Island Hopping in Thailand with young children

After spending the best part of two months exploring bustling cities and historic towns in South East Asia, we were more than ready to hit some beaches. I’d been long awaiting our island hopping adventures in Thailand because everyone I know who has spent time in this part of Thailand have come back telling tales of beautiful beaches, exquisite snorkelling and beautiful sunsets. I’ve seen photo album upon photo album on Facebook, filled with the most beautiful photos that look like a real life paradise. Naturally I was incredibly excited to do some island hopping in Thailand with my little tribe in tow.



We started our journey in Phuket, where we found ourselves spoilt for choice when it came to beaches. We stayed at a great hotel that offers small apartment style accommodation called Pure and Pam Village, which is perfect for families. It was the perfect place to start our island hopping as it meant we could spend the morning at the beach, before heading back to the apartment for an afternoon of playing on the front porch, eating good food and taking naps.

Monkey playing outside - Island hopping in Thailand with young children


While in Phuket we hired a long tail boat for a day and set off to explore some of the other islands. We opted for Koh Hae (also known as Coral island) and Koh Bon.

Island hopping in Thailand with young children - Longtail boat


Coral Island and Koh Bon

Coral Island is incredibly scenic, with shallow blue waters lapping against white sand beaches, with a beautiful a backdrop of green mountainous islands. The beach is scattered with leaning palm trees and the occasional flowering shrub. Unfortunately, Coral Island is no secret hideaway and is a hot tourist stop in Southern Thailand.

Island hopping in Thailand with young children - Coral island


As we approached the island, the waters became a lot rougher and our boat began lurching from side to side. The seawater splashed over the sides of the boat and to be completely honest I was so glad we had bought and packed some sturdy children’s life jackets for our trip. As the boat worked it’s way around the corner, we were met with dozens of speedboats ferrying groups of tourists from the shore to floating platforms, where they could begin a wind surfing excursion. The level of activity in the water made for some difficult navigation.


We made it to the shoreline and disembarked. We waded through the water to the beach and set up camp in the shadow of the only uninhabited shaded spot on the beach. It would have been a rather idyllic spot, in the shade, a stone throw away from the shallow water and some distance from the crowds. Unfortunately, it appeared the tourists who had visited the island before us had left a considerable amount of rubbish. Bottles of hair spray, medicine bottles, packets of unopened tablets, perfume bottles, beer bottles, water bottles and what looked like half of a dildo.  Island hopping in Thailand with young children - Rubbish on coral island

Island hopping in Thailand with young children - Rubbish on coral island


We decided to try and ignore the horrendous amount of rubbish behind us and laid down our beach mat. Only we then began to notice that the entire area was littered with cigarette butts. It’s a saddening moment, when your children stop digging for treasure because all they are finding is rubbish, discarded plastic and cigarette butts.

Cigarette butts on Coral island


We encouraged the boys to go on a shell hunt along the shoreline, where we found a number of shells, broken dead coral and an interesting lump of wood with carvings. Unfortunately we had to do our search around more scattered rubbish, more discarded plastic bottles and more cigarette butts.


After a couple of hours we boarded back onto the boat. The boys were starting to get a bit tired, so we decided to skip Koh Bon and headed back to Phuket. We did pass by Kon Bon en route though and found the tours we had seen there earlier in the day had long gone and left only a handful of people on the beach, which is something to consider if wanting to visit an island without the crowds.


After passing by Koh Bon, we unexpectedly stopped a short distance away from the shore line of another island. Our driver and his friend began throwing food over the side of the boat and we looked over the side to see a mass of shimmering colours just underneath the water’s surface. The boys looked down for a moment before realising they were fish, which made their day after being obsessed with ‘Finding Nemo’ and ‘Finding Dory’ in recent months. The driver then asked if any of us would like to do some snorkelling, which Mr. C jumped at the chance to do. The boys and I watched as Mr. C swam further away from the boat and deeper in the coral reef.

Island hopping in Thailand with young children - Snorkelling a coral reef

Island hopping in Thailand with young children - Snorkelling a coral reef


Our driver’s friend then jumped from the side of the boat and swam into the depths of the water himself. He appeared minutes later with a bright purple starfish in his hands. He did this trip a number of times, so we ended up with three brightly coloured starfish in the boat. Although a truly beautiful sight we would have otherwise missed, it did then start an awkward discussion with the boys about the importance of leaving sea animals in the sea. Thankfully Mr. C took all the starfish back to the coral reef before getting out of the water himself, which set a brilliant example that I hope the boys will remember in the future.


The Phi Phi islands

Our five year anniversary fell during our time on Thailand’s islands, so we decided to spend a little bit extra on accommodation than usual and booked a hotel for two nights on Ko Phi Phi Don.

Isand hopping in Thailand with young children - Butterfly on Koh Phi Phi


Although a great place to book a number of island hopping and snorkelling excursions, we decided to spend our limited time on the island relaxing, with the exception of a short hike to the viewpoint. The hike to the viewpoint is hard work, so if doing it with young children bring a carrier and be prepared to carry them up a lot of steps. Both of the boys did so well climbing to the top, with Bear in particular climbing a majority of it himself. Once we reached the top, it seemed only fair to indulge on ice cream from the cafe / shop before taking in the truly beautiful view.

