Travelling with young kids can make parents a little bit anxious, especially when your travels take you to exotic places like Samui Island, far away in the Gulf of Thailand where the culture, the local kitchen and the traditions are so very different to what we know. However, even first-timers won’t have to worry about a thing, Samui is a beloved tourist place where you can experience exotic Thailand without having to give up on modern comforts or even luxuries. Your kids will be perfectly happy and the local people will adore your little ones, too. With the right preparations, you are in for an amazing family holiday.
Here is what you need to know before travelling with young kids in Samui:
Essentials to pack for you Samui Family Holiday
Travelling with kids always requires some extra planning and preparation and that is totally fine - nothing to stress about. Make a checklist and you don’t have to worry about forgetting anything essential for your Samui Family Holiday. I put together a list of items you want to be on that checklist of yours:
- Credit cards, passports and travel insurance.
You may think it is completely unnecessary and over the top to put this on the checklist but last-minute stress can sometimes lead to total blanks and blackouts, leading to situations where the essentials of essentials are somehow left on the table in the living room. Just put it on there and check it off the list when you’re good to go. Oh, and a travel insurance is very, very important, especially when travelling with kids! You need to be prepared for unfortunate events so you can take your little one to the hospital when needed without it breaking the bank. You don’t have to think of dramatic scenarios but small accidents can easily happen but even those can cost quite some money in foreign countries. Better safe than sorry! Have a designated place in your luggage for these essentials so you always know where they are.
- Natural mosquito repellent for kids & sunblock with a high factor
You want your kids to be safe from mosquito bites but you don’t want to put chemical creams all over their sensitive skin. Good, natural mosquito repellent can be hard to come by in Samui and if you find it, it’ll be very expensive. Same goes for sunblock. Get these essentials at home, pack them in your suitcase and you’ll be keeping your kids well-protected for the whole duration of your island stay. Be mindful of the environment, too, and get a natural sunblock with zinc when swimming in the ocean to protect the marine life and coral gardens.
- Motion sickness pills
You never know whether you are drawn to motion sickness until you are on the boat. Better have them with you!
- First-aid kit
Bruises, scratches, fever, belly pain - pack up, pack up! You need it right there and then when you need it. Make sure your first-aid kit includes electrolytes - hydration is of utmost important.
- Stroller & baby carrier
A stroller is always handy when you need you baby to go to sleep and you still want to walk around a bit or do some shopping. It’s also great to have a stroller when you are at the airport. You can take it all the way to the gate and when you get off the plane, it will be ready for you to use again straight away. A baby carrier is handy when you go for long walks or even hikes. Bring both!
- Baby snacks
Most probably, you won’t find any baby snacks without added sugar in Thailand (luckily, they do have lots of tropical fruits for your kiddos to munch on!). Anyway, a little hearty and healthy snack always comes in handy at some point, so pack a box or two from home!
- Swimming diapers
Swimming diapers are also something hard to find and if you find it it’ll be twice as expensive as at home.
- Swim stuff, light summer clothes, camera, etc
Make a list with basic packing stuff like this yourself. Remember that we always tend to pack too much, especially with kids. That’s actually totally ok when staying in a villa but just keep it in mind :)
Where to stay with the family: hotel, resort or villa?
You can think very long and hard about whether to go for a hotel, resort or a villa but in the end, the decision is not all that hard! Just think about it; what you need is a clean space for your little one(s) to crawl around, a kitchen to prepare or heat up the baby food, a swimming pool to cool down every once in a while, a garden to play in the open-air, shaded by some trees and an air-conditioned bedroom to put your baby to sleep.
Staying in a villa gives you all the privacy in the world, it is clean, private and there is a swimming pool in the garden. No noises or disturbances, no going to the restaurant every time one of the family members is a little hungry and no crowded swimming pool to share with strangers - it is perfect! With a villa, you get a true home with all the comforts you need for pure quality time with the kids. The great benefit of having a kitchen for your usage is that you can easily cook up something familiar for your little ones to munch on or even better, you can have the staff to prepare it for you if you have the the right ingredients ready to use inside the villa. Need I say more? Book your vacation home through Samui-villa.com to make sure the villa is well-maintained and regularly inspected by villa experts. This doesn’t cost you extra money - it is the villa owner that pays the service fee, not you!
