Trekking through jungles, snorkeling in a lagoon and lounging on the beach with a cocktail – they all stood tall on our & # 39; things to do & # 39; checklist when we set off on a cold winter morning to Thailand.
But when we were sitting ourselves in our van, along with our 20-month-old daughter, the thought struck me – maybe I should have done all this as a teen backpacker instead of a first time parent?
Can we truly enjoy the best that this fantastic South East Asian country has to offer with our toddlers on drag? The answer, it turned out, was a unified & # 39; yes & # 39; – and it was much easier than we thought thanks to memorable stays at the Nai Harn in Phuket and the Dusk D2 in Krabi.
We had flown Thai Airways into the country before making our way to our first stop, the Nai Harn, the only Phuket member of elite world leading hotel hotels, overlooking a sweeping bay of the same name.
Sundowner: The Reflections Bar at Nai Harn in Phuket, Thailand, is the perfect place to drink a cocktail or a glass of the hotel's expertly-sourced wine list
The hotel enjoys a beautiful position overlooking the turquoise seas and the sandy Nai Harn beach – perfect for families
The hotel also has wonderful restaurants, including the Rock Salt where guests can enjoy cocktails, wonderful seafood dishes and Thai delicacies, all within meters of the beach
View Room: Guests can enjoy epic views overlooking Nai Harn Beach and nearby islands – all from the comfort of a comfortable outdoor bed
All the pain of my regret was my wife and I about not doing Thailand on the cheap, in order for students to be away quickly, then we explored our Grand Ocean View Room and to a private terrace with what certainly must be one of Phuket's finest views.
No cost is spared in & # 39; furnishings & furnishings & we were told that some rooms have a button that is not specific to Champagne to order.
But with the luxury comes an extremely family-friendly atmosphere. Staff go out of their way to make sure parents with young children have what they need for a comfortable journey.
They are happy to set up a parasol on the glorious sandy beach below and provide towels for the day, while the pool has a shallow section for toddlers.
Our little one spent hours splashing in the pool and in the evening, with conditions a bit cooler, we moved to the beach – smoothies with fresh fruit in hand – to watch the sun go down.
Beautiful displays of pink flowers surround the pool, where staff are only too happy to serve drinks or set up umbrellas
Julian's little one spent hours splashing in the pool and & # 39; s evening, with conditions a bit cooler, they moved to the beach – fresh fruit smoothies in & # 39; e hand – to watch the sun go down
The bars and restaurants in the luxurious Nai Harn hotel all enjoy spectacular views overlooking the bay
There is no cost savings in fixtures and fittings and Julia was told that some rooms have a button that is specifically ordered for Champagne
The hotel also has wonderful restaurants, including the Rock Salt, where we enjoyed cocktails, a wonderful seafood dish and Thai delights, all within meters of the beach.
Chefs at the hotel cure their own meats and make their own cheeses, while the wine list was prepared by international expert James Suckling. Breakfast is an event in itself, with a dizzying range of options and plenty of space, which meant there was no undignified scramble for the buffet.
For a dreamy sundowner, guests head to the sprawling infinity-edged bar of the Nai Harn, Reflections. Like cocktails, the area also has the Han-Sha sushi bar, where dishes are prepared for you.
After an unforgettable stay at the Nai Harn, it was time for our second destination – Krabi to the south.
Rather than courageous public transport or sea transport, we opted for the comfort of a taxi ride. Before long, we had arrived at our next hotel, the dusitD2 in Ao Nang's coastal tourist hotspot.
The 173-room hotel is less than 20 miles from the Krabi International Airport, tucked away in lush jungle greenery on a hill, but a short distance from the floating city beach and close to shops and restaurants.
It is fully refurbished and updated and is a rebrand of the previous Vogue Resort and Spa Vogue Resort.
Our room on the top floor had wonderful views overlooking the increasing, knotty limestone cliffs that define the area.
The 173-room dusitD2 in Ao Nang's coastal tourist hotspot is just under 20 miles from Krabi International Airport
The newly opened hotel has everything you need for a comfortable family stay – a great restaurant, an outdoor pool with a separate children's pool, a fitness center, a spa and a children's playground
The hotel is tucked away in lush jungle green on a hill, yet within easy walking distance of the floating city beach and close to shops and restaurants
The hotel is fully refurbished and updated and is a rebrand of the previous Vogue Resort and Spa Vogue Resort
Within ten minutes, you can embark on an adventure to tropical islands, hunt for monkeys along forest paths, kayak on turquoise seas, or even rock climb some of the hunted cliffs
Rates at the Nai Harn start from around £ 184 for a Deluxe Room with Ocean View.
Rooms at the Dusk D2 Ao Nang in Krabi can be booked by clicking here.
Flights to Chiang Mai via Bangkok are available through Thai Airways, which recently spent 45 years operating in the United Kingdom.
Rating key: one star – poor; two stars – ok; three stars – good; four stars – very good; five stars – exceptional.
The newly opened hotel has everything you need for a comfortable family stay – a great restaurant, an outdoor pool with a separate children's pool, a fitness center, a spa and a children's playground.
But the Trump card for this well-run and friendly hotel is its location. Within ten minutes, you can embark on an adventure to tropical islands, hunting for monkeys along forest paths, kayaking over turquoise seas or even rock climbing on some of the hunted cliffs.
One day we zoomed around & # 39; shore to the glorious Railay beach – accessible only by boat – and spent a day lounging on & # 39; an unexplained second of sand in the bay.
We also rented one of the area's iconic long tail boats and took a day trip to Hong Island – a small paradise island with a blessed lagoon, plenty of shade, great snorkeling and a nature trail.
Back on the mainland, the hotel's own travel agency also arranged our local hot springs – a cascading network of waterfalls that leads to swimming pools with bathing temperatures hidden in dense jungle.
Another day trip took us to the beautiful Emerald Pools. Our little girl was mesmerized as we explored the enormous web of turquoise swimming pools and towering tropical trees along the jungle path.
Our trip may not have been a backpacking odyssey – more of a family adventure. But one thing was for sure, we had finally checked that holiday checklist.