When one thinks of travelling to Thailand, the first destination that comes to mind is most likely Bangkok, the bustling city teeming with people, shopping and vibrant nightlife. Or perhaps it’s the crystal waters and towering cliffs of Phang Nga Bay, or the sandy shores of Phuket.
However, if you’re planning a holiday in Thailand with the kids, the seaside resort town of Krabi might be your best bet. With a laid-back, family-friendly atmosphere and plenty of activities to keep the entire family entertained, Krabi could be your family’s own version of paradise, especially if you plan to try some of these kid-friendly activities.
Here is what to do in Krabi with kids
Coastal Resource Management Unit, Ao Nam Mao
Perhaps the best example of Krabi’s commitment to a laidback and informal environment is the outdoor aquarium at the Coastal Resource Management Unit. Not a traditional aquarium by an means, scientists at this centre breed endangered species in protected saltwater lakes for study and eventual release into the wild. The lakes are part of the fisheries complex, and there are no formal guides or entrance fees. Simply walk along the boardwalks to catch a glimpse of everything from sharks to turtles to fish (kids tend to like the “Nemo” tanks the best, as they are filled with anemone clownfish.) The only drawback is that none of the signage is written in English, so you may not know exactly what you’re looking at, but the centre is still an interesting excursion for the whole family.
Elephants are important in Thai culture; they are seen as the symbol of the country and a talisman against bad luck. That’s why for many people, no trip to Thailand is complete without an elephant trek, or a ride on the back of one of the majestic animals. Within a short distance of Krabi you’ll find a number of elephant camps and sanctuaries, offering everything from the chance to simply feed and interact with the creatures to full-day treks that involve a trip to the river for an “elephant bath.” Research the camps before you go (some are more humane than others) and reserve a spot in advance.
Enjoy the Beach
If you’re going on holiday for rest and relaxation, then Krabi is an ideal destination. The whole family can have fun in the sun here, playing on the miles of pristine white sand. The best hotel in Krabi for family fun is one that is close to the beach in Ao Nang. This location puts you in the perfect place for shopping and dining when the kids get waterlogged or the weather isn’t ideal. Most resorts offer plenty of activities for the kids on the beach; even little ones can learn to snorkel, while kids over age 10 can take beginner scuba lessons in the clear water. If you plan to spend a lot of time in the water, bring child-sized life jackets or plan to purchase them when you arrive, as most outfitters do not offer them.
The Shell Cemetery
Your fossil-loving kids will love Susan Hoi, or the Shell Cemetery. Believed to date back more than 20 million years, the Shell Cemetery is a 200-metre stretch of shoreline containing the fossilized remains of millions of seashells and sea creatures. Kids will enjoy exploring the fossils and finding familiar shapes, as well as visiting the nearby mangrove forest and Chinese temple.
Krabi Tiger Cave
Older kids who are up for strenuous exercise (or that need to be worn out) will enjoy the Krabi Tiger Cave and temple. In the lower portion of the cave, you’ll find ancient tiger footprints and other relics, but the real attraction is the climb to the top of the temple: more than 1,200 steps up to the “Footprint of the Buddha,” which affords stunning views of the surrounding area. If the climb is too much for your family, buy some bananas near the entrance to the cave to feed the monkeys that live in the nearby trees.
Krabi combines the best of Thai culture with a relaxing holiday. Families from all over the world are discovering this unspoiled gem, so don’t be afraid to bring the kids along for the adventure of a lifetime.