Eating out with the kids
When going out for dinner, it is good to realize once again that traditional Thai food is spicy - the locals love it hot with lots of chilli! This is perfect for you moms and dads who love to get an authentic taste of the local kitchen but for the kids, it is not so great. However, many of the established restaurants in tourist towns have Thai and Western options on the menu. You can munch on a bowl of steaming hot Tom Yum or a plat of Pad Thai noodles with extra chilli while the kids can have a good, familiar plate of spaghetti bolognese, french fries or a pizza. Perfect!
Best family beaches
I think most people agree, the best beaches on the island for families are Chaweng, Lamai, Bophut and Maenam. Chaweng is obviously the busiest option with lots of beachfront restaurants, beach clubs and street vendors. The beach is 7 kilometres long and the town is home to shopping malls and more. Lamai is the second’s biggest resort town on the island, perfect if you want a quieter beach than Chaweng with plenty of choices to have drinks and food. Bophut is a real genuine village with a lovely ambience for families with kids (do stick around for the Friday’s Night Bazaar). Mae Nam is really tranquil and they’ve got pathways to push strollers - another great option to spend your Samui holiday with kids!
Family adventures on Samui - Things to do:
Plenty! Here are some of the highlights:
- Ang Thong National Marine Park
The Ang Thong National Marine Park is one of the most magical places in the Gulf of Thailand, just up north from Samui island. A speedy boat ride will take you there in no time and from there, you can explore this archipelago of 42 islands, featuring the most stunning white sand beaches, lush jungle, mountains, emerald lakes and crystal clear waters perfect for snorkelling. Bring your little ones along, they can play on the beach and splash around in the calm sea water. Bring your baby carrier and take them for a little hike to see the lake and snap some gorgeous family photos of this family adventure.
- Na Muang Falls
Apart from the beautiful beaches and tropical islands, there is more natural beauty to be discovered in Samui. Pack up for a family-style picnic, bring plenty mosquito repellent and off you go into the jungle of Samui (it sounds more challenging than it is) - land inwards, you will find Na Muang Falls, a majestic 30-meter cascading waterfall with a natural pool at the bottom, surrounded by rocks and rainforest. It is a beautiful tranquil place, perfect for a family day out (as long as you have your mosquito repellent with you!). Roll out the picnic blanket, open the picnic basket and enjoy the natural, peaceful ambience. You can even go for a swim (or just a splash) in the cool, refreshing spring water. If you are up for a little hike, you can go see the second waterfall in this area or you can pay a visit to the elephant sanctuary which is also nearby.
- Wat Plai Laem Temple
This impressive golden Buddha statue towers out above the island of Samui and it glistens brightly in the tropical sunshine. You can’t visit Samui and not see this massive cultural landmark. Your little ones will love it too, especially when they get to feed the koi fish that swim in the large lake near to the Buddhist temple. In exchange for a small donation, you will get a basket with fish food to feed these hungry lake inhabitants.
- Secret Buddha Garden
The Secret Buddha Garden is another enchanting place to visit on Samui Island, located up in the hills in the centre of the island. Featuring an exotic collection of hand-carved stone Buddhist statues and breathtaking views of the surroundings, you can keep walking around this beautiful garden where there is lots of shade to protect your little ones from the sun.
- Pink Elephant Water Park
Pink Elephant Water Park is a water playground where the little kids are bound to have a whole lot of fun. The water park is located in Mae Nam, a quieter area with a perfectly family-friendly beach, so make sure to spend some a few nights here in the north of Samui.
If you are planning to see lots of things on Samui, the best thing to do is to get a private chauffeur with a car and a baby car seat. It is much cheaper than taking taxis all the time and you get a whole lot more flexibility, too. The staff at your private villa can surely assist you in arranging this!
Off, you go!
Enjoy your family stay on Samui, everyone!