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Exploring Thailand with a Baby: Our Unforgettable First International Trip

Exploring Thailand with a Baby: Our Unforgettable First International Trip

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Are you thinking about planning a trip to Thailand with a baby but feeling nervous about the whole experience? Check out our honest, first-hand experience doing it with our oldest son when he was little.
This post about visiting Thailand with a baby was written by family travel expert Marcie Cheung and may contain affiliate links, which means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission at no extra cost to you. All opinions remain my own.

“Your baby’s first plane ride was to Thailand???”

That’s a question/statement we’ve gotten for years anytime we tell people how we started traveling with a family. I admit, we had no idea what we were doing but it all worked out pretty well!

Keep scrolling to see exactly how we managed visiting Thailand with a baby before we had the family travel skills we use today!

Going on a Thai Adventure with Our Little One

I still vividly remember the mix of exhilaration and apprehension coursing through me when we finalized our family trip to Thailand.

Our little bundle of joy was just six months old, and although the thought of traveling such a long distance with a baby initially seemed daunting, we took on the challenge with a sense of adventure.

Image of Marcie Cheung of Marcie in Mommyland and her husband and son
Our first family pic in Thailand!

Interestingly, our last visit to the serene beaches of Phuket was during our honeymoon. This time, the stakes were a bit higher, navigating naptimes rather than romantic dinners by the sea.

Turns out, bringing our baby to Thailand was not only doable but also tremendously rewarding. The journey there was surprisingly smooth, with our baby sleeping soundly during most of the flights.

We were fascinated at how he embraced the new environment, sounds, and even the time change with more grace than either of us managed.

Experiencing Thailand’s vibrant culture, warm-hearted people, and breathtaking landscapes through his innocent gaze brought an entirely new dimension to our travel experience, forever altering the way we view traveling with infants.

What previously appeared near impossible seemed now entirely feasible and filled with potential for creating lifelong memories as a family.

What to Pack for Thailand with a Baby

Packing for a journey to Thailand with our little one, I quickly learned the art of balancing between too much and too little. Unnecessary items just become a burden, so focusing on the necessities is key.

My son swimming in an infinity pool in Phuket, Thailand.

For starters, diapers are a must, yet they’re also widely available there if you aren’t picky about brands. Otherwise, I’d suggest packing your own. This rule of thumb applies to wipes and creams as well.

For clothes, plan for the humid and tropical weather, but also have layers handy for cooler environments like air-conditioned spaces or breezy evenings. A sun hat and swimsuit with UV protection are also smart additions for those sunny beach days.

  • Medical Kit: Include your baby’s typical medications and a first-aid kit, just in case. Remember the baby sunscreen and insect repellent suitable for infants to protect their delicate skin.
  • Feeding Supplies: If you’re bottle-feeding, bring enough for the flight. You can stock up on formula or baby food after arrival. For breastfeeding moms, a nursing cover and a manual pump might be helpful.
  • Travel Gear: A durable, lightweight stroller and a comfortable baby carrier are indispensable. They’ll be your best allies while exploring the streets and beaches or navigating busy markets.
  • Comfort Items: A few of your baby’s favorite toys and a travel crib or a portable sleeping pad can help maintain the familiarity of home and ensure peaceful sleep.
  • Essentials Documentation: Keep your passports, travel insurance documents, and your baby’s health records within easy reach. These are your most critical items.

Adjust for your baby’s age and specific needs, but keep in mind that Thailand’s stores carry most of what you might need. So, pack light and embrace the adventure ahead!

Baby on Board: Flying Internationally with an Infant

I remember feeling a mix of anxiety and excitement about our long-haul flight to Thailand with a 6-month-old.

The keys to our successful journey were preparation and choosing a baby-friendly airline like Korean Air. Their understanding and amenities for little passengers made a world of difference.

One game-changing move was securing an additional seat for our baby. While it may seem like a hefty investment at first, having that extra space proved invaluable.

We brought our car seat aboard, which not only ensured our baby’s safety but also provided a familiar comfort that helped him doze off to the hum of the aircraft.

