Koh Samui isn’t just a place for adults. Many resorts and restaurants are popular with families, and increasingly children are being specifically catered for, with all kinds of activities available, and especially for those in the older age range.
Always bear in mind that heat exhaustion, dehydration and sunburn are potential holiday disasters to watch out for in tropical climes. Just because it’s windy, and you feel reasonably cool, that doesn’t mean you or your kids won’t get sunburnt. Always make sure that children aren’t overexerting themselves and re-apply sun creams after swimming.
Thai people are naturally welcoming towards children and you will often find that restaurant and hotel staff treat them with kindness and attention. The Laem Set Inn is one such popular family-oriented resort and has two small playgrounds for children. It is also an ideal place to take them swimming, with an exciting series of tiny coves along its shore.
Similarly, the Paradise Beach Resort in Mae Nam has a small playground, and, over on the west coast, Big John Beach Resort has a roped-off area in the sea for safe swimming. The seas are generally safe most of the year round on Samui, but watch out for large waves and rip tides, especially in Chaweng and parts of Lamai during the months of October to late February. If in doubt, always ask. Generally, Samui is very safe for children, and most families who come on holiday here enjoy themselves immensely.
In addition to swimming, there are a large number of sporting activities for children, starting with the carefully designed mini-golf course in Choeng Mon, which is one of the only certified courses in Thailand. Nearby is one of Samui’s popular new hybrid games called football-golf, where you tee off with your foot – the idea being to get a football round a quite difficult obstacle course.
At Tesco Lotus, near Chaweng, is a bowling alley, which is air-conditioned to give visitors a few hours break from the sunshine. There is also a cinema, which shows a constantly changing selection of movies for children and adults. In addition, a small play area for the kids and lots of fast food options can be had here.
If you want to give your children a day out among some of the world’s most scenic islands, then head for Ang Thong National Marine Park, about an hour west of Samui by speedboat. Several companies operate tours from Samui to the unspoilt beaches and crystal-clear waters of this stunning archipelago. There’s also an inland lake on one of the islands, as well as a cave, and enough mystery and adventure for any child to feel that they are in an exciting fairy story. For added pleasure, children who are old enough will love to go kayaking here.
Back on Samui, active kids will love the two-kilometre hike up through the jungle that starts at the temple in Hin Lad, just south of Na Thon. A small river with plenty of waterfalls and rock pools flows just below a public path, which affords rest where necessary. If you continue up the mountain you reach some large pools that are ideal for swimming. A similar trail, but also with elephant rides, is to be found further south at Lad Wanorn.
Children who are fascinated by snakes will tug your arm in the direction of Samui’s snake farm, located in the south of the island, while the crocodile farm near the airport holds similar appeal with daily shows. Samui even has its own aquarium at the Orchid Resort, again in the south of the island.
Should your child suffer from any illness while on holiday, Samui International Hospital is recommended for reasonable prices and good family doctors. Samui International Hospital, tel: (077) 230 781-2, email, website.