Brendan and Samantha Williamson and their daughters, Emily (9) and Louise (5).
The family booked their holiday through European tour operator TUI, who took all the stress out of planning. They chose TUI’s five-day Rose of the North tour in Chiang Mai. The package cost RMB 6,980 per adult and RMB 5,235 per child. The tour flies with Thai Airlines from Beijing to Chiang Mai via Bangkok.
The package included a stay in a deluxe suite at the four-star hotel, Chiang Mai Orchid. The hotel was built in the style of a Thai palace and is set in beautiful well-kept grounds. The suite was comfortable and spacious, offering great views of the gardens and surrounding jungle. There was also a gym, a swimming pool and a good choice of restaurants with Thai, French and Chinese cuisine.
The Best Part
No trip to Thailand is complete without a ride on an elephant and the adventure was a pleasure for the whole family. However, the best part was that the whole adventure was taken care of by TUI, allowing the Williamsons to sit back and enjoy the vibrant sights and sounds of Thailand.
The Worst Part
The family opted to go to Thailand during the summer, which for Southeast Asia is rainy season. The summer rain was also accompanied by hot and humid weather, which took a bit of getting used to. While the rain did provide a nice change from the dryness of Beijing, it could potentially spoil a longer visit.
Most Unexpected Event
One evening in Chiang Mai, they visited the famous night market and stopped to eat in a small side street restaurant. The chef prepared the food in front of them and even let the kids join in.
Family Friendly Features
The hotel was very welcoming and kid-friendly. The staff went out of their way to make sure the family enjoyed their stay. In fact, most of the locals were friendly towards kids. The hotel also ran a babysitting service, which Brendan and Samantha took advantage of – hitting the town for a grown-up meal for two. In general, apart from the hot and humid weather, Thailand makes for a perfect family-friendly destination.
If you can, it is best to go to Thailand in the winter or fall, but if you go during the summer, be prepared for rain and take plenty of mosquito repellant. It’s also recommended that travelers research vaccinations if they’re planning to venture off the beaten track.