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  1. #1
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    Best family friendly beaches to stay in Phuket / South Thailand - recommendations pls

    Hi, I posted here a few weeks ago and got some great advice, thank you to everyone who posted.
    Now our plan is forming I was hoping to tap into the great minds of Teakdoor once again!

    Hi, we are planning a trip to Southern Thailand in Jan / Feb next year. I'm travelling with my wife and 3 yd old daughter. We are flying into Phuket and planning to stay on the west coast (as apparently the weather is better on this side at this time of year). We'll be in Phuket area / Southern Thailand for 30 days and we are looking for the best beaches to visit and places to stay which are the most family friendly.

    We know there are loads of other great places to go in Thailand, I've been there a couple of times before but we are really looking for a month of chilling out and beach time. To put it into context, our trip is 2 months in total and the other month we'll be travelling around Hong Kong, Malaysia and Vietnam so will be plenty of sightseeing in this month. We're also flying up to northern Thailand to spend a week in Udon Thani. So with this 30 days we are really looking to keep our travelling to an absolute minimum and relax and enjoy some of the amazing beaches in this part of the world.

    We had a rough itinerary in mind but would love to hear if people think it is a good plan or if anyone has any other good suggestions on nice places to go or stay - particularly that is suitable for a toddler.

    So - we were thinking ...

    1 week in Phuket (we've booked nr Kamala as this seemed family friendly)

    2/3 nights in Khao Sok national park - think this should be fun and an experience with our little one, someone advised me to take a car don't know if anyone has any personal experiences here. Someone else then told me I was mad to take a toddler to the National Park so I'm now unsure of whether this is a good or crazy idea. Another option if too risky to stay overnight is a day trip - again would love to hear of anything thinks this is worth it.

    We looked at Koh Lak but some people said don't bother as its not that different or unique from the islands - but other people have recommended and said it is very chilled, would be interested in any other opinions?

    1 week in Yao Noi - this was highly recommended by Travelfish guide but looking at hotels seems very expensive here, not sure if this is worth a trip or not now. Probably one or the other - Ko Lak or Yao Noi?

    1 week in Koh Lanta - again looks very family friendly and was recommended

    Then 1 week in either Koh Lipe (beaches look incredible) or possibly Ko Jum - again I'm going off the Travelfish guides which absolutely raves about Ko Jum even though its apparently not the best beaches. Another possibility is maybe the Trang Islands.

    From there we are going south in Malaysia (so as Koh Lipe is the closest probably does make sense to stop there).

    If anyone is still reading - thank you - and I'd really appreciate any thoughts on our current itinerary, feel free to rip it apart (!) - would love to know any other suggestions on places we might be missing or particularity any good family friendly places to stay with a 3yr old.
    ​​​​​​​
    I guess my main questions are -
    Stay overnight at the National Park or not? or day trip?
    Spend a week in either Yao Noi or Koh Lak?
    Is Krabi worth staying over night?
    For our final week which island would you choose? Koh Lipe / Ko Jum or one of the Trang Islands?

    I'd also love to hear if anyone just has any great suggestions for days out or things to do around this area that would be suitable with our 3yr old.

    Our budget is mid range, we can afford about £100 a night for accommodation.

    Many thanks to anyone who finds the time to reply
    x

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by jay7777777 View Post
    2/3 nights in Khao Sok national park - think this should be fun and an experience with our little one, someone advised me to take a car don't know if anyone has any personal experiences here. Someone else then told me I was mad to take a toddler to the National Park so I'm now unsure of whether this is a good or crazy idea. Another option if too risky to stay overnight is a day trip - again would love to hear of anything thinks this is worth it.
    Went to Khao Sok this past New Year's break. The town next to the park entrance really isn't about much. The food selection is pretty average (which is strange as great meals are usually able to be had anywhere in the Kingdom). The highlight is a tour of Cheow Lan reservoir. The scenery is fabulous and the tour that you'll book will likely include a tasty lunch on an island somewhere on the lake. As for your littlie, make sure the tyke keeps a life jacket on whilst in the boat and keep a sharp eye out when land-side. Expect to pay 1,500 baht each for you and your partner. I'm not sure about the fee for a child.

