Thailand is one of the most family friendly holiday destinations in the world. One thing is for sure – Thais love children, especially children from other countries, so much so that wherever we went, the kids were well looked after – as were we.
For my 40th birthday we all headed to the land of smiles in the middle of May. Despite ongoing clashes between the red shirts and the government we landed in Bangkok on the 2oth May at 1am. A couple of blockades later we were on our way to 4 days in Ayutthya. From the moment we landed we had groups of women clucking around and pinching the kids while saying ‘Narag’ – ‘cute’ in Thai. Jemima found this quite disconcerting and stressful while Mr Social took it all in his stride!
The first few days saw us in 40 degree plus heat which took its toll on Robin & the kids until they acclimatised. Ayutthya was a lovely introduction to Thailand with its provincial town style and laid back friendly attitude.
Thailand’s former capital has been on UNESCO’s world heritage list since 1991 and is full of important reminders of the area’s former glory. The ruins and palaces here were amazing! We saw some of the most beautiful places we have ever experienced. Simply walking around the ruins allowed us to relax and soak in the sights and sounds and build unforgettable memories.
This was also the kids first major experience with Thai flavours and they both took to it with gusto! We hit the local night market every evening to eat street food as yet untried. A big hit were the roti samai (sugar thread wrap within an Indian pancake). They are still fresh in the kid’s memory and it seems may be the only picture of Ayutthaya which they will later recall!
Yo our lovely tuktuk driver for three days, took us to some of the most amazing out of the way places (not to mention treating us to a lunch at her favourite road side stall – an absolute highlight for Robin) She taught us all about her culture and religion in her quiet manner and made quite an impression on all of us.
A day trip to the town of monkeys Lopburi was both surreal and amazing all at once. They were everywhere! We took a 3rd class train to get there which was an experience in itself. Hawkers hopping on and off tempting us with different “takeaway”, and bench seats for all. As temperatures had hit 45 degrees we stopped off for lunch in a street side joint. Lots of friendly gesticulating later we had lots of small dishes graciously put in front of us. Who needs a common language to get a good meal?!
With tensions in Thailand settling down we were able to make our way to Chiang Mai aboard the overnight train the next day. Apart from the inevitable disgusting communal bathroom onboard we had an exciting and comfortable 1st class sleeper journey arriving early in the morning to Chiang Mai Station.
We stayed at the Lanna Mantra on the Ping river – a beautiful quiet tropical setting yet close enough to the city that it wasn’t an issue.
And Yay a pool outside our room – which the kids thought was heaven!
The first day was spent scouring the markets and main city. A quick breakfast saw us on a longtail to discover the market sights of Chiang Mai.
The different foods available had the kids looking around with wide eyes of amazement and luckily they will try anything! We topped the day of with a multicultural show in town which was possibly the worst experience ever with appalling food. The dancing at the night markets was a million times better and free!