We were traveling Thailand with baby nomad for 1 month though Thailand when she was 6-7 months old. We had good and bad experiences and will honestly report in this blog post.
Our 12 hour flight (from Germany) with baby went really well. She slept half the time and the rest of the time my husband played with her while I watched a movie and vice versa. It didn’t feel like 12 hours at all!
We arrived in Phuket and first stayed a few days at Nai Yang Beach, which is just 10 minutes away from the airport. However, it still felt quite remote and it’s a good spot for kitesurfing. Surprisingly, you don’t hear any planes.
Our hotel (see below) Nai Yang Beach Resort & Spa was nice, quite and directly at the beach. Cost per night: 47 USD.
On our first evening we went for a night walk along the beach. Suddenly, nomad dad stepped on a dry blow fish and started panicking. He wanted to check immediately, if this fish is poisonous. The first result on google: “Blow fish are the most poisonous fish in the world.” – OMG! Was he about to die? After reading through some articles we found out, that eating the fish could be poisonous. Stepping on one apparently not – he is still alive 😉
A beautiful beach also not far from the airport is Naithon Beach. It is unspoiled with just a few restaurants along the streets.
While in Phuket, we went with our baby nomad to James Bond Island and combined it with a canoe trip thereafter. Going on the island with baby was quite easy. We took a big boat which was quite smooth. On the canoe I had to go on my own while nomad dad stayed with the baby on the boat. Although everything went well, we would not recommend the trip as it’s way too crowded. There are so many similar & unspoiled islands across the Andaman Sea!
After just a few days after arriving in Thailand with baby, we and our baby had no jetlag anymore.
We also stayed in the alternative hipster Phuket Old Town. It is really worth a visit if you like Sino-Portuguese style colorful architecture, street art and crazy bars & cafes. (Make sure to visit The Tent cafe!)
Our Casa Blanca Boutique Hotel was very beautiful in the middle of Old Town. Cost per night: 42 USD.
The next stop was Kantiang Bay, Koh Lanta. It is more developed than I thought but still has a nice mix of nature and some hipster cafes, restaurants and (importnant!) a reggae bar. One night we ended up in this bar with baby nomad sitting in the carrier. Although the life music was quite loud, our baby fell asleep! As long as there is constant noise, babies can sleep everywhere! Or maybe we just have a rasta baby?
My absolute favorite hotel in Thailand was the one we had in Koh Lanta, the Alama Sea Village. Cost per night: 55 USD. It is 5 minutes from the beach. As it is located on a hill, it has absolutely incredible views on the bay and surrounding jungle mountains from the cottages and the pool. Moreover, the staff couldn’t have been friendlier.
We rented a car for one day and went around the island. On that trip we met a Swedish girl that also had a 6-month old baby and lived on Koh Lanta. Apparently, there are quite a few Swedish families living there. There are even 2 Swedish schools and an international school is planned. Also, there are a couple mom & baby meetups for international moms living here.
Every evening the locals were playing beach volleyball and I (beach volley addict) joined them of course. What a great way to get in contact with locals!
For the last 2 weeks we went to Koh Yao Noi. You wouldn’t believe, there are still secret places in Thailand. Plus, it’s only 30 minutes boat ride from Phuket or 60 minutes from Krabi. You meet just one or two tourists on the boat there, which already gives you a glimpse of what is next to come: a small island, with loads of nature and rainforest, unspoiled (though not perfect) beaches, amazing views on the Andaman sea and its rocks, shining rice fields, low population density, little traffic, locals that mostly work outside the tourist industry, Thai authenticity, a few beautiful self-made bungalows and a handful restaurants. Those few tourists that you meet are really interesting personalities, that have great stories to tell. We met a Brazilian girl who worked for an NGO in Burma, a Brazilian family who were all designers, a guy who writes stories for computer games, a former dancer and now artist manager, a software engineer for a famous computer game etc. AND a lot sincerely friendly Thai people.
We first stayed in The Hill House bungalows with beautiful views. Cost per night: 31 USD. The are is a bit quite around there, but beautiful.
Later, we stayed in Sabai Corner, where you have more restaurants and bars around. Cost per night: 22 USD. Make sure to book the seafront bungalow or family house. Those have better quality for a reasonable higher price.
Health care – our hospital visit
Unfortunately, baby nomad got gastroenteritis on Koh Lanta and so we went to a doctor. There, I did not feel to be in good hands – especially when the nurses started to take selfies with our sick baby. So we went to a private hospital just to be safe. The hospital physician was very reliable and the hospital equipment had the western standard. We stayed overnight, which was not necessary at the end. Our baby recovered quickly, giving her anti vomiting and anti diarrhea medication, as well as electrolytes. Some of you may argue that we are putting our baby at risk while traveling. BUT my friend in our hometown Berlin went to a hospital with a mere nothing with her baby where it got Rotavirus, making her stay 3 weeks in the hospital! Our baby was 6 months old and got sick for the first time. I guess this is something every mother will experience in every country. So I hope I did not stop anyone from traveling 🙂
What did we pack for Thailand with baby?
We have an article with all our gear and packing list for backpacking with baby here.
What about formula milk and baby food?
Most western milk brand are not available in Southeast Asia. Therefore, we switched our milk to an Asia Pacific brand S-26 (By the US manufacturer Wyeth). This brand is widely available even in smaller supermarkets in Southeast Asia, Australia & New Zealand. Our baby tolerated that switch really well. I guess, the older the baby, the easier to switch.
Unfortunately, ready-to-eat baby food is not available in supermarkets. So you can either use fruits that you can peel (e.g. Bananas or Avocados) or get cooked and pureed vegetables in restaurants.
These are the formula brands you will find in a regular supermarkets, as well as diaper / nappies:
Baby & body contact
If you travel with baby through Thailand you need to be quite relaxed regarding body contact. Wherever we go, everyone wants to hold your baby. And if they hold your baby, this will not be the last person, as she will be passed over. It happens so so often, that there is no point in fighting it. At the end it is good for the immune system and social skills. At the end of our Europe trip (where hardly anyone was touching her) she started to be shy with strangers. Now, this is not the case at all anymore. Baby nomad really loves all the attention she gets from everyone around. Giving love to a baby is the most important thing after all. And after this month she really gained a lot of social skills. We are now in Australia since a few days and I recognize, that she is a bit disappointed not getting so much attention by strangers any more 🙁
Rain or dry season?
It turns out that the rain season was perfect for baby: less sun, not as hot, just around 30 minutes rain per day (if any), less crowded. Finally, you can get great accommodation for ridiculous prices.
Mosquitoes & baby
The only problem we had were mosquitoes. And this is the downside of the rain season: more mosquitoes. For ourselves we used DEET 30% or alternatively, one natural citronella repellent. For baby you can either use that one or I found one particularly for babies by Johnson & Johnson in Thailand. It works ok but you need to reapply it quite often (every 1.5 – 2hrs).
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