    If you do decide to stay in Khao Sok, a car would be handy, but as I said, the small town at the entrance to the park really isn't bad, but nothing to spend more than a day. Also, the entrance to the lake is quite a distance (40 minutes or more) from the national park entrance. The turn off for the lake is from a largish moo ban (village) near the Ban Ta Khun Hospital.



    Not my photo, but it gives you an idea of what kind of scenery there is.
    Pues, aquí estamos.

    Time flies like an arrow. Fruit flies like a banana.

  3. #3
    Bugger all money Dillinger's Avatar
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    I'd put Penang in there too. Fly from KL to Penang, then from there Firefly fly to Langkawi. Then just fly from Langkawi straight back to KL.

    Seriously Penang is a place you shouldnt miss and is different from all the other places you are going.

    Theres some nice quiet beaches up North East Phuket.

    As for Krabi, I stayed in Ao Nang next door which was niice and did the 4 island tour.

    You should hire a car on Phuket. Take in the island and drive round to Krabo stopping off at Phan Nga and Ao Nang

  4. #4
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    At the Ratchprapa reservoir there are many floating resorts out on the lake up the ‘fjords’. Really quiet, lovely views, not expensive and very relaxing. Accommodation is Thai-rustic and built right out on the water, I wouldn’t be overly concerned taking a toddler, probably best keeping em in a jacket around the place though. Nothing to do at night other than eating at the resorts and playing cards, having a few beers etc but that’s one reason I like it. There are various activities and sights such as canoeing, fishing, boat trips, short treks to do in the day and it is easily and best reachable by hire car from Phuket or Surat if you are driving onto/from Phanghan and Samui. Check it out on google map and call the resort in advance to book and pick you up from the pier.

    Best family friendly beaches to stay in Phuket / South Thailand - recommendations pls-ooqbdlb-jpg


    Best family friendly beaches to stay in Phuket / South Thailand - recommendations pls-r3lgtda-jpg
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Best family friendly beaches to stay in Phuket / South Thailand - recommendations pls-ooqbdlb-jpg   Best family friendly beaches to stay in Phuket / South Thailand - recommendations pls-r3lgtda-jpg  

  5. #5
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    thank you happynz, that is really useful. the photos look incredible!

    sounds like from what you are saying the National Park is worth a visit but not worth staying overnight?

    did you have any other thoughts on our choice of beaches / islands?

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    Thanks again Dillenger, good advice as always.
    Fear not, we have Penang in our itinerary when we go to Malaysia. I think it was you that convinced us to head into Malaysia anyway!

    Definitely sounds like hiring a car would be a good idea.

    Any specific places you would recommend to go in North East Phuket / Ao Nang / Phan Nga? Do you mean hire a car and go for a day trip type thing?

    Thanks again

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    hi knowsitlike, thanks for the tip. the views do look stunning.

    just to confirm - Ratchprapa reservoir is in the National Park?
    would you advise driving up from Phuket and any idea how long that would take?

    love the look of the floating resorts!
    obviously a bit risky with a toddler and all that water around but also pretty unforgettable!
    is there just one area where the floating resorts are?
    and is there any town or nearby shops / places to eat or are the resorts quite isolated?
    any other advice you can give would be highly appreciated, 'm definitely interested in this area.

    did you have any thoughts on our choice of beaches / places to stay in the rough itinerary I posted in Message No.1?

    thanks in advance for your time and suggestions.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by jay7777777 View Post
    sounds like from what you are saying the National Park is worth a visit but not worth staying overnight?
    The national park entrance is where you'll find a few dozen hotels, hostels, and guesthouses along with the usual assortment of cafes, restaurants and pubs. It's not bad, really, quite attractive to be honest. It's just that I thought the food and drink was below par for what is usually available in Thailand. Too westernised for my palate, I dunno. The wee one will like the banana pancakes though, I'm sure.
    Pues, aquí estamos.