The flight crew was exceptionally accommodating, providing us with premixed formula and small bottles of juice. Having these necessities supplied meant we could pack lighter and still be prepared for any situation.

The airline’s gesture of providing a kids’ activity pack, although our baby was too young to use it, was a thoughtful touch that I imagine would be a lifesaver for older infants.

My Top Tips

If you’re considering flying with an infant, I highly recommend looking into airlines known for their family-friendly services. Don’t shy away from requesting what you need to keep your baby comfortable.

Always opt for the extra seat if possible—it gives you and your child the personal space to relax and makes feeding and nap times on a crowded plane much more manageable.

Image of Marcie Cheung of Marcie in Mommyland with her baby on a boat in Thailand.
It’s important to stay cool in Thailand. Photo credit: Darren Cheung

Handling the Heat and Power Outages

Landing in Phuket with my baby in tow, I felt a rush of worry when I learned our accommodation had a power outage. Yikes!

With no A/C running, the heat was intense, and I feared sleepless nights ahead for us, especially after my baby had snoozed through our long-haul journey.

However, I quickly learned that flexibility is key when traveling with an infant, and adaptability becomes your best friend.

We navigated the warmth by taking proactive steps to ensure our little one stayed comfortable. Here are some tips I gathered from our experience:

  • Prioritize Cool Spaces: We scoped out the coolest part of the house, which turned out to be downstairs, and set up a temporary sleep space there for the baby and my husband.
  • Stay Hydrated: Keeping our baby hydrated was essential. Offering frequent breast or bottle feedings can help maintain their comfort in the heat.
  • Dress Appropriately: Opting for loose, breathable clothing for my baby helped in keeping him cool. Light cotton onesies were just right.
  • Portable Fans: A battery-operated fan became our savior, providing a gentle breeze that helped our baby sleep better during the nighttime.
  • Use Wet Cloths: Gently wiping my baby with damp cloths provided immediate relief from the heat.

Managing Sleep Schedules and Time Differences

My initial worry about how our 6-month-old would handle the time difference in Thailand was quickly put to rest.

Infants have a superpower for adaptation, especially when it comes to new sleep environments and routines.

I found that keeping a few key strategies in mind made all the difference for ensuring our baby stayed well-rested amidst the hustle and bustle of travel.

Gradual Adjustment to Time Change

Rather than expecting our little one’s internal clock to switch overnight, we took a gradual approach. We gently shifted his sleep schedule over several days, both before leaving and upon arrival. This eased him into the new time zone without too much fuss.

Consistent Bedtime Rituals

Maintaining familiar bedtime rituals gave a sense of continuity. A calm bath, his favorite lullaby, or a cuddly toy from home reminded him it was time to wind down, regardless of the new setting around us.

Flexibility

While we aimed to keep nap times consistent, sometimes travel plans meant naps had to happen on the go. We accepted that a stroller snooze or a carrier nap was better than no nap at all. Our flexibility kept the days enjoyable for all.

Comfortable Sleep Settings

We made sure his temporary sleep spaces felt safe and snug. Having a travel crib helped, as the enclosed, familiar space provided a secure environment for our baby to rest, even with new noises and sights around.

A crucial insight I gained was that babies are naturally adaptable. Travel and new experiences didn’t phase our son as much as I’d expected.

While we kept tabs on his comfort and sleep cues, he surprised us by how easily he settled into the rhythm of our trip.

For parents planning to travel, rest assured, infants are capable of acclimating to travel better than we sometimes give them credit for.

With patience and these simple strategies, you can maintain a semblance of a sleep schedule and enjoy your journey, all while your baby gets the rest they need.

Unexpected scenarios like power outages can indeed pose challenges, but I found that swift adaptation and a cool head were just as vital as any item in my travel bag.

By finding solutions on the spot and making the best out of the situation, we managed to keep our baby happy and comfortable, allowing us all to enjoy the beauty of Thailand together.

Photo of a mom and baby on a beach near Phuket, Thailand #thailand #phuket #phiphi #familytravel #travelwithababy
My son’s first beach day was in Thailand! Photo credit: Darren Cheung

The Warmth of Thai Hospitality: Why It’s Great for Babies

Traveling to Thailand with a baby opened my eyes to the remarkable kindness of the Thai people towards children.

