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What’s your idea of paradise?
If you are looking for a reasonably priced beach or resort trip, Phuket is a great choice!
For my family, we often envision a beach, warm weather, refreshing waters, and fresh seafood. Every year, over 5 million travelers flock to Phuket for its scenic beaches and picturesque mountain ranges, and because of this, we are ecstatic about joining them!
Last April our family packed up and readied ourselves for a 21-day Thai vacation starting and ending in Bangkok, filled with nothing but relaxing beaches in between. So naturally, this is how we spent 10 days in Phuket with a toddler and a baby.
Weather in Phuket
Our Thai adventure took place at the beginning of the offseason, mid-April to early May, because it’s cheaper and we happen to like summer style weather. If you’re not the type who thrives in sweltering heat, then you would be happy to know that the climate generally varies throughout Thailand and the weather in Phuket is warm all year round. Keep in mind, however, that September-October is the wettest with heavy rains. We experienced some rain showers, but they never lasted longer than 20 minutes.
Planning a trip to Phuket
Phuket was the third leg of our trip, so we flew to Bangkok Air from Chiang Mai to Phuket International Airport. From there, a prearranged shuttle whisked us away through lush mountains pass rubber and palm oil plantations to our incredible beachfront family resort where we would spend the next 10 days.
With a budget of $50USD a night, deciding which Phuket hotel to stay in wasn’t a hard decision at all, because prices are really affordable when the tourists season ends. We knew we wanted easy beach access and we wanted to be within walking distance of shops and restaurants. We always use Trip Advisor to check reviews of hotels and attractions, and after about a week of research, we opted for NOVOTEL PHUKET SURIN BEACH RESORT.
We chose this hotel because traveling with kids as young as ours means that we have to pay close attention to the details. This hotel offers a kids club, theater room, and waterslide, geared to families with small children. The room sizes were big and there was plenty of elevator and ramp access throughout the resort. (Important if you are pushing a stroller around.) This hotel also had a railed balcony and high door locks (important if you have curious toddlers.) Other features included a mini-fridge and electric kettle (important storing milk and boiling water to wash bottles.) The only thing our room could’ve used was a bathtub, but as you can see, we managed just fine without one.
Getting around Phuket
As a travel destination, Phuket is a breeze to navigate with kids. The whole island is accessible by road, and all of the beaches are free to access. You’ll find that taxi cab stations are everywhere and unlike Bangkok, the prices are set and displayed. We never had an issue communicating with the drivers and didn’t encounter the “upselling/suggesting” that we did in Bangkok. Tuk-tuks and Uber are also widely used by tourists and locals alike, but its important to note that car seats are not normally used so keep that in mind when choosing to travel by car. We took our gb pocket stroller out when we went on excursions around the town we were in with little problems.
Things to do in Phuket
Phuket is a great destination for those traveling with kids. There are a ton of activities and attractions for adventure seekers of all ages and interests. We spent a lot of time at the different beaches and checking out the nearby towns.
Phuket Weekend Market – Phuket Town
Opening Hours: Sat – Sun 16:00 – 21:00 Location: Chao Fa West Road, Phuket Town.
Phuket Weekend Market is the largest night market on the island. You may be able to get away pushing a stroller around this market, but it can get crowded and the ground is uneven. Do yourself a favor and opt for shopping without a stroller. Instead, consider using an infant carrier for smaller children. For older children, consider getting tracking devices installed in a bracelet, belt, or their shoes just in case you all get disconnected for some random reason (because sometimes things just happen. So I suggest planning for the unexpected).
Beaches in Phuket
Just a short stroll across the street from our hotel was the path to Surin Beach.
We ate during the day at local food carts on the beach and had our first taste of coconut ice cream with sticky rice and peanuts.
There are dozens of beaches in Phuket and I’m sure you could visit each one, however, we managed to narrow it down to a select few, each with something different to offer.
Kamala beach is very quiet, tranquil and relaxing compared to most beaches. We didn’t have to fight for space here like we had to at many of the other beaches in Phuket.
The beach was lined with restaurants, food and product vendors. The course sand made clean up incredibly easy. Even on an overcast day, the water was inviting and made for a great beach day.
Patong is a lively tourist and party town. So it was such a nice transition into a social environment compared to the previous beach. We loved how busy and occupied the beach was, as this made for great observational and networking opportunities.
From massage stations to wandering food vendors, everything you need for a full beach day is right there on the sand. If (and this is a big “if”) you get tired of the beach, the town of Patong offers restaurants, shops, art galleries, kid attractions and more. The streets are incredibly easy to navigate, so feel free to take your stroller.
My personal favorite beach in Phuket is Kata Noi. It is a smaller and more intimate beach. Calmer waters make it easy for little swimmers and snorkelers. Most of the beachfront is occupied by the resort of Kata Thani, which is a beautiful resort for those who are not bound by a budget, but we were able to access the beach in a few places further passed the hotels.
My favorite beach town is Kata. The beach itself is amazing, but the town was a superb choice for my family. The shops, restaurants and walkable streets made for a great day trip. There are also a number of other attractions for bigger kids and adults with no kids.
Phuket FantaSea Amusement Park
99, Moo 3, Kamala Beach, Kamala, Kathu, Phuket 83
This is definitely not a cheap attraction but was absolutely worth every penny. We opted for the dinner and show option and the dinner buffet was an attraction all on its own. Souvenirs were for sale everywhere and they are also priced moderately to high, but we expected that. Both Violet and Iris had a great time at themed park equipped with carnival games, an indoor jungle gym, and walk through attractions. The night ended with a magnificent show with a bright and beautiful story that was easy to follow along with.
Dino Mini Golf
Opening Hours: 10:00 – 23:00 Location: Kata Beach Road, next to Marina Phuket Resort, Kata
Mini golf in a prehistoric paradise? Absolutely! Violet had a blast at Dino Park in Kata Beach surrounded by life-size replicas of prehistoric creatures and dinosaurs. The mini golf course included 18 holes each with their own theme that offers a different view of our ancient world.
All in all, our vacation to Thailand was amazing. Unlike Bangkok and Chiang Mai, it’s a great place for relaxation and beach time. As our children get older, our ideal Phuket itinerary will change, but for now we’re happy to hang around a clear turquoise ocean and feast on delicious seafood all day. Truth is, Phuket has something for travelers of all ages and you’ll never run out of things to do. It will be a few years before we make the 18hr flight again, but we can’t wait to find our way back!
If you’ve been I would love to hear about your trip and favorite experience below in the comments!