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taking family to Thailand for vacation

post #1 of 25
Thread Starter 
looking for some feedback. taking the family (twin 5 year old girls, 10 year old boy, wife) to Asia for the first time. kids are pretty good travelers, they'd flown to south america several times, and been on very long road trips. son has flown to europe several times.

7 days in singapore, pretty well planned.

8 days in thailand. two options

1. 2 days in bangkok, then night train to chaing mai, 3 day elephant trek one day in the city, night train back to bankgkok, another 2 days in bangkok.

2. 2 days in bangkok, then 5 days on an island (Koh Chang) where we can do a 3 hour elephant ride, and spend most of the time on the beach, then 1 day in bangkok.


what are your thoughts on the two options?

I love the idea of a 3 day elephant trek in the jungle with the kids. the beach sounds good, too, but there are beaches everywhere.
post #2 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by globetrotter View Post

looking for some feedback. taking the family (twin 5 year old girls, 10 year old boy, wife) to Asia for the first time. kids are pretty good travelers, they'd flown to south america several times, and been on very long road trips. son has flown to europe several times.
7 days in singapore, pretty well planned.
8 days in thailand. two options
1. 2 days in bangkok, then night train to chaing mai, 3 day elephant trek one day in the city, night train back to bankgkok, another 2 days in bangkok.
2. 2 days in bangkok, then 5 days on an island (Koh Chang) where we can do a 3 hour elephant ride, and spend most of the time on the beach, then 1 day in bangkok.
what are your thoughts on the two options?
I love the idea of a 3 day elephant trek in the jungle with the kids. the beach sounds good, too, but there are beaches everywhere.

Is it jungle jungle or less dense and highly cleared with lots of good paths kinda thing? Do you know if you need malaria pills and vaccines in each limb before you go?

The jungle was one of my favorite vacations ever but it's not for 5 year old girls... The boy would probably love it, unless he takes after conne. laugh.gif
post #3 of 25
Option 2, I think. I loved animals as a kid and not sure how i'd have felt about a 3 day elephant ride. On paper a kid would say it's rad or whatever not sure about in real life. I wouldn't want to find out.

Sounds like a great time nonetheless. I went to an animal reserve in Nigeria around the same age and remember it vividly 20 years on.
post #4 of 25
I would definitely put in the beach in the itinerary- it willbe fun for the kids and a good break from the chicago cold
post #5 of 25
option 2

chang mai is great and a good launching point for the golden triangle etc but its probably less interesting for kids.

you can take the kids on fun boat trips in koh chang
post #6 of 25
When is the trip? BKK is probably not a good idea now, or in the upcoming months.
post #7 of 25
Thread Starter 
thanks, the plan is for april. have to re-think things.
post #8 of 25
Far too many days in Singapore, me thinks. If one must visit, and I really can't think of any compelling reason why, then two days at the most.

The elephant ride is rather uncomfortable... even painful. I spent an entire day on one in Chiang Mai / Golden Triangle, and though you're in a chair, it's wood and you're tossed to and fro as the elephant treks through the jungle. Bruised and battered. Sitting behind the elephant's head, where the mahout (I've forgotten the Thai name) rides, is the only "comfortable" place. Even then... I can't imagine being stuck on one for 3 days.

Though it doesn't compare to Vietnam's spectacular coastal rail line, the night train to Chiang Mai is good; get the 2nd class sleeper. Keep in mind it is approx. 12-hour ride. Don't know if you want to burn 13% of your Thailand leg in transit, but it is night and a more efficient use of time.

Scrap Singapore and do 4 - 5 days in Cambodia, specifically Siem Reap. Angkor Wat is a must-see place that's on everyone's bucket list for a genuine reason. Do the remainder in Thailand. Five is a bit young to do a 3-day trek in Chiang Mai, but there are one-day mini treks. The hills tribes, though far too touristy, are interesting enough, especially the Padung Karen. Even w/o trekking Chiang Mai is a nifty place to visit. You can even do Chiang Rai and go further north to visit Vientiane.

With all the flooding in Bangkok it may be 4 - 8 weeks to clean up once the water drains. That being said, I'm sure plenty of people are cancelling their Thai winter holidays, so there ought to be some bargains. Going to an area that's been hit w/ massive flooding dictates prudence; I'd recommend getting your cholera vaccination.

