Thailand is family-friendly because Thais love kids. Family is essential in Thai society and children are the greatest wealth. You will feel welcome, comfortable.
Vaccinations and medicines
Visit the doctor at least 4-6 weeks before the start of the trip so that the vaccines that can be administered to take effect.
» If for health reasons any of the medications you take contains or may contain any components that may be considered narcotic, it must be accompanied by the corresponding medical prescription that justifies its use.
» Food and waterborne diseases are the number one cause of illness in travellers.
» Malaria, Japanese Encephalitis and other diseases are spread by mosquitoes, which also happens in this region.
To get a first idea, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommend:
» For all travellers: The Measles vaccine, in addition to the routine vaccines including mumps, rubella, diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, varicella and polio.
Make sure that you and your kids are up-to-date.
» For most travellers: Hepatitis A and Typhoid.
» For some travellers: Cholera, Hepatitis B, Japanese Encephalitis, Malaria and Rabies.
More details about vaccines (enjoythailand.fun).
Besides, as a mandatory vaccine, a Certificate of Vaccination against Yellow Fever will be required if you come from some country of Central/South America or sub-Saharan Africa.
Check the countries here Link (Argentina and Paraguay are included at the end of the list).
Carry some medication if you are going to travel by ferry or have a long road trip. Your doctor may prescribe motion sickness tablets.
Be careful with the water and food consumption, and keep clean the kids hands and toys, as germs usually produce diarrhoea during trips.
Strengthen healthy habits such as washing the hands frequently. Toddlers and babies like to crawl on the floor, touch everything and then suck their fingers. Of course, clean your teeth with bottled water.
Think that the infection in the intestines can be caused by bacteria and viruses, but also by parasites or food allergies. If it happens, go over the last days mentally to find out what might happen, to inform the doctor. You can carry non-prescription diarrhea medications for adults.
With signs of mild dehydration, water is not enough due to the lack of sodium and other minerals. Instead, you can give them an oral rehydration solution (ORS) that you can buy without a prescription. Of course, call the doctor as soon as possible.
In Thailand there are a lot of pharmacies and, fortunately, you will have a 7 Eleven store open 24 hours not far from your accommodation, where you will find isotonic drinks. Disposable nappies and baby toddler products are easily available.
As a general rule, the recommendation is not to eat food from street markets and vendors. However, this is something attractive to do in Thailand and, in our opinion, the food is very often clean and safe. Therefore, depending on each case and your family circumstances, you decide what to do. Be cautious.
In any case, the tropical climate of Thailand implies heat and high humidity, so food must be eaten just after it has been cooked, especially meat.
Prevent sunburn: Overexposure to the sun’s rays causes inflammation of the skin, painful and blisters. Severe sunburn gets worse with fever and nausea, among other symptoms. It can also cause long-term damage.
Thailand is located not far from the equator, which means that the sun’s rays reach the earth almost vertically, full of energy. For this reason, we suggest a high degree of protection.
Regarding sun protection, take care of yourself and your family even if you have dark skin.
The sunscreen cream should have a Sun Protection Factor of 30 or higher.
The sunscreen cream should be broad-spectrum protective, that is to say, it must protect against UVA and UVB rays.
Finally, it should also be water-resistant.
Use sunscreen 30 minutes before the sun exposure and don’t forget any exposed areas of the head, body, arms and legs.
Follow the manufacturer’s instructions on exposure times and water resistance.
Babies under 6 months should stay away from the sun by dressing them properly. The hat with brim.
Prickly Heat, Dehydration and Heat Exhaustion
Prevent Prickly Heat and Heatstroke.
Prickly Heat is an itchy inflammation of the skin, typically with a red rash of small vesicles, frequent in tropical areas with hot wet weather. Wear appropriate clothing and sunscreen.
Heatstroke is caused by the failure of the body’s temperature-regulating mechanism when this is overheating. The result is dry mouth, headaches, lethargy, thirst, fever and sometimes unconsciousness. It could become very serious even fatal.
Think that when the humidity in the environment is high, sweating is less effective in lowering body temperature.
Drink lots of nonalcoholic beverages to replace fluids lost by perspiration. Do not wait until you are very thirsty and if there are any symptoms of dehydration, drink isotonic drinks.
Avoid outdoor activities as much as possible from 12h to 16h. These cause rapid exhaustion.
List of control, one week before starting the trip
» Check that your passports are valid for at least 6 months from the day of arrival in Thailand.
» Make the first reading of your travel insurance policy to familiarize yourself with the coverages you have and the procedure if necessary. Keep the phone number and contact email handy. Be aware of the limits of your policy. What travel insurance do you need?
» Make a paper copy of the main documentation.
» Have the emergency address and telephone number of your embassy in Bangkok or consulate on hand.
» Prepare travel money in cash and at least one credit card. Update the official exchange rate here.
» Have on hand the name and address of your first accommodation in the country, you will need it to fill in the immigration form.
» If you plan to purchase a Thai sim card to have Wi-Fi and be able to make/receive local calls, you can book it in advance and have it installed and activated as soon as you arrive at the airport. If you are interested, you can do it now.
» Backpack or suitcase? Both options are good, choose the one that is most comfortable for you. The smaller, the better and avoid exceed the weight you can move cosily. Keep in mind the possible limitations if you fly with low-cost companies and also if you plan to make purchases in the country.
» Include mosquito repellent, sunscreen and moisturizer cream. Sunglasses and caps or hats.
» Some analgesic–antipyretic, antidiarrheal and also a thermometer. Band-aids, scissors and an antiseptic. Remember that knives and scissors cannot go in hand luggage.
» If you are going to catch a ferry, take dizziness pills.
