Things to do with Kids in Phuket
This blog post has been rolling around my head for a while. But it's hard to know where to start. I think Phuket is a great place for kids to live, a great place for kids to visit on holiday and a great place for families to experience together. Yes, together. I admit there may be a couple of times when a Mum and Dad might want to leave their kids at the hotel "kids club" and maybe got for a massage together or leave the kids with a babysitter and go for a "just the 2 of us" dinner, but mostly I would say this : Whatever you do, do it as a family. Let the kids experience a variety of places, smells, sights and sounds. In a way, almost all of this blog is about Phuket with kids, because I am a Dad and we are a family! Our kids were born here in Thailand, go to school here, speak Thai and English .. so I realise my situation is different to a visiting family, but the blog sticks to things that tourists can do and does not really dwell on the expat life. The main thing our kids do is school, plus they have, over the years, done extra activities like music, Taekwondo, football, art, Thai boxing. There's a lot for kids to do if you live here and we like to let our kids try lots of different activities.
(above) That's my boy playing football and playing guitar
(above) And my daughter practicing Taekwondo
There's a lot of "kids stuff" here and I am of course happy to let kids be kids, but also involve them in family activities. We often go out for the day at the weekend, or out in the evening to eat and I like them to get new experiences .. I also like to get new experiences myself, but almost always with my family, with the kids. Now, some things depend on the age of the kids, there are things to do in Phuket like parasailing or diving or bungy jumping and these are not for 2 year olds! Kids age 10 or older can try diving - a great family day out. People often ask me "is this or that suitable for kids?" - I can tell you with our kids we did boat trips when they were a year old, drove all around Phuket and in the (more than) 6 years since this blog started they've come with us almost everywhere and they are happy to explore back roads, temples, islands ... We (I hope) manage to mix kids stuff with adult stuff. As every parent hopes .. we're doing our best!
Best Things for Kids in Phuket
I am not a fan of lists, but for this blog page, a kind of list is needed. This is not everything, suggestions welcome! This might take a while and I will probably update the page as time goes by .... I asked my kids what they like doing, and they both went for Taekwondo and they both went for "The Beach Bar" ...
The Beach Bar is one of our favourite hangouts, we have been going there for years, our kids play with the owners kids, we can eat decent food at a good price, enjoy a sunset beer, it's safe, friendly, quiet. Yes, best thing to do with the kids .. go to the beach (and eat new food!). Kids also mentioned that they like Layan Beach and eating dinner at Dairy Hut and Kopitiam, a couple of restaurants in Phuket Town. I hope kids visiting Thailand try some Thai food - all part of the experience!
My son gave me "Khao Sok" as one of his favourite places - me too! Khao Sok National Park is not in Phuket, it's a few hours drive, past Khao Lak and into the jungle! We like to stay here to relax and get some jungly fresh air. We have also done boat trips on the lake, tubing and kayaking there. Oh yeh!
Closer to Phuket, a great day out that we have done many times, with kids when they were as young as 2 years old, is a boat ride in Phang Nga Bay including James Bond Island and Koh Panyee.
My kids both (independently) wrote that they like to visit the Indy Market, which is on Thursday and Friday evenings in Phuket Town. I urge people always to try Phuket Town sometimes - and if you visit the old town early evening when the Indy Market is on, that's a good time. Better for older kids, not toddlers. The new Chillva market that opened in 2016 is probably a more popular choice now.
A great weekend we had last year (and will do again) ... we stayed on Racha Yai island, kids went snorkeling, enjoyed beach time, met huge monitor lizards, played in a pool with a great view. Add in the boat ride, the tractor-pulled shuttle from pier to hotel - kids got something new and interesting and had fun, and so did their parents!
(above) My daughter and friends enjoying Racha Yai island :) For sure most kids will enjoy days out with beaches and boats!
