We travelled to Phuket with a 10 month old baby George in September, much quieter and the weather was more manageable for everyone. Famed as the party capital of Thailand, Phuket is 100% suitable for children and families, choose your accommodation carefully and don’t stay near the strip. From all of my travels, I always tell people that Thailand has the most friendly locals and that is just one of many reasons we keep going back!
Comfortable weather, gentle breeze, turquoise water, eco-friendly environment, hill areas and marine beauty of the Andaman sea make Phuket the best holiday destination in Thailand. The beaches are to die for and you can enjoy boat trips to check out James Bond Island and the natural parks.
BOOKING YOUR TRIP
BEST TIME TO VISIT PHUKET?
The most popular time to visit Phuket is between November and April, you will find everything open for tourists. January to February are generally the busiest months so beaches might be more crowded, however, the weather is almost guaranteed to be warm and dry.
April is the last month of the peak season and Phuket switches off, many businesses close and the locals travel to enjoy some downtime with their families. This is when you can find some deals for flights! The weather is still good for most of the months and due to the lack of tourism you’ll be able to find luxury accommodation at very good prices. However, this is when you will see and experience some pretty epic storms with warm weather.
BEST TIME TO BOOK FLIGHTS TO PHUKET?
There are multiple factors that influence the price of a flight so comparing airlines, departure airports and times can help keep costs down. December is the cheapest month to book,with flights ranging from £450 to £480pp. August is the most expensive month, with flights costing on average £670. We recommend using Skyscanner as a starting place and then searching other providers to see if you can beat their price.
Tuesday is the most economical day to take a flight to Phuket. To get the best value, try booking a flight in the evening . Generally the prices will increase for flights in the afternoon as these tend to have higher demand. If you’re visiting during a festival, make sure to book as early as you possibly can to avoid paying over the odds.
HOW LONG IS THE FLIGHT?
Average Flights from London to Phuket: 13 hours 35 minutes.
The official currency of Phuket is the Thai Baht. You can pay for things using a credit card or visa card but you will be charged additional fees. Exchange rates vary, so be sure to check prior to your trip.The Bank of England has an extensive list that is updated every day. If you intend on using your credit charge or debit card, you may incur charges for payments and cash withdrawals. We often use the Post Office for our exchange or use ATM’s in our destinations.
READ MORE: How to bottle feed your baby abroad
British passport holders arriving by air or land can enter Thailand for 30 days without a visa (a ‘visa exemption’). If you need to stay longer, it’s possible to extend your stay once for up to 30 days. You must apply for the extension before your visa exemption period ends.
You can only enter Thailand through a land border using the 30 day visa exemption twice per calendar year. To cross more frequently, you’ll need to get the appropriate visa in advance of travelling. This doesn’t apply if arriving by air. For more information, contact the nearest Thai embassy or consulate.
If you plan to stay in Thailand for longer than 30 days, are going to work, or use land borders regularly you must get the appropriate visa before you travel.
The only legal way of getting a new visa, entry permit or extension of stay is from a Thai Embassy or Consulate, an Immigration Officer at a point of entry into Thailand, or one of the Immigration Offices around the country. Visas issued by visa shops, travel agents or by any other means are likely to be illegal and lead to criminal proceedings.
If you stay beyond the period of your visa (‘overstay’), you’ll be fined 500 baht per day up to a maximum of 20,000 baht. You also risk being held in detention, fined, deported at your own expense and banned from re-entering Thailand. The enforcement of penalties for overstaying is strict and conditions in detention centres can be harsh. Deportation by the Thai authorities can be a lengthy process and you will also be banned from re-entering Thailand for up to 10 years.
The island is pretty vast so you might be tempted to hire a car. The taxis are Tuk Tuks are very well priced and you always get fantastic service in Thailand. Your hotel or hostel will call one for you or you can flag one down in the street. Many drivers will wait for you at your location until you have finished. Compared to Western prices, any mode of transport is a lot cheaper. The danger with hiring a car is that the road rules in Thailand are not like the West and unless you are really confident, we wouldn’t recommend it when travelling with a baby.
SHOP OUR RECOMMENDED TRAVEL ESSENTIALS
THINGS TO DO
PHI PHI ISLANDS
Thailands Phi Phi islands are exceptionally popular with tourists who want white sand and turquoise waters. Thailand in general is such a lush, beautiful country with a lot of islands but these are special. Located in Thailand’s Andaman Sea about 46 kilometers from Phuket, Phi Phi has two main islands — Phi Phi Leh and Phi Phi Don.
Both are part of the Hat Noppharat Thara-Mu Ko Phi Phi National Park, which according to government stats attracted over 2 million visitors in 2017. We hired a minibus to drive us to the coast and we joined an all day boat cruise. We were one of three families on board with a baby/children and we had to get creative to keep them cool.
You won’t get the safety measures that you expect in the West. But don’t let that put you off, all the workers are excellent swimmers and many companies employ westerners to translate and assist with visitors. They are first aid trained and speak English. We had a fab day and the views are amazing.
