I have always heard of people doing all sorts of naughty things in Thailand, so, was never interested in going there with kids. An event of a friend finally led us there. Just to feel secure, we submitted our documents, to the VFS office, and received our visas within two working days. We also booked our SIM cards from TSIM so that we are not stranded without communication in a land we knew no one.
Our first stop was Krabi. It took us about forty minutes, from the airport, to reach our beach resort (Anyavee Tubkaek in Tubkaek) which was barely five minutes from the beach, on foot. The resort was a lovely one which had scenic views from almost every spot. We enjoyed our complimentary breakfast more because of the view. When we arrived, while the rest jumped into the common pool attached to our rooms, I snoozed as usual. The kids had a blast jumping in the water.
The Tubkaek beach was beautiful not only because it was scenic but also because it was clean and there was barely anyone on it. The large mushy land (due to the low tide) was enough for the kids to play in and mess themselves. After building mini sandcastles and chasing tiny crabs, the kids were exhausted, wet, sandy but, most importantly, happy. While they ate and rested, we adults got our bodies cracked with some relaxing massages given by the masseuses that roamed the beach. Also, we tripped on delicious coconut fruit shake there. I am going to try and prepare it back home. Let’s see. Stay tuned.
Though not a kid friendly place, Sabai Ba Bar (Beach Front Restaurant) was the best restaurant in Klong Muang, Krabi, which was close to Tubkaek. The ambiance was pleasant, the staff was friendly, the portions were beyond our expectations and the food was delicious! What was the cherry on the cake? We were led there by a random tuk tuk driver.
Initially, we had planned to book a resort on the Railey beach itself but the town and other restaurant accesses would have been limited because we needed, not a cab, but a boat to commute to and from it. Otherwise it was a fine-looking beach. We visited another restaurant called the Irish Embassy Pub which had good food too. It began raining but that did not stop us from visiting the Ao Nang market that evening (kids included).
The Phi Phi Islands tour, from the Ao Nang pier, was an awesome experience though it would have been better if we had more time at each stop, in order to explore the places properly. I personally believe we need to book our own tours with references from these prepaid tour packages because forty minutes on a beach is not enough. Anyway, while the kids enjoyed the speedboat experience to the Phi Phi Islands archipelago, we got to view the Viking Caves and a monkey at the Monkey beach, for around two minutes each. Along with the kids, we dove into the Pileh bay lagoon, snorkeled in the Ko Phi Phi Le lagoon (even my five year old enjoyed snorkeling) after visiting Maya beach and had lunch at Phi Phi Don. With heavy stomachs, we then walked on Bamboo Island (spotted an iguana there) and got to dip ourselves in the water before the tour ended.
After we reached Pattaya, we needed to relax so we strolled along the Beach Road right behind our hotel. With our one year old in the pram and five year old walking along with us, we had a good time because there are loads of things to see and visit while strolling along the length of this beach. The beach on the other hand was filled with corals and broken shells which seemed to be waiting there only to prick our feet. Not sure if the whole beach was like that because when we went into the waters opposite The BayView Hotel, some of us got badly cut so we got out immediately.
At 1am, while the men took care of our babies, we mothers aimed at watching some cabarets on Walking Street. On the way we spotted at a night market and went crazy looking at the prices there. With arms full of shopping bags (after all, we are women), we found a massage parlour (Cat Cat) and got an awesome Thai massage each. Our girls’ night out ended around 6am after we hogged on hamburgers from McDonald’s (which was on the way back to our hotel).
Tiger Park and Ripley’s Believe it or Not were great places for kids. They were amazed at the tigers and took pictures with them at the Tiger Park. Beware of the staff there who tries to con you into paying for clicking pictures with the tigers even if you just want to walk around and view the tigers. Walking and viewing costs Baht 200/head while clicking pictures cost around Baht 1000/head (depending on the size of the tiger). If you want to click a picture of your child and the tiger, they tell you that the child will not be able to click by themselves and you have to assist them into the cage AND pay for yourself too (even if you’re not interested to click a picture with the wild cat). We still bought only ‘walking around’ tickets for all of us while ‘clicking picture’ ticket only for my five year old. She went in and we clicked from outside. The caretakers clicked a few pictures and took a few videos with my mobile too.
Ripley’s was a good place for kids’ entertainment at the Royal Garden Plaza. We were amazed by the unique facts, enjoyed the infinity maze, sauntered through the Tussaud’s museum, laughed through the haunted house (kids were not allowed here) and were happy that the kids enjoyed the moving theatre as well as the mall. The mall had several other games for kids as well as adults.
The floating market was a good experience (even for the kids) as it is less than 1 square kilometre, though the prices were not all that different from the other parts of Pattaya. Our tuk tuk driver offered to take all of us on a boat for Baht 700/- or so but we enjoyed the walk in that small area and spent that money on shopping for items we do or do not need. I’m sure it would make sense taking a boat if the market was spread across a few acres but this wasn’t so big and absolutely not required.
Koh Larn (Coral Island) was a lovely beach a few miles from Pattaya. We found a speed boat that took us there. While we were with the kids splashing in the water, some of our members went for the Underwater Walk from another bigger boat. Our kids found other kids their age to play with in the sand. We had more than five hours on that beach so we did all sorts of things to satisfy our beach deprived souls. Prices in the shops there were exorbitant. I had to shell out around Rs 2500/- for a bikini, so thought of buying one, for the same price, in India instead. After gathering up our things, we headed back on a bumpier ride than before which felt like there were potholes in the sea too. See the Thailand video here!
Some things that we missed in Pattaya was the Sanctuary of Truth and the Cartoon Network Waterpark. Also, the Elephant Village was on my wishlist, perhaps to be fulfilled in the future. Bangkok, on the other hand, had no beaches and barely any greens. It was a typical city only known for its shopping streets. We shopped till we dropped, literally. We probably visited Prathunam market more than two times and MBK and Indra market just once. Platinum mall had nice shops, so I bought some unique things, even though nothing was cheap there.
We enjoyed a few SkyTrain rides, tuk tuk rides, boat rides, motorcycle taxi rides, cab rides and walked a lot too, but till the end of the holiday, despite having Thai people and Thai sign boards around, I still felt as if I was in some part of India. Of course, the food, available on the streets, was different from that available in India but the roads were similar, narrow and abrupt in many places. It was crowded and you had to keep one eye on each child ALL THE TIME (especially in Pattaya)! So, to me, it wasn’t too different from being at home, though yours is the sweetest home, wherever you may be.
So, are you a parent? Have you ever been to Thailand? Which part and what did you really feel there? Or are you waiting for your kids to grow up so you can visit Thailand alone? Being a parent doesn’t have to be all that stressful unless YOU make it to be. Try and enjoy the one life that you have, whether you are an individual, a couple or a family. We have taken our kids to Hooters, too! All the best!