From the moment we arrived, locals would go out of their way to help us, whether that was assisting us with our stroller or simply offering a friendly smile. This warmth radiated from everyone, from the people on the streets to the hotel staff, creating an incredibly welcoming environment for our family.

The hospitality extended to our infant was touching. I remember restaurant workers giving us gentle nods of understanding as they promptly brought over high chairs and made sure our baby was comfortable.

At one place, my little one was fussed over by several staff members after our meal; they even played peekaboo to keep him entertained while I enjoyed a rare chance to savor my dessert.

At the market, vendors would often pause their haggling to coo over our baby, tickling his toes and making him giggle.

Their genuine affection was heartwarming and made for a relaxed shopping experience. This kind of support, unexpected but entirely sincere, made our travels less stressful and far more enjoyable.

The immense value of traveling in such a baby-friendly culture became clear during our stay. Our baby was treated not as an inconvenience but as an honored guest.

Safe and Engaging Activities for Babies in Thailand

Traveling to Thailand with a baby opened my eyes to an array of activities we could enjoy together.

White sandy beaches are perfect for little ones. In the shade of palm trees, I watched my baby giggle as the delicate waves tickled his toes.

Boat trips are a hit too. Gliding across the emerald waters with my baby snug in a carrier, the gentle motion lulled him into a peaceful nap.

Using a carrier turned out to be a game-changer for us. Whether exploring bustling markets or quiet temples, it kept my hands free and my baby close. Plus, it was much easier to navigate the streets without pushing a stroller.

Beach excursions became a daily delight. We built sandcastles and paddled in the shallow waters, my baby’s laughter mingling with the sound of the waves. Every moment felt safe and wholly joyful.

However, not all excursions are optimal for babies. We learned this the hard way on an elephant trek. The scorching heat and bumpy ride left my little one uncomfortable and in tears, so I would advise against it (for that and MANY other reasons).

Image of a dad and baby next to an elephant in Thailand
Next time, we’ll just hang out with the elephants. Photo credit: Marcie Cheung

To keep adventures enjoyable for everyone, look for shade-covered activities, such as visiting butterfly gardens or aquariums. They provide stimulating experiences for babies without the discomfort of intense sun or heat.

And always remember, the best excursions are those where both you and your baby can smile and relax together.

Family Support: Balancing Parenting and Vacation

Traveling with our baby to Thailand turned out to be an incredible experience, especially since we had our extended family with us. This large support system was a game-changer.

For starters, it gave my husband and me the chance to sneak in some personal leisure activities knowing that our baby was in safe hands. We could alternate ‘baby-watch shifts’, ensuring each one of us got some relaxing downtime.

One day, while my husband enjoyed a round of golf with his brothers, I could unwind without any worries. I knew our baby was having a great time being pampered and played with by the relatives back at our temporary home.

Similarly, I got to indulge in a shopping spree with the ladies, while he took over parenting duties.

The best part was being able to experience the fabulous Thai massages right in the comfort of our accommodation.

We arranged for massage therapists to come to us, so we didn’t have to step out and could still be close to our baby. This setup allowed us to take turns; one of us would rejuvenate with a massage while the other entertained our child, making the relaxation feel guilt-free and truly enjoyable.

Thailand on a Budget: Affordable Family-Friendly Options

Discovering Thailand with a baby opened my eyes to how enjoyable and affordable it can be. From the moment we landed, the cost-effectiveness of this beautiful country was evident.

Accommodations range from budget-friendly guesthouses to luxurious villas, each providing excellent value. We found a comfortable place to stay without breaking the bank, which was a relief with all the baby gear in tow.

One of the highlights was indulging in traditional Thai massages. With prices a fraction of what you’d expect back home, I seized the opportunity to relax and rejuvenate without guilt.

The therapists were incredibly skillful, and having them come to our house meant that one of us could always be with the baby.

When it came to food, I was particularly impressed by the variety and affordability of choices. Dining out or grabbing a bite on the go didn’t put a dent in our wallets.

