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Was a well-travelled backpacker... Now a mum of two. Advice needed!

(9 Posts)
Caitmous Mon 01-Jun-15 10:49:53

In my twenties, I travelled the world, extensively in SE Asia. Now I have 2dc under four. I'm on maternity leave and as a teacher this is a very rare opportunity to take a holiday in term-time.

I know nothing about package holidays having only ever rocked up at places and found accommodation on arrival. I happily stayed for weeks in run down shacks on Thai beaches.

However, I don't suppose that's possible with two young children? But the thought of ending up on some soulless, expensive Phuket/Samui resort fills me with dread.

Any recommendations for a holiday me + dp + ds 3yo + dd 6m in Thailand for around three weeks to a month in November?

I'd love a few days in BKK either side of a relaxing beach holiday, possibly with a trip to Chang Mai too.

Can I just book flights and BKK hotel and work it out from there?

Or should I go down the package route and book via Thomson etc?

I guess the easiest thing would be a package. But is there a way of travelling around Thailand independently but safely with small children? I don't fancy getting the same backpacker buses I used to get now I have dc!

Any advice on bridging these two sides of my life gratefully received!

PeriPathetic Mon 01-Jun-15 11:01:52

Oh you so don't have to do package hols just because you're a mum! Ugh! Although it's useful to have a place to go on arrival just in case. Book direct with airlines, and search for self catering or similar. You can build your own trip easily.

Owners direct, tripadvisor, Expedia for starters, and lots of googling will get you on the road again.

Caitmous Mon 01-Jun-15 11:22:30

Thanks Peri. Need the reassurance that I don't have to go down the package route!

Any thoughts on travelling in between places with small dc? Thai roads are notoriously dangerous (not that that bothered me in my 20s!). And taxis rarely have seat belts. Do I just go with the flow or is there a way of making journeys safer?

mummymeister Tue 02-Jun-15 14:24:05

you definitely don't have to go down the package route - we never have. but what you do have to do is plan, plan and plan. issues that you need to think about are immunisations/vaccines needed, safe water and food, safe transport. tbh kids of this age wont even remember that they have been so plan the things that you want to do but allow twice as long as you would have done. think really carefully about travelling with small kids and no car seats. its your risk, they are your kids but tbh we went to the more exotic places in the world once ours were older and there were less risks to manage. we also wanted them to remember it. if this is somewhere that you went to when single then a holiday including kids will be a very different experience. again only you can judge if what you are looking for is the same as you had when you were single or you are wanting that different experience. you need to do as much planning as you can beforehand to reduce the risks otherwise you will have an anxious holiday. buy lots of books, go on tripadvisor and other forums and good luck.

elizabethsmum Wed 10-Jun-15 22:47:38

we have done Thailand many times pre kids and three times since having kids. the most recent trip was last year with 3 dc aged 7 and 3yr old dts. can easily do it independently although for ease we have used travel bag to book as dh can't cope with not knowing where we might end up! I would prob book initial accommodation in bok beforehand just as it is such a long flight with dc and tempers may be a bit frayed when you arrive! We have flown between bkk and chiang Mai when we just had dd1 (think she was 3 at the time), we then flew down to koh Samui for a few days. have been minibus taxis from bkk to hua hin with dc just wearing normal seat belts but you can pre order with baby seats if you look online. (first trip with dd1 - then aged 2 - we took our own baby seat). the attention to health and safety is obviously not the same as the UK so you have to make a bit of a judgment call on that yourself really I guess.
lots of families with young dc holiday in Thailand and the Thais love children. all perfectly do-able- my main tip would be not to do too much each day as dc don't appreciate it - we tended to do half day activities and then back to pool in afternoon and back out to a market or something in the evening.

TheGonnagle Wed 10-Jun-15 22:58:29

Koh Lanta! You need to go to Koh Lanta! We've been to SE asia every year since dd was 7 months old and Koh Lanta was just lovely.
This year we went to KhaoLak which is lovely too.
Bangkok we haven't had so much success with, this year dd was really poorly and last time it was just too damn hot. Riverside accommodation was better than city though. Kuala Lumpur is a nice compact city that's easy to get around with little ones so we're heading back there next year before getting the train up to Penang then on to Khao Lak again.
We always go independently but I tend to line the accommodation up first because we travel at Easter and it gets quite busy.
Have a look at seat61 for train info and get on trip advisor to arrange limo taxis with seat belts. We have only had one dodgy driver in the last five years who I didn't pre book (this year into Khao Sok national park) he was utterly terrifying and I was so glad we all had belts! We use the trunk booster seat for dd too so she can wear normal three point belts.
Half the fun's in the planning - enjoy!

Fluffcake Tue 16-Jun-15 20:23:27

We're off to Thailand in 6 weeks grin dc are now 16 and 13 but this is our 4 visit. We usually book flights then use TripAdvisor to book hotels. Most don't want a deposit. Try and stay somewhere with a pool even in Bangkok. We like lamphu tree house 10 min from kho san rd. We also usually book a tour with tong. You get your own private mini bus with driver and guide so you can do everything at your pace. Then we've just traveled down the east coast by private mini bus. This year we're going to Krabi so flying there. We've booked a posh hotel as meeting up with bil who is coming from oz but it will be a base for island hopping.
Have to say we didn't take dc long haul until both at school full-time but have mostly done our own thing Accommodation wise as we get bored staying in one place too long but try not to pack in too much - we've made that mistake too!

Fluffcake Tue 16-Jun-15 20:25:21

Forgot to say we booked through travelbag as well. If you book both flights and accommodation you get ATOL cover.

jugglingmonkey Tue 16-Jun-15 20:46:14

We booked flights via travelbag, and our first hotel in Karon beach near to Phuket. Not a great spot, v touristy but the hotel, a Centara, was bang on for our then 1 year old.

We then travelled around independently using cabs and our own car seat. The Thais love kids and I found all the drivers far more careful with a baby onboard.

We stayed in Khao Lak which is a beautiful sleepy resort and great for families.

To break up the long flights we had stopovers in dubai for DS to run around/eat/nappy change etc.

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