Family at Phi Phi Don viewpoint

Mum at Phi Phi Don viewpoint with young children

Family at Phi Phi Don viewpoint


Krabi and Ao Nang

We ended our island hopping in Krabi, where we stayed at the River Front Hotel. The hotel has a great outdoor pool, that the boys were eager to jump into. Krabi is a great place to use as a base for island hopping, but we decided to stay on land and took a taxi down to Ao Nang, where we could sit in the shade of towering trees and look out to open waters. Krabi also has a great little night market, where we stocked up on some fresh fruit, found a great muslim restaurant and even found a stall selling pre prepared Durian fruit.

IIsland hopping in Thailand with young children

Young boy playing in the sea at Krabi


Durian fruit is found throughout South East Asia and has a reputation of having an unpleasant smell and unusual taste. To be honest, we didn’t find the smell that bad, but the fruit was a bit like garlic avocado. It’s one of those things people tell you doesn’t taste good, which makes you want to try it even more. Trying Durian fruit is definitely one of those things travellers in South East Asia should try at least once.


Our time island hopping in Thailand with young children

We loved our time exploring Thailand’s island and visiting some truly stunning spots on our travels, with Ko Phi Phi Don being one of our favourites. It was the perfect place to kick back a bit after some more hectic travel destinations and definitely somewhere we loved visiting.

Island hopping in Thailand with young children - family on longtail boat in Thailand


Although we have loved our time island hopping, it really brought home the impact human activity and plastic waste is having on our planet. In every location where rubbish was piled up, we found people walking past it, as if it wasn’t even there, as if it wasn’t even a problem. This only highlighted how dire the situation is. There are some initiatives in place that are tackling this issue, with some beach clean ups happening in various places on the islands. That alone is not enough though, we need to be doing more. If you are going to visit this region and do some island hopping, clean up after yourself and do your bit. This is our planet, our one and only home and our attitude to how we treat it needs to change globally. If we don’t tackle this problem head on, these beaches will no longer be worth visiting, our seas and oceans will be dead, toxic waste lands and our children will never be able to see the true beauty of it under the waste that we have left scattered all over it.


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Island hopping in Thailand with young children


Have you ever been island hopping in Thailand with young children? Let me know in the comments, on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. You can also follow me on Pinterest.

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24 thoughts on “Island Hopping in Thailand with young children

  1. I have wanted to visit Thailand for years and we are thinking of saving up and taking the kids out to travel in Asia in a few years. Your photos are beautiful – it’s just a real shame about the amount of rubbish and waste there is.

    1. It is such a wonderful part of the world and the boys have learnt so much while on our travels. I found the amount of rubbish on the beaches incredibly saddening. I just hope people’s attitudes towards waste change soon and quickly!

  2. I saw your IG story from the beach and was just shocked. I really don’t understand why people think it’s acceptable to litter outside when they wouldn’t dream of doing it in their homes! A rubbish bin is never THAT hard to find. Or take your rubbish home with you. It’s simple really! But glad to know you you found a few good spots x

    1. It was so saddening seeing how much rubbish was strewn across the beach, but sadly we have found that beaches that are heavily populated by tourists all have an issue with the amount of rubbish being left on them. I hope people’s attitudes to waste change and soon!

  3. It sounds like a wonderful holiday and how wonderful to see a purple starfish! Glad they went back though! Can’t say it’s somewhere I’ve ever fancied visiting but you’ve made it sound very interesting! Sim x

  4. What an amazing adventure! This is something I want to do but with the Greek islands 🙂 The amount of litter you came across though made me really sad that people see fit to ruin such a beautiful natural place. It needs one of our UK beach cleans to visit there!! In Sweden we have a saying that you should leave nothing but footprints where you visit….

  5. Wow! That looks like an incredible trip to go on. I’m not sure I would be as brave as you going with little ones. I’ve heard that the beaches in Thailand are incredible. But that’s pretty awful to see so much rubbish up on the beach. Some of it must be just down to people being careless.

  6. I’m so sad to read about all of the litter an cigarette butts on the beach. I find it completely incomprehensible that people can think it is okay to leave their rubbish behind. Utterly disgusting. The rest of your trip sounds wonderful though. I’d love to travel around South East Asia with my family. My husband and I spent a month backpacking around Vietnam 15 or so years ago and a few days in Bangkok – but I’ve never seen anything more of Thailand.

    1. It was so saddening to see. I just hope people globally change their attitude to waste and soon! We have loved our journey around South East Asia, such an interesting part of the world.

    1. I know! IT put us on edge in case the boys found anything dangerous while on the beach. It was so sad, especially when I though back to being on the beach as a child and the only rubbish (we labelled it pirate treasure) that we found were worn down glass from bottles. I hope things change and soon, so my children can visit clean beaches and enjoy digging in the sand without there being such vast amounts of rubbish.

  7. Such a shame some of the beaches were covered in litter, we have the same problem here in Bournemouth despite hundreds of bins lining the promenade. Hope they manage to find a solution to the problem over there

    1. We have found a lot of the beaches that are visited by large numbers of tourists have a similar problem. I really hope people’s attitude towards waste changes and soon!

    1. Having children certainly doesn’t mean travelling days are over, it just means that travel plans need to be catered to children. I personally think that travelling with our children allows us to see the world in a new, different and unique way.

  8. Beautiful pictures. I’ve been following your travels on insta and youtube. I cannot believe how much waste etc there was around. Such a shame. Well done on the climb with the boys. They did very well to get to the top. x p.s Happy Anniversary x

    1. Thank you so much! I know it was so saddening seeing that much rubbish and waste on the beach, but we have found it to be an issue at most beaches we have been to that are heavily populated with tourists. I just hope people’s attitudes towards waste start changing and soon!

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