Last updated on May 1st, 2020 at 03:05 pm
Are you thinking about taking a family trip to Phuket, Thailand? Find out whether you should stay in a luxury villa or a family resort when visiting Phuket with kids.
This Phuket with Kids post is sponsored by Villa Finder. All opinions are my own.
This post about visiting Phuket with kids contains affiliate links which means if you purchase something from one of my affiliate links, I may earn a small commission that goes back into maintaining this blog.
Our family LOVES Thailand. My husband and I visited Bangkok and Phuket on our honeymoon and instantly fell in love with the softest sand beaches and clear blue water.
We loved it so much that we went back to Phuket when our oldest was just 6 months old. It was his first airplane ride (all the way from Seattle) and he slept the entire way.
We’re starting to plan another trip to Thailand for later this year and we’ve been spending a lot of time looking for the right accommodations. I figured I’d share a bit of my research with you. Sharing is caring, right?
Phuket Family Resorts
For our honeymoon, my husband and I stayed in a resort in Kata Beach. It was pretty fantastic! There was a lazy river that was directly outside our room that was really convenient.
It was nice being right in town so we could walk to our favorite banana pancake vendor and sip fresh watermelon juice from a cafe down the street.
Our resort had a restaurant on site and it was great to be able to order room service on really lazy, relaxing days.
There are a lot of luxury resorts in Phuket that offer extensive childcare options and kids clubs. And some even have children’s pools or water slides.
Phuket Luxury Villas
On the flip side, sometimes it’s nice to be removed from the crowds and hubbub of being in town. Heading to a villa is a great way to really relax and get away from it all.
There are villas all over Phuket, from the hills to the beach. And these villas can have a variety of bedrooms, bathrooms, living spaces, and pool areas.
And while there are no designated children’s activities, your kids will have full run of the private swimming pool and they’ll probably also get their own room.
Luxury Villa vs Family Resort when Visiting Phuket with Kids?
This can be a tough decision for families. There are several factors to consider when choosing between a family resort or luxury villa in Phuket.
If you are planning on walking around town a lot, you might want to book a resort, as they are usually centrally located and near lots of shops and restaurants. Many tours also have hotel pick up options.
For beach access, you can do either a resort or a villa. Phuket has beaches with the softest sand (it feels like flour) so you’ll want to head to the beach during your trip!
If you’re looking for privacy and to not be bothered by anyone, a villa up the hill is the way to go. No one will be trying to sell you anything and you can just relax.
Phuket resorts have varying pool areas, but most have at least one swimming pool. And several have swim up bars or cocktail bars you can walk to.
However, the pool area can get crowded really quickly and you might need to arrive early in the morning to stake out a pool chair or two. And then you have to worry about keeping an eye on your stuff if you want to go for a swim.
What’s really nice about staying in a luxury villa in Phuket is they usually come with a private pool. And often they are infinity pools with great views.
Having a private pool with kids is awesome because you don’t have to hear strangers loudly talking to each other. Or deal with drunk strangers. And you can let the baby sleep in an air conditioned room while supervising your other kids in the pool.
And you can still drink at the pool, and at a fraction of the cost. Plus, you can get frozen treats at the store to enjoy poolside!
Resorts usually have at least one restaurant on site (and sometimes a bar) and many offer room service. If the resort is located in town, you should be able to walk to local restaurants or take a taxi.
However, you are kind of stuck having to eat out for every meal. And possibly spending a lot of time researching nearby restaurants and checking out menus.
When you rent a luxury Phuket villa, it comes with a full kitchen so you can prepare your own meals at a fraction of the cost. This is a lifesaver for families with picky eaters (who just want Kraft mac and cheese or PB&J everyday.)
Sometimes you also have the option of hiring a personal chef to cook all your meals in your villa. They will prepare any type of authentic Thai food (and sometimes Western food) that you request. We couldn’t get enough of these skillet Thai chicken thighs!
This means you don’t have to spend time getting everyone ready to head out to a restaurant, dealing with hungry kids as you wait for your food to come, and then hauling everyone back to your hotel.
Plus, you can have all-you-can-eat mango sticky rice!
Another thing to think about when debating between a Phuket resort or villa is what type of activities does your family want to do.
If you plan on taking a lot of group tours, you’ll be pleased to know most tour buses can pick you up from your resort. Many resorts also offer activities/programs on site (like Thai fruit carving.) That can be pretty convenient.
If you just want to do a few tours and mostly relax, a villa might your best bet.
If you have a villa, it’s easy to hire Thai massage therapists to come to your villa without having to worry about childcare. And you can hire a private yoga instructor, muy Thai boxer, chef to teach cooking, etc.
You can also hire a private tour guide to pick you up from your villa and take you anywhere you’d like to go.
The biggest difference between renting a villa or a resort is the space you get. With a resort, you really only have one room (unless you book a suite with multiple rooms at a much higher price.)
With a villa, you get multiple bedrooms, a kitchen, several bathrooms (which is important with little kids), living spaces, a laundry room (also important), and typically a private pool or patio space. Kids can go to sleep in their own room and parents can stay up later and enjoy a romantic dinner or a midnight swim.
Be sure to price out the cost of hotel rooms for everyone compared to renting a villa. If you are traveling with just your immediate family, a family resort might be more cost-effective.
However, if you are traveling with a larger group, you might be surprised how affordable a villa can be.
Our Experience in a Family Villa in Phuket
Our family likes to do multi-generational travel whenever possible. It’s one of our favorite ways to spend time together and make memories that last a lifetime.
