CONTRIBUTED BY AMY HICKERSON
Thailand is a popular destination for families looking to take a beach getaway, and our family was no different. In fact, when we arrived in Korea, a Thailand vacation was on our bucket list! We crossed it off the list this past April, when we took a trip to Phuket.
Phuket has many named beaches, as shown in the map below.
We stayed in Bang Tao Beach, at a resort called Sunwing.
We booked this hotel after hours and hours of researching and looking up various resorts. We got very overwhelmed looking at all the resorts offered at the different beaches. I finally messaged several friends who I knew had gone to Thailand and asked where they stayed. Three families I knew similar to ours (age of children, similar interests, etc.) recommended this one, so we decided to go for it too! We were very pleased!
Bang Tao beach is not in a super touristy area, which was nice, because the beach was never overly crowded. It is not too isolated though; there were several restaurants in walking distance (a nice alternative to the resort restaurant), and not far from a small town.
There are many, many excursions to take while in Phuket. Sunwing had a desk in the lobby with brochures for different trips and tours, and I am fairly certain that the other resorts have this amenity as well. We knew we wanted to do the Elephant tour, so we arranged that through Siam Safari tours.
We also planned a day of going on a 4-wheeler tour which included the Big Buddha statue. We enjoyed those tours very much! I was surprised at how much I enjoyed the ATV tour, but it took us “off the beaten path” and I felt like we got to see some of the real Thailand most tourists don’t see.
We also went out on our own a couple days, taking a trip to the nearby famous Patong Beach, seeing a snake show (which I do not recommend… I went along as a good sport with my husband and son who were interested in this!), and visiting some temples.
It isn’t hard to get out on your own; there are Tuk Tuks and taxis easily available. Although, I use the term “taxi” loosely; I suspect a couple of our taxi rides were by a random person looking to make a few bucks. Oh well, it was hot, they had A/C and a comfortable ride, and they got us where we needed to be, so it was all good!
One of the disadvantages to staying in Bang Tao was that most of the tours we did were close to Phuket Town (see map above), so we had a long drive (about 45 min) to get to our excursions. However, I am still not sure I would have wanted to stay in a closer beach, as they were much more touristy and crowded.
We arranged our plane tickets online, on our own. However, there are several travel agent options on post if you would prefer to have someone else plan it out for you. It can get overwhelming trying to book it all yourself!
I hope that this helps you get started in planning your own Thailand vacation. Thailand is a beautiful country, with friendly people, amazing food, and lots to experience!