Phuket for families: give a kid a swimming pool, a waterslide and other children to play with, and chances are they’ll be happy and keep the whinging to a minimum. Many of Phuket’s resorts are tailor-made for families, with family rooms, kids’ clubs and special children’s menus in the restaurants. And of course, a swimming pool or two… or seven.
Some popular resorts on Phuket for families include Centara Grand Resort (which has it’s own waterpark), Club Med Phuket (all-inclusive with great childcare facilities) and Sunwing Resort Kamala Beach (which features special ‘Happy Baby Studios’ for families with babies and toddlers.) While much of your family break will doubtlessly be spent poolside (hooray for swim-up bars!) or at the beach, children will appreciate some variety in their day’s activities. This could be as simple as the whole family heading to a spa for foot massages, or going on a snorkelling adventure.
To explore the beautiful limestone ‘hongs’ rising out of Phang Nga Bay, take the kids on a eco-friendly kayaking adventure with John Gray Sea Canoe Tours. Full day trips include buffet lunches onboard the ‘mother ship’, and several kayak excursions through mysterious caves and into jungle paradises hidden within. Experienced guides do all the paddling; all you have to do is sit back and enjoy the tranquility.
Phang Nga – on the mainland just north of Phuket – is also the location for one of two recommended ethical elephant sanctuaries in the region (see Ethical Elephant Tourism in Thailand). Phang Nga Elephant Park offers day and half-day trips from Phuket that include looking after ‘your own’ elephant and interacting with it one on one.
Another geat wildlife rehabilitation centre is the Gibbon Rehabilitation Centre, located near the Bang Pae Waterfall in Phuket’s jungled interior. This small facility rescues captive gibbons and prepares them for re-release into the wild; there are also a couple of permanent residents who, due to injuries or trauma, are unable to be released. En route, the kids might want to stop off at the zany Baan Teelanka, a three-in-one family attraction featuring featuring an upside-down house, a maze and The Chamber of Secrets.
Acknowledging that Phuket for families can be cool too, XANA Beach Club at the Angsana Resort, Laguna Bay, holds a Sunday Fun Brunch for families during high season. As well as the island’s most extensive buffet, there are activities such as face-painting to keep the kids happy while the parents chill by the pool with a cocktail. Great family fun – and a good wet weather option – is mini-golf at Dino Park, which, as the name suggests, features scale replica prehistoric creatures in wild and wacky landscapes.
And of course, a surefire hit with the kids is a water park – try the Splash Jungle Waterpark at Centara Grand West Sands Resort, which features water slides, a wave pool and an aqua play area for young children.