    Time flies like an arrow. Fruit flies like a banana.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by jay7777777 View Post
    driving up from Phuket and any idea how long that would take?
    give yourself an hour and a half at least if you're starting out from around the north end of Phuket. You're on holiday, not working for Speedy Delivery.
    Pues, aquí estamos.

    Time flies like an arrow. Fruit flies like a banana.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by jay7777777 View Post
    hi knowsitlike, thanks for the tip. the views do look stunning.

    just to confirm - Ratchprapa reservoir is in the National Park?
    would you advise driving up from Phuket and any idea how long that would take?

    love the look of the floating resorts!
    obviously a bit risky with a toddler and all that water around but also pretty unforgettable!
    is there just one area where the floating resorts are?
    and is there any town or nearby shops / places to eat or are the resorts quite isolated?
    any other advice you can give would be highly appreciated, 'm definitely interested in this area.

    did you have any thoughts on our choice of beaches / places to stay in the rough itinerary I posted in Message No.1?

    thanks in advance for your time and suggestions.
    Hello Jay,

    Those pics are from my mobile few weeks back so of course looks bigger and better in real life. Just to answer in order of your questions:

    1) I would allow 3hrs to drive from Kamala when you consider traffic and stops etc, I agree with NZ on holiday no need to do a lot of weaving at speed on a 2-way highway! However you might want to go via Krabi instead as below (2hrs)
    2) I guess there are 10-15 of the floating resorts but mostly spread out, I can’t recommend a specific one but best is take a look using google map and you will see that it’s a large lake and can be 1-1.5hrs on the boat to get to some of the places. Probably looking at the google reviews will give you a fair assessment of them. The size of the lake answers your other points about food and shops as basically no, once you leave on the boat then you are eating from the resort menu- they are basic dishes and cooked on the spot so not the greatest but still quite ok and authentic in my experience
    3) there are a couple of large supermarkets in the town before the entrance to the lake and the pier, the resorts don’t mind if you stock up food, snacks, beer, whiskey etc as this is what all the Thais are doing
    4) for your itinerary it all depends on personal preference and how much time you do/don’t want to spend travelling- I get bored quite easily and enjoy jibbing around lots of smaller places and as you have loads of time then some thoughts here:

    Phuket- stay in the south west at Kata or Kamala, hire a car for day trips to the different beaches and to go over to Phuket town a few times for the market atmosphere and eating- don’t miss the Ko Yoon noodle shop run by a cool old gent right on the main roundabout in Phuket town it’s an absolute classic

    Krabi- drop the car at Phuket town port and catch the ferry over to Krabi passing Koh Phi Phi and Yao Noi/Yai. Phi Phi is just too busy and the beaches aren’t great at Yai Noi/Yai. At Krabi pick up another hire car as it’s worth spending a night in town to check out the Emerald Pool and the Tiger Mountain Temple (this might not be possible with a kid on your back though!). After stay at one of the better hotels like Dusit as they arrange easily decent boats to visit the islands off the shore, Krabi itself on mainland doesn’t have good beaches

    Ratchprapa- from Krabi drive up to Ratchprapa as above

    For a different route then consider Koh Phagnan- pre book a ferry ticket with car and drive over to Donsak pier around 2hrs East from Ratchprapa, the slow car ferry is a nice sedate way to cross with good views and Koh Phagnan is lovely off the beaten track, I recommend Tong Nai Pan area. After that then back and southwards to your Malaysia adventures

    have fun!

