Thailand really is the land of smiles

Can you remember the last holiday you took before you had children? I can, quite fondly, as it was not only my honeymoon but I was also hiding a secret - I was 8 weeks pregnant. I think knowing we were about to become a family made our three week trip to Thailand all that more special. We knew that it would probably be the last time we flew long haul for many years to come and even if we did manage to come back before we thought we might it would be the last time a holiday would be for just us.



So why did we decide upon Thailand? Well I had actually been before and was desperate to return and Thailand was so affordable. We wanted to go somewhere that was so different to normality. We wanted nice weather, different cultures, experiences we might not get again and we got all that, in spades (and we went during their wet season).

I knew what to expect but I forgot just how amazing it was. They call Thailand the land of smiles and it is true, there is such an air of happiness about the place.

To allow us to see a few parts of Thailand we books a multi centre trip, taking in Bangkok, Chiang Mai and then Pattaya.

I have to say that I am so glad we did this trip pre-kids. Not that I would not take them to Thailand now - I would if given half the chance - but it is always great to explore places without having to think about things to keep the kids entertained.

We flew out on a Sunday night in June and every single passenger got a whole row of seats to lie out on so if I was to return I would look to book the same weekend to fly on. It might have been luck but I would certainly try and find out. It made the 12 hour flight so much more enjoyable (and we had thought we were lucky to be getting fire exit seat originally).

Accommodation is very affordable. Our three week trip cost less than many of the two week holidays we were looking for in Europe and the places we stayed in were of much better quality. Food is amazing and so cheap. Street food stalls have some of the most delicious and authentic foods, cooked right in front of you (Thai people don't generally have kitchens as good quality food can be found ready prepared and so easily and cheaply).

Bangkok was such an eye opening experience and I mean that in a great way. The city never sleeps, with constant traffic jams day and night. There is so much life about the city, so much culture. You step out and feel you are in another world. A million miles from home.

The sights, the smells, the sounds. All so different but so spectacular.
If you go to Thailand and you can visit Bangkok then do it. We spent four nights there and although we saw a lot of it we could quite easily have spent more time there. Getting about was easy. The Skytrain, Tuk Tuks, Taxis and Taxi boats were easy to use and cheap too. Walking is a great way to see the city as well.



There is so much to see and do in Bangkok and the surrounding area and one of the best, and quickest, ways to see the city if from the river.

A trip to the Grand Palace is an absolute must. A good few hours is needed to fully appreciate the scale of the place as there is so much to see within the walls of the palace. We spent around three hours there and could easily have spent longer.



After our time in Bangkok we travelled north by plane to Chiang Mai which was a world apart from Bangkok. Quieter, greener, less polluted.



A welcome change from the hustle and bustle of the capital. From here we went to an elephant nature park which I would love to take the kids too (they would love to feed the elephants and see them wash).  Just the drive up to the park was amazing. Going through jungle an seeing the countryside.



The night market was amazing for local arts an crafts and there is so much culture to soak in here - there are over 300 Wats (temples) to visit if you have the time. Three days was just not long enough to even touch on all that you could see and do here. It is a great place to use as a base to explore the hills and surrounding villages. I am not even sure if two weeks would be long enough to put a dent in the list of things you must do. We spent much of the time walking about and exploring the immediate area and Wats.



We then spent a couple of weeks in Pattaya. We stayed on the outskirts of Pattaya and I think that sways how we felt about the area. We had a secluded beach with our hotel which was clean and tidy but we avoided the main beach for relaxing as the pool at the hotel looked right onto the sea. I don't think I would go here if I was looking for beach holiday but they were doing a lot to revamp the beach front so maybe this would change my mind?
 

Pattaya has a reputation of being red light districts and cheap tourism but don't let that put you off. You can safely walk through the red light areas and not be bothered by anything - you could even end up walking through it without realising. Even in the evening the streets, even the infamous Walking Street, are full of all sorts of tourists, from families with young children to people out for a good time. I wonder if the town was cleaning up its act? Many people avoid Pattaya because of its reputation but we found such wonderful areas and sights.

We hired a car and visited Nong Nooch Gardens which was such a lovely place and would be a perfect day out for kids. It also allowed us the chance to see villages that have not been designed for tourism. Perfect.


Would I go back to Thailand with children? Absolutely I would jump at the chance. There is so much to do and see and even with young kids you could find ways to keep them occupied at ease. Accommodation is very child friendly and although it might seem a bit daunting to walk the busy streets of Bangkok with children it would be perfectly doable if you planned ahead and used a sling - I don't think I would use a pram very often in Bangkok at all. In fact I have been looking through deals in Destination2 to see how much we would have to save before we could take a family holiday and I am glad to say that prices are just as affordable as they were 4 years ago.

What was your last holiday before you had children?

Let us know where your favourite pre-kid holiday was and whether you would go back with kids.

This post is brought to you in conjunction with Destination2 the UK's Affordable Long-Haul, Luxury Travel Operator who have sponsored this post

Training Mummy

Training Mummy is a 30 something mum to two beautiful children - a girl born February 2014 and a boy born in October 2015.

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