£54 | Phi Phi Day Cruise with Lunch
PHUKET ELEPHANT SANCTUARY
Phuket Elephant Sanctuary is the first and only ethical elephant sanctuary on the island. Accessible by tuk tuk, minibus or car, you can watch and interact with these majestic creatures up close and personal. The sanctuary consists of 30 acres where the animals live. They are free to roam and houses injured or rescued elephants to live out their days in peace.
Located on the border of Khao Phra Thaeo National Park in North East Phuket. You can go for half a day or a full day, either morning or afternoon. Each ticket helps to support a sustainable, ethical and compassionate approach to elephant tourism.
£77 | Phuket Elephant Sanctuary Morning
BANG TAO BEACH
The main beach on the island, a long stretch of white sand and warm waters. Plenty of sun loungers and food places right across the road on the main strip. Bring change with you to pay for your sun lounger and obviously, with kids you will need a lounger with an umbrella shade. Depending on when you visit (peak season) the beach might be packed out and therefore, limit your valuables in your bags.
You can para-glide here, rent jet skies and go out for boat rides to pass the time. Build sandcastles and they have toilets and shower facilities on site. It is cheaper to buy big bottles of water from the shops than pay for vendors.
£22 | Oasis Garden Spa Luxury Day
Monkey Hill is another name for Toh Sae Hill in Phuket Town. Named because of the groups of macaques who call the place home. In 2015, a proper platform was built towards the top of the mountain (in the curve before to reach the TV stations), which offers a stunning viewpoint over Phuket Town.
You can drive a car or motorbike up to the viewpoint and peak, but be careful as the hill is quite steep. The road to the summit is closed to traffic from 5pm to 8pm. You might want to wait until then and walk up to watch the sunset from the viewpoint. Roughly it will take you 2 hours and maybe 3 with kids!
The monkeys are used to humans and it’s cheaper to buy bananas and nuts from the shops at the bottom of the hill. They will grab the food and any items you leave out or not locked/tucked in. Pack things away and discuss with kids not fighting back with the monkeys when feeding them.
TRICK EYE MUSEUM
Cheap and fun for all the family, this is one not to be missed. A ticket to Phuket Trickeye Museum lets you step into oversized 3D interactive paintings. You suddenly become part of a number of optical illusions!
The museum has a gallery with over a hundred painted and sculpted creations. There are plenty to interact with and take pictures. A shaky bridge over a waterfall, escape the sharp teeth of a shark, slide down a snowy slope and more. Fun for all the family!
£15 | Tricky Eye Museum
SPLASH JUNGLE WATER PARK
You will not be disappointed by Phuket’s biggest waterpark, Especially on a hot day, this park is vast and provides the opportunity to cool down. Located in Mai Khao, transfers are included within your ticket price. The park has rides and slides for all levels of bravery. Whether you’re looking for an adrenaline rush or a relaxing ride on the Lazy River, the park has something for everyone.
A day ticket gives you 7 hours of fun (or until the kids get too tired). There are plenty of lifeguards and sun loungers for you to sit down and keep the bags. The park is really big so you might want to strategically work your way around. Or head to the big drawer card rides first then enjoy the normal attractions later on.
£48 | Splash Jungle Water Park with Transfers
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JAMES BOND ISLAND
James Bond Island (Khao Ping Kan) is one of the many must-see places in Phang Nga Bay. Featured in the James Bond film, The Man With The Golden Gun, it’s a naturally stunning place. You get there by boat and there are vendors and little shops on the island. It is dodgy getting on and off the baot, I had to climb over seats whilst George was in his baby carrier, so beware of that. The staff and other tourists are helpful though and will assist.
They have fried squid which is pretty tasty to buy when you arrive, if you like that sort of thing. It can get insanely busy here, as you can imagine, during peak season. You can’t visit Phuket and not go to James Bond Island, but plan when you intend to go carefully to avoid overcrowding.
£76 | James Bond Island & Sea Cave Canoe
SURF HOUSE PHUKET
Surf House Kata Beach is a family oriented, beach front surf club. It has its own bistro and bar, as well as a retail outlet. The centrepiece of the venue is the ‘Double FlowRider.’ The machine allows anyone to seemingly ‘surf’, all day… everyday!
With a tropical climate that is warm throughout the year, a fun and immensely gratifying surf session is guaranteed with every visit. At night time this becomes a backpackers heaven as there are some really good cocktail bars – so head there during the day to avoid any drunken behaviour.
£23 | Surf Lesson on the FlowRider
At night time this street is the life and soul of Phuket. Just one of many streets, Bangla is the number one area for beers, parties and food. Dependent on the age of your children will dictate the time in the evening you want to visit. We walked George through just as the sun was setting so he could soak up some culture! There are plenty of Tuk Tuks and drivers waiting to take you home and several really good restaurants just off from this main street.
Fantasy of a Kingdom IS a grand live performance featuring trapeze artists. Featuring over 150 artists and an exotic storyline that blends tradition with fantasy. It’s also a large cultural theme park with carnival-like games, lots of shopping opportunities, and one of the biggest buffets in Asia. It’s spectacular, it’s extravagant, it’s impressive and it’s great entertainment for all ages.
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