCROSSINGCOUNTRIESUPBecome a member of my private family travel Facebook groupLink to shop The Adventure BookRent a car via Discover CarsGet my free downloadable family travel pocket guidesGet an eSim from AiroloA picture of blogger Saskia is accompanied by a picture of a coffee cup with a lid on it. The text invites people to buy the blogger a cup of coffee to support her work so she can continue to offer free family travel resources. Clicking on this image leads to a page where you can support by paying an amount of your choice in support of Sas Crossing Countries.Download my FREE printable bucket lists

Comments (18)

    Saskia posted on 16 Jan 2023 at 6:40 am

    Thank you! And I must say that my man drove everywhere. Bangkok was awful to drive out of, though. Glad we only had to drive away from that city. It’s the type of driving we’re not used to, haha

    Saskia posted on 06 Jun 2021 at 5:01 pm

    Thank you! What’s your favorite area/region?

    Saskia posted on 02 Jun 2021 at 7:17 pm

    It really is! And I truly hope you do.

    Saskia posted on 02 Jun 2021 at 6:57 am

    Thank you so much! I hope you’ll get to visit it together soon.

    Saskia posted on 01 Jun 2021 at 5:56 pm

    Thank you! I hope you’ll get to go there together soon.

    Saskia posted on 01 Jun 2021 at 5:55 pm

    Thank you! I hope my honest reviews will help others make the right decision

    Saskia posted on 01 Jun 2021 at 5:54 pm

    Thanks! I hope you’ll get to go there soon

    Saskia posted on 01 Jun 2021 at 2:59 am

    It definitely gets them more in the mood for the day to come :)

    Saskia posted on 01 Jun 2021 at 2:58 am

    I hope you get to go to Asia soon!

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About me Sas Crossing Countries

Hi, I’m Saskia!

I travel the world with my family of 4 and write about our adventures.

Sas Crossing Countries is a family travel blog. It’s created to inspire other parents to travel the world with their kids. Gift your kids the world! It’s the most valuable present you can give them.

With all the experience I have as a traveling parent I’ve got lots of tools and tips for you. So on this site you’ll not only find family travel blog posts, you can also download FREE pocket guides, travel checklists and eBooks from my resources page.

All that I share can be used to plan your own ultimate family road trip!

above a couch you see 4 illustrated poster maps of different countries in the colors brown, blue, green and white. This picture leads to the shop page where you can buy illustrated poster mapsbanner image with the text get access to my free ebook with all the tools and tips you need to plan out and enjoy your ultimate family road trip. The title of the book is also shown and is The Ultimate Beginners Guide: Planning a Family Road Trip. A mock up is shown of a laptop, tablet and phone showing the cover of the ebook and 3 small images giving a sneak peak of 3 pages inside the book.5% discount link Heymondo Travel InsuranceVisit our travel shop!Download my FREE printable packing listsBuy your 3D wooden world map @ Enjoy The Wood with 10% discount code SASCROSSINGCOUNTRIESUPBecome a member of my private family travel Facebook groupLink to shop The Adventure BookRent a car via Discover CarsGet my free downloadable family travel pocket guidesGet an eSim from AiroloA picture of blogger Saskia is accompanied by a picture of a coffee cup with a lid on it. The text invites people to buy the blogger a cup of coffee to support her work so she can continue to offer free family travel resources. Clicking on this image leads to a page where you can support by paying an amount of your choice in support of Sas Crossing Countries.Download my FREE printable bucket lists