Lastly, there are hundreds if not thousands of places that will rent you a jeep or SUV in Thailand - an attractive option given a tuk-tuk can carry 2 or 3 and putting 5 in a taxi is a bit tight. What they fail to tell you is w/o an international drivers license you're driving illegally, so the insurance you brought from the rental agency is worthless. I have a couple of friends who found themselves on the receiving end of big bills due to accidents.
Edited by curzon - 11/8/11 at 7:09am
post #9 of 25
Thread Starter 
thanks - here is the rationale for the days in Sing: Sing is great for kids, its like Asia light. its clean, near, safe, but it has a great intro to asian cultures. chinatown, little india, arab town, etc. also, great zoo, night zoo, bird park, botanical garden. there are also things like the science center that I wouldn't go specifically to see, but if we are there, we'll take half a day to visit. also, there is plenty to have 14 good meals. if I were traveling with older kids, or it was just my wife and me, I would'nt do Sing, but with kids it is perfect.

that's basically whey we aren't doing cambodia or vietnam - I don't want to take 5 year olds there.


I am rethinking the 3 day elephant trek, though. honestly, I haven't ridden an elephant more than a few minutes, so I can't say how comfortable or uncomfortable it is, but I was thinking that it would be very cool. so I guess it comes down to koh chang or chaing mai. there are plenty of things to do in each place, and there are 2-3 hour elephant rides in each place, as well as hikes and so on. we can stay in a "hill tribe" village outside of change mai, or a cool waterfront hotel in koh chang. so we have to think about what is best.
post #10 of 25
Understand the attraction of the safe and clean - hell, Singapore is safer and cleaner than Kenilworth. But, why then are you going to Thailand too? wink.gif Haven't you heard Wang Chung's cautionary tale?

I'd just hate to think of someone flying halfway round the world... for a boring Epcot-like city state. Have you considered China? One can easily arrange a tour w/ guide, driver, the sites, hotel and food - you just hop in the mini van. Beijing, Xian, and Guilin can be done in 7 days, and those are some real sights w/ real culture. Seen safely and conveniently. Then jet to Thailand.
post #11 of 25
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by curzon View Post

Understand the attraction of the safe and clean - hell, Singapore is safer and cleaner than Kenilworth. But, why then are you going to Thailand too? wink.gif Haven't you heard Wang Chung's cautionary tale?
I'd just hate to think of someone flying halfway round the world... for a boring Epcot-like city state. Have you considered China? One can easily arrange a tour w/ guide, driver, the sites, hotel and food - you just hop in the mini van. Beijing, Xian, and Guilin can be done in 7 days, and those are some real sights w/ real culture. Seen safely and conveniently. Then jet to Thailand.

I understand, but I've been pretty much everyplace in that part of Asia, and I really think that the best place to take a kid first is Singapore, that's my opinion, anyway. I think that a week in Sing will be good preperation for a week in Thailand. also, Thailand is pretty good - the people are polite, the food is good and pretty safe. the people are clean, there are great temples and all sorts of cool things to see.

we will probably do china in a few years. I've been holding off traveling until the girls were 5, the plan is sing/thailand this year, israel/turkey next year, maybe 2-3 countries in europe the following year, then probably Japan/china, then africa, then western south america, then we'll see. we figure we have 12 trips to do before the girls go to college, more or less.
post #12 of 25
Whats your itinerary for singapore? While I agree that kids will like S'pore more than Cambodia, 7 days sounds like a lot for Singapore. I usually tell people to plan 4-5 for Singapore.
post #13 of 25
z, I might also bring the kids to sing if plans push through around april. I totally agree with you how sing is great if you're bringing kids.
post #14 of 25
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by acidboy View Post

z, I might also bring the kids to sing if plans push through around april. I totally agree with you how sing is great if you're bringing kids.

that would be cool!



here's my plan for sing:

half day each - little india, china town, arab town, zoo, botanical garden, bird park, dolphin park, science center. also, the big ferris wheel, the sky train to sontosa island, at least one nature park, the asian civilliazations museum and the singapore national museum.

one resteraunt meal each indian, chinese and malaysian. tea at raffles. meals at different food courts - maxwell street, old airport, chomp, La pa sat, newton street, peoples park, chinatown complex. sea food at no sign seafood.

the basic idea is every day half a day indoor and half outdoors, with one meal in a resteraunt and one meal in a hawker center, and maybe an hour or so at the pool in the middle.
post #15 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by globetrotter View Post

one resteraunt meal each indian, chinese and malaysian. tea at raffles. meals at different food courts - maxwell street, old airport, chomp, La pa sat, newton street, peoples park, chinatown complex. sea food at no sign seafood.

Definitely the food is a deservedly praised attraction. I do very much enjoy the hawker centers, and they're all over. And introduce your kids to Nandos, my favorite fast food place in the world.

Since I failed to dissuade you... have you considered Bugis St.? The gov't sanitized it 25 years ago, chased off all the ladyboys, and it's a popular tourist attraction. I recall it's near Arab St.

Just a thought since you're definitely going to Singapore: Skip Thailand and go to Malaysia's Tioman Island instead. You can catch a hydrofoil from Singapore. Or go to Indonesia's Bintan, which is less than an hour away.

If you want to see something really spectacular stay at Sumatra's Lake Toba.
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