» Light clothing, which transpires well and comfortably. A good raincoat. For activities in the tropical forest or jungle, you can wear light long pants and cool long-sleeved shirts to protect yourself from insects.
» At least two pairs of shoes or sneakers that adapt well to the activities you are going to do.
» It may be interesting to wear a neckerchief or scarf to defend yourself from air conditioners and at least one sweater.
During the day, the temperature contrast when entering air-conditioned spaces in hotels and on the Bangkok Skytrain, for example, can be brutal. Coming in sweaty is uncomfortable and can also be unhealthy.
If you anticipate mountain activities, wear more warm clothes. In January it is usually cool at night in many destinations.
» If you are going to drive a car, do not forget to bring the international driving permit along with your national license.
» Transfers with airports can be done perfectly by yourself with the information we provide here (enjoythailand.fun).
Nevertheless, there are travellers who prefer to make the reservation before leaving and not to have to solve it when they arrive in Bangkok tired after a long journey. If this is your case you can make the reservation here.
» Include in the travel documentation the certificate of vaccination against yellow fever if you come from a country of Central/South America or sub-Saharan Africa. Check the list.
» The day before departure revise the weather forecast for the first days and if there is any weather warning. You can do so on the homepage of this guide.
» Remember to check-in for your flight online to save time at the airport. The trip will take many hours and long queues cause fatigue, especially for children.
On the International Flight
Long flights cause tiredness and sometimes stomach ache and insomnia.
A few days before travelling, adapt the sleeping schedule to Thailand’s time zone as much as possible.
Begin the journey after having rested and calmly.
Keep adapting the sleeping schedule of kids to the Thai time zone also during the plane trip.
Keep family hydrated during the flight.
Stretch once in a while and walk the aisles.
If possible, we recommend that your flight arrives in Bangkok around noon to be able to go through immigration and collect your luggage (1 roughly hour), and move to the hotel (approx. 1 more hour) with time enough to rest, shower and take a walk in daylight.
It will help you and your kids to acclimatize more easily to the heat and humidity of Bangkok, as well as the new time zone. Varying a little during the year, it starts to get dark after 6 pm. Around June, daylight extends a little longer.
Earache during takeoff and descent of the plane to land.
Discomfort caused by a quick change in pressure. Children with colds or mucus can feel these unpleasant effects more easily. Anyway, the pain is temporary and it will not cause any health problem.
Drink abundant water on the flight. The cabin atmosphere is usually dry.
During the descent, try to yawn with the children and also swallow repeatedly. Chewing gum is another possibility if they can. You can feed babies during takeoff and landing to minimize ear discomfort.
Take some snacks and their favourite toys.
Stay awake to land.
Ask your doctor for a pain reliever, if you think this solution is convenient.
During the trip
To stay healthy
» Wash hands often with soap and water.
» Drink only bottled or boiled water, or carbonated (bubbly) drinks in cans or bottles. Avoid tap water, fountain drinks, and ice cubes.
» Take precautions when eating food purchased from street vendors and be aware of the risk.
» Protect yourself from insects by remaining in well-screened areas, using repellents (applied sparingly at 4-hour intervals), and wearing long-sleeved shirts and long pants from dusk to dawn.
» To prevent fungal and parasitic infections, keep feet clean and dry, and do not go barefoot.
» Be very careful when handling animals (including monkeys, dogs and cats), to avoid bites and serious diseases such as rabies and plague.
Caution with animals
Thais love cats, the true kings of Siam, at least in Siam’s homes.
There are often groups of dogs in and around the Buddhist monasteries. You have to be careful after dark (although they are generally already closed), as they detect strangers and can be annoying.
Personally, I like to walk the cities and towns, even in the evening, and so I always carry an extendible umbrella in my backpack. It has three different uses, protecting me from the rain, shading me in the scorching sun, and deterring dogs if one of them starts barking, several get together and get too close.
You can find macaques in many beaches and natural areas, in addition to Lopburi, the city of monkeys. They know you are a foreigner and maybe they try to take advantage of your ‘innocence’. I mean stealing your bag or your food, especially the fruit. They can be cheeky or even aggressive. Be very careful.
Streets and highways
The kindness of Thais is reduced when they get into a car. Sometimes you have to cross a street without traffic lights and crosswalks do not work. Be patient, join other pedestrians with the same intention and if necessary, ask the drivers to stop with your arms, at the most appropriate time.
I have not found many Thais who like to walk in the city, they prefer to take the motorbike. Perhaps this is why the sidewalks are poorly maintained. This can be dangerous for your feet.
You have to wear good shoes and pay attention to the ground, in addition to the traffic.
We will insist on this in the post about Chiang Mai.
Look at the picture. The barbed-wire fence protects private property, but it is a clear danger to pedestrians, especially children. In addition, the wire will gradually oxidize.
A bad idea.
It is very unlikely that you will encounter something similar, but not impossible, so you have to be always vigilant.
Traffic accidents are one of the risks to consider in Thailand.
Discard the motorcycle to travel with kids.
Children must be well protected in the car, with the same safety standards as in any modern country.
If you plan driving your own car, don’t miss this post (enjoythailand.fun)
Long-tail boats are the typical Thai ship for excursions at sea. Some parts of the boat are made of iron and it is possible to make oneself a small cut.
This can also happen with a rock or for other reasons.
In any case, it is advisable to carry an antiseptic and band-aid in the backpack to clean and protect the wound as soon as possible.
After the trip
If you have visited an area where there is a risk for malaria, continue taking your malaria medication for four weeks, after you leave the area.
If you get sick after travelling, even one year after your trip, tell your doctor about the areas you have visited.
Finally, if this is your first time in Thailand, we recommend you to read this post about First Visit (enjoythailand.fun).