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by knowsitlike View Post
    Hello Jay,

    Those pics are from my mobile few weeks back so of course looks bigger and better in real life. Just to answer in order of your questions:

    1) I would allow 3hrs to drive from Kamala when you consider traffic and stops etc, I agree with NZ on holiday no need to do a lot of weaving at speed on a 2-way highway! However you might want to go via Krabi instead as below (2hrs)
    2) I guess there are 10-15 of the floating resorts but mostly spread out, I can’t recommend a specific one but best is take a look using google map and you will see that it’s a large lake and can be 1-1.5hrs on the boat to get to some of the places. Probably looking at the google reviews will give you a fair assessment of them. The size of the lake answers your other points about food and shops as basically no, once you leave on the boat then you are eating from the resort menu- they are basic dishes and cooked on the spot so not the greatest but still quite ok and authentic in my experience
    3) there are a couple of large supermarkets in the town before the entrance to the lake and the pier, the resorts don’t mind if you stock up food, snacks, beer, whiskey etc as this is what all the Thais are doing
    4) for your itinerary it all depends on personal preference and how much time you do/don’t want to spend travelling- I get bored quite easily and enjoy jibbing around lots of smaller places and as you have loads of time then some thoughts here:

    Phuket- stay in the south west at Kata or Kamala, hire a car for day trips to the different beaches and to go over to Phuket town a few times for the market atmosphere and eating- don’t miss the Ko Yoon noodle shop run by a cool old gent right on the main roundabout in Phuket town it’s an absolute classic

    Krabi- drop the car at Phuket town port and catch the ferry over to Krabi passing Koh Phi Phi and Yao Noi/Yai. Phi Phi is just too busy and the beaches aren’t great at Yai Noi/Yai. At Krabi pick up another hire car as it’s worth spending a night in town to check out the Emerald Pool and the Tiger Mountain Temple (this might not be possible with a kid on your back though!). After stay at one of the better hotels like Dusit as they arrange easily decent boats to visit the islands off the shore, Krabi itself on mainland doesn’t have good beaches

    Ratchprapa- from Krabi drive up to Ratchprapa as above

    For a different route then consider Koh Phagnan- pre book a ferry ticket with car and drive over to Donsak pier around 2hrs East from Ratchprapa, the slow car ferry is a nice sedate way to cross with good views and Koh Phagnan is lovely off the beaten track, I recommend Tong Nai Pan area. After that then back and southwards to your Malaysia adventures

    have fun!
    Thank you knowsitlike, some very good advice there that is much appreciated.

    I've looked through a couple of the floating resorts - they are pricey but I guess you don't get to stay in a floating resort very often!
    I've made contact with some of them and I can see that you are completely isolated and in their hands - i.e they cook all meals for you and organise your activities. Did you have a similar experience?

    In terms of things to do in the National Park would you agree with Happynz that Cheow Lan reservoir is the highlight?
    Any other suggestions? I'm guessing also quite fun to chill by the lake with some canoeing etc.

    Do you think it would be worth spending a couple of nights in Krabi? I know beaches are not the best here but was reading how great nearby beaches like Railay and Noppharat Thara are - are these all within a day trip from Krabi? Dusit looks lovely thanks for that recommendation (and we'll check out that noodle shop too!)

    Also, you say drive from Krabi to Ratchprapa but wouldn't it be nearer to drive from Phuket?

    Finally, just trying to decide where to spend our final week - either Koh Lipe / Ko Jum or the Trang Islands. Have you been to any of these places?

    Thanks again for your time and excellent advice

  12. #12
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    Its monsoon season and all the west coast beaches have rips and undercurrents this time of year
    Best to use your hotel swimming pool, especially if you have a toddler

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    Bugger all money Dillinger's Avatar
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    ^ you could at least read the op before replying

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dillinger View Post
    ^ you could at least read the op before replying
    Best family friendly beaches in Phuket,none at this time of the year sport

  15. #15
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    ^......
    Quote Originally Posted by jay7777777 View Post
    Hi, we are planning a trip to Southern Thailand in Jan / Feb next year.

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