No boredom on Phuket! Thailand’s most popular holiday island offers children a lot of activities and sights. Most hotels have great swimming pools and childcare to make the stay relaxing for the whole family.
Family-friendly beaches and hotels
The best beaches for families are Karon and Bang Tao. Both have several child-friendly hotels and resorts.
Karon is a long and mostly quiet beach that is only a short drive away from the rugged shopping centres of Patong beaches. The best hotels for families in Karon are the Centara Grand Beach Resort Phuket, the Movenpick Resort & Spa Karon Beach and the much cheaper Phuket Orchid Resort. All three have great pool areas.
Bang Tao is even calmer than Karon. In Karon and most other beaches on Phuket, a street or promenade separates the hotels from the beach. In Bang Tao you get directly from the hotel pool to the beach.
Great family friendly hotels in Bang Tao are the Sunwing Resort & Spa Bangtao Beach and the Amora Beach Resort. Both have large pool areas. The Sunwing is explicitly designed for families and offers full-day, varied childcare with many activities. The Amora, on the other hand, is characterized by a much more relaxed atmosphere (the Sunwing Resort can be quite noisy due to all the children’s fun).
In both Karon and Bang Tao there are restaurants offering western dishes. So nobody has to do without pizza.
Animals, Animals, Animals
On Phuket there are a lot of elephant camps where you can ride on the gentle giants and feed them. By far the best camp is Siam Safari, which has been officially recognised by the Thai government as one of the most environmentally friendly elephant camps in the country.
One of the impressive experiences in Siam Safari is a monkey demonstration showing how trained Makak monkeys pick coconuts from palm trees (a common practice in southern Thailand).
The Phuket Aquarium is nice and affordable, although not very large. The highlight is a walkable glass tunnel in which you are surrounded by shoals of fish. On the way to the aquarium you can stop at Cape Panwa and enjoy the peaceful surf on the peninsula.
The zoo in Phuket can be safely ignored, as the animals are locked up in barren, overcrowded cages.
All the more reason to visit the Gibbon Rehabilitation Centre, an orphanage for Gibbons. Here you can admire the fascinating, human-like animals up close. The money you leave here (admission is free, but donations are very welcome) goes to a good cause, as the centre specialises in the rehabilitation and reintroduction of captive gibbons.
Underwater adventure in Phuket
On a day trip to Coral Island, also known as Ko He, children can learn to snorkel. Once they are familiar with the snorkeling equipment, they can take it to the spectacular island of Ko Racha Yai, where there are much more beautiful coral reefs.
Child-friendly adrenaline rush in Phuket
Splash Jungle Water Park on May Khao Beach has several action-packed water slides and is about an hour’s drive from Karon Beach. It is much closer from Bang Tao Beach.
Near Patong Beach you can roll down a hill in a zorbball and feel like an Angry Bird on the run (Rollerball Zorbing Phuket).
On Phuket there are two different tree top paths: Flying Hanuman and Cable Jungle Adventures. There is not much difference between the two. You hang in the treetops and glide from tree to tree on long cables. Don’t forget to let go of a mighty Tarzan scream!
Raise the rackets – with the dinosaurs!
Surrounded by lifelike dinosaur statues, you can play miniature golf in Dino Park. The park is located on a hill between the beaches of Karon and Kata.
The other mini golf course on Phuket, Adventure Mini Golf, is located next to Bang Tao Beach, near the Sunwing Hotel.
Become a Master in Action
The easiest way to do the above activities is to organize them with a local guide. The prices for an excursion include transport from the hotel.
It is definitely worthwhile to trade prices down, especially if you have the whole family with you. It is very likely to be rewarded with a substantial discount.