Scuba diving - kids age 10 or older can dive in open water on a Discover Scuba Diving trip, or even take a 3-4 day Open Water Diver course. We've been diving as a family - see Diving in Phuket with the Family.
(above) My kids getting ready on the dive boat
Next ... The Phuket Aquarium. We have been here countless times over the years since our daughter was a baby. Fish! Wow! Fish! Amazing! Colours! Fantastic! And as they get older, Dad the diver can educate them about species and the environment and we all have a good time. And the entry fee is cheap too. They learn something new every time we visit. And it's close to the aforementioned Beach Bar :)
How about White Water Rafting? Certainly not for small kids. We did a trip when ours were 10 and 14. Rafting trips head into Phang Nga province and are often combined with other activities. More information - White Water Rafting from Phuket.
(above) Our family rafting!
And then nerdy Dad takes over. I like my kids to have fun. And learn. Hopefully, sometimes, both at the same time. So, kids let's go to a museum. Phuket has a number of museums and a few of them are very good. The kids have enjoyed several visits to the Mining Museum. Phuket used to have a big tin mining industry back in the 19th century through to the mid 20th century. We've also enjoyed family visits to the Thai Hua museum in Phuket Town, which is mostly about Phuket history and housed in an old school.
(above) The kidz at the Thai Hua Museum and Phuket Mining Museum
Enough nerdy stuff, let's have some fun (balance, balance). I think I'll have to take the kids to the Splash Jungle Phuket Waterpark again sometime soon. They've been twice, it's not that cheap, but boy did they have fun. Can't put a price on a happy face. There's more watery fun at the Phuket Wake Park - both kids have been enjoying wakeboarding and water skiing recently!.
Or how about some mini golf? We've been to the Dino Park mini golf near Kata Beach and the newer Adventure minigolf at Bang Tao Beach. Fun for everyone!
Another bit of fun is the Trickeye Museum in Phuket Town - a 3D Art gallery with interactive exhibits. We had a good time there!
(above) At the Trickeye Museum
And I am sure the kids will enjoy Phuket Fantasea or the newer Siam Niramit show. Our kids have seen Fantasea a couple of times and I'd like to go again. Part of the "magic" in these shows is (as an adult) watching your kids watching the show. Watch their magical faces. You might know how the trick is done, but for them it's magic.
Like I said, we do like to go exploring sometimes and the kids come and explore with us. A trip we have done a couple of times, and will do again, involves taking a ferry to the small island of Koh Yao Noi, hiring scooters and riding round the island to see what we can see. Kids have loved these days out. New experiences are good for young minds.
(above) Our kids and friends exploring at Koh Yao Noi
Our kids also love festivals and street fairs - I guess Songkran would be their favourite, and Loy Krathong, and events like the recent Old Phuket Festival. My daughter and I enjoyed walking together and visiting the shrine during last years Por Tor Festival. For a visiting tourist kid, experiencing festivals like these would be great!
(above) Buying a turtle cake as an offering for the Por Tor Festival
(above) Having fun on Songkran
This page could go on forever, kids don't have to do "kids things" all the time, a balance of fun, learning, new experiences, time with the family, time to run off without Mum and Dad. Our kids are happy to visit a temple, try new restaurants, and we've been a couple of times to watch Phuket FC, the local football team - last time my son was one of the team mascots :)
(above) Our son as team mascot, and the kids at Khao Rang temple
Phuket has so much to do and see, some of it is "for kids", but (and you don't need to listen to me) I think if you go on holiday as a family, you should explore and experience things as a family. Most kids enjoy doing things with their parents, so if you want to check out a Chinese shrine, visit a museum or walk around Old Phuket Town, take the kids. And by all means have a day by the pool too! I guess what I am saying ... having kids should not limit what you do too much unless the kids are really small. I guess I should add - be aware that it's hot here, so make sure kids drink plenty of water and get their rest. Have fun with the family!
A final photo ... Phuket is great for kids because ....
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