A few weeks ago I heard of Thai mansions on the website Luxury Retreats – Villa Rentals & Vacation Rentals for the first time. I’d been contemplating for awhile a holiday in Phuket or Koh Samui for families with grown ups. Which island matches the needs and wishes of our grown-ups, Phuket or Koh Samui? Thai holidays are a good bet to convince young adult family members to fit a family reunion into their busy schedule.
Sunset, Phuket, by Tawan Rapipong (Unsplash)
Thai Holidays in Phuket or Koh Samui for Families with Grown Ups
We are empty nesters and our kids live spread over three continents. The grandparents and extended family live in different countries as well. Our adult kids have a work-related busy schedule, meanwhile, the older generation is busy with their own, no less occupying activities.
On our latest travels through the United Kingdom, we house sat for a family in Scotland during winter time, whose kids live and work in the south of England.
They went for Thai holidays with their grown ups and best friends..
Their family reunion was a huge success! Many happy party pictures with sundowners on the beach reached us on our mobile. Meanwhile, we battled the stormy winter weather in freezing Scotland. They liked their Thai holidays so much that they booked their next family gettogether for the next year right away, after returning to the United Kingdom.
Night Market, Phuket Town, Ian Mackenzie (Flickr)
Holiday Requirements for Families with Grown Ups:
- Destination reachable with cheap flights √
- Tropical temperatures √
- Stunning beaches closeby √
- Beautiful nature √
- Culturally interesting places and events √
- Various activities from water sport to spa-treatment √
- Bars and shopping opportunities √
- Spacious luxury villa or a Thai mansion to rent √
- Private pool in a beautiful garden
- Sufficient bedrooms and common space for all
- Functional kitchen for joint cooking
- Quiet setting but not too far from the hustle and bustle of parties if desired.
Based on this checklist I will point out if I’d rather choose Phuket and Koh Samui for families with grown-ups.
Koh Samui for Families with Grown Ups
White sandy beaches fringed with coconut palms surround the second largest island of Thailand. Rainforest covers the mountains in the interior of this tropical island. It is situated south of Bangkok, off the east coast of Kra Isthmus.
Is Koh Samui good for Families? Yes!
Koh Samui’s Beaches
Most of Koh Samui’s fifty kilometers of coastline consists of white-sandy beaches which make it one of the most popular destinations in Southern Thailand. You’ll find lively beaches with lots of entertainment or secluded ones for a relaxing day, reading a book in the shade of a palm tree.
Or maybe you choose to rent a Thai mansion with private beach access..
Swing on the beach, Koh Samui, by Yoori Koo (Unsplash)
Activities on and around the island of Koh Samui
Koh Samui’s Cultural Sights
If it’s a mummified monk at Wat Khunaram, the red temple of Wat Sila Ngu, the temple with the best views at Phra Phutthabat Chamlong Khao Hua Chuk, the twelve meters tall, sitting golden statue of Buddha on the tiny island Wat Phra Yai just off the coast of Koh Samui and others. There is plenty of architectural and cultural heritage to discover.
Wat Plai Leam, Koh Samui, John Cook (Flickr)
Nature and Parks of Koh Samui
The mountainous interior offers walks and some more demanding hikes to waterfalls. At the coast, you’ll find some weirdly shaped rocks, gently called Ta (Grandpa) and Yai (Grandma) by the locals, with a folkloric story to them.
Wildlife Koh Samui
From Koh Samui, it’s worthwhile to do a day trip to Ang Thong National Marine Park.
Water sports activities in Koh Samui
The water is warm and the temperature pleasant all year around. Best conditions for almost any kind of water sport. To explore the underwater world you will find plenty of snorkeling and diving opportunities. If you’d like to keep your head above water, you can rent a kayak, do stand-up paddling, rent a motorized boat or whatever you may wish.
On my research, I found another place in Thailand which would also tick the boxes for a family reunion which makes all of us happy.
Phuket for Families with Grown Ups
Like Koh Samui, Phuket is a mountainous island covered with rainforest with some of Thailand’s most beautiful beaches.
Beautiful seaside Thai mansions are available to rent for big family reunions like ours.
The young will find plenty party opportunities with nightclubs, bars, and discos for example at the main resort town Patong or in Phuket Town. The old shophouses may also entrap the girls when we’d rather enjoy a Thai massage while admiring the sea view.
Along the west coast are almost indefinite sandy beaches. Some of the coastline around Patong attract party crowds, while others more to the north, offer more remote and quiet stretches of beach.
Raya Island, Phuket, Nicolas Vollmer (Flickr)
Activities on and around the island of Phuket
Phuket’s Cultural Sights
Phuket offers some pretty impressive Buddhist temples which shouldn’t be missed on a tour around the island. In Patong, you’ll find Wat Suan Khiri Wong Temple. It is the centre of local Thai Buddhism. Throughout the centuries a large Chinese community migrated to Thailand. You’ll find as many Chinese colourful shrines as Wats in Phuket.
Nature and Parks of Phuket
Khao Phra Thaeo National Park
In the north of Phuket Khao Phra Thaeo National Park is waiting to be discovered. The Park covers approximately 2,200 square kilometres and hosts Phuket’s last virgin rainforest. It is also home to Phuket’s Gibbon Rehabilitation Centre. Hiking trails in the national park lead to the spectacular Ton Sai and Bang Pae waterfalls.
If you like monkeys and you stay over in Bangkok on your way to Phuket or back home, take a day tour to Lopburi and the Monkey Temple.
Sirinat National Park
A long stretch of remote sandy beach lies in the north of Sirinat National Park, a nesting ground for protected sea turtles. They were the original reason to establish this National Park with about ninety square kilometers of beach, mangroves and coastal forest in the north of Phuket.
Similan Islands National Park
If you are into diving, this is the place to go. Similan Islands National Park is an archipelago with nine small islands.
Sleeping Monkey, Koh Samui, by VITALIY ANOKHIN (Unsplash)
Water sports activities in Phuket
Along the west coast of Phuket, you’ll find an abundance of water sports activities to choose from. Boat tours from Phuket include all kinds of activities under and above water.
First on my bucket list would be to visit Similan Islands National Park.
It’s one of the top 10 dive sites in the world.
Comparison of Phuket vs Koh Samui?
The amount of options for a family reunion on Koh Samui and Phuket is abundant. The decision which of the islands to choose for our Thai holiday might depend on available flights and accommodation. I couldn’t say if Phuket or Koh Samui for families with grown-ups is better. Younger and older generations with varying interests and desires find their needs met on both of the islands. It’s always possible to come back the following year to visit the other island.
Kayak Trip, Koh Samui, Jeroen Beltman (Flickr)
Read here about more beautiful beaches
in Thailand, the Seychelles
, and Mauritius
, which may also be great for family get-togethers.
Do you know of suitable holiday destinations other than Phuket or Koh Samui for families with grown ups? Please add them in the comments.
This article is sponsored by Luxury Retreats, Luxury Villa Rentals & Vacation Rentals.