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Help planning first family trip

Aberdeen, United...
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Help planning first family trip

Hi all,

This is the first visit to this forum. We are a family of 2 adults and 1 child (girl aged 10) and looking to plan out first family holiday to Thailand in July 2012. Looking for some help in deciding exactly where to say and have a few questions so you are able to help.

A travel agent suggested phuket as more to do / see with family and can plenty to do in patong?? is this the case or should I be looking at a different resort?

We are looking to travel for 14 nights, is this too long? is there plenty to do.

Hotel shortlist (at the moment)

Hilton Phuket Arcadia Resort and spa

Centara Karon Resort (private pool cabana room)

Laguna Beach Resort

Centara Grand Beach Resort

JW Marriott Resort and Spa

Is there a particular hotel that is recommended. We like very good quality resorts with a little bit of luxury. Enjoy spending time at the hotel some time too so nice pool. Our daughter is probably at the upper end of the age limit for kids club and likely wont want to go however if a particular resort is more geared to kids her age that would be an advantage.

What about board basis. I see many hotels are B&B and some are half board. Which is the preferred option and if it is B&B what is the cost of living like from the point of view of eating out, availability and prices of drinks (alcoholic and non-alchoholic).

Lastly, one travel agent has price the holiday traveling with Eva Air (new airline to me) We usually fly virgin would be good to hear about service and leg room in both economy and premium cabins. Also see Qatar flys to Phuket would this be a better option.

Many many thanks

Sydney, Australia
Destination Expert
for Patong
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4,374 posts
33 reviews
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1. Re: Help planning first family trip

Hi Welcome to this forum.

IMO do your home work and get prices before booking through travel agent. Generally unless you find a great deal it cheaper to book yourself.

Personally I love Jetstar to Phuket (I know many people are screeming now) Its a direct flight, and thats a great bonus. I have flown JS for last 5 years there. I went Thai this year and I have to say , I prefer JS. 90% of this is based on direct flight, but food (pre ordered) is better on JS. Service is a little slower, but no biggy.

There is so much to do in Phuket you wont be bored.You ask about Patong in your question but most of your hotels are not in Patong?

Centra Grand looks amazing,

For me Centra Karon too far from the beach.

My adavice is to look at the location of the hotels relative to what you want and the beach.

If you are interested in Patong, my pick to look at would be

Holiday Inn (Directly Across from Beach)

Patong Merlin (Directly Across from Beach)


Ban Thai


Impianna (on the beach)

Food and drinks, very cheap


Gold Coast
Destination Expert
for Ko Pha Ngan, Ko Samui, Thailand
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25,899 posts
64 reviews
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2. Re: Help planning first family trip

July is smack bang in the middle of monsoon season, so you can expect to get rain and also the seas can be quite rough which can put a stop to sea tours.

Koh Samui weather is better at that time of year. There are 3 islands in the same area, Samui, Phangan and Tao and all are easily accessible from each other for overnight stays or day tours.

My suggestion would be to look at South Chaweng which is away from the noise and party atmosphere or central Chaweng. South Chaweng has a lovely beach, plenty of restaurants and shopping and some great accommodation. Banana Sea Fan and Poppies get mentioned regularly here.

Never take 1/2 board in Thailand as you then miss out on all the wonderful, cheap restaurants away from your hotel.

If you do decide on Phuket Hilton is consistently recommended for families, but if you wanted somewhere quieter than Patong Beach, Kata is a good family beach area. Phuket is generally the most expensive place in Thailand, but still cheap by western standards. Samui is probably a bit cheaper than Phuket.

Eva Air always seem to get good reviews.

If I was going to either Phuket or Samui I would consider also staying somewhere else as well as 14 nights for me would be too long in one place. Khao Lak is 75 minutes north of Phuket, quieter and family orientated. Koh Phangan is 30 minutes by ferry from Samui and again it's quieter than Samui and definitely worth a few days stay.

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3. Re: Help planning first family trip

Hi dajascot,

Have to agree with aussie1 in regards to booking with a travel agent, you'll find its cheaper to book yourself with the hotel of your choice and Phuket has lots to choose from; it will ultimately depend on where you want to stay and what your budget is. There's quite a few hotel booking websites to compare prices. Since you're going for 14 days have you considered splitting your stay over a couple of areas on the island. We've done that and found it was a great way to experience different hotels and areas. This year we went in May and split our stay between Kata and Patong. I personally found Kata a little too quiet but have to say it has better beaches that Patong. We're going back next in May 2012 and this time splitting stay between Karon (Centara Karon Resort 6 nights) and Patong; once again staying at the Patong Merlin which we've found to be fantastic value for money.

I would not consider a half board option as there's so many great places to eat at a fraction of the cost of half board. Cathy and Gary's pages has a wealth of info and i found it invauable for our first trip.


Eva Air is an airline that originates out of Taiwan and Skytrax is a website that you can visit that will give honest reviews on airlines.




Aberdeen, United...
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4. Re: Help planning first family trip

So so helpful everyone that is great so far and possibly need also to look at other islands. We have also looked at splitting 3 nights in bangkok and 10nights in Phuket with 5* accommodation in both via travel agent from Uk quoting just over £3000. 00

Budget wise this is within ours really dont want to compromise on quality usually stay in top end Dubai resorts in July but really want to try something different

I think from a phuket perspective probably narrowed it down to Centara Grand or Hilton based on the family theme although Travel agent trying to say Laguna beach more orientated to kids.

Will now go a check out the other resorts. Not too keen on staying in Patong just visiting. will no doubt be in touch again.

thanks so much in the meantime


Melbourne, Australia
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77 posts
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5. Re: Help planning first family trip

You won't go wrong with Centara Grand or the Hilton!

Both of these resorts may be cheaper through a travel agent as the wholesaler will have rooms there. We stayed at Centara Grand this year and booked through travel agent for the first time in

years.... It was cheaper, plus we received 5000bht eoom credit! So

checkout your

online prices and also get an agents' quote.

Happy planning!

San Francisco...
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77 posts
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6. Re: Help planning first family trip

We stayed at the JW Marriott and there were lots of kids in that tween range! Plenty of free activities like snorkeling, kayaking, junior cooking classes, circus training, etc... to keep them busy. Hotel offers buses into downtown and plenty of tour excursions. We booked the hotel via their Web site.

Here's the link to their family page:


Safe travels.

Aberdeen, United...
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7. Re: Help planning first family trip

Looks awesome ...... Now I am totally confused!

8. Re: Help planning first family trip

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