What to See & Do
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First and foremost, deal with the inevitable jetlag.Your kids will be nodding out at the strangest hours the first couple days in Thailand, so keep them close, and don’t try to do too much.In fact, you’re well advised to add a few days on to your itinerary to allow enough time to adjust and acclimatize properly.Spend these first few days in one destination if possible.
Everyone should simply take it easy and adapt to the new time zone, weather, food, and culture.Take some moderate exercise and always drink plenty of water. Bottled water is available everywhere, and it’s good to have a bottle with you at all times to stay properly hydrated in the tropical climate.
One of the parents should probably go on a brief hunting and gathering mission. The hotel staff will direct you to a good supermarket where you can stock up on some comfort foods for the kids, and purchase any milk or formula you might need if you have infants or toddlers. Everything is available in the big cities, so don’t worry about bringing along loads of items that can be easily purchased here.
Fruit that can be peeled is always best, like oranges or – perhaps a new treat – delicious mangosteen, depending on the season you’re visiting. Other fruits and vegetables should be thoroughly washed before eating.The worst culprit in food-related illnesses is seafood, so that should be avoided, especially in small roadside stalls or markets. Large hotel restaurants should present no problems.
In addition to staying hydrated, which cannot be emphasized enough, watch the sun, and respect it. All those locals standing in the shade of one telephone pole are doing that for a reason: to avoid too much direct sunlight.Heat exhaustion is insidious and will sneak up on you – especially children – before you know it.
Two important items to carry with you are sunscreen (or sunblock) and mosquito repellant; the last things you need on your precious family holiday are painful sunburn, or mosquito bites which could possibly carry disease, though this won’t be a concern unless you’re spending time in remote border areas or around large bodies of stagnant water, especially in the rainy season.You’ll be fine in the cities and well-traveled tourist areas.
Thailand is a very safe country to visit, and crimes against persons are not common.Nevertheless, you should still exercise common sense by not showing off expensive possessions or jewelry, not talking to – or going to – unknown places with strangers, and staying among fellow travelers in well lit, public places. It’s also a good idea to stay with your teenage children, especially at night; again, common sense will go a long way towards preventing any problems.
It is important to bear in mind that although Thailand may appear relaxed, carefree, laid back, and easy-going on the surface, especially in many beach resorts and tourist destinations, it is nonetheless a very conservative country with a well-defined code of etiquette, manners, and behavior that you need to be aware of, and adhere to.
You can read about these codes of behavior on this website, in many other sites online, and in every guidebook ever written about Thailand, but the more important ones include the following: Respect the monarchy and the religion at all times by dressing and behaving politely, and refraining from improper and impolite speech on these subjects.Remove your shoes when entering temples or homes; remain calm at all times, and most importantly: smile – it is a language all Thais know very well and greatly appreciate.