Street food, a cultural staple, was both delicious and inexpensive. I still remember the sweet aroma of banana pancakes, cooked fresh at a street corner. These were perfect for toddlers too, easy to hold and snack on.

Even with a little one, we never felt restricted. Many eateries welcomed us warmly, with high chairs and a smile, making it a stress-free experience for me as a new parent.

Navigating the Buzz and Serenity of Phuket

Phuket, with its vibrant atmosphere and tranquil retreats, offers a little something for everyone. We found that steering clear of the party-centric zones led us to peaceful sanctuaries perfect for family bonding.

Patong Beach, for instance, is famous for its lively nightlife, but travel a bit further, and you’ll discover the serene Kamala and Bang Tao beaches. These spots are ideal for building sandcastles with the kids, with their gentle waves and soft sands made of crushed coral.

The island caters to families remarkably well. You can find cozy, kid-friendly resorts that offer amenities like kiddie pools and childcare services, allowing parents to relax knowing their little ones are in good hands.

Plus, the Thai culture’s warm embrace of children is evident everywhere you go. Whether we were dining at a local restaurant or exploring a market, there were always kind smiles and helpful hands.

Thailand with Kids FAQs

Is Thailand safe for babies and toddlers?

Yes, Thailand is generally safe for little ones, but it’s important to stay in well-known tourist areas and use precautions like bottled water and mosquito protection.

What baby supplies are available in Thailand?

Most baby essentials, like diapers, wipes, and formula, are readily available in supermarkets and pharmacies, especially in larger cities and tourist areas.

Can you recommend baby-friendly accommodations in Thailand?

Many hotels and resorts in Thailand are family-friendly, offering amenities like cribs, kids’ clubs, and special meal options. Here are our favorite kid-friendly resorts in Phuket.

Is the food in Thailand suitable for toddlers?

Thai cuisine can be spicy, but many restaurants offer milder versions of dishes and kid-friendly options. It’s also easy to find international food in tourist areas.

Are there medical facilities equipped for children in Thailand?

Yes, Thailand has high-quality medical facilities, especially in Bangkok and major tourist destinations, with doctors who usually speak English.

How do I protect my baby from the sun and heat in Thailand?

Dress your baby in light, breathable clothing, use a hat and baby-safe sunscreen, and try to keep them in the shade during the hottest parts of the day.

Are strollers practical to use in Thailand?

In cities and tourist areas, sidewalks can be crowded or uneven, so a lightweight, easily foldable stroller or a baby carrier might be more convenient.

What about transportation with a baby in Thailand?

Taxis are widely available, but it’s rare to find one with a baby car seat, so you may want to bring a portable travel car seat or arrange private transfers.

Can I breastfeed in public in Thailand?

Breastfeeding in public is generally accepted in Thailand, but it’s advisable to do so discreetly or in designated nursing areas for comfort and privacy.

Are there child-friendly activities and attractions in Thailand?

Absolutely! Thailand offers numerous family-friendly activities, from beach fun and gentle elephant sanctuaries to interactive museums and water parks.

Visiting Thailand with a Baby Wrap-Up

Reflecting on my journey through Thailand with my little one cradled in my arms, I can confidently say the Land of Smiles brightened our lives in ways I never anticipated.

From the sun-kissed beaches to the friendly faces that adored our baby at every turn, Thailand proved to be a sanctuary for family bonding and unforgettable adventures.

Looking for more Thailand travel resources? Check out Where to Stay in Phuket with Kids: Luxury Villas or Family Resorts?, Top 10 Phuket Day Trips for Adventurous Families Visiting Thailand, 23 Things to Do in Phuket with Family, and 14 Best Hotels in Phuket for Families Visiting Thailand!

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uv

Sunday 10th of November 2019

Hi, Nice blog. Just wondering which boat your did you take that was suitable for the infant?

Thanks.

marciecheung

Friday 22nd of November 2019

I wish I could remember the name, but my Auntie set it up. I don't think any of the boats in Phuket are geared for babies, but you can take them on. In hindsight, I might have thought to bring a life jacket or something for safety. Our boat was pretty gentle.

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