So, when we decided to go to Phuket with my husband’s side of the family, it only made sense that we’d rent a villa so we could all stay together.
My husband’s family is really into playing a Chinese card game called Big 2. They spend hours and hours laughing and playing cards. Even the youngest members of the family sit and try to learn how to play.
So, it was nice to have a large dining room table where the players (and young hopefuls) could all hang out together after dinner each night.
Our villa also had a private pool, which was great for both the parents and the kids in our group. We brought oversized pool floaties from home and had some pretty epic pool parties. Even my baby got to participate with his cousins, which was really special.
Speaking of having a baby with us, I loved being able to put him down for a nap in one of the bedrooms and then heading to the living area to hang out with others. It was so nice not having to be isolated in a hotel room with a sleeping baby (and being afraid of waking them!)
Because there were so many of us, it made the most sense to hire cooks to come to the villa and prepare our meals. It actually saved us money compared to going out and all of us eating every meal at a restaurant.
Something I didn’t expect was how much the Thai staff enjoyed spending time with our baby. In fact, they’d come over and ask if they could play with him so I could actually enjoy my meal. (What’s really amazing is that one of them remembered my son 5 years later when my in-laws returned to the same villa!)
Our experience was so good that we’re currently planning another trip to Thailand where we’ll be staying in a villa.
How to Book a Phuket Family Villa to Visit Phuket with Kids
Ok, so you’re probably wondering how you can book a Phuket family villa for your next Thailand vacation. It’s actually really easy, no matter where you live.
Villa Phuket is a great way to go because most of their customers are families. That means they know exactly what parents are looking for and can help you find the right villa for your budget.
And while you are in Phuket, their concierge team can help with arranging anything you need, including groceries, tours, activities, a chef, etc. Plus they can help with special requests like procuring a birthday cake or hiring a private yoga teacher.
Villa Phuket is part of a larger organization called Villa Finder.
10 Amazing Things to do in Phuket with Kids
After you’ve nailed down your Phuket accommodations, you’ll want to start thinking about activities.
There are SO many amazing things to do in Phuket with kids for all age ranges and interests. Here are just a few kid-friendly Phuket activities that are sure to entertain your whole family.
1. Phuket Island Tour Including Big Buddha
The best way to orient yourself with Phuket is by taking a guided tour, especially if this is your first time to Phuket. This tour showcases stunning beaches, Siamese architecture, and Buddhist temples. But the most impressive part is seeing the Big Buddha, which is made of marble.
Book your Phuket Island Tour tickets
2. Phi Phi Island Day Trip
One of the cool things about staying in Phuket is it’s so close to other gorgeous Thailand islands, like Phi Phi Island. Hop on this speedboat tour and swim over coral reefs, snorkel at Bamboo island, and visit Money Beach (where you can take selfies with monkeys.)
Book your Phi Phi Island Day Trip
3. Circus Ninja Warrior Training
Run and jump, swing and crawl, fly and hang, and so much more at this kid-friendly Phuket obstacle course. It’s perfect for families who are fans of the “American Ninja Warrior” TV show. From vaulting to walking a tight rope to trampolining and flying on a trapeze, it will entertain your whole family.
Book your Circus Ninja Warrior Training tickets
4. Lemonade Club
Take your kids to Lemonade Club, where they can hang out at the children’s swimming pool and water slides (or play at the open playground or air conditioned playroom.) Staff will entertain kids with hip hop dance classes, arts and crafts, acrobatics, and more! And parents can relax in the herbal steam sauna, ice pool, Jacuzzi, or spa area.
Book your Lemonade Club tickets
5. Eco-Adventure Trip from Phuket
Adventurous families will love getting off the beaten track to explore Phuket’s natural wonders. This eco-adventure includes kayaking through mangrove channels, trekking through a rainforest, visiting a white sand beach, and relaxing at a beachside spa.
Book your Phuket Eco-Adventure Trip
6. Full-Day Tuk Tuk Tour
One of the most iconic ways to get around Thailand is by Tuk Tuk. Let a Thai local drive you around in a open air vehicle as you see breathtaking views of Phuket. This tour also includes a visit to the Phuket Aquarium, which is sure to be a hit with kids. Plus, you’ll get lunch and refreshments.
Book your Full-Day Tuk Tuk Tour
7. Private Morning Сeremony in Thai Temple
Meet up with a local Thai girl who will share the unique experience of doing a sunrise ceremony at Wat Chalong where you will pray with a monk and participate in a morning ritual. This is the most important ritual in the day and it’s an experience your family won’t forget.
8. ATV, Rafting and Ziplining Adventure from Phuket
If your family wants a real thrill, try mountain river rafting. This tour also stops at Cave Temple. Plus, you’ll learn how to drive an ATV and soar across the jungle on a zipline before heading to a gorgeous waterfall.
Book your ATV, Rafting and Ziplining Adventure
9. Thai Cooking Class
Learn how to prepare amazing Thai food from scratch, including the famous Thai Curry paste. You’ll learn tips and trips about the Thai style of cooking. Kids as young as 4 years old can help prepare the food, which you’ll enjoy in class. Afterwards, you can re-create these recipes as a family after you get home.
Book your Thai Cooking Class
10. Private Khao Lak with Bamboo Rafting Tour
Kids will get a kick out of riding a bamboo raft down a jungle canal to get to a pristine waterfall where they can swim.This tour also includes an orchid farm tour, seeing a Thai Navy battleship, and lunch a an authentic local Thai restaurant.
Book your Private Bamboo Rafting Tour